Wednesday, December 14, 2011
The Grindcore Phenomenon: We Suffer, But Why?
How did this botched abortion of music begin? Music is primarily based upon melody, rhythm, and euphony in sound (overall). Punk rock, to an extent, turned this idea on its head, eventually becoming a voice for anger in music, a voice for the discontent to express themselves with. Even within this, there was a method to the madness; even in the raw anger and cacophony, there still existed some necessary level of order, some small level of routine that remained for the purpose of remaining heterogenic. Band A has Song One, and that song belongs uniquely to THAT band, THAT artist, and it can be heard and identified as such. In time, this cacophony grew greater, and one day, one moment in time, this cacophony grew so large that it was no longer music, it was sheer noise. This movement is commonly known as grindcore, the fusion of death metal and hardcore punk started by British metal-heads Napalm Death and Flint fuckers Repulsion. Now, the drums were so fast, the guitars so out-of-tune and loud, and the vocals so indiscernible that the essential attributes of music were unable to be met, and thus, grindcore was born. Even after wearing out its welcome 20+ years ago, the phenomenon persists. In fact, Michigan is a distinct home for the genre; now, understand this is not a devaluation of this music/ noise- value is always subjective, and it ought to remain that way. However, it is fundamental to understand that music has qualities that define it, that separate it from mishmashes of noise, and grindcore is close to the latter than the former.
The lobotomized praise of this “music” and creation of this “scene” befuddles me, and it seems those that partake in creating this genre fail to see the inherent ridiculousness of the genre, and the perfectly competitive economy of grind bands that has arisen. At what point is a band writing music that is both linear and unique, and when is a drummer just beating the fuck out of the drum kit and the singer/ guitarist (because it’s very rare to see a grindcore band with more than two members) playing notes at complete random and re-enacting a fight between a parrot and a pitbull (or an argument between Rob Halford and Dave Haze)?
Let us honestly try this out: Play five Anal Cunt songs, five Knuckle Sandwich songs, five ACxDC songs, and five songs of your friends drunk at band practice, fucking around with their instruments (with a portable tape recorder, no less). What’s the difference between those sets of samples? Because I sure as hell don’t fucking know. Even substituting grindcore “legends” Napalm Death, Repulsion, Electro Hippies, Bloody Phoenix, and Magrudergrind, I’m willing to bet that it is still so similar that it’s a waste of time to try and discern bands from one another, let alone one song or album from another.
I wonder, what would have happened if grindcore had emerged alongside bands like Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, and Black Sabbath in the late 1960s and early 70s… what would the reaction to the genre have been then?