Tombs in the valley productions

Raw Grind Chaos (Review: Unholy Grave/ Hatred Division 2012)

I think Henry Rollins summarized what being punk is quite nicely when he advocated it as hippies with a fierce attitude; a culture of protest, ethics and social consciousness:  a dualism of music and message which in the weird and wonderful world of 2012 is only held up by a few depraved under belly of punk derivatives, none more so than the grind is protest-ers  of mincecore. Sharing seven inches of wax and brooding dissent by way of spartan means of lo-fi feral vulgarity is old school blast masters Unholy Grave and grindcore underdogs of the third world Hatred Division, but before I put this 7" wonder under the cutting board I have a protest of my own to champion. And that protest being that they should  of kept the alternate artwork as per the test prints (have a looksie and the other side), sure it looks like something torn straight out of Conan the Barbarian novel and lacking in punk aesthetic, but killing orcs and in true homo-erotic power metal fashion never gets tiresome and would do much to bring a bit of color and character to the visually predictable depictions of woe and wrong; surprise in this instance being a good thing especially when trying to distinguish this unholy grave release against several hundred others.

Jumping back to the core issue: the actual content, this release is as ripe as they get, hooking you tightly right from the get go and systematically churning out one squalid track of socially embittered fury after another, little wonder it so quickly needed a repress to which they  addressed the visual photocopier bore with a nice cheery shade of blood red on both print and wax. 

 First up is Unholy Grave, who ever true to form blurt out their logic defying twirls of old-school grindcore entertainment in complete excess: their standard madman howls, riveting angular riffs and tremoring blasts, all lifted straight from a rehearsal recording giving in that coarse edge the band thrive off, although this time it is noticeably more raw than other Unholy Grave material, but not in the burly dense way but rather feels consistently flimsy. Even so the tracks are joyfully grindful and extract from the listener a sort of light hearted energy which idealistically peaks exactly at the end of their side.  The band tightly in their comfort zone of short excursions of zero post production tape recorder type old school obliteration. 

Now what follows is crafty in a coincidental sort of way that really gives the unique charm of the release, in that whilst still fresh in our mind all the things we wanted from the Unholy Grave side from nudges in production values and a deeper sound are now presented in Unholy Grave gold standard, except its not Unholy Grave, but Malaysias purveyor of all things bitter Hatred Division. Its one of those surreal wish comes true - lets double check that - holy shit I can bend the universe to my will moments, to which my review has probably ruined the surprise for you if you haven't checked the release out already. Even by the time this unintended novelty value wears thin, the stranglehold Hatred Division on you doesn't, from the strength of this release alone the band are steam rolling themselves to be the next Sakatat. 

Perhaps redundant, but I can only describe them as being the best choice cuts of Unholy Grave type band, the only real differences I can take from this 5 minute wonder ride of old school purity is that their temperament is slightly less on the crazy end and slightly more so on the aggressive end, a bantam shift, which really does nothing to detach themselves from the tit of Unholy Graves grinding milk. So expect a parade of blasts, ungodly growls and grumbles all conjoined by some intense and hooking string work in the most flattering of  ways, that can sit alongside Archagathus Mincecore Demo, Sakatats half of Cut your throat split and Unholy Graves half of their Rotten Sound split in Alex's wall of perfect Mincecore releases. 

Rioutous Outburst / Grindfather Productions / Tombs In the Valley / FastDie / Extreme Terror  Production / Douchebag Records

Suffer the Kegs(Review: Suffering Mind/The Afternoon Gentlemen, 2012)

Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.
— P. J. O'Rourke

Suffering Mind / The Afternoon Gentlemen

Now this split is an ideal cross-section of just why Grind is in such an exciting state of affairs right now, fuck your nostalgia because grind is reaching new heights right here and right now, this split being a strong point in case.

First up is Poland's old school grind fanatics Suffering Mind, whose zero bullshit approach to grindcore purity is everything we want from grindcore and so much more. Caustic riffs that turmoil in cavernous depths, resonating that down-tuned richness  with an unflinching cimmerian shade of character are the defining feature of Suffering Mind, drawn from the bleak density of Assucks Misery Index and applied indiscriminately to their vast array of canonical grind and crust formulations.  Drums are dutiful and consistently violent dicing up the austere riff work and giving a nice bite and punishing factor to the half. However the piercing differentiation between the low end howls and high register screeches are a rapacious momentum that one never forgets about Suffering Mind, a traumatic exploit that leaves their song work rattling amongst your cognitive processes long after the record has stopped playing. Indicative of the quality of their half, their cover of World of Confusion as originally by Assuck trumps the original in every which way.

Flipping the split 180 degrees is big time boozing 5 piece The Afternoon Gentlemen, who likely only formed a band to justify their rampant alcoholism and to procure that lovely cheap foreign booze and duty free under the ruse of a European tour, little wonder the band have played well over 150 gigs in their time; every time they fancy a piss up they schedule it to coincide with a gig. Their idiosyncratic take on grind draws inspiration from a vast array of both musical and drinkable inspirations and sources, with gut rotting fuel such as White Ace having as much of a crediting role as any band to have had a major influence on them. Their alcohol inhibited sense of delusion and skewered creative process surprisingly comes off well, being a catalyst not only to their out the box inventiveness, but in a bizarre state of affairs has doubled to form a strong set of quality control, each song being as enjoyable as the last, the listener placed at a front row seat to some grindcore circus. Its an abstract entanglement of grind, fastcore and powerviolence which still offers the core fundamentals of punishing audio only in an absurdist kind of way. Where most grind bands are kicking it GTA stylegunning for maximum carnage, The Gents are doing the same only Saints Row III style