Thursday, October 28, 2010

Grindcore Bracketology: The 2-7 Matchups

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.

North America
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.


brutalex said...

Fuck, the 324 vs. Swarrrm is easily the toughest match-up for me. It's like choosing between my favorite adoptive Japanese children. I need to come back to this after much grindtrospection. I also should probably get around to checking Sayyadina and Splitter out as well.

Unknown said...

Gridlink, hands down. The little Noisear I've heard wasn't anything that blew me away. DxAx is amazing, and ripping them off is a hard thing to do well. I mean, they aren't ND or AxCx. Also Jon Chang has better lyrics than J.R. hayes, sorry guys.
324, 324, 324, 324, 324. Can I say it enough? I've only heard one or two Swarrrm songs, and was bored. Rule 324 is in effect.
Not very familiar with either band, but I have heard some Sayyadina so they win.
I've never heard any Cyness although I read stupid amounts of good press on them so their high on my list to check out. I just heard the Blood I Bleed/Massgrav split and I have to say Massgrav>Blood I Bleed, sorry Andrew. I know you have a huge hard on for them but Massgrav has Rule 324 going for them. So I have no vote hear unless Massgrav counts.

Anonymous said...

North: Gridlink on lineage

A and A: Swarrrm. 324 is some pretty sick grindcrust but Swarrrm is cathartic insanity that transcends grind's limitations (in a good way) up there with Pig Destroyer for packing in emotion with their blasts.

Scandi: Sayyadina if for no other reason than familiarity.

CE v UK: Cyness. see scandi

Anonymous said...

Cyness inactive? No..I have seem them playing three times the last year here in Berlin/Potsdam. In their last two gigs they have said that they are releasing a split with PLF any day now. It was supposed to be out in october but now they are planning on releasing it in time for christmas so we all have something to give to grandma.


Anonymous said...

gridlink v noisear - dont care for either.
324 v swarrrm - tie. one man's 2 is another's 7.
sayyadina v splitter - sayyadina
bib v cyness - blood i bleed

so wierd that arson project made it in without even a full length. what about feastem or gaf?

Anonymous said...

North America: Noisear.

Asia/Australia: 324 because they are so energetic, pushing, relentless grindy.

Scandinavia: Sayyadina.

Europe/UK: Cyness. They are fantastic and they are really nice guys/girls. The singer is also a great drummer in Cancer Clan and Crowskin which are also great bands (but not grind).


gamefaced said...

pick between gridlink and noisear? can't do.


geeheeb said...

NA) Noisear shits all over gridlink. Pyroclastic Annihilation is my fav from the catalog of both bands.

AA) 324

SC) Sayyadina, hands down.

EU/UK) I love both bands, this one is the hardest yet! Probably Blood I Bleed today but if you asked tomorrow you'd get a different answer.

DesiccatedVeins said...

North America: This is without a doubt the most difficult choice in the preliminary brackets. I think my choice is pretty clear, though: stack up Amber Gray against only eleven minutes of Noisear's original compositions and you've pretty much got a no contest. Gridlink wins this one for me because they can pack so much technicality and energy and ordered chaos into such a tiny space; we don't even need to bring up the fact that Chang, Matsubara, Fajardo (and now Procopio) are some of the finest in their field, even outside of genre. And in terms of creativity, Gridlink just bowl Noisear over completely; while Gridlink bears similarity to Chang's previous band, they're still forging ahead into their own sonic territory. Noisear, on the other hand, basically spliced DxAx and post-FETO Napalm Death together and let them loose in a music store.

Asia: Swarrrm wins it for me. Yeah, 324 puts out nice crustgrind, and they've done some good work, but they've never been anywhere near as creative as Swarrrm. Comparing Nise Kyuseishu Domo and Boutokunotaiyo (in my opinion each band's finest album) makes it a damned close decision; however, compare each band's latest, and in both cases, almost post-grind, LP and the answer is a lot simpler. Black Bong is such an amazingly creative album that it doesn't need to confine itself to any one genre; it doesn't really feel as much that they've slowed down as branched out. Rebelgrind, on the other hand, is a mid-paced, thrash-grind retread that for me never really finds its footing and leaves me bored halfway through.

Scandinavia: Splitter is the victor for me in this matchup. They're one of the few Scandinavian groups, for me, that really inject a bit of Discordance Axis technicality while keeping their rawness out front whenever possible and still staying true to the uniquely Swedish grindcore sound. Sayyadina to me are too divided between being punk and being metal to really have a definite sound to me; as I mentioned earlier, I was initially wowed by them, but began to detect a quality of sameness to them that I still haven't been able to shake in listening to their albums.

Continental Europe and the UK: Before these brackets, I wasn't too familiar with either of these groups. However, upon doing some research, I definitely prefer the piercing, punk quality I hear in Blood I Bleed to what seems to be a bit of a samey quality in Cyness.

P.S. If this was the worst band names contest instead of the best grind band, this bracket would be a dead heat.

PREAM said...

North America- Gridlink vs. Noisear- Gridlink, definitely.

Asia/Australia- 324 vs. Swarrrm- Swarrrm

Scandinavia- Sayyadina vs. Splitter- Splitter

Continental Europe & UK- Blood I Bleed vs. Cyness- Blood I Bleed

Alex Layzell said...

North America - Gridlink
Who else can present some ultra fast technical Jon Chang Grindcore?

Asia and Australia - 324
I have heard bad material by Swarrrrm and am yet to with 324, although a close call.

Scandinavia - Sayyadina
Splitter just don't pull it off 100% right.

Europe and UK - Abstain
Never heard either of them yet.

GrindNinja said...

North America - Gridlink

Asia and Australia - 324

Scandinavia - Sayyadina

Europe and UK - Blood I Bleed hard choice

brutalex said...

North America: Gridlink hands down. Amber Grey alone is some of the best grind of the decade and with the new expanded line-up and Mastubara upping the string count for Orphan, you really can't lose. Noisear are good and all but Gridlink seared my face off before the first note even had a chance to hit my ears.

Asia: Swarrrm. This match up is fucking cruel. Choosing between these two bands is something I would never hope to have to do, but if I was forced to I would have to give it to Swarrrm. I love me some 324 but in terms are output, it's been in a slight decline in quality/speed over the years. Rebelgrind is probably the album I listen to least by them even though it was the first one I heard. Swarrrm on the other hand have without a doubt gotten better with age, Black Bong being a shining example of a band still treading new territory in such a streamlined genre.

Scandinavia: Checked out both these bands for this and Splitter win for not putting me to sleep. Sayyadina just sounded like a watered down Nasum to me.

Europe: Blood I Bleed for speed alone.

Sean said...

These are some tough matchups.

North America- Gridlink.


Scandinavia- Sayyadina

Continental Europe & UK- who?

Bill Willingham IV, Esquire said...

North America: Gridlink. This was a tough fucking call, though. I actually feel pretty bad for picking G, considering they have eleven minutes of recorded music thus far. However, they still have more riffs and fills, haha. Both great bands, but G wins in the vocal department, hands down, and I like Matsubara's little speed metalisms creeping into my grind.

Asia: I must abstain. I don't know nearly enough about either.

Scandi: Sayyadina. Sayya's one foot in the grind, one foot in the crust stance is killer. Splitter is pretty great, also, but I feel like Sayya's more recent album is stronger than Splitter's.

Again, tough fucking call.

Europe: I really dig the one Cyness album I have, but I must abstain here, as well. I am not familiar enough with BIB to make a call.

A lot of abstention = new stuff to check out.

Flesh Monolith said...

North America: Gridlink
Without a doubt, I'd say Gridlink is one of those bands that is on everyone's radar; we're all waiting for something new. Part of it has to do with Jon Chang, but for the most part it's their blistering brevity, technically demanding style and amazingly enthralling bursts of modern grind. Stand in fear those who must compete against Chang and co.

Asia: Swarrrm
For me, this is a no brainer.
Swarrrm's horrifyingly beautiful, abstract, emotional and paraxodically obvious brand of music can't simply be called grind. Like Gridlink they're on to something outside of the parameters of grind, and beyond that they can safely retain he qualities that would label them grind. Blusey riffs, jazz drumming, melodic riffing unheard of in grind and one of the most distinctive, sensational, and deranged vocal styles ever make Swarrrm, in my opinion, the best grind band at this time.
324 are great, but painfully safe. I love them, but little keeps them apart from countless other bands playing a tough, street friendly variant of grindcore. They simply don't beckon me like Swarrrm does.

Scandinavia: Sayyadina
Another lopside, Sayyadina are somehting special. Andrew claims they carry the torch of Nasum, I think it was theirs to hold in the first place. 'true' to the ethos of 80's grindcore, Sayyadina do everything right.

Mainland Europe: I abstain
I don't know either band, what I heard from blood I bleed I didn't like, but that doesn't warrant any type of vote.

I would happily dump the rest of my votes simply towards Swarrrm.

Flesh Monolith said...

i'd like to add that Swarrrm's a band I've sought down all I can from them, and every single release I've heard is a head above the rest. Very few grind bands are able to avoid filler, and Swarrrm's one of them.

This whole track seems indicative of Swarrrm's style, take a gander those who are unfamiliar.

PatrickDM said...




EU-blood i bleed

Rosemary said...

North America

GridLink (2) vs. Noisear (7)

Winner: GridLink

The art of the grind. GridLink is an interesting concoction of people, places, and things. Not many musicians of the genre can be separated as far geographically as the players and not be able to put insane music to the grind masses. The art of who these people are and their contributions as musicians and artists to this scene and others as a whole weighs out their live show, which I have witnessed as a trio (cabaret grind, if anyone else caught that show in maybe '06/'07 in NYC), and as a quartet in 2008. The MDF show was not their place, and the band would be the first to let you know.

I dig Noisear a lot, as this was tough decision. I am a bit biased, because I stand way too close to the GridLink camp. I am psyched for Noisear's Relapse output. I think the band is very creative and unique, and that they have worked hard for a long time, putting out a split 7 inch here and there, and some tracks on comps. They even made themselves a place on the final D.A. release. By far, the toughest call for me to make.

Asia and Australia
324 (2) vs. Swarrrm (7)

Winner: 324

Straight up no bullshit Jap-Grind. No frills, everyone dies at the end of each song. No survivors. A lot like Force was. Swarrrm doesn't do anything for me. Their songs take too much time to build and release.

Sayyadina (2) vs. Splitter (7)

Winner: Sayyadina

Sayyadina keep the punk as a strong ingredient in the structures of their songs and musicianship. I witnessed the band along with Kill the Client and Defeatist at a house in super-uber suburban NJ, and the band was quite comfortable destroying the occupants family room as it was.

Splitter is a hodge-podge of the finer moments of the Swedish grind scene all over again. Scene that, we don't need that.

Continental Europe and the United Kingdom
Blood I Bleed (2) vs. Cyness (7)

Winner: Cyness

I dig that Cyness printed a t-shirt that says "I heart Blast Beat". I've had people offer money to buy that shirt off my back. The band continues to become fiercer with age. Perhaps their grind is fueled by Potsdam's past when much of the city was destroyed in WWII?

Blood I Bleed could use a change up or two. I like the joke, its well written, but lose interest not hearing the punchline.

SunnyvaleTrash said...

N.A. - While both are not heavy in my rotation, I found Gridlink's Amber Gray to just be an awesome and violatile slab of high-tech grind. Gridlink.

Asia/Australia - Not familiar with either. No opinion.

Scandanavia - For me, this is similiar to the N.A. bracket. I've listened to both bands a few times, but never found them as compelling as other acts from the same region. From my limited listening, I recall enjoying Sayyadina more.

Europe/U.K. - I checked out Blood I Bleed after reading about them on this blog. They must not have done anything to hook me because I didn't keep of their material. Cyness always makes think I am short-changing them by not paying enough attention to them. Cyness.