Bump n’ Grind: Around The World
It’s been about half a year, so I say it’s high time that the flag of grind fly again in this here Toilet. As it turns out, I’ve unwittingly assembled bands from all over the globe, so all sorts of flags will be flying today. Join me on a romp through the Americas and all corners of Europe in this hella cosmopolitan installment of Bump ‘N Grind!
Right, let’s start off on most of y’all’s home turf with some meat-and-potatoes grind to get you going. California’s In Disgust may not have done anything particularly new or “out there”, but they had the formula down pat. Split-up since two or three years, they had this material for a split that never came about lying around, and decided to toss it on Bandcamp earlier this year (along with all their other stuff) to donate the proceeds to the ACLU. With the shredding guitars, whirlwind drums, feedback noise, and the singer’s two distinct registers of screaming and barking, In Disgust have all the subtlety of a shrapnel bomb going off in your face, and as is to be expected, the songs match an explosion in terms of playtime, as well. If this leaves you wanting more, I refer you to their excellent full-length Reality Choke, and should you ever come across a copy of San Jose Oldies Vol 1, snatch it up, as it has almost all their material. I daresay fans of Insect Warfare, Death Toll 80k and similar working man’s grind will find nothing to complain about here.
Facada / Stheno
Brazil / Greece
More split material, but this time fully realised. With Facada from Brazil, we’re sticking to the classical school of grind. These guys make no fuss, blasting and d-beating their way through four short tracks, sporting a decidedly old-fashioned sound. I would not be surprised if this was recorded live in the rehearsal room; it sounds rough, although still far from crappy. It makes for an enticing atmosphere and harkens back to something, well, primitive.
Not quite so with Stheno. The music might still not be exactly high-brow, but it is executed in a more modern fashion and with absolutely deadly precision. There’s a somewhat cleaner sound, for one thing, if not so much as to make it sound sterile. Add to that the extremely tight drumming, where machine-like blasts prevail, and the razor-sharp guitars that go straight for the jugular. “Conceit Marries Power”, in particular, sees the guitarist flying across the fretboard with a soaring riff that reminds me of the amazing Gridlink, and wouldn’t you know it, on “Inclussion Dissuading” (sic), the man himself, Takafumi Matsubara, pops in for a brief stint. Most awesome. Only once do they dial back the ruthless killing power and instead up the fun for the gnarly GBH cover of “City Baby Attacked By Rats”.
I first learned of deathgrinders Whorecore when they teamed up with the singer of Aborted to record an EP under the moniker They:Swarm back in 2008, and only recently learned that they put out anything after that. Granted, this one is far from recent, but I never seem to hear these guys mentioned anywhere (mental editor’s note: Maybe that’s because they haven’t been active in four years, dingus), so I thought we’d pay them a visit. They cover quite a good amount of ground here. “Alai”, for example, would not be out of place on a modern Black Metal record with its mournful tremolos. Songs like “Born Headless” and “Rebirth of Destruction” highlight the death metal side of things, the former in an old school fashion with its buzzsaw riffing, the latter veering close to Brutal Death territory (as Whorecore are wont to do now and then – thankfully, they almost never go overboard on breakdowns). “Thy Kingdom Come” and “The Rage Within” play around with some hardcore elements. But always, always, grind is the common denominator that it all both springs from and keeps coming back to. It’s a well-executed mix that is probably quite suited for getting swole at the gym, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Let’s have that feedback noise I mentioned earlier, but turned way up, and embedded in some vitriolic blackened grind. Using this recipe to spread an utterly dismal atmosphere, Dark Habits go at it pretty hard. Hard as Nails, in fact, but cranking everything to eleven – at least on the tracks that don’t delve into noise experiments, but that’s still four out of six, so let’s focus on those for now. With a guitar sound and riffs that would indeed not be out of place on something Ballou-produced (i.e. riding the line between grind and hardcore), but coming off grimier and more raw, these songs create an absolutely crushing onslaught, whether they’re going at it full blast or pummelling you at lower speeds. Adding to the intensity are the distorted, shrieking vocals; constantly screaming his head off, the singer seems to be holding on for dear life amidst the sheer destruction going on around him. “Procelain Dreams” (I fervently hope that’s a reference to toilets) is the first song introducing the aforementioned industrial noise elements, which are at the forefront of “Self-Exorcism” and the closer “Pity”. While not terrible by any means, it’s a shame that these are some of the longest tracks on offer here. I’m definitely looking forward to a longer release that fleshes out the sound and maybe incorporates these elements more evenly.
Alright, this one’s a bit of a head-scratcher for me, but what did I expect of a band singing in a made-up language. Nistikko start us off with a frolicking d-beat tune and move on to straight-up grind. Here, I first noticed the strong resemblance that one of the two vocalists has to the singer of Dephosphorus. As we shall learn, they have a similar penchant for mixing styles, too. Things slow down a bit for the third track before we’re presented with a piece of pure drone. Nistikko did ape the Sunn O))) logo on one of their earlier releases, but their forays into this territory end before my interest starts waning. After this, we’re getting a mid-tempo rock stomper, and this was the point at which I just didn’t know what to expect anymore. I quite dig this track though, with its interesting groove and the verses that are mostly carried by a sturdy, rumbling bass line. This style and tempo is something the band returns to a number of times throughout the album (with varying degrees of success), but for now, we’re back on terra firma with the title track. It’s grind all the way, including the standard sub-one-minute playtime. The second half of the album could definitely do with more of this; only “Anna Anteeksi” returns to the style we came here for. The rest is mostly the aforementioned mid-tempo songs and more drone experiments. While I could do with more aggression – which often comes mostly from the two vocalists, who never let up throughout the record – it’s still an interesting ride and a refreshing peek out of the genre box. Purists may be happier with Nistikko’s back catalogue.
Okay, we’re kinda close to Germany, so this is where I leave you. Cool of you to join me on this trip! We made quite some memories, didn’t we? Remember that one time when the thing happened? Yeah. As a thank you, how about this comp featuring 100 grind (and similar) bands which are probably from all sorts of places. Maybe one of them can give you a ride back or something. Bye! (-Hans)