Monday, November 1, 2010

Grindcore Bracketology: The 1-8 Winners/The 3-6 Matchups

The people have spoken and it wasn’t even close. Here are your 1-8 winners.

North America
Pig Destroyer terrifier-ed crust grind lifers Phobia, blowing them out 17-4. Turns out a fairly consistent record over 20 years and an unwavering commitment to DIY ethics just can’t compete with Hull et al’s scathing art grind nightmares. (Bonus points go to Bill Willingham IV Esq. for better articulating my problem with recent Phobia albums. I also agree they’re too safe.)

Asia and Australia
In the most lopsided contest of the lot, Wormrot eviscerated Captain Cleanoff by a vote of 18-2. Though many of you argued fiercely for the Australians’ right to slot in the contest, their booze drenched nods to classic Carcass just couldn’t stand in the face of Wormrot’s exquisite ferocity.

Though a few of you offered up spirited defenses of Infanticide’s new jack noise, Rotten Sound’s legacy of consistently crushing records drove them to a 16-5 victory. Give Infanticide a few more years to build up their reputation and I suspect the results would be much closer.

Continental Europe and the United Kingdom
Maybe it was just wishful thinking since I’ve been on an Agathocles binge lately, but I had smelled upset going into this one. You, the voters, were having none of it. Old dogs Napalm Death’s new tricks crushed Agathocles’ relentless singelmindedness by 15-6. It was the tightest contest of the day, but it wasn’t even close.

The winners have advanced and you can check out the revised brackets here.
Meanwhile, we move on to the 3-6 matchups. The faceoffs should be more evenly matched so I expect closer calls and some really interesting arguments. Let the streets flow with the blood of the unbelievers. Argument’s open until Saturday.

North America
Kill the Client (3) vs. Graf Orlock (6)
Go mess with Texas. I dare you. Yeah, didn’t think so. Kill the Client are an audio pipe bomb packed full of nails and the knucklebones of lesser competitors who shred their fingers to the nub vainly trying to keep pace. But there’s just not another band working right now that’s as purely pissed as Kill the Client. Champ Morgan is a man possessed and he’s backed by of top shelf musicians. Jesus, is there any grind band that Bryan Fajardo hasn’t joined? But the secret sauce to the Dallas barbecue may be bassist James Delgado who anchors the chaos and quietly shapes the sound from behind the scenes.
If the MPAA sends out a flurry of new cease and desist letters, cine-grinders Graf Orlock must be back in the studio. The band has dropped a triptych of releases that follow the formula of introduction/conflict/and violent conclusion that stitches together a narrative from cinematic samples and swiped dialog lyrics. And while that has been the bit of trivia that has formed the basis of the Graf’s identity, don’t overlook their quality of the hardcore tinged noise they bang out. The music is just as sweeping, emotional and explosive of the meathead movies that inspire them.

Asia and Australia
Magnicide (3) vs. Unholy Grave (6)
A fascinating matchup between two Asian acts that are perhaps better known for their artists they ape than the music they make on their own. Singapore’s Magnicide do a capable 324 impersonation as they play second grind fiddle to countrymen Wormrot. But do Wormrot have grindcore didgeridoo? Hmm? Do they? With 324 frozen in carbonite for the time being, Magnicide are your best bet to scratch that crusty grind holocaust itch until the masters’ triumphant return.
Unholy Grave are the Asian Agathocles both because they bang out a consistently lo-fi morass of punky grind with only a fleeting acquaintance with 21st Century recording techniques and technology and because the list of their split-heavy back catalogue outweighs your average phone book. But the Japanese quartet has defined its niche in the grindcore ecosphere and have burrowed in comfortably. You don’t pick up an Unholy Grave album expecting to be wowed with the latest thinking in songsmithy. However, the band has a deft hand at grinding the fuck out, never swaying from their strengths.

Afgrund (3) vs. The Arson Project (6)
Some of you have had the temerity to develop your own surprisingly cogent opinions, making lucid arguments in favor of Afgrund’s superiority to Sayyadina as Sweden’s top working grinders. How dare you? Oh, I can certainly see where you’re coming from because Afgrund raged out of the abyss (all of those who got that pun, raise your hands) with a potent brew of punk- and metal-distilled audio aggression. When the sometimes Swedish/sometimes Italian/sometimes Finnish sometimes trio/sometimes quartet (OK, their lineup is not stable) clicks, the set all of Europe aflame, like the song says. The question before you is if that is strong enough to overcome the band’s insistence of larding albums with thoroughly pointless and dreary doom passages.
Against them comes upstarts The Arson Project who only boast one EP to their name to date, but it’s a corker. Hobbled by a name stolen from the bad metalcore handbook, The Arson Project have a slick hand with a tune and a poise and energy that belies the band’s relative youth. Do 14 minutes of prime noise and bucketsful of future potential stack up against the here and now attractions of Afgrund?

Continental Europe and the United Kingdom
Suffering Mind (3) vs. Attack of the Mad Axeman (6)
Suffering Mind couldn’t be more serious; Attack of the Mad Axeman couldn’t be less. Do you prefer the rage or the jester? Poles Suffering Mind are grind incarnate. Far more hardcore inflected than many of their European kin, the band blasts and huffs and doesn’t waste its time with much else. They know their strengths and they will throttle you with their raw rage and bullwhip attack.
Against them stands Germany’s Attack of the Mad Axeman the ecologically minded grinders harness the sounds of the animal kingdom in the name of animal activism and environmental responsibility. They also know their way around a thoroughly infectious riff over the course of two increasingly awesome full lengths. And yes, they wear fuzzy animal costumes on stage, but don’t let that lull you into thinking they’re a joke band.


Alex Layzell said...

North America - Kill the Client
Although I love Graf Orlock, none can survive the behemoth that is Kill the Clients new album.

Asia and Australia - Unholy Grave
Generally a tough call, but I do love some of Unholy Graves messed up vocals and unforgettable moments, although once again I stress tough call.

Scandinavia -Afgrund
I raise my hand to your commentary! Afgrund are Nasums rightful heir!

Continental Europe and the U.K - Suffering Mind
Although I love all that is Attack of the Mad Axemen, Suffering Mind have the musical superiority on this one.

Bill Willingham IV, Esquire said...

Hey, thanks for the props.

North America: [Barney]I abstain![/Barney] Not familiar enough with the two to call it.

Asia: Goddamn! Tough one. I'm going to go with Magnicide, though. Unholy Grave seem to have trouble writing a front-to-back smasher, whereas Magnicide's LP is fucking ferocious all the way through. Also, that thrashing bonus track always makes me absurdly giddy.

Scandinavia: I'm going to go with the Arson Project. Extremely tough call, but I think they're just a little more ferocious and there are more cool drum fills. I actually don't mind Afgrund's little stoner rock moments that much. I think they're cute.

Europe: As much as I'd love to cast my vote for the Enimal grinders, I haven't heard any Suffering Mind, so it's not fair. I abstain again.

DRJones said...

na - if kill the client do not at least win the north america bracket then this competition is rigged. ktk get my vote.

a&a - magnicide. a fun listen. neither have really struck me over the years.

scand - afgrund. unless rotten sound go back to their crust roots, and they've intimiated as much in cycles and napalm, afgrund wear the 'best post-nasum' crown.

ce&uk - suffering mind. their s/t on 625 has been getting plenty of spin time. sm, squash bowels and gride are my fav euro bands

GrindNinja said...

North America - Kill The Client

Asia & Australia - Magnicide

Scandinavia - Afgrund

CE and the UK - Attack Of The Mad Axeman ...very close call

Flesh Monolith said...

This appears the be the weakest group of matchups if you ask me.

North America: Graf Orlock
I heard one of KtC's albums last year and fell asleep listening. I am a huge fan of Graf Orlock's Destination Time Yesterday, it's mosh sensibilities, 80's action movie homages and overall 'funess' have made this a safe choice for me to visit, and revisit time and time again. That said, their last album was disappointing, but I have my hopes.

Austrasia: Abstain.
Don't care for Unholy Grave much, but props to their punk style 4,000,000 releases. Don't know Magnicide at all.

Their last album was one of my favorite surprises of last year. I just wish the production were dirtier and this band would defiantly be a favorite of mine. The Arson project's alright, but doesn't standout too much for me.

Mainland Europe: Abstain
I've only heard Scumdogs and I found it amazingly average. I can't believe this band out placed cripple bastards, Machetazo, or others. then again, maybe I should visit their older stuff. I don't know suffering mind at all.

geeheeb said...

NA ) Kill The Client. No contest, even ask Graf Orlock they would agree!

AA) I'm going to take a quote from Mao about Asia here: "No investigation no right to speak". Unholy Grave is great live, but I've never really listened to Magnicide.

Scand) both these bands fucking suck.

EU / UK) Suffering Mind on record. I'm sure its different live, but I've never seen each band.

Anonymous said...

North America: Graf Orlock.
They are funny, atleast their Destination Time album is awesome. KtC I did not really know and after listening to them a bit I do not want to change that.

Austrasia: Unholy Grave because of the drum solo.. Magnicide is ok but never catched my interest.

Scandinavia: Afgrund (also raising a swedish arm)

Mainland Europe: Attach Of The Mad Axeman because I prefer less serious.


Sean said...

North America - Kill the Client. Graf Orlock just doesn't do much for me.

Australasia - abstain

Scandinavia - "Do 14 minutes of prime noise and bucketsful of future potential stack up against the here and now attractions of Afgrund?" Nope. Afgrund all the way.

The rest of Europe - Attack of the Mad Axeman, because killer riffs + animal costumes beats postage stamp crusty grind for me.

Unknown said...

I'm pretty unfamiliar with Graf Orlock but I hear lots of good things. Kill the Client on the other hand is PxDx from Texass. All the other TX bands have sounds reminiscent of each other while these guys grind like they're from the east coast. Kill the Client.
Have not heard very much Unholy Grave but I really like Magnicide. Their s/t album is like if 324 listened to American straight edge hardcore. What a ridiculous concept. I love it. Magnicide.
Have never heard the Arson Project and wasn't impressed with Afgrund. Can I choose Mumakil?
I'm one hundred percent unfamiliar with Suffering Mind. I'm also not the biggest fan of the AotMAM full-length, but their split with the Makai is so gooooooood. I also like less serious in general. Attack of the Mad Axe Men.
Also people need to stop voting for Abstain. They are a sweet CA grind band, but they broke up and aren't on the bracket. Especially for voting in a non-North American band.

Alex Layzell said...

1. Mumakil are from Switzerland which is not in Scandinavia.
2. When people say abstain, they are not referring to the band, but are abstaining from voting in that category.
Not picking on you, merely steering you in the right direction.

Andrew Childers said...

uhhh ortho, may wanna check your humor settings there for a second.

shane, i'm gonna need you to come wipe off the screen of my work computer or that one.

Alex Layzell said...

My bad!

brutalex said...
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brutalex said...
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brutalex said...

North America: Kill the Client. Graf Orlock do have that incredible Jurassic Park breakdown, but not much else by them does anything for me. Gotta hand it to the Texan boys for bringing balls and Bryan to the table.

Asia: Magnicide! What's not to love about 324 worship played at twice the speed? Nothing, there is fucking nothing not to like about that. Unholy Grave are good but I would never actively listen to them, they may have the years over Magnicide but the Singaporean lads would grind the sagging faces right off 'em.

Scandinavia: the Arson Project but only for not being Afgrund.

Europe: Suffering Mind! I like Attack of the Mad Axeman even after not checking them out for ages because of the silliness but Suffering Mind just completely annihilate AotMA on every level. SM are ferocious with their crust-infused grind assault and everything they've released has blasted my face off too many times to count. Axeman play solid grind, no doubt about it, but I feel like something special with Suffering Mind's music that both warms my heart and makes me want to kill every mother fucker simultaneously. Shit, maybe I just have a soft spot for smelly grind punx.

DesiccatedVeins said...

North America- Kill the Client 100%. Since Wage Slave, they've been just terrifically unhinged, and the subject matter is just absolutely fierce. To compound that, I've never understood classifying Graf Orlock as a grindcore band in the first place; as hard as I've tried, they just never sound like anything more than a thrashy hardcore band. If anyone knows a song of theirs which remedies this, please send it to me. I want to understand, really I do.

Asia- Unholy Grave. Magnicide's demo and LP are cool, but they never get quite get fast enough for me or rise far above 324 worship. That's not to say I don't have faith that they will, they just haven't yet. As for Unholy Grave being Agathocles worship, I can't really agree. They have a lot of similarities, and they're most definitely sister groups, but UG's LP Crucified really has no peer in the Agatho-catalog; the vocals go so many strange places that the Belgians never even get close to (those half-laugh, half-growl intros they do are so weirdly addictive,) as well as being much higher and Chang/Putnam-tastic than the 'thocles, as well as Crucified being the rare mince record, with a mere 16 tracks as opposed to 30 or 40.

Scandinavia- The Arson Project. Despite their awful name and limited output, Blood and Locusts falls under the Amber Gray rule of quality over quantity, importing a PxDx-type level of urgency into a country whose grindcore is most often over-sterilized. The only Afgrund song that really gives tAP a run for their money is "Vi Lever, Vi Drabbas, Vi Dör" and that super-skronky, off-kilter riffage, but it's such a brief bit of inspiration in an otherwise pretty run-of-the-mill catalog that its weight just can't tip the scales in their favor.

Continental Europe and the UK- Tough call, this. I hate to say it while I'm listening to and thoroughly enjoying Suffering Mind's new LP, but I'm going to have to give the win to Attack of the Mad Axeman. I'm pumped that there's even a female-fronted group in the brackets, and I've loved virtually everything they've done; it's just that those crazy Germans both know their way around a catchy riff and keep the grind flowing so relentlessly that, costumes be damned, they're just so much more memorable song-wise than the equally excellent Poles.

DesiccatedVeins said...

That comment about Unholy Grave was meant to say *streamlined mince record, not just mince record.

Will said...

I regret not weighing in sooner on the other rounds.

North America: Kill the Client definitely. Who the fuck is Graf Orlock anyway?

Asia/AU: Unholy Grave. Magnicide has yet to hold my attention, not that UG is doing it for me lately either though.

Scandinavia: neither. zzzzzzzzzzz

Continental Europe/UK: Suffering Mind hands down. Attack of the Mad Axeman are great, but they can't beat Suffering Mind!

brutalex said...

Come on, guys. Fuck all the abstaining! Give all the bands an equal chance and listen to them all at least once. All the "I vote for X because I've never heard Y." is gettin' annoying.

DesiccatedVeins said...

Seriously, do yr. homework. Abstention is about as cool as abstinence.

DRJones said...

Abstaining is better than voting for someone's arbitrary list. I don't like half of these bands, so instead of voting for the lesser of two evils, I abstain. As to others who have not heard either option, are they really missing anything? Hardly.

Besides, since when is grind about following orders. Let the rabbits wear spectacles.

Unknown said...

I want to point out Magnicide hasn't been a band as long as Unholy Grave, but all their members have been. They're all vets in the Asian grind scene.

brutalex said...

Grind was never about taking orders but I'm pretty sure it's always been about equality.

Anonymous said...

best european grind band is The Afternoon Gentlemen from the UK. case closed.

Bill Willingham IV, Esquire said...

Whoa, guys, set your nerd-ragers back to stun.

When I have the time/feel like checking a band out, I will certainly do so.

However, when I don't, I will vote on what I already know and participate to the extent that I feel comfortable with.

I spend most of my day doing things other than researching my votes in a music poll, unfortunately.

Flesh Monolith said...

^ man speaks truth. Abstaining is a lot better then "i don't know x, so here's to Y" this will keep happening with the bigger bands I guess (i sadly see Napalm Death winning for this reason, or Wormrot).

HAG said...

kill the client- even though i really over listened to graf orlock when i first got into them and they were really fun to see live, kill the client was one of the first grind bands i got into and the new album is really good.

unholy grave- i just recently got into magnicide from this site and like the "rise to the annihilation" album quite a bit, but unholy grave has been one of my favorites for years. for some reason i like their formula more than agothacles. alot of that is their recordings i think. not enough people love this band.

i don't know the others enough to say.

SunnyvaleTrash said...

N.A. - Kill the Client by far. I haven't spent too much time with the new record yet, but goddamn does Cleptocracy just rule. The production is amazing and there are parts of that record that I can still recall despite not having listened to it in a few weeks. Top-notch performances from all involved too, and I think that record was my introduction to Fajardo.

Asia & Australia - Not familiar with either.

Scandanavia - While a fan of both, Afgrund easily take this competition for me. Thick and dirty production and fantastic musicianship mixed with great song-writing chops.

Europe and U.K. - Haven't listened to either.

PatrickDM said...

NA-kill the client


Scan-..pass bc i havent hear enough of either band but if i had a gun to my head i'd go with arson project

Eu/Uk-attack of the mad axeman

Rosemary said...

North America: Kill the Client

They have been around a while and have worked towards there sound today. James Delgado is more than just the bass player, but the mastermind of what KTL is all about. Morgan, on the other hand, is an amazing frontman that many grind bands lack.

It was great when Dorian from Noisear was playing second guitar with KTL. He brought a little more weirdness than the straight ahead grinding that the band capitilizes upon.

Asia and Australia: Magnicide

Scandinavia: Arson Project.

I think there is a little more to that band than meets the ear. I'll go with what I have heard and hope that the band raises the stakes of Swedish grind terror in the near future.

I do enjoy to the first Afgrund recording, and dig the punkness that is wrapped around the grind, but their sophomore effort is a bit too mid-paced, as it drags on to the next ho-hum breakdown. I found the second recording to be boring, as much as I wanted it not to be.

Europe & UK: Attack of the Mad Axeman

Germany has not come so close to whirlwind grind as it has since the formation of Attack of the Mad Axeman. Despite the German humour, which I know all too well, getting past that is easy with how tight the band is as they grind a new hole in your head.

Suffering Mind has the chops, but not my attention. Sorry.

Ryan Page said...

Just dropping in to show my support for graf orlock. I love that band. They are goofy, but their songs rule, and I kind of love their gimmick.