20. To The Point - Success in Failure
I may have only been graced with this release within the last week, but there was no contest that To The Point were going to feature on my best of list, their debut and first in a series of one sided 7” having caught me by the balls back in July and held my attention tightly since, however the more full-bodied nature and excitability of this second instalment leaves little doubt this is the stronger of the two. Its an oddity when you begin to like the cover band more than the original band, but TTP are currently trumping LOI in the song writing department, a cause for confusion 200 years from now when alien archaeologists are trying to determine who copied who after humanity is wiped out by the Alcoholapocalypse.
19. Violent Restitution - ST LP
Taking Insect Warfare’s World Extermination as a base of operation, Canada’s four piece of grind turbulence deliver a blitzkrieg of blast beats and tremoring riffs worthy of the formers seal of approval. Faithful to their Insect Warfare heritage as they are, the band implement their own series of twists and contributions from slightly shriekier vocal tone as befitting female vocals, dislodging snare pounds and a marginally lower bpm count; but by and large the band are fiercely loyal going so far as to imitate entire passages. Do not sleep on this release nor this band.
18. Black Hole of Calcutta - ST #2
There is something oddly haunting about that iconic corpse painted Mother Teresa that forms the artwork of this release, a mis en scene that invokes themes of sacrilege, despair and mysticism before the band even so much as strike a note, but from the moment they do all these themes amongst a burning tide of other dark forces spirit dance together brightly in a unholy temperament of black metal and hardcore. Uniting the best qualities by way of dark sacrifice Black Hole of Calcutta offer an experience that can only be described as ritualistic, blurring the distinction between genres with an abyssal sanguine stain. Aside from being musically soul ensnaring, the band also boast some of the best use of artistic imagery that make their corrupting presence the ever more powerful.
17. Human Junk / Gods America
My name is Alex and I am a Hellnationaholic. I have been taking Hellnation for a few years, but the lack of new fixes available on the street has forced me to try out different fastcore equivalents of varying qualities and styles. Although some of them have been great experiences, none of them offered that same strain of senseless punk-rockability as offered by Hellnation all those years back. That is until now, there is this new fastcore fiend on the market, on the streets we call it Human Junk, but the formula is exactly the same as Hellnation; blazing riffs, demented screams and pneumatic blasts. Ive recently been taking it as a cocktail of drugs, namely their split with ketamine addled grind-bastards Gods America. . I want to get clean, but the music is too good.
16. The Afternoon Gentlemen / Chiens 7"
Best friends forever in booze and blastbeats, the pairing of dipsomaniac “Woodhouse Grindviolence” legends the Afternoon gents and their lessor known wine swilling cross channel counterparts Chiens purports the notion that alcohol intake is directly analogous to musical brilliancy in the most positively heuristic of fashions. The afternoon gents belt out their usual gutter-grind in true delinquent genre bending fashion whereas their partners in crime Chiens can only be described as being a Tornado with a heap of stainless steel nails twirling inside it; its some of the most overtly aggressive fastcore, however even amongst the storm of fury they bellow forth, they still manage to write insanely good hooks into the works.
15. Atomck - Never Work
Multi-dimensional grind complex Atomck beleaguer the listener with is a solid grind cognition well worth partaking in, if the grindcore equivalent of a Rubik’s cube with blast beats is the sort of thing to get your gears going. If a label was ever kind enough to birth this release into the physical dimension, making a poster of the schismatic and intricately detailed artwork is a must. Although not really having any value on the album experience, it was interesting to learn the methodology of song title selection, which proved rather more conventional and mundane than I had hoped for, the mystery of the midget death riddle now resolved.
14. Cut to Fit - Havoc Supreme
Although I may have some reservations about the bands mental health, only a fool would pass up the chance to indulge in their psychotic grindcore spree. Their unabashed vents against current economic models is only matched by their fierce dedication to their grindcore credentials, sporting heavy duty modulation, catchy riffs, ear splitting screeches and a flare of unorthodoxy that is bound to attract in a moth to the flame sort of way. Cut to Fit are a bad acid trip you will find yourself constantly returning to, yet one you always fail to build any immunity towards, making each and every listen as crazed and potent as the first.
13. Amputee / Nimbus Terrifix
Amputees heinous breed of sonic warfare is a tortuous ardour offering a deep set belligerent sound that shows nothing in the way of mercy; a hostility matched by very few and a consistent exertion of all consuming primal energy by far fewer still. Myself still suffering from the shell shock offered by their half of this split, their 2013 full length promises to smash its way into grindcore history. Jumping from scorched earth tactics to psychological warfare Nimbus Terrifix besiege the listener in a complex cipher of bedazzling Powerviolence going in for a more silent and cleaner kill.
12. Robocop / Detroit - Dead Language, Foreign Bodies
Again with the artwork, this sublime piece of artistry is the sort of thing I could spend hours staring at; and am most pleased that the music on offer is of equal calibre on matters of both finesse and attention drowning capabilities. Robocop’s cybernetic Gehenna assimilates new forms and talents from a Jazz corruption of classic track Feminism Uber Alles, and the strobing Power Electronics cage of Zapruder Frame 265. Countering Robocops omnipresent and all-encompassing musical compass is the chemically hostile Powerviolence masters Detroit who let loose the all too human notions of despair, depravity and rage screaming right off the wax a fight or flight inducing confrontation.
11. Mangle / Sufferinfuck
We Brits may be renowned for our cynical nature, but this eremitic embodiment of misanthropy plunges that cultural mar into the greatest nadirs existentialist philosophies can only describe as total fucking nihilism. Both sides are outstanding performances and although stylistically there may be some wide differences they converge thematically, namely just fuck off and die. If Mangles tidal wave of Powerviolence and & Sludge doesn’t drown you in a sea of dejection, Sufferinfucks cluster bomb of grind primalism is bound to make a corpse of you.
10. Livet Som Insats - ST LP
Livet Som Insats vinyl debut consolidates grindcore from a philistine tantrum of musical nonsense into a cohesive and formalised tapestry of musical handsomeness, without ever so much as debasing its core qualities. Putting style over substance, they fabricate one of the most rejuvenating listening experiences in recent years, quickening those exhilarating turns and toils into something ever so more complex and dynamic with sharp precision and vibrant clarity. With every dimension, consideration and instrument having been stimulated to an excitable and reactive state of affairs, the listener can let themselves loose into this sensational occurrence.
9. Dead Instrument - Violent Death
Danish grind behemoths Dead Instrument are masters of the hack and slash grindcore schematic, wielding with great agility and perversion a razor wire guitar tone that cuts through conventionality and offers its own engaging breed of virulent seductions, on top of this already scarping outset a keen series of entangling blasts and a vocal performance assisted by inner demons makes this release one of the most exciting musical exploits on offer. One of the most criminally overlooked releases of this year.
8. Gets Worse - ST 10"
Gets Worse have such a powerful command over musical energy I am yet to see half of such a handle from even the most gifted of musicians, between the tyrannical low end sound and those roaring sludge stomps resistance becomes futile, so much so their album can only be described as thrashing puppetry because not even your hard of hearing songs-of-praise-listening grandmother can resist the urge to flail to the thundering bellows of Gets Worse. If I could offer any advice to the band, it would be to change absolutely nothing from their general paradigm, because they are on a winning formula, one that has already scored gold.
7. SAKAT - BIR DEVRIN SONU
It is better to burn out than to fade away, and what a blazing funeral pyre Sakatat have provided themselves with. Patently laconic, but there is no lack of joy and energy to be derived from their few short soars of old school grindcore purity, sharpened with amazing production value; all hell breaks loose as Sakatat pour every last joule of energy, every lesson learnt and every bit of protest they have into a dense 8 minute rupture last felt in Krakatau 1883.
6. Standing on A Floor of Bodies - Sacrilegious and Culturally Deficient
Not only is listening to this callous cold-hearted nightmare one of the most emotionally tense listening experiences ever fit to bastardise the notion of music (Music noun: (1) the art or science of combining vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) to produce beauty of form (2) An arrangement of sounds placed in a pleasing way) its abominably innovative outset defies genre boundaries and begins to permeate deep into those hidden chthonic corners of your mind, its corruptive cancerous presence spreading out as a dark sanguine fantasy begins to consume you.
5. ACTUARY / Wake the Machines - Dehumanisation of the Species
In Lucid Dreams, I Eat My Gun! – Has to be one of the most morosely mesmerising tracks ever to transcend the dream world into reality; provided by organic-synthetic blur Wake the Machines the track itself but one in a series of surreal of music and noise entanglements provided alongside their equally intriguing and cold-hearted partners ACTUARY. It’s a captivating listening experience, one wrought with immense emotional tension and unease, each party playing to their strengths to the same twisted end.
4. Sixbrewbantha – ST LP
You can’t go wrong with any SBB release, but in the transition from being 7” sprinters with low end production to a meaty full length excursion with solid post-production SBB not only hold their own, but exceed expectation, their coarse vitriol breed of grindcore wroth being amongst grinds top tier releases. The string work is fast becoming amongst my favourite in grind, continually riddled with barbed hooks and immensely meritable riffs edging it ever closer to a nonpareil for grindcore virtue; their exasperated verbal protests and detestations bringing a spine to this hell-bent rampage and making it the all more enthralling.
3. The Kill Make 'Em Suffer
Inciting violence from the get go, The Kill’s 100% Adrenaline 0% Bullshit eschews anything in the way of modesty in favour of drug fuelled Mardi Gras of senseless violence and crime to be committed in the name of Grindcore. Roughhousing a thrash guitar hustle caught in a twitching bad dose of speed, guitarist Robbie puts a performance that undercuts thrash kings and make all that riffing they have been perfecting for the past 3 decades a waste of time, because it’s all in the speed and ferocity, something The Kill deliver in zompocalypse inducing quantities.
2. Sufferinfuck - In Boredom
In Boredom is the soundtrack to your futile, meaningless and wretched existence, you might think you are happy, but you are in a pit of delusion, it’s an idea sold to you by another equally worthless cretin, all you ever are and will be is just another cog churning shit in a system designed to suffocate you in the very same shit you toil over. If you haven’t been violated by Sufferinfuck already then you pretty much have wasted a year, because unlike most music In Boredom isn’t just a listening experience it’s a lifetime one. In Boredom simply put is empowerment: breaking you from the shackles of so called humanity it debases you into a state of animalistic bloodlust. A transition of character on the listener they manage to keep up for the entire duration of its run time, had they had a bit more material seizing the number one spot could have been within their grasp.
1. Thedowngoing – ATHOUSANDYEARSOFDARKNESS
Having crowned them grind champions of 2011 I tried to find every possible excuse not to do so for 2012, but the reality of the matter is that ATHOUSANDYEARSOFDARKNESS laid waste to all in the way of competition this year, which says alot since 2012 has been the most abundantly fruitful years on record, listeners being spoilt for choice at every corner. As a release it has, but one flaw in that any album I listen to afterwards seems crippling impotent by comparison, this even holds true against their 2011 crown winner UNTITLED EP to which a great deal in artistic growth and refinement have occurred between the two. The whole marriage between noise and grind, and the way they make these elements rampantly consume one another in apparent disorder is all but one of the greatest musical illusions, committed under great deception, aligning this thriving pandemonium into a dynamically rich and engaging music experience. To what new depths they will plunge to, abysses they take refuge in or what fresh pacts they will conclude with demons to further their musical agenda I do not know, but all I know is that I am willing to practice child sacrifice on their behalf on the faintest hope they can top this behemoth of musical abrasion. This is not only a record of the year, but one for the history books too.