With summer fast approaching grind freaks worldwide are turning jeans into cut-offs, old Infest shirts into vests, and cheap booze into fiery, yellow piss. ‘Tis the season for day drinking and complaining it’s hot even though you’re dressed head to toe in black. Idiot. You’re going to want some new music to bring to the table, alongside your dirt-cheap beverage of choice. Grind My Gears has a distinctively French flavour this time around, with two bands vying for the title of France’s dirtiest grind act. Fists will be thrown and teeth will be lost. On top of this, a Canadian cybergrind side project is as abrasive and jaw-rattling as it looks. On with the show, cretins.
Unsu Blot Out The Sun – Party In The Shade Anyway
Two-stepping into my playlist with breeze block shoes on, Unsu have just released their first full-length, Darkest In The Sun, for nearly a decade. The nine years between LPs haven’t been a holiday for these HM-2 grinders, with splits and EPs arriving at a rate of about ten blast-filled tracks every other year, but they’re back from their travels with one of the year’s most energetic extreme releases. There’s probably a meme page already loading up a “false grind” template for this record, but let’s be honest – you run a meme page, you’re dog shit on someone else’s shoe. The yellow kind. With grass and stones in it. Unsu eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast.
Immediately upon pressing play you’re hit with a crunchy, drop-tuned HM-2 attack that refuses to give up – riffs are tight bundles of barbed wire left to unravel in your guts, vocals are coarse blasts of hot sand on raw skin. Save for a couple of whiplash shifts into chunky, sledgehammer swinging slower sections, Darkest In The Sun runs at a speed somewhere between an F1 car and a YouTube “star” losing followers after their latest scum human action. Most of the tracks get past the minute mark and this gives each one the time to swing with at least one wild punch – “Seppuku” grabs capitalism’s scabby horns and forces it to auto-fellate with a shifting torrent of blasts, “Mankind’s Darkside” drops in and out of an OSDM groove so thick you’ll need to wet/dry combo wipe once you’ve successfully shit your britches. I’ll let you find the big dirty riff in “Never Fed Enough” on your own.
Sharing similarities with Euro neighbours Teethgrinder and US HM-2 peddlers The Drip (both favourites of Grind My Gears), Unsu have my nod for grind release of the month. Lyrically the record is a cut above most of the shit that’s surfaced since Easter too. Tackling environmental issues head-on with just as much fervour as they cut and stab at capitalism, tracks like “Silhouette of the Sun” do their damnedest to point your eyes directly at the all-consuming power of our star. Fitting really, this is exactly what I think the end of our Anthropocene era will sound like. Three cheers for grind-death by solar flare! Allez!
Chiens Bark At The Moon. And The Postman. At Everyone, Basically.
I throw “grindviolence” around a lot as a descriptor for music I like. It’s not an exact science when you’re trying to squeeze bands into easily identifiable boxes but Chiens are just about the perfect combination of yer aul da’s grindcore records, and that kid you see on the streets with the white trainers and leprosy-crusted battle jacket. Like Unsu, Chiens have taken a substantial break between LPs, putting out splits with countrymen Whoresnation (phenomenal), The Afternoon Gentlemen (sublime), and more. These shared releases all toe the jagged line between grind and powerviolence, but this month’s Trendy Junky sees the band up the ante even more.
Where Unsu use the HM-2 sound to deliver gut-churning grind, Chiens employ a more typically grind attack. The snare is strung tighter than a Tory’s purse strings and is given a resounding, uncompromising beating from the drummer. The guitars are fairly “bright” sounding compared to the fuzzy, scuzzy tones other violence-peddlers like Gets Worse or The Atrocity Exhibit use, giving the stabbed chords of “Dégage!” more impact than the Eurostar train colliding with a truck full of travelling white nationalists. To this day, I still don’t understand the man’s hold on European pop culture, but “David Hasseloffman” seems like the kindest tribute to the man; shrill tremolo picking and cartwheeling shifts in tempo make Matt a happy boy. Intercut with soundbites from French news programming (I think, I don’t speak European), Chiens use and abuse the powerviolence template, shifting it to fit their style of soulful, candescent grind. Incroyable. Another fine release from a band who’ve worked with just about every other act in Europe. The ones that matter, anyway.
Neon Hiss Channel Tom Green – Create Tom Greendcore
We’re heading over to North America to wrap up this Grind My Gears, up to Ontario, Canada. The region is home to the funniest man to have ever produced a special edition of his own television show where he had cancer removed from his body – Tom Green. Spearheaded by a member of Canadian extreme bands Please Drown and Holy Grinder, Neon Hiss is a cybergrind side project that delivers almost unlistenable music, wrapped up in a cute pink and yellow colour scheme. It’s the grindcore equivalent to Tom Green’s absurd, so-in-your-face-he’s-wearing-your-skin comedy and I fucking love it. Set your whammy pedals to distress mode and bite down on something hard, lest you chew through your own tongue.
The Tom Green comparison might have just stemmed from my recent viewing of 2001’s seminal Freddy Got Fingered, but it makes sense because neither Tom Green’s comedy nor Neon Hiss really makes sense. Does that even make sense? Intentionally abrasive, the Myspace grind revival has hit full speed – Sawtooth Grin get a shoutout on “cuddlemonster” – and if you didn’t understand the screeching, catastrophically obtuse genre back then, you’re not gonna anytime soon. That’s okay though. This is a product with a very, very specific audience. Neon Hiss join the likes of Fucked and Throat Breach in my blossoming “drum machine blast oblivion” playlist. Swedish.