Bump’N’Grind: Holiday Edition
All I Bump for Christmas is Grind.
Since we’ve established that no one likes Christmas songs and – as far as I know – folks in the US aren’t really doing the whole fireworks on New Year’s Eve thing, I considered it my civic duty to go through my promos and assemble some stuff to drown out even Mariah’s pipes and provide alternative ways to end the year on a bang. Let’s get to it.
Kick Ass Violence / Chadhel – The Daily Grind
December 8, 2018
We start things off with two bands from the Quebecois underground going bonkers. First up is Kick Ass Violence‘s material from last year’s demo, where they nonchalantly deliver some filthy goregrind with the sort of loose and tongue-in-cheek vibe of genre greats like Exhumed and early Ghoul. In and unforeseen twist of bowels, however, they pair the ultra-low gurgles with more of a classic grindcore bark, and the unusual liaison carries over into the rest of the music. This way, the first half of the split already offers something for grind fans of every breed, and that’s before we even get to Chadhel. They deliver the samples you may have been expecting from K.A.V., and on top of that, continue the filth-ridden shredding with a blast-heavy approach featuring ample amounts of screeching and growling. While everything sounds a bit brighter than on the first half, this is by no means easy-going, and an ever so slight tinge of hardcore rounds out a package of straightforward violence.
Kataplexis – Death Reign
December 8, 2018
Kataplexis‘ last album was one of those I kept stumbling across but never really checked out. My loss, since this is some extremely well-done deathgrind. After the intro, they crank everything to eleven, only rarely let up in terms of speed, and never falter in how well they command their instruments. Everything is wound extremely tight; blast beats at ridiculous speeds and buzzsaw riffs are delivered with absolutely murderous precision. Only occasionally are things dialed back a bit to allow some melody or a quick little lead to take center stage. Closer “Decrepit Tomb” proves the band is not just built for sprinting, filling twice the length of any other song with some of the most pure and lethal death metal riffing on the whole album and avoiding the “grind album finale” pitfall of being a slow, boring slog. This thing alone can shatter your neck to pieces.
Mule Skinner – Air Strike
July 25, 2018
I can’t confirm whether Mule Skinner still “got it”, being that I was ten years old when their last album dropped, but I’m willing to testify that they got something – that something being chops aplenty. If Kataplexis was a bit too surgical for you, listen to these folks dish out deathly doses of grind with no less verve but more of an organic sound leaning towards the old school. Right from the start, it’s apparent that a lot of care went into this. Every instrument is given enough room in the production, making for a satisfyingly thick, full sound at all times, and there’s some pretty catchy riffs to be found throughout (“Battle Worshipper” is a prime example). The singer roars from the pit of his stomach, and the drummer, much to my delight, favours d-beats over blasts, injecting lots of punk flair into the overall violence. If they keep up the release schedule, I look forward to blasting their next record in the retirement home.
Beaten To Death – Agronomicon
December 24, 2018
You may have seen this one coming, but since I’ll take any opportunity to talk about Beaten To Death, I’m gonna say a list spot doesn’t count as coverage. Plus I’ve since received the promo and, after many more spins, am happy to report that I’m still happy. While nothing has changed about the recording process, a little tweak in their sound has done a lot in their favour. The bass often sounds meaner and fartier, while the brighter-than-ever clangy guitars give a renewed sense of urgency to the shredding parts and new highlights to the melancholy melodies. The song titles were always silly, but for the first time (I think), the goofs and spoofs continue into the lyrics: “Bjørnsjerne Ibsen / Monarch of the kingdom of the Danes / Infamous / Douchebag”… I’m sure you get the idea. All in all, not too many things have changed about the Beaten To Death formula, yet the band sounds noticably more mature (musically, at least) and more confident than ever, and it’s a joy to behold.
Vitriol – Pain Will Define Their Death
November 30, 2018
MOAR DEATHGRIND – even if the label seems to insist on billing this as straight death metal. Regardless of genre nitpicking (“It is what it is,” as Lacertilian would say), there’s no denying that this shit is relentless. The double bass pedals do not get any rest throughout most of the run time, and the singer’s caustic, pissed-off growls are on par in terms of intensity. That only leaves the last element to discuss: the guitar. Boy, does this guy go nuts. With fingers whizzing across the fretboard, the riffs are prone to zig-zag in unforeseeable ways and dizzy you with serpentine windings, running circles around you as you try to keep up with what’s happening. I’d say there’s a pretty strong tech death influence at work here, and despite periods of relative rest that keep things from becoming too overwhelming, chaos reigns pretty consistently and, what’s more, impressively.
Suffering Quota – Life in Disgust
November 2, 2018
Loner Cult Records et al.
And finally, some more classical stuff. While the overall sound would be quite at home among the 90s bands who fleshed out the genre – which is where Suffering Quota seem to find most of their inspiration – there’s always a tendency towards grindcore’s hardcore punk grandparents. Sometimes it’s in the the way unbridled anger shows through in the vocals, sometimes it’s the way they juxtappose shredding and stomping parts. On the whole though, the sound is cleaner, more hygienic, and looking towards the future instead of going the deliberately lo-fi retro route. This way, much as with Mule Skinner, you get a full-fledged grind experience, but this one covers a little more ground and leaves very little to be desired in the process.