Despite releasing their debut full-length World Extermination in 2007 before calling it quits, Insect Warfare helped to usher in an era of post-Napalm Death grind in the 2010’s and beyond, informing the sonic and technical evolution of the genre that followed in their wake. It’s a type of riff-heavy grind that is touched by death metal and lends itself well to changes in tempo and time, typically condensed to minute-long bursts of fury.
Singapore’s Wormrot sprung up in their wake and has cited them as a major influence in the early works. Full of Hell is another act that followed, albeit imbued with touches of noise and sludge. Both bands have branched out and further defined their own sound and legacy in the grander scheme of grind, complete with the latest bells and whistles, but there are still yet up-and-coming acts bubbling up from the underground to take the flag planted by Insect Warfare and carrying it forward.
One such act is Melbourne three-piece Internal Rot, whose sophomore album Grieving Birth comes nearly six years after their 2014 debut Mental Hygiene. Like many grind acts, Internal Rot have kept busy in this gap, with tours and splits padding out the resume. Still, one would be forgiven for having missed out since then, given the continued obscurity of many grind circles. Allow Grieving Birth to be your gateway.
The dudes in Internal Rot have certainly heard World Extermination and, like most of us, thought it kicked ass. This isn’t to say that Internal Rot have taken the base grind sound of World Extermination and done nothing else but that, but those looking for meat-and-potatoes deathgrind in that specific style with up-to-date production, it’s hard to find a better alternative that Grieving Birth, especially when looking for a brand new fix.
In fact, the promotional materials surrounding the release sell the record as take-it-or-leave it grind. Straight from the label, Iron Lung:
There are no tricks, no gimmicks, no pitch shift, no triggers, no psychic surgery, just grind. Do you grind? Because this fucking grinds. Did mention that it grinds. It does. It grinds. A pure record.
Indeed, Grieving Birth appears to be your archetypal modern grind record. Twenty songs in 22 minutes, with choke stab riffs, gravelly roars, frantic drumming, and crunchy bass rounding out the mayhem. We’re talking scratchy riffs that shriek with feedback during rests and no shortage of blastbeats. That much is clear from the opening “Transmission”, which offers an immediate thesis statement on the record to come, as is the wrecking ball of a follow-up, “Unnegotiable Impact.”
Highlights include: “Grim Magnetic” and it’s neat divebomb moment; “Pandemath” and its call-and-response sing-songy riff alternating with a flurry of blasts; “Eaten By Crabs,” which can’t decide if it wants to be a lumbering slab of dirgey deathgrind or a showy barnburner, in the best way possible; “Failed Organum” tosses and turns with riffs flipping the grooves upside down and back again; “Aporia” leans into punk riffing, and it genuinely rocks.
Grieving Birth is an immensely satisfying 20-minutes of unadulterated grind. It’s a gritty record, but incredibly listenable, with tangible moments that emerge through the violence that pine for repeated spin. Not every record needs to re-invent the wheel, and it’s simply fun to get lost in a well-executed grind album. In that regard, Internal Rot have offered a critical addition to the year in grind.
Grieving Birth is available now via Iron Lung Records.