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Grindcore Catch Up

Kunal Choksi is the the editor and operator of Transcending Obscurity, a webzine and record label, and Transcending Obscurity India, an undertaking set up to help further the careers of metal bands in his home country. The man also knows his grind and is always searching out new and obscure treasures. He’s here today to get us caught up.

There is something about grindcore. It’s over two decades old and it’s still the most extreme music out there. Coming from a country like India, chaos is all too familiar. And yet, nothing gets me out of bed faster than grindcore. Having first been exposed to the genre in the ‘90s via Brutal Truth’s Need to Control album, I could see how it was different from the other genres, even though it was seemingly a logical progression from punk, thrash, and even death metal. The sense of urgency, occasional simplicity, and pure energy has no substitute. Grindcore has the rebelliousness and political expression that couldn’t be more palpable in any other form of music. It will always have its place and will remain relevant, now and in the future.

— Kunal Choksi

NauseaCondemned to the System (Willowtip Records)

This is face-ripping old school grindcore with emphasis on intent rather than chaos — in other words, it’s not trying to break speed records or smash eardrums. Of course, these guys have an old school history: vocalist/guitarist Oscar Garcia played on Terrorizer’s World Downfall and Nausea themselves released a largely overlooked classic called Crimes Against Humanity which influenced many in 1991. Back then, Nausea were similar to the likes of Unseen Terror and Napalm Death, if not early Extreme Noise Terror. In comparison, Condemned to the System is indubitably faster and crisper. Leon del Muerte of Impaled and ex-Phobia fame, is now in the lineup, adding even more aggression. The guys aren’t trying to be rock stars, but simply showing that good music is good music, no matter the decade.

Super Fun Happy SlideDrop Your Pants & Grind (Blastasfuk Records)

Super Fun Happy Slide’s music is rambunctious, ridiculous, but highly effective. This is raw, irreverent, and volatile grindcore. It’s music for your inner child that has been silenced over the years by your parents, teachers, and ultimately your domineering friends. Drop Your Pants & Grind makes you rebel against the system and everyone you know and secretly hate. It’s essentially carrying on Napalm Death’s Scum-era template, enhancing it to include pitch-shifted vocals and humorous intros (short ones, though) to make extra-caustic D.I.Y.-esque grindcore. You won’t find this one on Earache. You will find it on Blastasfuk, though. Blastafuk is a label from the band’s own backyard, Australia. Blastasfuk aren’t a trendsetting entity just yet, but they’re delivering far more vicious and potent grindcore than any other label out there these days.

The DripA Presentation of Gruesome Poetics (Relapse Records)

Vicious, sharp, and intense. The Drip’s A Presentation of Gruesome Poetics is the most impressive debut EP I’ve heard since The Arson Project’s Blood and Locusts was released some years back. As expected, this is similar to Nasum-worship bands, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Drip channel early Pig Destroyer and Rotten Sound, as well. You know what you’re in for. It’s not a blast-fest, but focused and effective no-frills grindcore. It’s for the geeks as well as the madmen you keep bumping into just outside the mosh pit.

Abaddon IncarnatePessimist (Candlelight Records)

Irish grindcore band Abaddon Incarnate have grown from a shaky thrash-y debut to a mushroom cloud on Nadir, a standout release in this genre. Pessimist marks a return to Nadir‘s sound after Abaddon Incarnate explored the death metal side of their personality, much like the career arc of Napalm Death. Pessimist has all the previous trademarks. It’s raging grindcore with a death metal hangover, swinging a barbed axe that will split your skull into fragments too small to get caught in a coconut-fiber broom.

Internal RotMental Hygiene (Blastasfuk Records)

Australia’s Internal Rot are rooted in old school grindcore, but like Super Fun Happy Slide, have managed to upgrade the sound. Self-described as a band playing music in the vein of Excruciating Terror (extremely underrated), Internal Rot are adding their own level of intensity to the proceedings. It’s almost as if the band is doing an exaggerated parody of the genre similar to what early Broken Hope did with death metal, taking the original features and amplifying them. Internal Rot use Excruciating Terror, and also Lee Dorian-era Napalm Death, as a template and finds a new level of awesome.

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