For all of it’s misgivings and basic fuckery, 2016 has been kind to fans of extreme music. Whatever the fetish, lovers of heavy/nasty/fast/loud shit have been utterly spoiled with grind, doom, sludge and death. Everything in between too. Nihilism, the second full length from Dutch party violence posse Teethgrinder, doesn’t necessarily sit well in any of these genres because it flirts and fucks with them all. No avant-garde, no gimmicky frills and no masters. Falling just short of the best of the year because of individual hair splitting sessions doesn’t mean this isn’t a fantastic outburst of angry, rasping noise.
Teethgrinder grind and Teethgrinder rage, but in a fashion unbecoming of the cliché their home nation owns. There is zero fucking chill in their music and that’s the best thing about it. Naturally, this is music for angry tears, not happy ones. Go in with a bare minimum of expectation for respite or relief. It’s all a bit mental.
Maybe the most enjoyable take away from Nihilism are the moments of openness from the band; parts where they fly free and let each and every one of their influences rip proudly. And incredibly loudly. This is a group of gentlemen who have connected the dots between grind and death, passing punk, hardcore and sludge on the way. The “non-traditional” grind chords and patterns on “The Pain Exceeds The Fear” rip like a skate punk chorus just itching to free itself from steel shackles and a ball gag. “The Soil Has A Thirst For Blood?” More like “The Soil Has A Thirst For D-Beats.” Seriously though, that track just fucking rips through a barrage of twists and turns, leaving a suitably bloody trail of piss and shit behind.
These moments of pure homage, whether intentional or not, bleed out of every track on Nihilism. Not just slapped in to prove a point, these elements are Teethgrinder. Uncompromising in the music they love to play, the band have committed an absolute wrecking ball to wax. It barely skips on the turntable. Some of the grooves are very well worn but nothing life threatening. Just a flesh wound or two.
Grind has always been a platform for angry people to shout about their world views or the best vegan joints in town. Never gonna change. So, it’s probably splitting hairs talking about the overuse of sound bites on this record. They don’t necessarily harm the flow of Nihilism, but nearly every track begins or fades out with a soundbite. Laden with feedback and other unpleasant ear feelings, they hit on Steve Jobs, meat eaters and pretty much everyone. That’s cool. Everyone hates everyone these days so there are no hard feelings about the meat thing. It would just be nice to be able to chew through this record without so many gaps between tracks. They’re all fantastic, so why keep them apart? It disturbs Teethgrinder’s momentum and holds back a punishing record from quite being all engrossing.
Save for spare moments of tedium, Nihilism is a destructive force. Gathering up everything it passes, spitting and shitting it all out at the end of it’s duration. Do not pass hope, do not collect anything at all. If this were indeed a board game, Teethgrinder are the winners. Other players all finish dead last. The organic combinations of the nastiest, fastest extreme genres into the sound leaves not much left to say. What use are words when the mouth is a bloody mess of stumps, bumps, bruises and tears? An all round, fun for the whole family exercise in using sound to raise hell.
Nihilism is available on November 18th via Lifeforce Records. You can pre-order it here.