Saturday, December 10, 2011
Get Into: Trenchgrinder
Before I got out to shows much there was a really cool speed-crust band called Atakke who sounded kind of like a stripped-down, fuzzed-out Kreator. They were fronted by a chick, but instead of playing up the "female vocals" angle like a lot of women on the punk scene, she left behind all the identity politics and just did one of the vilest black-thrash rasps I'd ever heard. Now that's punk. Fenriz dug Atakke too--they were Band of the Week I believe! But every time I mentioned my enthusiasm for them to people who were more "on the scene" than I was, they had some kind of beef against the band. If Atakke pissed that many people off, I figure they had to be doing something right. They broke up last year, before I ever even saw them live.
Luckily, their demise has spawned Trenchgrinder. I believe the lineup is pretty much just Atakke minus the vocalist, but they've taken their old band's aesthetic to a really interesting new place. Where Atakke were nimble and ripping, Trenchgrinder are brutish and crushing. Where Atakke sounded pretty damn retro (at least on their first EP), Trenchgrinder sound like the future of extreme metalpunk. The crust and thrash influences are still clear, but the overall sound is grinding death metal. Think of it as a more refined version of the first two Bolt Thrower albums, or even Armoured Angel, an awesome band I've repped on here before.
I'm especially impressed by "Destroyer Unmaker/Waking Terror," where Trenchgrinder take a noble stab at the seemingly impossible task of writing a 9-minute deathcrust song. There are a couple moments where it loses steam, but all in all it's a success, a slowly escalating slog into headlong aggression. And while Trenchgrinder have lost an awesome frontwoman, the new dude screaming is onto something unique: a droning, slurry rasp that's halfway to the Abbath raven-croak. At times he gets buried in the frenzy, but when everything else recedes and he lays it down over a primitive chug riff, the music takes on a truly barbaric, inhuman feeling. The individual riffs range from the neckbreaking to the generic, but what the fuck it's just their first demo, and it's certainly drawn me back for repeat listens. What's really important at this point is that Trenchgrinder have staked out a very cool sound, and I'm stoked to see where they go with it. And to finally see them live!