to the point

Time to Grind 2013

20. Siamese Royalty - II

Even if the atmospheric tapestry and engaging instrumentation was ripped from this release it would still be worthy of mention simply on the basis of how compelling the percussive routine is. Perhaps a reflection on my own ignorance, but personally when it comes to drum machines in grind purely in innovative terms the intuitive use of them begun with Enemy Soil and peaked at Agoraphobic Nosebleed and has flat lined since. Siamese Royalty does the impossible on two fronts, firstly it actually makes mid paced drum machines not sound like impotent tripe better achieved by clanging pots and pans together, and secondly by constructing extensive meanders of percussion lasting minutes at a time. 

19. The Day Man Lost / Prolefeed

I am frequently asked the question “whats some good UK grind bands?” or “what UK bands do you think we would of missed over here?” and for the past few months my answer has always included the The Day Man Lost / Prolefeed 7”, for any contemporary understanding of the UK grind renaissance this split is a must.  Rejoice for The Day Man Lost are back now more punishing than ever before, their musical barrage is like most violent moments of Nasum housed in a cage fight, constantly attacking your weak spots without relent or mercy. Prolefeed are no less punishing deriving their seismic heft from only the meanest and loudest of punk sources, clambering them together in a monstrosity of grind. There is staunch subject matter from both too, their ideological stance as sharp as their riffs. Grind all bastards down.

18. False Light - ST 7"

If we want to get all technical about this there was a bandcamp release back in 2012, but the wax version didn’t creep up on us until 2013. False Light are a soot smothered powerviolence cabal engaging in unholy ritualistic practices, their so called songs a variety of reverse-exorcisms likely to summon all manner of devilry and bastardry. Their sonic presence is tortured and unrepentant,  and above all else an exclusively twisted take on its fathering genre that lends an awakening of sound.

17. Incident at Ape Canyon

Right up there with the This Comp Kills Fascists series, Incident at Ape Canyon easily ranks as one of the best grind/pv/fast comps out there. There are 77 reasons to like this comp: from Captain 3 Leg in Slap-a-ham livery, unreleased material from Oz speed freaks Rupture, skull cleaving brutality from Iron Butter, nostalgic bile coughed up from Violent Headache and so much more. 

16. Chulo / Filthpact 7"

With each subsequent split I expect Chulo to finally temper that particularly savage powerviolence roar the band viscously maul you with, yet like a rabid dog yielding seems a non-option, the only way forward is an escalation of hostilities, and being the guerrilla punks they are this makes for one cataclysmic stereo blood bath. Filthpact who happen to have one of the best names ever and may in equal measure refer to a consortium of crusties or dirty politics, but the real dirt here is found between those callous exhalations of punk, veneered in ever dirtier shades as the band let loose a socio-political maelstrom laced in barbed tongues and poisonous riffs.

15. Cut To Fit - Doors to Deception

Straight Jackets at the ready, Finlands outpatient recreational activity Cut to Fit marry lunacy with blast beats and propose one of grinds more ardent spokes. Buzzsaw guitars that buzz with all the fury and frenzy of a beehive serve as the guiding spirit along  an irrational arrangement of vexingly distorted/hallucinatory rhythmic passages, our passage ever accompanied by the mad man bawls  and sedated  percussive sombre, the entire set up always teetering the edge from intense artistic expressionism turned full on mental breakdown. 

14. To The Point / ACXDC 7"

If punk is dead, how can powerviolence be forever? These titans of the LA PV scene finally share wax and what a beautiful thing it is. ACxDC ever put under the scrutiny of punk politics surrounding their numerous controversies highlight firstly and foremost that they are musicians above anything else by offering a killer 5 minutes not to be taken lightly. Whilst powerviolence has always been able to exploit a variety of tempos often erratically blended, the earth moving sludge to adrenaline drenching powerviolence to dirgeing omega is anything but erratic and wholly catatonic. On the subject of catatonia To The Point who quite possibly are the most impetous band in powerviolence offer an explosion in pure energy and punk spirit with their structure-free thrash Frankenstein, its mean, it’s fast and its heavier than piano hanging over your head, get behind it asap.

13. Faction Disaster / Dead Church

Cheers to the excellent Vinod Karki for putting me on to this split and dozens of other treasures I would of otherwise of missed. Faction Disaster offer some really volatile mincecore in cavernous throes complete with animalistic screams and sqwauks resonating primal responses, its sordid and uncivil in every respect and breaks free of traditional mincecore tropes in favour of more gutter and sleaze. Dead Church are climbing extremely fast up my league table, between this release and a killer 5” with Suffering Mind, Dead Church are brewing one serious blast beat laden shit storm, I really can’t wait for this band to put something more on the table. So what makes this band so promising? Aside from a domineering guitar routine pockmarked by a zealous drum hammering, the unorthodox vocal routine that actually allows the listener to fully hear the words in a clear yet hefty tones just seals the deal. 

12. Detroit - Reality Denied

Pure powerviolence entropy, if chaos theory had a sound incarnate this likely would be it or as close to it as we have got. Detroit are just a monster of punk, nothing in the way of restraint or composure and best of all no awareness to their self-destructive musical barrage. Reality Denied is like taking all of punks most offhand and combustible moments, proceeding to feeding them excessive doses of PCP before chucking them in an erratic blender and recording the outcome on a rusted tape recorder.  

11. Actuary - The Reality is the Dream is Dead

The dream may be dead but the nightmares still haunt me, seemingly more corporeal and grotesque with each subsequent listen.  ACTUARY are cosmic spiders spinning intricate ethereal webs to ensnare all who dare listen to their mysterious blend of noise, previously they limited their exposure to short cycles of astral bleeding with other hosts, but now with the bands first full length The Reality is the Dream is Dead paints the first true picture of the lurking monstrosity behind the madness, previous endeavours only ever teasing shards. What is more captivating however is not that we (wrongly) believe to have seen the full  length and breadth of ACTUARY in all their terrifying glory, but instead that The Reality is the Dream is Dead has awoken something much much deeper and darker, and this full length is only a prologue to those dark days ahead. 

10. Cloud Rat – Moksha

What can I say that has not been said a dozen times already? Cloud Rat are heart wrenchingly brilliant with all the emotional depth and commitment of a classic novel. I don’t pretend to be one with vocalist Madisons pains, but as a listener I can see the torment it puts her under and begin to empathise.  Music is about conveying emotion, and Cloud Rat do it best, there is ecstasy in the instrumentation that soundtracks the turbulence of the soul to perfection.

9. Gowl – Buzzbox

It was an incredibly tight toss-up between this badboy or the equally awesome Raging Like A Heart // Attack tape, but since Gowl went through the effort of sharpening their oh so hefty electron landslide on this one by way of production tinkering, plus the expense of putting this one on wax I felt compelled to feature this one, although for the record Raging Like A Heart // Attack tape is equally end of year list worthy. If you ever liked the prospect of having your skull caved in purely from sound then this 7” is the one for you. Gowl pales just about every other heavyweights in tone, the momentousness of it all is biblically gargantuan, making Goliath look nothing short of a particularly blubbery child. Yet whilst large beasts are often known for their lack of composure and nimbleness, the same cannot be said for Gowl who roll from one pasture of cacophonies to the next with all the dexterity of trimmer bands.  

8. Bloody Phoenix – Ode to Death

 Having already sculpted in rugged detail the first two heads of Cerberus with hellish disgorge, Ode to Death is the third album and head from the flaming banner of crust grind that is Bloody Phoenix. This tribute to Thanatos is their crustiest and most punishing hell fire to date, every bit as gruelling as one would expect of a band that tortures you with the hot bed of nails sharpened and rusted against the damp whetstone of excruciating terror and extreme noise terror. Stylistically Ode to Death is closer to proximity with its predecessor Death to Everyone rather than War, Hate and Misery yet it descends its depravity and ups its inhumanity for one of the most sickening performances of this year. 

7. Pizza Hifive – Oh No It’s Pizza Hifive

To tell you the truth it took me the longest time to decide whether Pizza Hi Five were a sloppy Grindcore band only capable of making non-sensical rackets or whether they were a great band buried under the rawness of their works, as I would later discover they were indeed both. The band immortalise their ethos in the title of their song “Drinking Beers and Ruining ears”,  the music is boisterous, rampant and bears no thrills in the way of artistry or production.   Most of all its fun as hell, whether taking the piss out of Archagathus Dan or parodying the various punk tropes or even just listening to the lunacy of noisey mince being spewed by reckless instrumentation and animalistic vocals. Don’t make music, make pizza and noise instead!

6. Gets Worse – Negative

They say bigger is better and in the case of Britains bass behemoths Gets Worse bassier is certainly better too.  Probably the only band whose records physically will make your speakers commit blunt force trauma against you, Gets Worse are decibel-mongerers of the highest magnitude and to date without a chink in their armour. Whilst the sonic beatdown is the bands best asset and just about trumps every other band in the genre, the experience becomes even more intense when lyrics are read in parallel to their musical counterpart, never ever have I wanted to punch the lyrical subject matter so much in its stupid fucking face. Probably not intended as fighting music, but when surrounded by cunts of all orders Gets Worse is the best anger therapy. 

5. Sixbrewbantha / Suffering Mind

Despite what some may claim sharing wax is not a contest of who’s the better band, it’s a symbol of solidarity and support, a mutual admiration for each other’s bands and the messages and motifs contained therein (it also is much cheaper, but lets stick to the noble ideals), and when it comes to punk parables in grind, I can think of no better two than Sixbrewbantha and Suffering Mind. Both bands pen some of the most succinct cacophonies in grind, yet driving those walls of blast beats and flurries of riffs forward is the cogs of socio-political disgust. The role of an artist is not to appease, but to impart with his thoughts, troubles and protestations through his art, and this split is a perfect embodiment of such a mentality. Boasting some of the best penmanship on both the lyric sheet and music sheet this split is the ideal representation of not only what grindcore is musically, but its ultimate end goals in social, economic and political change. 

4. Sacridose - Anxiety Tremors

Its almost dreamy listening to Sacridose because every time the needle scrapes the wax or I hit the bandcamp play button I am instantly transported to my personal sonic heaven, needless to say I have been there a lot these past few months. Sacridose are faultless and highly distinguished, and whilst I don’t want to paint with a broad brush and say that nearly every other band out there lacks the colourful hues of tone and organic transmutation from emotion to sound that Sacridose possess its completely true. Sacridose are compelling and no number of plays dissipates the magic from them. 

3. MANGLE / BITE DOWN

"Music is a metaphor of life" - and narrating the brutal reality for the countless multitude of poor fucks out there dying, starving, pained, tortured and living in perpetual fear and misery is MANGLE.  Man’s lack of passion for his fellow man is retributively lashed upon by way of suffocating tones, tortured throes and hellish vocals, MANGLE every bit as exacting as the torment we inflict on one another. This is punk in its most austere and ruthless form , a mirror to man’s empire of ruination and ignorance. Bite Down may be mammothed by MANGLE’s shadow, but that in no way diminishes their punk goodness, an encouraging and energising buoyancy hallmarks there work, whilst a guitar lead nosedives into 80’s punk territory with no regard for subtlety or underhand play, what you hear is what you get, pure punk wholesomeness. 

2. Filthpact / Sufferinfuck (2)

Enter the ode to your shit fucking existence walled in by consumerist, spiritual and political ruination – Sufferinfuck do not seek to preach the err of man,  but instead to piss on his hollow existence with all the punk bile afforded by grinds early strides. Nestled between a torrid mix of nihilism, misanthropy and an early Napalmd Death record, giving this band 10” of wax to work on is like giving Nietzsche a fucking gun and cyanide capsule. Whilst Filthpact lack that specific strand of poison they are no less charged in more typical punk rags, their grimey crust salutations come straight out of the cold depths of Britain’s social sewers. The armament of not 2 but 3 guitarists have given Filthpact a rhythmic aptitude for slathering thick coats of punk scum and grime that at times makes Doom look like a cleanly shaven thatcherite yuppie in comparison. 

1. Chiens – Vultures are our Future

It’s a dog life, but rarely has such a tantalising tapestry of wanton blast beats, springboard riffs and bashful vocals brought such flutter to my now adrenaline soaked heart. There are only two certainties pertaining to Vultures are our Future, firstly that it’s a no contest that this 10” is the best 12 minutes of 2013, and secondly that Chiens are on the fast track lane to arthritis. No persons should be able to blast as fast nor riff so vigorously, and those vocals are throat shredding to the max. To put it lightly Vultures are our Future is a hail storm of particularly malevolent blast beats, incisor riffs and intense mania that really raises the bar on fast music. At times Chiens remind me of XbrainiaX at their most intense, but even that comparison does little justice to how full bodied and superfluous Chiens rampage of sonic violence is. These Greyhounds of Grind earned their top spot in my league table not only by outrunning all opponents, but by offering a performance so compelling and destructive to the listener that my concussion still lingers many months later. Get behind this or be left biting the dust! 

Apathy is a Bitch (Review: To The Point, Success in Failure 2012)

Lack of Interest 2.0 aka To The Point surge along that Chris Dodge Midas touch (Spazz, Despise You and Low Threat Profile to name but a few) and bankrupt the value of powerviolence gold by offering what has to be the most laconic yet steadfast powerviolence vintage to date. Success In Failure the second installment to the bands  rip-roaring plunder of one sided 7"s is a good arms reach better than the first, not for better songwriting to which they are en par, but the frictionless dynamic between tracks and passages escalates quickly into one of the most big souled and inviting musical muck-a-rounds out there. In a one part booze to another part youthful ambition with no comprehension of self-restraint, they go head-charging in to some of the most gratifying and frisky bpm abuse out there.

Hitting the ground running with what now is the greatest powerviolence sing along and tribute to ye olde faithful, Alcohol, opening track No Friend of Bill W, sets a cast iron bond between listener and music, yanking you into their fast paced world of adrenaline and back alley venues. This scamper is then followed by a duo of scene lecturing, In It For Life bashes all those scuttling rats to whom hardcore was just a phase they exploited for image and following track Free Ride vents against all those leeches who harass bands for free stuff on some perverse moral illusion that the bands owe you shit. Both rip forth in a great detonation of energy grooving in a strapping character as they glide those mushroom clouds of decibels, ending on a funky twirl before jumping back in with the regime of mosh to the sounds of Socially Inept Network. Following track Infected doesn't stray from the game plan, but offers a solid stomp around no less, but its chaser Decisions I Immediately Regret maddens itself into a state of bitter hostilities and sees those caveman howls reach climactic zeniths in their true environment. J Randellesque end note Faces of Meth see the band ending on a high note and you turning the needle back for another listen, a process which repeats itself at least a dozen times. 

The Achilles heel to this release is flagrantly its lack of length, something the band need not address alone, there is no shortage of bands and virgin material out there that could of filled the other half, sure only a handful of bands could offer something on a similar level quality wise, and perhaps fewer still offer something that plays around in the same general scope of activity, but as they say the more the merrier. However quality always trumps quantity, and the quality on offer here is legendary, completely worthy of its Slap a Ham patrimony. 

Deep Six Records

To The Point

Time to Grind 2012

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. 

The Prince And The Pauper (Review: Human Waste/Chetwrecker, Cacophonous Grind Storm, 2012)

Split releases can sometimes be a bit of a mixed bag; at their best, they’re a satisfying and horizon-broadening combo of two separate bands that coalesce into a single unified listening experience, but sometimes an unbalanced pairing can leave one of the acts totally outshined by the other. This recent cassette split on DIY label Thrash Mouth Records promises a ‘Cacophonous Grind Storm’, and, to its credit, half of it delivers this and then some.

Despite their generic name (a quick Google search reveals some German goregrinders, an Italian grind band, a bunch of Swedish crusties and a Spanish tech-death outfit with the same moniker), San Franciso’s grottiest sons Human Waste are a true force to be reckoned with, delivering a rancid barrage of filth that spews out of your speakers like a gutful of vomit hitting the pavement after several days of heavy alcohol abuse. After a sample of what appears to be a particularly irate war veteran embarking on a desperate rampage, ‘Left To Rot’ begins with an anarchic and sloppy introduction, before eventually warming up into a no-nonsense Insect Warfare style clusterfuck. This doesn’t let up at all as ‘Return To Nothing’ crashes into your cranium at warp speed directly after with barely a pause for breath. The proceedings grind to a halt as ‘Swarm’ lumbers into view like a severely intoxicated tramp that’s just cornered you in a dark alley, but this doesn’t last long as within seconds we’re launched straight back into an absolutely devastating succession of blasts and shrieks culminating in a crusty groove that would have Extreme Noise Terror foaming at the mouth, before coming to an abrupt stop. Human Waste take no prisoners here, barging in, ransacking your eardrums and then fleeing off into the night just as quickly as they came, like a bunch of dirty, no-good grind marauders with careless disregard for anyone’s personal safety. In other words, this is the kind of good, old-fashioned pissed off grindcore that’s sure to get your pulse racing and your first pounding. Bravo!

Unfortunately Chetwrecker are left standing in the dust by this display of grinding Armageddon. Their crude, super lo-fi take on powerviolence is not totally devoid of charm, but ultimately feels a little half-arsed. Call me spoilt, but their faster sections never seem to reach the same face melting fury as many of their contemporaries, and their slower segments are almost completely lacking in drive and power. These guys utilise that angry Neanderthal vocal approach that normally fills me with joy but even these sound slightly lazy here. Tracks like ‘False Thesis’ provide a reasonable amount of blastin’ entertainment, and some of the song structures are suitably schizophrenic, but it doesn’t help that the band are bringing virtually nothing new to the table, and there are dozens of similar sounding bands out there that are doing this kind of thing with way more intensity than these guys. Whilst Human Waste wasted no time in grinding you into submission, Chetwrecker’s material seems pretty flabby by comparison; if they’d trimmed away some of the fat, their side of the split may have seemed more appealing. It’s hardly the worst powerviolence release I’ve ever heard, but I can’t really give this a thorough recommendation given the vast number of other like-minded acts out there that are way more worthy of your time (the recent To The Point 7” being a prime example).

All things considered, this isn’t a bad split at all, and is probably worth it just for Human Waste’s side alone. Both bands have made their respective contributions available for free via their Bandcamp pages, and you can also pick up the tape for a measly 3 dollars through Thrash Mouth Records (but not if you live in the UK, frustratingly enough!) I know I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Human Waste, and only time will tell whether Chetwrecker will blossom into a band of the same calibre or not.

Thrash Mouth Records