Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Grind in Rewind 2008

You know the drill. Here is where I’m sposed fart out onto the interwebs for about 150 words about how about how awesome 2008 was for grind and how it had some highs and lows blah blah blah. Inevitably, half of you will probably think I’m a complete idiot and asshole. Not that I’m denying either. Like I said, you know where this is going. Here’s what rocked my grindcore socks in 2008.

10. Afgrund
Svarta Dagar
Emetic
I don’t recall if I’ve mentioned this before, but I loves me some Swedish punk and metal, which is why Afgrund (OK part of the band is Finnish) was such an exciting revelation for me in 2008. While it’s always a joy to score something new from Gadget, Sayyadina or Retaliation or bask in the sheer genius that was Nasum, it’s also refreshing (and frankly a tad astonishing) to realize how much vitality and life can be wrung out of such a simple formula: no frills grind with classic Swede death production. Svarta Dagar brought that in spades, which is why it’s still in pretty frequent rotation at chez Childers.
And if you need a second opinion, look no further than those shrewd marketing geniuses at what is currently the best metal label working in Pennsylvania. What better way for Afgrund to auld lang 2008’s syne than with a well deserved Willowtip contract (who also just snagged Magrudergrind btw! who will record with the Ballou/Hull!! axis next month!!!).

9. Population Reduction
Each Birth a New Disaster
Tank Crimes
With an album title swiped from Ralph Bakshi’s 1977 fromage-stuffed swords and sorcery cum Nazi Armageddon cartoon parable, Wizards, self proclaimed “hash smoking grind fiends” Population Reduction tattoo one of Mark Twain’s many brilliant observations that “Sacred cows make the best hamburger” into your flesh with every drillbit thrash-to-grind-riff-slide and needle pointed staccato drum fill or blast beat.
The terrible two piece blithely shred riffs and metal tropes on their second release, Each Birth a New Disaster, a collection of delightfully catchy ditties about cheap weed, cheap beer, cheaply made horror films and korpsepaint kommandoes at the beach. As with every aphorism, it’s the exceptions that prove its wisdom and the whole grind world should send Peter Svoboda and Dr. X’s mothers a lovely flower arrangement next Mothers Day to commemorate two births that were far from disastrous.

8. Parlamentarisk Sodomi
Har Du Sagt "A" Får Du Si "Nal"
No Escape
Awesome artist, Burnt by the Sun-in-law and all around excellent person Scott Kinkade called this anally probing one man Norwegian machine “the best grind release of the year hands down.” That may be a tad hyperbolic considering Kinkade contributed photos to a certain new grind album of one Mr. Jon Chang, but he’s got a good ear for talent because Papirmollen’s solo excursion kicks all kinds of Scandinavian ass and is a far more mature outing than you’d expect for a disc graced by hand-drawn dicks. Deftly weaving local political commentary and scatological humor, Parlamentarisk Sodomi eschew metal’s wonted generalities about politics and call out hometown pols for heaps of ridicule by name. Best of all, he backs that mockery with brass knuckled bursts of tightly written grinding goodness and solos to pucker the taints of half of Parliament. Norway is not typically known for its punk and grind scene, but here’s hoping Parlamentarisk Sodomi are the cusp of a revolution. But remember, sodomy is like Christmas: it’s better to give than receive.

7. Looking For an Answer
Extincion
Living Dead Society
For the irony-challenged commenters out there who thought I was unnecessarily picking on these awesome Spaniards' bunny huggery, here’s how you know when Andrew his being sarcastically hyperbolic: my lips are moving. While I may have joked about the Looking For An Answer’s hardline animal right’s stance, their ferocious brand of no bullshit grind is deadly serious. Felix’s speed picking on “Cada Nacimiento Es Una Tragedia” and “Ruptura” is some of the tightest chops you’ll hear all year, proving there is still plenty of life in the foundation Terrorizer laid down 20 odd years ago. Solid songwriting and sincere aggression are a potent combination and Looking For An Answer simmer up a heady brew. This is a band I’d have a steak with any day.

6. Maruta
In Narcosis
Willotip
It’s not often a band makes me get my learn on, but Maruta had me hitting the books in October, getting a crash course in Japanese atrocities in World War 2, conveniently recreated for your listening pleasure as a mass of top flight tech grind. Though often delayed and plagued by lineup instability, Maruta’s Willowtip debut is without bullshit or prevarication, the single best grind debut of the year. We’re grindcore to hand out the equivalent of the Calder Trophy for the best rookie campaign, Maruta would be high in the balloting. If all you know of the swamp dwelling Floridians is their appearance on This Comp Kills Fascists, then hie thee ass unto they local record distributor or clicketh thy mouse toward Willowtip because In Narcosis is a half hour hit and run session with a refurbished Sherman tank.
And for more information on Unit 731 and other war criminals, consult your local library.

5. Total Fucking Destruction
Peace, Love and Total Fucking Destruction
Enucleation
The freakiest collection in Philly outside of the thoroughly awesome Mutter Museum, Rich Hoak’s traveling grindcore circus is even more bizarre and meandering than even his previous day job in stoner grinders Brutal Truth. Peace Love and Total Fucking Destruction, the band’s second full length, once again delves into the spacey corners of Hoak’s id to mine misanthropy and esoteric yoga for nuggets of pointed misanthropy and trenchant social commentary. Mixing the third eye wide open lyrical bent with a willingness to push the narrow confines of the grind, Total Fucking Destruction are consistently the most interesting and adventurous band working the style. After totally fucking destroying two full lengths in two years, I hope there’s still some steam left in Hoak’s grindfreak railroad for a third outing.

4. Kill the Client
Cleptocracy
Willowtip
Don’t fucking mess with Texas. With Insect Warfare gone, Kill the Client reign supreme in the Lone Star State and remain grind’s best hope for repping their home after eight years of douchebaggery wrought by Turd Blossom and Dubya. And Cleptocracy, the meanest fucking album in Client’s short career to date, indiscriminately detonating IEDs that send flesh rending shrapnel spewing in all directions. From the Wage Slave EP through debut full length Escalation of Hostility, Kill the Client just get nastier and more refined, sloughing off anything that might restrain their cluster bomb assault. While other bands may feel the need to spelunk grind’s hidden crevices, Kill the Client are happy to keep the home fires smoldering, proving there’s plenty of life left in a straight forward assault delivered with anger and intensity.

3. Rotten Sound
Cycles
Spinefarm
These Finn’s latest postcard from the land of going postal boasts their finest production ever, a grisly affair that lets you feel every tooth of the hacksaw and its shreds nerve endings and soft tissue before crunching up against bone. Cycles, available in Europe for most of the year before getting a late season stateside, should come with splatter shields like a Gallagher concert – just as many hammer smashed projectiles but a lot fewer lame ass jokes.
Five full lengths into a career with a body count higher than that pussy Jigsaw, Rotten Sound are playing with the kind of loose ferocity that bespeaks a band that has invested the years and done the shitty shows and clockwork practices to fully release the psychotic scrawl that crawls their skulls. But if you happen to see one of them unpacking a cardboard box in the next cube, I’d ask for a transfer.

2. ASRA
The Way of All Flesh
Black Box
It was either Billy Joel or Ted Kennedy who said only the good die young. Case in point, NYC’s grind behemoths ASRA (Alleged Satanic Ritual Abuse to their moms).
Sadly defunct after one short album and a handful of tracks on Scott Hull’s outstanding This Comp Kills Fascists collection, ASRA obliterated 2008 with the most impressive assault of classic grind unleashed on unsuspecting ears since Insect Warfare dropped their last release. Unfortunately, the combo went tits up just as they seemed to be on the crest of grindcore superstardom (if that’s not a complete misnomer). But the New Yorkers left an ugly purple contusion on music’s face in their abortive existence with their Assuck meets Napalm Death brand of fleet beat manifestos. If there were any justice in the cosmos, Elton John would drag his sagging bitch tits into the studio and rewrite “Candle in the Wind” (yet again) to commemorate ASRA’s passing.

1. GridLink
Amber Gray
Hydrahead
I cannot overstate the trouser tentage I was sporting in anticipation of this too fucking short platter of brilliance, particularly after the previously dormant Jon Chang limbered up his vocal cords on the Speak Engrish or Die thrashtastic assault of Hayaino Daisuki.
Tearing through a whole crate of Hall’s throat lozenges, Chang reminded the grindcore world why Discordance Axis kicked so much otaku ass and why dude still reigns fucking supreme. And why I hope he never spares his kidneys by cutting down his caffeine intake.
Being an Asian film nerd, the only comparable bit of kinetic artistry I could find to compare to this fidgety batch of thumb-on-fastforward goodness was Takashi Miike’s redonkulously over the top 1999 yakuza v. triad v. cops flick Dead or Alive, particularly the opening 10 minute montage of violence, perversion and absurd drug use that will pretty much shame any 120 minutes of overblown Michael Bay CGI craptacularity or Quentin Tarantino plagiarism… *cough* I mean “homage.” (I actually tried to synch up Amber Gray and DOA’s opening thinking I could bill it as the grindcore version of Dark Side of the Moon/Wizard of Oz but it just didn’t work as well as I envisioned.)
Which is too bad because Miike, back in his mid-90s prime, would have been the perfectly skewed visionary to set “The Jenova” and “Stake Knife” (already permanently inscribed in my gray matter) to celluloid in the kind of East Coast meets Far East cultural cross pollination of which I’m sure Chang would approve.
This grindcore samurai guerilla ensemble is setting the current gold standard for grind and it’s going to be a hard one to topple any time soon.

Coming Thursday: Andrew gets his punk on, 2008 style.

6 comments:

Zmaj said...

I have absolutely no objections.

brutalex said...

Second.

Apoctosis said...

Very soild list, here's hoping 2009 brings some more gems.

Cory Monster said...

there were only two things on this list I didn't hear. . .gonna hace to check those out soon.

JustoTSB said...

Thanks for recognizing that Tejas brutality in KTC. That crew is vicious.

mike said...

just getting to an old post

How could you leave off....
Noisear, Phobia, Nasum, Misery Index, and Hummingbird of Death?