Are you still reeling from the new Gridlink album? That’s hardly surprising, it’s set an extremely high standard early in the year for all grindcore to follow; much like Cloud Rat did in February 2013. Of course, that’s not a reason to assume that the next few grind records to drop won’t be up to the task; with some impressive bands releasing records just recently or very soon.
Human Cull from Exeter are one such band with their pipe bomb Stillborn Nation. The band has a few releases under their belts but really gathered some attention around these parts in 2012 with their split tape with Toronto grinders Homolka. Funnily enough, it wasn’t the most appropriate introduction to the band. The track ‘Cities Become Graves’ was an experiment of sorts, with one 13 minute jaunt that saw the band toy with doom sludge elements, leaving their fire-breathing grinding tendencies aside just for a moment.
Stillborn Nation is a return to well-worn formulas, that being blazing early Nasum-tinged grind infected with crusty urgency and hints of melody. Playing things by the books, Stillborn Nation is at the perfect length of just 25 minutes, seeing Human Cull jam in as much brutality and ferocity as possible with little or no breathers.
Greece’s Dephosphorus are a band that wholly deserves your attention too, even if you have just a passing interest in grindcore. Genre blending is pretty rife right now as every band and their mum is playing “blackened” something or other. Dephosphorus are certainly a melting pot of sounds but the focus always remains on grind and rabid HC, or “astrogrind” as the band self-describes.
Their latest record Ravenous Solemnity is a raging slab of hardcore peppered with melody and tasteful intricacies. The band is able to bludgeon but the guitar work weaves slick riffs over the juddering d-beats and not to mention, the bleeding emotion that reeks off each of these tracks.
There’s a Fuck the Facts-like vibe of variety going on with these compositions but the ghastly vocals from Panos Agoros pluck a little from the black metal school of thought, sounding strangely reminiscent of Austere. This is perhaps where Dephosphorus’ “blackened” strains emerge the highest on the album.
For a perfect sampling of what Dephosphorus are about, take ‘Ancient Drone’ where a shamelessly hooky opening riff gives way to meandering and corrosive almost-mathy passages while the drums hold down some inhuman beats.
Ravenous Solemnity shouldn’t be slept on. It’s another album that unequivocally raises the bar for grind in 2014.