Like a many, many-headed beast, grind in 2019 has stabbed, slashed, bitten, and gnawed from a million different angles. And it’s still only just turned October. Whether jean-jacketed and classic or dressed up like an Oxford student having an avant-garden picnic, fans of the fastest style of music that doesn’t require handfuls of ecstasy pills to enjoy have been spoiled. The last couple of months have been no different. Our Editor’s Picks this month touched on two of these sublime grind releases, and while both are worthy of all the superlatives bestowed upon them, I’m just touching on one of them. There’s also space for some scummy, creepy music from a Midwest genre staple, and a reappearance of an old favourite of the column. Strap one on and strap in, it’s time to fuck your earholes.
The Grind Chimera Roars
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You’ll never find more grind musicians in one place (other than Obscene Extreme maybe) than on Takafumi Matsubara‘s Strange, Beautiful, And Fast. Ripping through seventeen tracks of eclectic grind shapes and styles in honour of Matsubara’s dear friend Hee Chung of Unholy Graves, a veritable bevvy of extreme music musicians attack the airwaves with string, vocal, and percussion weaponry. Full lists of the musicians involved are available elsewhere, but I’ll leave you to find that yourself. The sum of all parts isn’t the big draw here though. You can dissect each track’s performers all you want, it’s not going to lessen the enjoyability of one of the boldest and most expansive extreme music undertakings of all time. This thing fucks like a mechanized stud in heat.
Hearing Mitchell Luna of Maruta perform over Mastubara’s signature psycho-shred is a particular treat, as is hearing Full of Hell‘s Dylan Walker spew metallic filth over a variety of beats laid down by Bryan Fajardo(P.L.F, GridLink), Vijesh (Wormrot), and Lee Fisher (Psyopus, Fawn Limbs). There’s even a grimy, spoken word/rap track at the end with some dirty, dirty bass and drum work from some grind royalty. Now, I could spend the whole week picking and choosing favourite moments from the record but the one thing that needs said before going any further is that it’s just wild how Matsubara has pulled all of this together. When most struggle to arrange regular band practices – drummer has a night job, bassist has a hypochondriac cat etc – the current Retortion Terror string sizzler has moved on from GridLink’s dissipation and gone through a huge undertaking to pull all of these pieces together.
There might be a thousand individually sick riffs on this record, and with a million snare hits underneath them from Adrummers from just about every corner of the world, but Strange, Beautiful, And Fast lives up to its title like very few can. There was a time when I thought the Roadrunner United album was the biggest and best thing I’d ever heard (came out when I was 15, give me a break) but this is the grown-up, bastard cousin of that project. I don’t know what we did to deserve this, but I’m thankful for it. Don’t mind me, I’m just going to listen to this a few more hundred times and air drum every single one of those million snare hits.
Entirely Fucked, Entirely FUCKED
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Everyone’s favourite one-man grind project released new music this last month, following a steady slew of short, over-fried, ultra-violent powerviolence releases in the last few years. The Bandcamp notification I always look forward to, FUCKED‘s latest entry into the catalogue of tar-thick grooves and vomit-inducing vocals, Teenage Strangler, has longer tracks, giving the filthy depth-charged riffs space to move and splash acid all over the shop. It’s taken nearly ten releases but I feel like the formula has been perfected on this one. The mix of Entombed guitar tones turned up to tectonic-shifting volumes, and the perfectly weighted drum samples has been erratic over the last few EPs, but Teenage Strangler has them dialled in. Previously unlistenable for some, this blend of Nails, Discharge, and Swedeath buzzsaw should be the cherry on top of the shit cake that gets new FUCKED fans, well, fucked.
The City of Brotherly Scuzz
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Nope. Not Philadelphia. Minneapolis. Deterioration‘s Kahmann brothers have been playing caveman riffs over endless blastbeats for nearly twenty years, and on their ninth (ninth!) full-length The Unnatural Mind, they barely pause for a second. The Jóhann Jóhannsson chiller of an intro track quickly secedes into brain-rattling grindcore, the kind that stops every few tracks to throw in an eccentric sample (from some B-movie or Midwestern TV commercial, I can’t be sure) before cutting back into oom-pah, rah-ta-ta grindcore that is as classic as it is caustic. It’s violent and distressing and everything you could ask from a grind trio deadset on playing low, very rarely slow, and always at full volume. Jim’s tailored riffs and panic screams are the peanut butter to Joe’s carnal tub-thumping, and the quote lifted from a particularly amusing interaction between Andy and Gabe from The Office is perfect. Great grind from an insanely prolific band.