Written by: Izzy
If you’re at all into grindcore, you likely recognize this name. If you aren’t into grind you’ve probably never heard of this band in your life--such as the scene goes, the best bands go unnoticed to all but the most dedicated. That said, I am bringing this album to your attention for one simple reason: it fuckin' rocks and you should go listen to it.
Nepalese immigrant grinders Chepang have been blast-beating their way into the crusty hearts of fans ever since their 2016 EP, Lathi Charge. Chepang, however, have only gotten better and better with each release if you ask me (which you may or may not be, but this is my review). As they improved they also got more adventurous, and Chatta continues to follows that trend. It’s 28 minutes of razor-sharp, hyper-focused jazzy grinding madness, split up into a main section that’s 16 minutes and a 12 minute remix B-side.
Am I just gonna gloss over the fact I called this album jazzy? Not at all, I was just getting to that. If you’re anything like me, hearing the word “saxophone” in nearly any situation is enough to immediately cause your brain to start releasing endorphins and give you a dopamine headrush. Let me further titillate your serotonin receptors with some visual ASMR.
This album is not just your everyday grind, it’s grindcore with sax
Backing up the already incredibly solid everything-else on this album is some killer free-jazz sax wailing, which on its own is an improvement to nearly every project, but especially good for grindcore, a genre which needs to constantly keep a strong grip on your attention span. The manic screams, equal parts groovy and deranged guitar, and full-throttle drums are all great, but it’s those little extra pieces that help it stand out. The jazzy saxophone freakouts and powerviolence-like shifts to slow crowd-demolishing riffs on this album hit every single spot that the other aspects didn’t already.
Now uh… About that B-side, since I’ve kinda been avoiding talking about it, it’s not bad, but it feels a little out of place and odd. I like the collaborative spirit of it but it’s a very strange shift in tone, the tracks are noisy and abrasive, but in a different more manufactured way as they’re mostly electronic based, they’re very reminiscent of power noise, deconstructed club, and drum-and-bass, with rapid pounding semi-danceable beats topped by screamed shouts. It’s not bad, and considering Side B is basically just extras that can be ignored so I shouldn’t be complaining, it’s just kinda boggling as they are still technically a part of the official tracklist but feel so disconnected. They’re not nearly as enjoyable as the rest of the album, and so I usually skip them, which does sadly make the project a much shorter listen.
But I shan’t criticize the artistic vision anymore, and will just enjoy my 16 minutes of gnarly sick-nasty grind. It’s far from a flawless album but that’s what grind is like: it’s a raw and unpolished vision, you either come as you are and take it as it is, or you get shown the door (or the meatgrinder if it’s goregrind). Not for the faint of heart or those used to cleanliness, granted, Chepang are more clean produced by grind standards and should connect better with new listeners. They are still gritty and grimy and know how to put on a good show.
Chepang - Chatta was released May 22nd by Holy Goat Records and Nerve Altar
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!