This one’s a little bit rushed, as I forgot I had a Grind My Gears to write today, so bear with me while I rush through three new releases for you. All humanely sourced through Bandcamp’s grindcore tag, the three acts blasting, beating, and bullying their way from my fingertips to your ears cast a pretty wide net of grind localities and styles – a touch of Swedeathgrind, a liberal dashing of Aussiebasscore, and a short, sweet shot of Carolinacrust. As always, don’t just take my word for it. Hop on over the jump and turn up your speakers. Let the neighbours know you’re way cooler than them.
Sleep Torture Bring The Bleak, Forget The Rest
One state up and a few towns over from Greenville’s WVRM, Greensboro’s Sleep Torture have just released their first cut, the rather wordy Take Me To The Bottom/Leave Me There. Like their state neighbours, Sleep Torture are a grind band at face level but operate just as proficiently as a doom/hardcore act – “dark hardcore”, if you will. Worry not though, as it wouldn’t be a Grind My Gears without at least one band who tiptoe on the jagged genre lines between “true” and “false”. Worlds away from a typical grind attack, Sleep Torture’s sound is rooted in the swamp. Cue spooky theme music.
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If you’re going to title your first release like a chapter from a Lars Von Trier flick, you have to back it up. Sleep Torture back it up. A dense, detuned intro track screams into “Regime”, equal parts grind and feedback-soaked malice with more than a hint of Faustian decadence about it. “Credo” falls in line like this also, d-beating enough to make you remember you’re listening to something resembling grind/crust, but without the brutish vocals or atypical riffs that would probably make me turn it off by this point. Where everything gets hellish and really interesting are the two closing tracks. “No Monument” and “Begotten” take their time laying the foundations of gripping, extreme tracks with instrumental passages that swell into rabid utterings of pain, punishment, and who knows what other kinds of sin. The grind attack that precedes is fierce and gloomy, yes, but Sleep Torture’s attack is bleak and ultimately barren of hope on the last two tracks on Take Me To The Bottom/Leave Me There. Well worth its weight in lofty titles and minimalist artwork, this one.
What If Melvins Played Grindcore?
WRØNG play grindcore in Australia, meaning everything is upside down to begin with. That might explain why their bass’n’drums only approach to the genre seems to make perfect sense, even though 90% of the music is played at a Primitive Man canter rather than an Insect Warfare trot. Somehow more than five years into existence, these Aussie fuzz-peddlers (see what I did there?) have crossed my peripherals a few times, but I’ve finally come to my senses and given them the ten minutes I needed to really “get it”. Answering the question above – WRØNG. WRØNG is the answer.
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A Tithe In Blood shows off the talents of this Melbourne mega-noise duo something fierce. Often overblown with overdrive and distortion, the bass tracks might as well be the seventh of the trumpets, given the sucking chest wound feeling those open strings ring out with. When the cacophony gives way to bona-fide stoner fuzz riffs, WRØNG land right in the pocket, swinging beer kegs from their big bass dick and enjoying every minute of it. “Thalassophobia” is the perfect one-two punch of violent grind and dirty riff slinging, tackling the fear of open water via sonic slaughter. Title track “A Tithe In Blood” runs a bit longer, giving the unearthly low notes more room to fester in the air and creep into your nostrils; ultimately erupting into a ride-bell blast that could strip the enamel from your teeth. Need a tagline for this blurb? This is a subterranean grind assault with bass tone you can taste. Bonza.
Zombeaver (2015) – A Horror Masterpiece?
My predilection for grind in all of its forms is mirrored only by my lust for horror. It’s one of those typical meathead metal things that I don’t shout about too often, because how many Voorhees/Myers/Krueger tattoos on guys with Suffocation vests have you seen? I’ll answer on your behalf. Too many. All that aside, when I pressed play on the opening track of Belarus Beaver‘s album DAMnation, I got excited. This Swedish, beaver-themed deathgrind band had sampled some choice moments from the unsung horror classic of 2014 – Zombeavers. Tongue in cheek grind with beaver-themed takes on classic metal tracks from over the years? Nice.
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Musically, this is some pretty basic, mostly ignorant cyber/deathgrind, but some of the tracks pop harder than they deserve to. The Nile parody “Papyrus Containing The Spell To Preserve Its Possessor Against Attacks From Beavers Who Are In The Water” is a bag of riffs and “N.I.Beaver” sort of channels Black Sabbath, but not really. “Beaver Smashed Face” takes a turn towards the dissonant side of extreme metal and is actually a great little grind ditty, even though it’s the most obvious “homage”. I don’t know what else to say about a band called Belarus Beaver who play beaver-themed grindcore, other than the production is fucking stellar. I don’t know if it’s really worth 59 SEK or not, but if this was name your own price I’d have put it as the opening blurb in this article. Up to you, chuck.