Seeing as we’re rapidly approaching the end of the year, this is probably going to be the last regular edition of Grind My Gears for 2018. There’ll be an “editorial” with a selection of my favourite cuts from the feature in December but for now, I’ve got to squeeze in a BUNCH of ruthless, blasting, grinding violence from all over the shop. Normally I’ve featured two or three acts each fortnight (give or take) but there’s just so much good shit still coming out that this week’s edition is absolutely rammed full of blasts, beats, bully riffs, and brazen disregard for decibel torture. Onward!
Fill Your Suffering Quota With, Eh, Suffering.
Still in their first decade of existence, Holland’s Suffering Quota knocked me for six with their sophomore full-length Life In Disgust. You might think I’d be immune to endless blasting and stabbed discordant strings, but no, I’m just as susceptible to the oppressive onslaught that these Dutch dirt wizards bring to the party. There’s no joke to be made about their name or the title of this record, it’s immediate and intense in its delivery of energetic, sludge-soaked grindcore. You’re gonna need a steam clean after getting this all up in your business. I definitely did.
Another Dutch grind act have been a favourite of mine for a few years now and one of their members even features on this record – but Teethgrinder‘s clinical deathgrind this is not. Harking back to the glory days of early grind, there’s a bunch of death metal and hardcore influence on Life In Disgust. Importantly though, the attitude and attack of Suffering Quota’s grind never subsides or wanes when embracing these ideas. A trio of tracks in the middle section of this record are probably the best bet to get your sick kicks from, gloriously titled “Anger”, “Hate”, and “Disgust”. For the movie nerds out there, “Disgust” opens with Agent Smith’s charming line from The Matrix concerning “the smell” of the human world in which he operates; honestly, you couldn’t pick a more perfect soundbite to include on a record such as this. Humanity is doomed for failure and destruction so why not run towards Armageddon, swinging your fists in glorious dissent while listening to this?
Bring All Of Your Crusty Friends To The Atrocity Exhibit
Often guilty of ignoring my homeland and the countries connected and associated with it, let me try to remedy this with a couple of grind bands from the UK. First up is the self-confessed “smelly” grindcore mob The Atrocity Exhibit. Sonically not a million miles away from Suffering Quota, these Brit grinders embrace the more anarchic aspects of the genre; from gang vocals all the way down to the tongue-ripped-from-cheek track titles. By all accounts, this is fun music from a group who clearly want to party when they play, but new LP Extinction Solution does not fail to bring the motherfucking ruckus.
Again, fans of cinema will note that this tumbling clusterfuck of grind’n’roll riffs and spliffs has several soundbites from Naked, a gritty little bit of Brit cinema that not enough people have seen and quite a lot of people would find, let’s say irksome, in this current climate. Johnny and Brian from this movie would definitely be fans of The Atrocity Exhibit and their nihilist power-grind triple vocal attack. “Faustian Crisis Loan” and “Escape Before The Detonation” are just two tracks I’ve plucked from the record to shine a blacklight on, each slice of fuzzy riff heaven has the band charging towards the bar with bloodshot eyes and dry lips. The rare ‘full length’ tracks “The Bitter Aftertaste Of Exploitation” and “Post-Human” are stutter-free, ploughing through more chop and change riffs and beats than a night at a local punk show in the shitty boozer you hate but can’t seem to pull yourself away from. Righteously vile stuff, FFO dirty fingernails and picking scabs.
PENDRAK Have A Name I Can’t Turn Into A Joke
Where to begin? Over the pond and into France, let me take you on a journey. Starting in Paris with PENDRAK, let’s breeze over to the Bay Area to soak up some Slayer before hitting the East Coast to flick through all the OG metalcore records in that one record store that has the good shit. Somewhere along the line, you’ll stub your toe and the nail will get infected by a particularly potent strain of Midwest hardcore from the 90’s. Flying back to Europe, the plane is full of Dead Kennedys fans fist-fighting among themselves. Once we’ve returned to Paris, PENDRAK will write and record their self-titled debut. Now I’m telling you about it.
The next twenty minutes of your life will be scatterbrained courtesy of some wild genre-destroying grinding violence. “fuck liberty” drops into one of the sickest open note breakdowns I’ve heard in forever (“and then go fuck yourselves” is now my favourite mosh call) and it actually caused me to do an IRL spit take. “extinguish” could almost pass for a traditional metal track until it breaks out in hardcore hives, much like the lovingly titled “farewell Bill Paxton”; a fitting tribute to one of Hollywood’s most diverse actors from one of France’s most diverse new underground acts. The double-pronged vocal attack of grindcore ‘screams’ and powerviolence ‘shouts’, alongside the percussive ‘atomic snare bombing’, make for a completely unpredictable blast of music that I can’t get enough of. Just as much for fans of Maruta as it is for thrash freaks. Bonne!
Crusty Dark D-Beating Bedlam. You Get The Geist.
I won’t for one second accept any comments about Geist not being grind enough for a grind feature. This is my space, after all. Back to the UK, Geist are just a jump over the border from here, residing in the noisy North of England and I’m pretty sure I can hear them practising from all the way up here in Central Scotland; either that or there’s been a massive pile-up of shredded metal and skin at the train station nearby. Writing this edition of Grind My Gears in my brand new Geist shirt, I’m ready to mosh myself through the wall into next door’s student flat full of fuckheads.
Geist’s recent split offering with Everything Went Black saw some delays so the band dropped it outta nowhere, much to my delight. Laden with feedback and stuttering drum beats, “Heirloom Dogma” and “Mass Instruction” rattle through their combined five minutes with the kind of blatant disregard for venues and front row gawkers that has seen them carve their name into the UK scene so rapidly. First impressions will bring about the usual comparisons to Trap Them, Baptists, and All Pigs Must Die, but Geist delivers maelstrom in their own violent manner. Forget about catching a breath while they’re playing. Forget about breathing in general, really. The split tracks and last year’s Disrepair should be on your next playlist, especially any playlist you use to get pumped for work or the gym – even the one you’re building to give you the strength to face all of your shitty relatives over the holidays. I guarantee this will clear the room of any potential threat of Monopoly and mince pies. Get dark, don’t bother wrapping their presents, get Geist.
No Seatbelts Needed In A Car Made Of Glass
Outside of Heavy Blog and daily trawls of Bandcamp genre tags, I find a lot of the music I love courtesy of Mathcore Index. I’ve lost count of how many bands I’ve featured in Grind My Gears and Rotten To The Core that have come from the Index and the community group they maintain. Their most recent exclusive comes in the form of some decidedly cacophonous noisegrind from Car Made Of Glass, their new music video (above, funnily enough) meriting inclusion here because, well, it fucks.
The swampy, damp production on this micro-rager will turn up noses and more than likely force some to turn off before they really get a chance to listen. More fool anyone who doesn’t give “Incorporating Human Cognitive Biases in a Probabilistic Model of Retweeting” the time it deserves. The demented, sub-bass heavy track comes complete with a pinging, ringing ride and snare and a video that looks as professional as it is silly. Sometimes cohesion and clarity are the last things I want, the disorder brought forth by Car Made Of Glass on this weirdly satisfying cut is the antithesis of both. In the context of this feature, this is the most unhinged and unintelligible form of grindcore going and this should be celebrated. It’s not for everyone, but the few who get off on this type of grind – myself included – should be eager for more from this crew.