Written by: Izzy
Grindcore is a super divisive genre, I’ve only ever heard three kinds of responses when I ask people if they like grindcore.
A. "I love it! It’s the grossest, rawest, and most intense genre out there."
B. "Most of it is garbage, but there’s a handful of good bands, have you heard of Discordance Axis?"
Or C: "Ma’am this is a Tim Hortons please just take your coffee."
All of which are acceptable responses, but show a lack of understanding of what truly makes the genre so amazing. For me at least, true grindcore is the perfect fusion of punk energy and metal's ferocity. Now few albums do so flawlessly, even much of modern hardcore and metalcore in some way or another falls short of reaching this unrelenting nirvana. But grindcore? Grindcore is the one genre that knows how to harness that chaotic ecstasy and craft it into something that achieves that bliss amongst the madness.
Lest ye readers read the forthcoming praise and subsequently turn upon us scribes in our lofty ivory tower, brandishing pitchforks and torches whilst profusely bleeding through wretched earholes, let me make something clear. Treading Water, the debut LP from Milwaukees’ two-man grind unit LIFES, is not a pleasant listening experience. Both in conventional and unconventional sense.
Treading Water is a brief but pugilistic cacophony, a squealing and burping punk-ridden grindy mess. LIFES carry themselves with the boisterous aggression, powerviolent attitude, and hardcore gravitas of Iron Lung or Dropdead, combined with the wild grinding invention of (my personal scene faves) The Locust. But sonically, the closest comparison I can draw is the vocal delivery of Liberteer's Matthew Widener. That said, both Zak Rudnik and Dave Holochwost handle vocal duties; I'm not sure which is which. Both are pretty damn excellent, it should be worth noting, and no matter who is roaring, the message comes across clear.
The ol' track review. It's been a while since we've had one, but lo, the promo bin hath spoken. If you're not in the reading mood--and really, we long-winded scribes shan't blame you--head on down to the embed below.
As a genre based in speed, aggression, and blunt-force viscerality, grindcore needs to be exciting in order to stand out from the bile-stained crowd. Brutality simply isn't enough anymore to garner or maintain interest, and that's why acts such as the wildly inventive Beaten to Death have risen through the ranks. Memorable, punchy, innovative, and perhaps a little unhinged. Necessary components all, and that leads us, conveniently enough, to the subject of today's review.