Bump’n’Grind – Hype 4 Grind
That’s karma (bloody karma) for you: as soon as I mention a lack of good grind, my inbox suddenly runneth over. Not the first time this has happened, either. And while I sometimes feel like I’ve outgrown the grind and might stop doing these, installments like today’s show off the genre’s full spectrum (barring super mathy stuff) and remind me of everything that’s good about it. In short: I’m fuckin’ hyped. Let’s go.
Napoli Violenta | Neapolitan Power Violence | October 31, 2021
There’s no shortage of metal bands drawing on horror B-movies to frame their music, but Napoli Violenta has chosen the very particular genre of poliziotteschi as a theme, copiously borrowing samples from these Italian movies all about the criminal underground.
However, aside from movie quotes, there are also numerous musical quotes, and not just in terms of the genres they blend. “Impaled Macarena” does exactly what you probably expect, and splicing Judas Priest and The Clash in “Breaking The Law On My Back” nicely fits the theme. But there’s more subtle stuff, as well; the first two lines in “Torso,” for example, are lifted from “Green Machine,” despite the rest of the song having nothing to do with Kyuss. I’m sure there’s a bunch more that I haven’t caught.
Together with the mix of genres (a not totally novel but very well-executed and unpredictable blend of crust, hardcore punk, grind, and then some), this creates a peculiar sense of musical collage. Clad in the wonderfully rickety, rugged sound of live instrumentation, the album makes for a surprisingly varied and incredibly fun ride. Oh, and in case any of you speak Italian, please tell me what’s going on at the beginning of this video.
Civilian Thrower | Instruments of Demo-lition | May 31, 2021
Yea boi, it’s that gnarly shit! While they hail from France, the irreverence and consistent zero-fucks attitude reminds me more of Australian acts such as Super Fun Happy Slide. It starts with the sound, which is thoroughly geared towards the low end with down-tuned guitars and deep gutturals. The recording quality is not quite lo-fi, but far from top notch, resulting in a grimey mess that absolutely befits the style. Poking through the bassy mire are high-pitched shrieks and one or two chaotic guitar solos, nicely rounding out the absolute chaos.
Song titles indicate that the lyrics stay away from medical textbooks or political agendas and rather keep it tongue-in-cheek. You gotta admire the dedication to the concept expressed in the band name and the cover art: “Civilian Trebuchet,” “Human Projectiles,” “Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos on a Catapult.” Seems like once the idea of flinging people around took hold, it took hold for good. That and weed, of course. All the more surprising, then, is the complete lack of any samples, which makes this a non-stop barrage of absolutely disgusting, purebred grind.
Sickrecy | First World Anxiety | June 4, 2021
Heretical confession time: apart from a few releases (well, just one, actually), I never really got into this genre’s founding fathers. The notion of old school grind in the vein of Terrorizer, Brutal Truth and Enslavement-era Napalm Death therefore doesn’t do much for me—at least not on paper. Sickrecy, however, was remarkably quick to convince me and had me bobbing my head along in no time.
I can’t quite put my finger on why that is. There are a lot of similarities to that old sound in the guitar tone, the snappy drums, and the barking vocal approach, but something about the music just feels more nimble and fun. Sickrecy are quick on their feet and effortlessly flow between grind, death, and crust (d-beats, of course, always elevate whatever they’re involved in), and they write really good songs. Sometimes, it’s as simple as that. Highlights are “Banner of Contempt” and “Last in Line,” not least because of their great choruses, but the one-two punch that opens the album should be enough to convince anyone that this is some quality shit.
Gummo | A Fresh Breath on the Neck | October 22, 2021
Jo from the great Bas Rotten recommended this, calling it a mix between Nasum and At the Gates, and none other than Toilet alumnus Ron Deuce seems to agree on the Bandcamp page. I’ll give them Nasum, but the rest you’ll have to verify for yourself, as I’m out of my depth there. For a French band though, the guitars have quite a bit of Nordic buzz to them.
It’s the intensity and the mechanical precision that make me think of the Swedish grind legends. While there’s something about this that makes the “punk” tag feel appropriate, that’s not to say that anything here is sloppy; everyone plays it extremely tight, always ready to stop on a dime to go into a breakdown that can just just as suddenly launch into blasts again. Together with the screaming vocals, the music feels as immediate as a punch to the face, yet thanks to the tempo changes and the second vocalist’s drunk hooligan powerviolence shout, it’s varied enough to not pass by in a blur.
Fading Trail | Count the Days | November 18, 2021
Definitely counting the days for this thing to drop so you can see for yourself how behind the unassuming cover art hides one of the greatest grind records of the year—although what makes it great is how it kind of sits on the outskirts of grind, often feeling more like maybe death/thrash pushed to its absolute limits. The style reminds me of Noisem, where grind might not necessarily be the first association you have upon hearing it. The manic energy is at about the same level, too, albeit without the focus on gore and with a less ratty sound.
The sound is, as a matter of fact, perfect. Everything is enunciated quite well and nothing gets lost in the fray, yet there’s a certain grimeyness to everything that prevents it from sounding sterile. The acerbic vocals are not too high in the mix and the meaty guitars deliver both high-speed riffing (together with some frantic guitar solos here and there, another aspect resembling Noisem) and the occasional nose dive into somewhat sludgy waters with a merciless heaviness that I find irresistible.
The fantastic frenzy is suddenly broken up at the end of the record when “Crawl” abruptly switches to a collage of samples and harsh noise before making way for the entrancing, synth-laden instrumental closer. Single chords are held over freestyle jazz drumming, creating an unprecedented atmosphere. A very nice palate cleanser that leaves you prepped to go in for another spin and get wrecked all over again. This thing destroys, and I love it.
Bone Tower | We All Will Die One Day | November 5, 2021
It’s only fitting to end on something that will thoroughly screw your head off… and presents a bit of a conundrum to me. I don’t see why I’ve had such qualms about Full of Hell all this time, but then immediately liked this little EP, which ostensibly does the same thing. Seriously, it sounds like it was produced by Kurt Ballou, there’s noise interludes, and the grind is utterly unhinged. So what gives?
Maybe the difference is that these guys consistently dial things to 11 instead of meandering between a measly 10 and 10.5 (pah!). “Mangled Wounds” is a good example of Bone Tower’s peak performance – those are some blasty fucking blasts, easily the fastest we’ve heard today. But even in the song’s latter half, the intensity doesn’t seem to let up despite the lower tempo. Funny how that works. The only real respite is the second half of “Empty Cave,” which has a long, fuzzed-out sample of a choir.
Speaking of the noise elements, they’re not only unobtrusively short, but also unobtrusively good. “The Sun,” in particular, has these peculiar remnants of melody in the beginning and a pretty sick Death Grips-y beat later on. It’s a highlight rather than a throwaway.
Or perhaps the secret is once again the brevity. At a whopping 9 minutes total, it’s hard to get fed up with this thing. Leave them wanting more and whatnot. Sure worked on me!