We're off to a perspicacious (and occasionally surprising) start with grindcore bracketology. The 1-8 matchups will stay open for argument until Saturday just in case you've been straggling to voice your opinion. Meanwhile, it's on to the 2-7 faceoffs. You've got until Tuesday. Discuss amongst yourself.
Full bracket available here.
GridLink (2) vs. Noisear (7)
It’s hot Fajardo on Fajardo action. First up is the post-Discordance Axis/Mortalized mash up, GridLink. Jon Chang is an elite lyricist with a striking vision being backed up by another superlative cast of musical collaborators as he spits and screams his way through fractured narratives that wrench philosophical musings from anime and manga, refracting a blend of neon jazz and caffeinated energy.
Discordance Axis aficionados Noisear have been toiling in the masters’ footsteps but have recently taken steps toward their own distinctive sound, a complex hornet’s nest of buzzing guitars, Witte-worthy drumming and boundless enthusiasm. Listening to Noisear is like plowing face first through a plate glass window. The question before you is if the new jacks have hijacked the masters’ noise.
Asia and Australia
324 (2) vs. Swarrrm (7)
Japanese rebel grinders 324 have pretty much owned the crust grind crown for more than a decade now even if they’ve been dormant since 2006. Sharing a three way split with Discordance Axis – and easily holding their own – 324 are masters of a hook laden riff. But the band also knows how to stretch its musical muscles on occasion. The Across the Black Wings EP featured moments that simply rocked the psychedelic fuck out. And then they immediately went back to derm-abrading your ass with their grinding goodness.
Packing a few inexplicably extraneous consonants in their name, Swarrrm also pack a few outré musical notions as well. Not content to simply be a humble grind band, Swarrrm stuff their repertoire with five minute songs that feature more switchbacks and doublecrosses than a carefully plotted heist film. I don’t know what they’ve been packing in their black bong, but it’s a potent brew.
Sayyadina (2) vs. Splitter (7)
Quite simply, Sayyadina just do everything well in that inimitably poised Swedish fashion. Songs always hang from a blade sharp musical meathook and the introspective, emotional lyrics set them apart from lesser bands that are content to rehash familiar themes. Mourning the Unknown is an unfuckwithable slab of punk toned blast beaten goodness that epitomizes everything modern grind should embody.
While Splitter can bring the brutality with the best of them, what truly sets them apart are their melodic sensibilities. Combining early At the Gates (pre-Slaughter of the Soul) with demo-era Nasum, Splitter solder together two disparate strains of extreme Swedish musical outgrowth into a seamless whole. It shouldn’t work as well as it does, but the band manages to interweave the competing impulses perfectly.
Continental Europe and the United Kingdom
Blood I Bleed (2) vs. Cyness (7)
Dutch dervishes Blood I Bleed have a pedigree for perfection dating back to their prior incarnation as My Minds Mind. Shantia is top five among songwriters working right now and Blood I Bleed set off a staggering stream of audio pipebombs that grenade grind and punk without remorse. This is sonic adrenaline set to wax.
Germans Cyness have steeped themselves in grindcore history with a post graduate symposium in From Enslavement to Obliteration for good measure. They take that history and drag it into the 21st Century but otherwise keep the tradition intact. This is another band that’s been inactive for too long, but their two albums are enough to secure their spot in the discussion.