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Grindcore
Grindcore, often shortened to "grind", is what you get when you combine crust punk (a form of Hardcore Punk) with Thrash Metal. Short, brutal, and apparently a joke to begin with.

While there are some examples of bands playing an early form of the genre in the early eighties, grind really started in the late eighties in the UK, Japan, and the US, when the crust punk band Napalm Death decided to take their already pretty extreme music to a new level. Combining their music with extreme metal, they created a new subgenre of both punk and metal. The term "grindcore" reportedly came from Napalm Death's drummer Mick Harris describing a Swans album to a friend.

The genre is characterized by incredibly short songs (songs lasting under a minute aren't unusual, and the barely-over-one-second song is a staple of the genre, first pioneered by Napalm Death with their song "You Suffer"), growled vocals akin to Death Metal mixed with thrashcore shouts and shrieks, a chaotic, stripped-down but still very heavy sound, fast drumming, and an overall simplicity in everything: time signatures, three-chords-by-song, no chorus, or so. Later bands, particularly in the 2000s (like the Swedish band Nasum), added a whole new level of musicianship to the genre. The lyrical content of grindcore is faithful to its punk roots and is usually about political and social content, although being as a genre highly prone to mutation and fusion, it can be about virtually anything.

The principal characteristic of grind music is its intense density: everything is pushed to the extreme, so much that on first listening it can be difficult to discern what is happening, and it sounds just like a wall of speedy noise and shrieking vocalsnote . Grind in general is often mistaken for brutal death metal, which is a subgenre of death metal that strips away melodic elements to focus on a dense pounding sound. However, this is much slower and more technical, and relies more on heaviness, non-stop beating and linearity than the monster speed and aggression of grindcore. Musically speaking, grind tends to use more power chords, simple tremolo pickings and fast beats while brutal death tends more to use intricate tremolo picking, a lot of palm muting and intricate riffs, and a much more technical and heavy drumming. While in pure speed, both genres are on par, grind feels "faster" than brutal death, which feels more "overwhelming". Just compare the second Napalm Death album to anything by, say, Hate Eternal. Yeah, it's confusing, especially when you have bands that merge the two.

Grind has witnessed a huge evolution during years and has several subgenres. Apart from straightforward grindcore, you'll find:
  • Deathgrind: grindcore that's less compressed, making it easier to understand what's going on with all the instruments. Some bands combine grind with the aforementioned brutal death metal. Think of the later Napalm Death. Alternatively, some bands such as Cephalic Carnage play more with the musical complexity common to death metal but do it at the intense speeds of grindcore; this can often sound like death metal with far too many notes, or grindcore that's far too long and complex.
  • Goregrind: basically the gory death metal version of original grindcore, relying much more on death metal aesthetics than grindcore, but less on death metal sounds than deathgrind. The lyrics are almost entirely focused on extreme gore with some exceptions, the sound is usually fatter and more organic in a death metal fashion, melodic guitar solos are fairly common, and vocals are usually modified by a pitch-shifter. The first Carcass album is the best example of the genre.
  • Pornogrind: a derivative of goregrind that relies more on groove and fun than pure aggression and gore. Of course, the lyrics are sexually explicit. Bears a lot of resemblance with goregrind, may be a little slower though. It's not unusual to have high pitched falsetto vocals (in a tongue-in-cheek way) along the usual pitch-shifted gurgling vocals. The staple of the genre would be the German band Gut.
  • Cybergrind: the electronic side of grind. Basically a mixture of hardcore techno and grind. Think of Carcass playing in a rave party, you'll pretty much understand cybergrind. Usually revolves around grindcore (or goregrind) played over techno beats with added samples and electronic sounds. Almost always uses a drum machine (with the one notable exception of The Berzerker). Agoraphobic Nosebleed is probably the most well-known band in the genre.
  • Noisegrind: the aforementioned mess of noise and screams. Think Anal Cunt. Noisegrind is an offensive subgenre, relying on shock value, whether in its "music" (some bands just improvise all the songs) or its lyrical content. Again, the best example is Anal Cunt, but there are many, many bands in that style. Usually hated by traditional grindcore fans.
  • Mathgrind: grindcore mixed with elements of mathcore, free jazz, and (occasionally) modern classical. Needless to say, it's frantic, noisy, extremely discordant, and requires no small amount of technical ability. Also known as "art school" or "hipster" grind, and as you can guess, views on it are mixed. There is also some overlap with cybergrind at times (The Locust being a good example) as well as screamo (where it is often known as "emoviolence"). Discordance Axis is the most famous example.
  • Crustgrind: grindcore that kept more of its crust roots rather than its extreme metal roots. To sum up, it's d-beat crust with blast beats; but it's definitely more than that. Examples would be Extreme Noise Terror and Disrupt.
  • Mincecore: rarely used, but exists nonetheless. Coined by Belgium's Agathocles, mincecore refers to punkish grindcore that resembles the early days of grindcore, with a more agressive and sharp sound and a tendency to release a lot of split records (as of january 2014, Agathocles have released 304 records, for only 12 albums). Musically, it is often really close to the sound of Agathocles themselves, or closer to the first Napalm Death album, Scum. Think of mincecore as the polar opposite of newer, cleaner bands like Nasum and Rotten Sound. Notable bands of the genre are Rot (from Brazil) and Archagathus (Canada). The gory side of mincecore also exists and is sometimes referred as minceGORE (although even more rarely used), and is notably rising as of late 2012. It is basically the mincecore version of goregrind, with the same differences as traditional grindcore. Some bands that have been coined as mincegore are Hyperemesis (Canada) and Couple Skate (US).

And of course, all of these subgenres can be merged. Messy?

The style is, naturally, underground, though some bands have gained some mainstream recognition.


Examples of grindcore bands include:


Grindcore exhibits the following tropes:

  • Gorn: Goregrind lyrics.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Grind lyrics are usually screamed or growled over very chaotic instrumentation, so yeah...good luck. Not to mention many bands with no actual lyrics, although given that song titles include "Experimental Insemination of Carnivorous Arachnids into Human Females" and "Decomposing Sex Object", this may be for the better.
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: Anal Cunt, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Fuck the Facts, Carcass, Cock and Ball Torture, Cattle Decapitation, Circle of Dead Children, and a lot more. The name Pig Destroyer could also count as one, if you remember that "pig" is slang for "cop". The king of bad names probably goes to Abörted Hitler Cöck.
  • Intercourse with You: Sometimes, porngrind lyrics, although they can talk about sex in the wrongest and roughest ways possible.
  • Loudness War: Not a problem with older releases in the genre (unless they've been "remastered"), but this plagues modern releases. It's almost impossible to find a modern grindcore release that isn't clipped. May be a case of Stylistic Suck.
  • Masked Luchador: A popular feature in porngrind, inexplicably.
  • Miniscule Rocking: Very, very common, to the point that it's more or less a defining characteristic of the genre.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Grindcore generally comes in around the 10 to 11 mark, depending on which particular subgenre you're talking about and how old it is.
  • Protest Song: The lyrics, most of the time, as grindcore is based upon punk music.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Most songs are about horrific injuries, disgusting sexual acts, or horrific injuries caused by disgusting sexual acts.
  • Shout-Out: There are a whole lot of goregrind bands that are just shout outs to horror movies. Just look at Mortician and Impetigo, who just use samples of the movies they love in almost every song. Impetigo even did it on stage.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Generally a hallmark of the genre as a whole; while this isn't always the case with the more death metal-influenced acts, the hardcore and powerviolence-leaning ones always take a very simplistic approach.
  • Trope Maker: Napalm Death are generally considered this, though they were not the first to play the genre. Repulsion, Siege, S.O.B., and Asocial played a similar music before them, but were they just considered extreme death metal (for Repulsion) or extreme hardcore punk (the rest). Napalm Death named the genre and were the first band to achieve success, though.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible
  • Uncommon Time: Grindcore bands have been known to throw in strange meter signatures to make their music stranger and more disorienting. Rotten Sound and Discordance Axis both use this trope pretty frequently, for example.
  • Up to Eleven: Grindcore is essentially crust punk plus this trope.

Gothic MetalMusic/Heavy MetalGroove Metal
Gothic MetalHeavy MetalGroove Metal
Hardcore PunkPunk RockMetalcore

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