Bump’N’Grind – Grindsight is Always 20-20
Get it? Yeah me neither.
Man, how much does it suck to have to go back to work? How about some music that appropriately expresses your feelings about that? The selection process took a bit longer this time; I don’t know if the grind just wasn’t as good or if I suddenly have standards. I wanna say the upside is I’ve got only super interesting stuff this time around, but I guess that’s up to you to decide. Let’s go!
Morgue Walker – Forgotten in Hellfrost
I don’t remember this band sounding so… atmospheric. The songs were already on the longer side when I last talked about them, and it’s not like they’ve started using ambient interludes or anything, but this thing is a lot more sinister-sounding. The blunt, murky sound of the last EP has made room for knife-like riffing that occasionally leans towards black metal and generally swirls and sways in a manner resembling dissonant death metal. The vocals have also improved a lot, adding heaps to said atmosphere. While it would fit the sound (if not the genre) if they played things a little tighter now and then, all signs seem to indicate that Morgue Walker won’t be slumming it with us grind folk much longer and have instead set the course towards weirder extreme metal fringes. This may be your last chance to get in on the ground floor.
Die Choking – IV
Die Choking wants you to die choking, and this is their fourth album. I’m sure that answers all your questions, but I’m gonna go on for a bit. Die Choking play and have always played a merciless style of deathgrind that never seems to sacrifice any of its technical precision for its lethal forward momentum. If this album was a surgeon, it’d have neatly taken out your appendix before you’d finished reading this. In other words, it’s fast and it’s clean and it rarely gets a day off. If the band allow themselves the leisure of a d-beat, it’s wrapped in a tightly-wound riff to make up for the slack. If they ease off the constant barrage for a bit (later in “Chronic Hyperventilation,” for example), there’s still an incredible tension. The whole record is just awesome to behold and the perfect soundtrack for your overcaffeination. Sadly, there are inexplicable issues with digital copies (and also web design), hence the YouTube embed.
Opposition Party – Tales to Horrify
Singapore’s Opposition Party is described as “thrashpunk,” but I think we can agree that thrash + punk = grind, yeah? I really appreciate that the band avoid the classical pitfall that comeswiththeir subject matter: there is only one horror movie sample on this horror-themed release instead of every intro being one. This means they waste no time and get right down to their crusty business. The hoarse vocals are used sparingly in the first song, which reminds me a bit of some Discharge songs, and indeed, Opposition Party mercifully have much more in common with classic crust acts than they do with horror punk or goregrind in the vein of Frightmare et al. Closer “Parasitical,” in particular, is a wonderfully straight-forward approach to the genre, but the band never forget to put their own spin on things, so this song, too, boasts the soaring and dramatic guitar lines which are frequent guests, and takes a detour through some peculiarly angular songwriting in the middle.
Obduktio – Ihmiskunnan Viholliset
According to the band bio, Obduktio has been in flux from grindcore to deathgrind to this new release, which they call their most death metal one yet. Frankly, I don’t hear it. This is essentially punk that borrows a couple of extreme metal elements, most notably gruff, reverby vocals and occasional blast beats, but I’d hesitate to call it grindcore. They patiently work their way through many an uninspired riff, clearly not giving much of a damn about innovation (as you might expect from punk), yet I can’t claim that I’ve heard anything like the result before. Imagine war metal aesthetics re-framed in the context of a crust punk band and mixed with an oddly pervasive horror element. The latter most notably shines through in some sound effects (in “Jäämeren Rannalla” and the title track) and the bizarre interlude “Aamu.” Despite how primitive the music is (let’s call it Cave Punk), it still leaves me surprisingly perplexed, which is not a bad thing. I’m equally perplexed about the release date—Bandcamp says it was a year ago, but I think it drops later this month.
Dead Hour Noise – Sleeping Dogs
Ugh, mathcore. Still far from my favourite, but luckily, DHN billed themselves as a mix of mathcore, sludge, and black metal, which had me intrigued. Indeed, sludge plays a very prominent role in the melange. Slower parts in moods ranging from hateful to desperate are quite frequent, and practically all of “Nerves” fits the genre tag. Black metal, on the other hand, is a bit harder to find. It plays more of a role in the latter half of the record, is integrated more subtly and in shorter bursts, and is of a quite modern kind, i.e. more akin to blackened hardcore than anything Scandinavian. Lastly, we have the mathcore, which is pretty prevalent, and while it often makes things a tad too angular and stuttering for my taste, I can’t say I hate it. It’s never too hard to follow what’s going on, and even the most jittery parts have a good chance of being followed by something that flows nicely and offers some respite. Ultimately, Dead Hour Noise cover a lot of ground in their compositions, but always manage to sound coherent.
Formless Master – First Strike
Alright alright, I can’t leave you without at least one quick-hitting, straightforward grind release, especially not if it features the formidable Takafumi Matsubara. His skills on the guitar are on full display throughout, so that you might feel reminded of Gridlink quite frequently—a huge plus in my book. Just check “Cut Down At Sunset” to immediately get some of that. The martial arts theme of the band essentially boils down to a lot of samples from Kung Fu flicks, but what Formless Master put in between those is insanely good grindcore with the staples I crave: dual vocal approach and breakneck speed. I’m missing some d-beats, but with how solidly the rest is executed, this is barely a gripe. Take 10 minutes (probably less) out of your day and give this a go. Formless Master is not liable for crane kick damages incurred to fellow humans in your vicinity.
Header image VIA