Bump’n’Grind – Turn off that other noise for this noise
‘Tis not the season, admittedly.
What’s that? Winter, eh? You just wanna huddle up with a blanket and listen to murky, moody black metal? We shall hereby attempt to combat your seasonal ennui with the combined forces of all the grind and grind-adjacent offerings that have cropped up in my inbox.
偏執症者 (Paranoid) – Out Raising Hell
Independent | September 25, 2020
Hell yeah, look at that cover art! Dude looks like he’s breaking all kinds of oaths. Unfortunately, that’s the most exciting thing I can find about this album. It’s old-school crusty hardcore punk, which is not really a bad thing, but everything sounds just a little too thin. The sound seems to have lost a lot of the rawness of previous offerings, and with it, some of its energy. Might just be me being my typical anti-audiophile self though. I don’t know if this will get you moshing around the living room, but it should at least get you off the couch. Let’s see where we can take it from here.
Anthropic – Architects of Aggression
Jbudz Recors/Sevared Records/Haunted Hotel Records | April 18, 2020
That’s more like it. Anthropic’s in-your-face style of deathgrind is bound to get you moving. A beautifully beefy sound that favours the low end without becoming muddy, paired with guttural vocals. Blasts upon blasts, but between those, decent songwriting and a couple of nice riffs, making for plenty of standout moments that might actually stick in your memory. Above all though, there’s an immensely satisfying level of aggression on display throughout.
Cognizant/Blurring – split
Independent | March 20, 2020
Ah shit, we went too far—both these bands are, as we say around these parts, tech as heck, although they have the decency not to take it to completely outlandish heights. Members of Cognizant were featured on that Takafumi Matsubara album last year, which might give you an idea of the technical proficiency at play here. Guitars wind and spiral mesmerizingly while the drummer switches tempos frequently enough to leave your head spinning, but on the second listen, everything starts to come together really nicely.
Blurring features metal veteran Dan Lilker and plays a dizzying style of dissonant grindcore that I can’t quite wrap my head around. It’s not as bonkers as some of the mathcore we’ve seen around here, but the guitars’ constant refusal to play anything straightforward is enough to make me weirdly uncomfortable. The vocals also sound far too much like black metal, which, if you remember, is what we’re trying to get away from, so let’s move on.
Beaten To Death – Laat maar, ik verhuis naar het bos
Independent | November 13, 2020 (digital)
Back into (hopefully) familiar territory—a new Beaten To Death is on the way! I’ve said much about them in the past, but if you haven’t heard their unique melodic grindcore stylings yet, I would implore you to check them out immediately. They remain one of my all-time favourite grind bands, even if I’m a bit peeved about the bizarre release schedule for this new one (what you see above is the vinyl version, but what you hear is part one of the 4-part digital release which is mixed differently and has a different track order and I JUST DON’T FUCKING GET IT).
Concede – Indoctrinate
Disposable Culture/Petrichor | June 23, 2020
Enough whinging—that’s not the mood we wanna be in. We wanna be angery, and this is a perfect album for that. The promo text calls Perth’s Concede a grindcore/powerviolence hybrid for fans of Nails and Nasum, and I can’t find anything wrong about that. The deadly precision of the instruments and, to some extent, the vocal approach recall the latter, while the frequent but no less pummeling breakdowns as well as the overall sound make me think of the former. Much as I like sloppy old-school worship, it’s still nice to have some grind that hones in on the target and goes for the kill. By now you should be smashing things and yelling at your TV.
Bas Rotten – Surge
Independent | November 20, 2020
Now that we’ve got you here, we wanna make sure you stay angry throughout the rest of the year, so let’s look at some upcoming releases. First up is Bas Rotten, who, much like the MMA fighter that the pun is based on, skillfully combines different styles into a package that mirrors the cover art’s utter ferocity. They pepper their grindcore with plenty of punk attitude and just a dash of thrash, and the result is a highly energetic beast of a record that never lets up. Highly recommended armament to face whatever this year still has in store.
Populace – Bread and Roses
Independent | December 4, 2020
Towards the end of the year, we have this, which sure looks a little different. Sounds a little different, too. With this artful and appropriately red and white(-ish) cover art for the Christmas season, Populace invites you to replace the clang of merry bells with their peculiarly clangy sound this year, which is likewise a work of art. Distortion and reverb envelop their chaotic brand of grindcore, which is as wont to pummel you with blastbeats as it is to plunge you into hateful despair with slow, anguished parts. Rather than mask anything, the effects serve to pull you into the whirling momentum, like you’re rolling down a hill inside a trash can. And why not—sledding is too mainstream anyways.
So there you go—7 releases to get you up off that couch and help you build up some energy. Except it’s secretly 8, since the header image comes from the promo for an upcoming compilation of material from goregrind stalwarts Machetazo. Ultratumba II combines a bunch of splits and EPs and is set to release on November 13th via Selfmadegod Records, so it’ll probably show up on their Bandcamp some time soon.