Don’t ever try and argue with someone that grindcore is music. It really isn’t. The genre is forever teetering on being one tin can snare from sounding like a washing machine full of cutlery. The “anti-music” logo exists for a reason, after all. Tonality, melody, harmony… all thrown aside for the sake of creating noise that will turn noses up all over the spectrum of music fans. Especially metal fans. Germany’s Weeping Skulls embrace this, piling grind upon layers of thick death metal riffs, toilet-bowl vocals, and generally emptying the contents of their brain, unfiltered, into their self-titled record. It’s a hot mess and it is definitely a niché market they’re shooting for, but first and foremost it is a whole lot of fun.
Thirty minutes and nineteen tracks later, your guess is as good as any as to which particular sub-genre of grind Weeping Skulls could fall under. Grindpolka? Oom-pahcore? Whatever, it’s redundant to even try. This Germanic mob are a perfect soundtrack to the gore-soaked reels of splatter cinema, jumping between horrendous gargled vocals and hardcore shot calling (in the band’s native tongue, which sounds brutal regardless of the delivery). “Liebesbrief” peppers staccato riffing with subterranean belches before falling back into the familiar oom-pah beat that rears its two-faced head all over this record. It’s tiresome at times but so, so satisfying when a riff that could belong on a Protest The Hero/Destrage record jumps out of nowhere, teasing the listener with a groove for ten seconds before leisurely dropping back into fits of blasts and sub-bass booms.
Production and tone wise, it’s pretty standard fare outside of the filtered and uber-processed vocals; the guitars are crunchy and fuzzy in equal measures and the drum kit sounds JUST the right side of clicky and clacky. The bass tone is delicious, however. “Verachtung und Missgunst” for example, the bass belches and bellows under everything else, acting as another element of slovenly, sickening sound in a performance toeing the line between Rammstein, Ministry, Gutalax, and (insert goregrind band name here). If you’re not strapped in ready for an auditory enema then it’s going to be a bad time, guaranteed. Grind is not for everyone, and Weeping Skulls ain’t gonna be a lot of grinders first choice either. That’s just the way the shit cookie crumbles.
Unsurprisingly but very welcome are each of the five ditties on this record. “Skit 1”, “Skit 2” etc. add a touch more of the tongue-in-cheek behaviour that Weeping Skulls display on record. From womp-womp dub to breakbeat jungle, each skit punctuates a shift in momentum on the record; experimentally audacious, the chainsaw noises and screams layered over Eurotrash dance music is wild and wonderful. Just like the “real” tracks on the record, these little interludes are playful and telling of the band’s proclivity towards putting down exactly whatever the fuck they want to. Reckless abandon has never sounded so superlatively shitty.
An odd one to review, Weeping Skulls won’t be in regular rotation for 99% of extreme music fans. That’s kind of the point though. The German goregrind act should take great pride in cultivating a sound that is inherently unlistenable to even the most extreme fans of the collective genres they dabble in. Listen to the closing track “Promille” and marvel in its ludicrous Van Halen x Haemorrhage decadence, then wipe yourself clean and pick something less wacky to listen to. Guaranteed, you’ll still be thinking about this record long after you’ve removed it from your playlist. Scrubbing something clean never quite gets rid of all the filth, does it?
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Weeping Skulls is out now and is available for purchase in digital and physical formats on the band’s Bandcamp page.