I love it when the three carefully selected acts I throw in this column all have an overarching theme that I didn’t realise until the very last minute, forcing my hand and ultimately ensuring the introduction I had previously written gets fucked right into the sea. Projects built over the Internet with friends, new and old – hence the title, I’m sorry but there is not a real Grind Symphony, yet – the next few bands Grinding My Gears range from veterans raising their fists at the sky, electric pink violence, and a new act that might just have released my favourite ten minutes of music this year.
Flailing Fawn Limbs Wreak Havoc On The Nostalgia Bone
One summer in my teens, all I listened to was Into The Moat and War From A Harlots Mouth. I can remember fuck all about anything that happened during those red-eyed, vodka powered months, other than what was playing between my ears. Both bands have gone different ways over the decade since but never mind them. Fawn Limbs is the name given to the Finland/Pennsylvania project that holds claim to the previously mentioned ten minutes of magic. Debut EP Towing Heads is the grinding bastard child of the bands that stole the sounds of that summer from me. And I will love this noisy bastard like it’s my own, forever.
Sharing production credits with Coma Cluster Void makes sense. Towing Heads toys with structure, styles, and creating vacuous spaces between the oh so pleasing explosions of mathy grind. Cut from the same stone, but fashioned in a much more immediately damaging fashion, the chaos is more engaging and, maybe, a little less creepy. “Ligature” spits grindcore with a swagger and stomp not dissimilar to Maruta, serving as the finger-in-the-socket shock before the EP’s pièce de résistance, “Dialects”. The finalé almost appears to stutter and die after a last-gasp flurry of desperate strikes, only to reemerge from the noise swamp with the most direct attack since the opening feedback sounded. This book ends the whole experience with a firm pair of thumbs in the eyes and a chop to the throat, assaulting senses left, right, and centre.
Decadence defined for those who want hardcore to be less dumb, mathcore to be violent and finally, grind to get weirder. This transcontinental release will see many, many repeats in the MacLennan domicile – scratching the itch for weird ‘core that is aggressive, creative, and dark – for many a year to come. The only way Fawn Limbs can do wrong is to take too long to drop off another batch. I am itchin’ already.
Nothing Queer As Folk (Grind. Folkgrind?)
Outed want to “arm queers with assault rifles” and I’m all in support of this sentiment. Their Internet-born grinding violence serves as a call to arms for the marginalised, spitting heat at the macho, straight dude crowd; spitting that heat at temperatures much higher than any right-leaning act could imagine. In the eight short minutes of Fucked, these musicians from Maryland, Florida, and California have piled together their considerable animosity and condensed those feelings into something really special. For fans of grind, old and new, this hot pink injection will fuck your day up and give you a high-five on the way out, if you’re lucky.
Quintessentially powerviolence, Outed definitely play just as hard in the slow parts as they do when they blast and shred; lurching, staggered riffs not completely dissimilar to Yautja cut short the “Dichotomy” might be a fairly mid-tempo number but it hits harder than a fash skull on a concrete floor, the phrasing and scattergun approach to vocals bringing to mind classic grind and violence – the kind paid tribute to by the gloriously garish album art. Outed fuck around with an ever-evolving attack of groove and grit on “Fucked” and “Attempted Genocide”, soaking up energy from feedback like Superman does with our Sun and converting it into belt-fed rolling grind, akin to Grind My Gears favourite WVRM. It’s heavy as fuck. It’s proud. It’s everything grind should be about.
“Stick to music, stay out of politics” is one of those fucking neckbeard comments you’ll see on a day-to-day basis on social media. Imagine having zero awareness of what punk, metal, and grind in particular have been about since day one? Granted, there are always gonna be edgy trolls and rightys in tighty whiteys, shitting themselves over a footballer kneeling or a whispers socialist in charge of the opposition party. This ain’t for them. They can literally go fuck themselves with their own fists. Listen to Outed and if you’ve got guns, show your friends how to use them safely if they don’t already know.
Born To Murder The World Smashes The Black Mirror
With some fiftyyears of extreme music experience between them, Napalm Death‘s (and Lock Up and Brujeria and Venomous Concept and…) Shane Embury and Anaal Nathrakh‘s Mick Kenney – the man behind the dials for more of your favourite records than you’re aware of – combine under Embury’s latest brand of politically charged, pulverising grindcore. Born to Murder the World take aim at basically everyone on debut release The Infinite Mirror Of Millennial Narcissism, a record that is infinitely more intense than it’s title is obvious.
It would probably be redundant explaining exactly what this sounds like. Take your favourite Napalm and Anaal CDs and squeeze them together ’til the discs shatter and puncture your wank mittens, smear the blood all over yourself and jump into an ice cold canal. None of this will help you work out what you’re listening to, but anyway. The Infinite Mirror Of Millennial Narcissism is laden with symphonic and industrial elements more suited to fans of Kenney’s work, but Embury ensures that the grind attack is forceful and full of beans. Take”Poisoning Purity” and its layers of screeching and the hoarsest vocals this side of a gravel-chewing competition; violent declarations dancing over a whirling mash of percussion and razor-edged guitars. “Negativity Plague” on the other hand, is a better Behemoth song than any from the new record, without ever actually being black metal. The years and time invested into extreme music by these gentlemen has brought them to this particular point of their extreme journey.
If you can’t wait for the new Anaal record/a new Napalm record then this will satiate your bloodlust for now. The Infinite Mirror Of Millennial Narcissism is weighty enough to stand on its own as a fantastic example of genre destroying heavy music. Listen to the electronic bass hits in “Corruption Feeds Deception”, the ones underneath the busy, soul-shredding blackened grind attack, then tell me this isn’t a great time. Albeit one with a blunt force message.