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!