parodies by nacrowe
one of the highlights of my run of DEER GOD RADIO shows on nonprofit MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC has undoubtedly been the GRINDCORE episode. ive been back stateside now for about five years after being overseas for nearly a decade. and it has been brutal.
its been extreme in the sense that AMERICA has been bifurcated along economic, religious and (absurdly) partisan lines to the point that i dont speak with once-close relatives. since my return DOMESTIC WHITE ETHNIC NATIONALIST TERRORISM sanctioned by one the two prominent parties has found a foothold in the AMERICAN consciousness thanks to former PRESIDENT TRUMP that has reared its head in CHARLOTTESVILLE, THE JANUARY 6TH INSURRECTION and several mass murders in PITTSBURGH, BOULDER, ORLANDO, LAS VEGAS, PARKLAND, EL PASO and BUFFALO. not to mention the hate crimes and lynchings at the hands of cops against the likes of BREONNA TAYLOR, PHILANDO CASTILE, AHMAUD ARBERY and of course GEORGE FLOYD among too many others before and since.
coupled with crises like CLIMATE CHANGE, the war in UKRAINE, the impending reversal of ROE VS. WADE and the creeping slow dismantling of our national voting apparatus; it very much feels like nothing is progressing in this country. we are backsliding. we are becoming like some of the broken nations i lived in abroad where dogma and political affiliation are more important than universal jurisprudence or any sense of moral code.
when i think of GRINDCORE what i hear is a PRIMAL SCREAM. its EXTREMITY and BRUTALITY matches the deep FRUSTRATION i feel about my home at this historical, cultural and political moment. as AMERICAN abroad i wore my nationality every day in public, sometimes in inhospitable locations. and i cant help but feel anger at what we have become. its beyond embarrassment at this point. its just PATHETIC how little we care for each other. when i hear GRINDCORE bands it helps me channel that UNBRIDLED RAGE at this stupidity and those institutions (politicians, talking heads, etc.) that enable and profit from it.
GRINDCORE is mainlined ANGER in its purest form. enjoy.
parodies by nacrowe
check out HERE this recent streaming video episode of DEER GOD RADIO celebrating the EXTREME METAL genre of GRINDCORE!
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO are available here at the DEER GOD website as well as in the MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC archives.
and if you haven't done so already, make sure and download the FREE PHONE APP for IOS/ANDROID and enjoy listening to MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC 24/7 at your convenience!
photo by nacrowe
fans often have a misconception that bands are democracies.
perhaps this has to do with the very nature of being a fan, which entails the capacity to project yourself and your feelings, fears and aspirations onto an external entity like an artist, band, politician or even a sports team. the payoff for this projection is the reciprocal confirmation of whatever narrative we like to tell and delude ourselves with. in this manner being a fan is very much about you the audience and not the artist.
so when you learnt that bands have less than savory internal dynamics where power, creative control and finances are not co-equal, for some this is a hurdle. an autocracy like SMASHING PUMPKINS with the pumpkin king BILLY CORGAN is hard to stomach given the open ethos and message of exclusivity of his music. its easier to come to terms with the fact that NINE INCH NAILS is the front group of auteur TRENT REZNOR in my mind because of the singular misanthropic nature of his lyrics and sonic palette.
enter DEATH METAL and the legendary namesake band for the genre DEATH. a recent documentary DEATH BY METAL (MENTAL PICTURES, 2016) delves into the life and legacy of frontman/songwriter/guitar virtuoso CHUCK SCHULDINER and his pioneering sound which further refined THRASH METAL into a whole world of technicality and brutality.
through 7 albums over an 11 year span he did not repeat the same recording lineup twice. keep in mind that all these albums absolutely slayed which is testament to his vision, passion and technical abilities. it also gets into the nature of megalomania and the challenges of maintaining a singular focus. there are lots of bands that function on a high level with a seemingly regular interchanging of musicians around one visionary artist, namely QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, BLACK SABBATH, MEGADETH, KING CRIMSON, THE MISFITS, ANTHRAX, and GUNS N' ROSES to name a few. with the exception of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, most of these groups have one lineup from which they derived their cult status and later permutations were meant to maintain some semblance of legacy stature on subsequent tour packages.
not the case with DEATH. if anything their music became more progressive and technically demanding as the "band" continued onward. people have several arguments for which lineup was the definitive "classic" permutation of the band, which to me is amazing. this documentary really gets into gritty details of how SCHULDINER pulled off this streak and how his singular focus was both an inspiration to his former band-mates and the bane of their existence while in the eye of the storm.
highly recommended this documentary and for the record, personally i'd put SCHULDINER on the REZNOR end of the cultural spectrum as CORGAN has been exposed as a joke and a fraud in recent years. definitely dont want to confuse that issue.
photo & text by nacrowe
recently i finished reading this book CHASING DEATH: THE IMPROBABLY HISTORY OF DEATH METAL & GRINDCORE (BAZILLION POINTS, 2016) by DECIBEL MAGAZINE editor-in-chief ALBERT MUDRIAN. it very much gets into the weeds on how both these genres developed out of teenagers in the mid-80s who were looking for a more intense expression for their rage in the wake of the HARDCORE and THRASH METAL scenes in both the industrial midlands of britain and the eastern seaboard of the united states.
my impetus for exploring this genre was partly to provide context to a host of bands i've enjoyed over the years including PIG DESTROYER, NAPALM DEATH, CARCASS, DEATH, THE LOCUST, MORBID ANGEL, SUFFOCATION, CANNIBAL CORPSE, BOLT THROWER, GORGUTS, NILE, IMMOLATION, AUTOPSY among countless others.
what i didn't expect to find was the relative obscurity of bands that made a truly global impact due to the international tape-trading scene of that pre-internet age. case in point: DEEP WOUND from WESTER MASSACHUSETTS and the pre-DINOSAUR JR HARDCORE band of J MASCIS. despite their relatively minor status in the BOSTON HARDCORE scene of which they were on the periphery stylistically, socially and geographically, their music which was more intense, uptempo and chaotic made them a must-have for tape collectors seeking their next fix of more extreme music as far away as JAPAN, SWEDEN, HOLLAND, GERMANY and the UK. despite being a regional act, their influence abroad far outweighed their geographic limitations and proved to be influential in the scene. that cross-pollination of the HARDCORE, INDIE and extreme metal scenes wasn't something i was aware of but makes sense given that their supporters (AMERICAN college radio, JOHN PEEL at BBC1) were equally open-minded, even during this formative stage.
even the amount of label infrastructure that came about to support and profit from this burgeoning yet seemingly hopelessly unprofitable scene is staggering in its own right and has benefitted countless other extreme genres in its wake (and, er, NICKLEBACK). this includes most predominantly:
ROADRUNNER RECORDS (DEICIDE, OBITUARY, PESTILENCE, IMMOLATION, SEPULTURA)
CENTURY MEDIA (GRAVE, ASPHYX, ARCH ENEMY)
NUCLEAR BLAST (DISMEMBER, IN FLAMES)
EARACHE RECORDS (NAPALM DEATH, CARCASS, BOLT THROWER, MORBID ANGEL, TERRORIZER, BRUTAL TRUTH)
NECROSIS RECORDS (REPULSION, CARNAGE)
PEACEVILLE RECORDS (AUTOPSY, AT THE GATES, OPETH)
COMBAT RECORDS (DEATH, POSSESSED)
METAL BLADE RECORDS (CANNIBAL CORPSE)
RELAPSE RECORDS (AMORPHIS, NILE, ICANTATION, DYING FETUS, SUFFOCATION, PIG DESTROYER)
the book is definitely worth looking into if you are interested in getting a broad overview of the history of the scene. like any comprehensive book on a given genre, reading this has helped me rediscover stuff i hadn't thought of in a while and made me consider how diverse and complex fringe music can be.