As I’ve mentioned on this site before, I’ve been a fan of Grindcore Karaoke from the very beginning, when they first put out Wadge’s Grindcore Lu’au, and have done my best to keep up with what they’ve been releasing ever since. In fact, we’ve done interviews with two GK artists: In Her Rotten Cheek and Employed to Serve. But they’ve gotten so damned prolific in the past year or so that it’s damn near impossible to keep up them anymore. So this marks the beginning of a new semi-regular column (basically meaning whenever I can manage it–ideally, monthly) spotlighting a few recent GK releases that I think are particularly worthy of mention.
Like In Her Rotten Cheek, Inerds is another one of the bands I got into right away when I started following GK. I still think their album Stonewall is one of the ten best things the label has put out. For one thing, they’re one of the most ferocious grind bands I’ve ever heard—their songs are short, fast, and so brutally angry that listening to them is almost a calming experience. Don’t get me wrong—they’re so fucking metal I want to punch babies while I’m listening to them, but the sense of catharsis that comes at the end of an Inerds release is what keeps bringing me back for more. They also have the one thing going for them that I am a total sucker for when it comes to grind: a female vocalist (though technically she shares vocal duties, but whatever). They contribute eight songs to this split that are over in an all-too-brief five minutes, but they’re everything I love about Inerds and are basically essential listening if you consider yourself even a passing fan of grindcore.
Strangely, I’ve never been as big a fan of Bestower, even though they’ve been on GK pretty much as long as Inerds and share two members (the rhythm section, I’d guess, since the vocals of the two bands sound nothing alike). They only contribute five songs to the split (though one tops the 2:00 mark!). and they’re really sold grind/powerviolence, and taken on their own instead as the second half—which I think that was a bit of a mistake, really; had Bestower been first I may have felt totally differently about their tracks—of this split they might be even more enjoyable, but anything that follows Inerds is kind of going to be a disappointment in comparison.
Final Grade: A-
This release features a pair of bands from the UK. Sufferinfuck hail from Glasgow, and the lads in Mangle are from Leicester. What that has to do with anything, I don’t know, but there you are. The five contributions from Sufferinfuck are interesting in the way that they vary their songs in a way that a lot of grind bands don’t—often times, even the best grind albums are a blur of like 23 songs that are all kind of indistinguishable. The varied nature of the songs, however, are the best thing Sufferinfuck have going for them right now—the songs all sound different from each other, but as a band they don’t sound terribly unique (they do sound terribly angry, though, which is always a good sign). I hear a lot of potential in them, though, and certainly want to hear more to see if their approach to grind stays as varied while getting more unique than it seems on their half of the split.
Mangle, however, are the shit, and not just because the word ‘shit’ appears in a third of their song titles. There’s a lot of low end in their sound—in fact, I almost wonder if they have a guitar player, especially on a song like “Collapsed Orientation”—and they seem to favor the more constipated vocal style that I don’t think you hear often enough in grind anymore. Unlike the Sufferinfuck, Mangle does sound pretty unique and I will be tracking more of their stuff down soon.
Final Grade: B
I decided to give Weed Thief a try after J Randall tweeted that “if you dig power violence shit this is a MUST!” I do dig me some powerviolence (and was fortunate enough to interview John Hoffman of Weekend Nachos a month or so back), so I felt like I had to download this one. Unfortunately, my first reaction to the album is that it sounds like shit. The production is awful. The drums are tinny, the mids that you should be getting from the guitars—provided there are guitars, I honestly can’t tell—are missing completely, and frankly the only things that are coming through clearly in the mix aside from the vocals are the hi-hats and the bass.
Bitching about the production aside, which is probably kind of gauche to do for a free download anyway, this really is some excellent powerviolence and if I ever get a chance to see these guys live I’m going to jump at it. it’s high-energy, angry music that deserves extra kudos for some of the interesting choices they make in their songcraft. The drum part in “Hole” is a particularly good example—at times, it almost sounds like he’s playing surf-rock. I’ll probably make sure I see them from a safe distance, though, because I bet the pits at their show are violent as fuck and I’m getting fragile in my old age.
Final Grade: B+
Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, The Drip have been doing the grind thing since 2007 and it shows. This is one of the most polished-sounding things I’ve ever heard GK release. The Drip plays insanely fast, ungodly brutal music that comes squarely out of the Rotten Sound/Phobia, slightly more technical school of grind. It’s incredibly precisely played and the songs very well written—the shortest song on the album EP is still a full minute-and-a-half long, and there are so many different riffs and tempo changes that the whole album leaves me breathless. The vocalist is fantastic, too, alternating yelps and growls and proving to be equally compelling doing both. I know it’s only January, but it’s going to be difficult for any other grind release (except maybe the Kat Katz-fronted Agoraphobic Nosebleed album, if that quartet of new ANb albums actually do drop this year) to top this.
Final Grade: A+
All these releases and many, many more can be downloaded for free from Grindcore Karaoke.