HARD/FAST/GRINDCORE HIGHLIGHTS (in alphabetical order)
Bloody Mortir – Vandalisme Massal
Asia always had a knack of adopting European – and American culture. ‘Vandalisme Massal’, the proper debut of Bloody Mortir after a very limited demo/EP, takes its inspiration from British and American sources. Charged by a hardcore-punk ethos and death metal stylings Bloody Mortir combines the best of both. Winnie Fatmawati is a force of nature despite her tiny frame, and possesses one of the meanest barks the scene has to offer. ‘Vandalisme Massal’ is by no means a game changer – but what it does, it does with relentless effectiveness. Read our full review.
Cloud Rat – Qliphoth
Its 2010 self-titled debut is considered an undiluted classic in the genre (in its fourth press, no less!) and ‘Moksha’ upped the ante. Manifesting the spirituality that always was one of its undercurrents the third Cloud Rat album sees the Michigan, Detroit band experimenting with electronics, and diversified vocal styles. The results are no less explosive than any of the band’s prior material. Madison Marshall is a frontwoman whose ferocity is only matched by her versatility. She could front a metal in any genre. Cloud Rat distills the grindcore and powerviolence subgenres into brief outbursts of frustration and rightful indignation. Fortunately they show no signs of stopping anytime soon. Cloud Rat is rightly the most revered practitioner of its genre given the disbanding of Curmudgeon, Idiots Parade, and Rape Revenge. ‘Qliphoth’ is a harrowing, cathartic experience that will frighten the most hardened amongst you.
Maladjusted – Not Taking Our Minds
‘Not Taking Our Minds’ (the much anticipated follow-up to 2014’s brazenly savage ‘Death Is the Only Relief’) sees the California hardcore quartet experimenting with grunge and electronics, to surprisingly aggressive results. Armed with a minimalist, functional production that is heavy on the bass tones and crushing all-around this new EP easily destroys what the band had done earlier. Maladjusted is getting more ferocious with each release. Frontwoman Shoup isn’t quite on the level of extremity as Veronica Mars (Buried At Birth) or the incendiary Madison Marshall (Cloud Rat) but she’s getting closer and closer to the territory. Maladjusted is pissed at the state of the world, and so should you.
Marginal – Chaos and Anarchy
Consisting of three members of one of Belgium’s oldest death metal bands, the now defunct Suhrim, and two Portuguese transplants Marginal is the new grindcore/powerviolence sensation. ‘Chaos and Anarchy’ lives up to its name by being equal parts grindcore as hardcore-punk. Even though Marginal works with traditional song lengths it makes no compromises in terms of immediacy nor intensity. An attack against all oppressors, be they corporate, economic, religious, or otherwise – Marginal refuses to bow down without taking a stand.
Riposte – Demo 2015
France has been experiencing a revival of sorts as far as underground metal is concerned. Add Riposte (which from French translates to either ‘to respond’ or ‘to retaliate’, depending on how you use it) to the ever-growing list of bands you should start paying attention to. With an average song duration of thirty seconds Riposte plays grindcore in the tradition of ‘Scum’ and ‘From Enslavement to Obliteration’ Napalm Death. Their ‘Demo 2015’ is over in the blink of an eye, but harnesses the kind of aggression you’d wish more death metal bands would actually have. Riposte is deadly efficient in its brevity and minimalism. Less is always more. Riposte goes straight for the jugular.
Svffer – Empathist
There’s more grindcore to Germany than World Downfall. Steady on the rise is Svffer, a self-proclaimed “stenchcore” (a darker hardcore variant) band that debuted formidably with its self-titled debut of 2013, and its follow-up ‘Lies We Live’ from 2014. This year Leonie and her Bielefeld/Münster friends return for another round. ‘Empathist’ shows positively no empathy for the listener as they rip, shred and tear through a dozen of songs in record time.
Vulture Locust – Command Presence
With its third album Vulture Locust, the band masterminded by Portland, Oregon underground author, traveler and conspiracy theorist Ryan Bartek, finally unleashes what it always hinted at. Attacking the American Dream from every angle, and exposing truths for those wanting to see them, the record has Vulture Locust at its most potent. Aided by a makeshift production worthy of the name ‘Command Presence’ is the most volatile and violent that the Oregon duo has sounded to date. Conforming to neither hardcore aesthetics or the typical grindcore ethos Vulture Locust is a highly unique entity worthy of more attention.