There are more than enough bands in this month’s Grind My Gears to keep you satiated for, let’s say at least an hour. Such is the fleeting, foxy nature of the genre that I commit fingers, keys, and wax-covered headphones to. Old, new, borrowed, blue – it’s all here. From the Iberian peninsula to the (presumably) frozen outer reaches of Ontario, here’s a new batch of boorish, blasting acts who are ready to make you soil your shorts. Cowabunga. The Simpsons are grindcore, fuck you.
Sick, Flicks, Tricks – The Number Of The Besta
Nearly a decade into their life as a band, Portugal’s Besta deserve top billing this time around, thanks to their manic, blackened punk assault on grindcore as a whole.Admittedly, they hadn’t come across my sonar (I have a whale head and bat ears) until the promotional push for their new record, Ao Vivo Em São Paulo. I’ve gone back and listened to some of the earlier material and while it is brash and powerful, the band have really nailed down their previously scattered sound – without losing any of the unpredictability and immediacy of their particular form of grind.
Portugal, Spain, and Italy are quietly turning the tomato end of Europe into thee grind hotspot. Spain’s Teething and Ernia are two bands I’ve covered and reviewed on Heavy B already, and Besta now come knocking at the door; with twisted, blackened riffs and some immensely aggro declarations ready to huff, puff, and blow Article 50 out of the sky, you’d best let them in. There’s as much Hatebreed worship as Napalm Death or Infest on their latest offering, splicing the crust-on-manky-crack shtick of more Northern Euro grinders with the sweaty hardcore of pastures over the Atlantic. The tracks are brief and the tones are devilish and clean (not clean but y’know), letting the powerviolence heartbeat throb underneath a skin stretched tight with razor-wire accoutrements. There’s a lot happening in a short period of time, so be prepared to put a few listens into this.
Foes Will Beat You Up On The Oregon Trail
Just kidding, I’m sure the folks in Foes wouldn’t do that. They look pretty friendly when they’re not swinging their instruments at each other in the pursuit of the perfect grind beatdown. For those who follow my Rotten To The Core column, this Bend, Oregon act sit on the serrated, slimy fence between both Rotten, and Grind My Gears. There’s whammy action, destructive, limb-flailing throwdowns AND bursts of furious grind attack – the kind you only get from a band who use genre tags as very, very loose descriptors.
There’s a new release on the horizon from Foes but thus far “Free Of Them” is the only material we have to whet our collective milk-sippers. Coming out of the blocks quicker than an incel in the comment thread of a Captain Marvel review, the track screeches into life and swings sideways, upside down, and even spends some time standing on it’s head, kicking itself in the chin simultaneously. Yes, it’s not as grind as you might like, but time spent with the band’s 2017 release NØD should give you the peace of mind that I haven’t forgotten what grind entails. Manic and mathematically challenging (like a Sudoku tournament with laser sword duels in between rounds), Foes do the Myspace revival thing without necessarily belonging to the same kind of crowd. Hardcore, grindcore, mathcore – throw in a banana and an apple and there’s your five-a-day. Muy bueno.
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Gluttony Isn’t A Sin In The Eyes Of Hollow-Body
Another glorious little find from Bandcamp (where else are you meant to find new music these days?), Hollow-Body might hail from St. Catharine’s, Ontario, but their music is far from holy. Caked in a tar thick enough to choke out my pack-a-day mother, their EP Binge And Purge is nihilistic lytically and sonically – the shrieking feedback and 1-2-3-4 stick counts into blast only as good as the bruising, doom processions and violently charged laments they bring in tow. Flowery language, I know, but I can’t stress enough how crude this band’s sound is. It’s fantastic.
Each of the three tracks (“Binge”, “And”, and “Pure” – funnily enough) bring something arresting and vehement to the fold, whether that’s slow riffs fit boisterous enough to knock down the walls of the Vatican City, or quick slashes of washed-out, noisy powerviolence, cutting deep and rubbing dirt directly into the wounds dealt by said slashes. You might have heard something similar before, but Hollow-Body play their cards all at once, and with zero shame – it’s enlightening as to what living in St. Catharine’s must be like. I have, and will continue to listen to this four of five times a day until I get sick of it, ‘purging’ myself of it eventually. Until then, this Canadian cacophony will be winding up my neighbours and testing the boundaries of my headphones. And my perforated eardrum.