Our latest globe-spanning grindcore journey takes us to the world’s largest island country, Indonesia. Spread out among it’s more then 13,000 islands(!) is a surprisingly robust extreme metal community that has pretty consistently produced excellent groups for the past fifteen or so years. Doing research, I wasn’t sure if I should write it under the heading of “Indonesia/Malayasia” since that country also has its own surplus of exceptional grind bands but I figured for the sake of simplicity I would just keep it under the general heading of “Indonesia” while acknowledging a few bands who reside in that neighboring country.
The grindcore scene in Southeast Asia as a whole has definitely gained much international attention over the past ten years due primarily to the ascension of Sinapore’s Wormrot, who now occupy the top ranks of all globally recognized grindcore bands. I didn’t include Wormrot here because A. They aren’t from Indonesia (or Malayasia) and B. You really should know who they are by this point. Yet their presence and influence can be seen on just about all the bands who made this list, a subtle passing of the torch that extreme music scenes seem to be built upon:
The first truly “mince” band to appear in this series, I discovered this band through their split with Department of Correction who I discussed in last week’s article about the French grindcore scene. Lo and behold, these guys also excel but in a far different way: no zany silliness here, just good old-fashioned filthy, sludgy grindcore with a production value that almost places the band in goregrind territory. I normally am not a fan of dirty production but this stuff manages to keep the sharpness that other mince bands really seem to lack. Doing research for this article, I noticed how many bands from this region incorporate elements of the Oakland sound into their music, downtuned, crusty and just generally aimed at punching you in the gut. If you enjoy this, I also recommend checking out Compulsion To Kill and Diseksa, both of who come from bordering Malayasia:
This band originally popped onto my radar last year when I discovered they had opened for Full of Hell during parts of their Southeast Asia tour. Their self-titled EP from 2016 was decent enough but leaned more toward typical Converge-inspired hardcore than I would have hoped. The split they released last year with Black//Hawk is waaaaay more blast-happy, which is always a quick way to my heart. More than any other band on this list, I feel like I can sense the Wormrot influence, at least on their earlier albums, which is a good thing. I feel like this band would be HUGE if they were from Philly. If you like tough guy grind like Nails but despise the HM-2 (I know I do), you need to check this shit out:
OK, I need to address this immediately but I am definitely not a fan of this band’s name. “Hurt ‘Em” sounds like a Long Island hardcore band with members that all have girlfriends that look like Snooki. That being said, holy shit, this band is amazing. So rarely do I feel like the combination of grindcore and black metal is done well but this shit not only passes with flying colors but opens up even more possibilities than Wormrot did on Voices. It’s so odd because some of the songs here like “Insult” and opener “Compulsion” fit the mold of brutal, d-beat infused tough-guy grind but then the band taps into esoteric black metal territory with the one-two punch of “Avarice” and “Embrace.” And then they even have a song that sounds like Bury Your Dead (“Patronage”). For some reason, some of the melodic passages here really remind me of this band Vit from Ohio who tried to combine beautiful melodies with kvltness before it was the cool thing to do. One of my favorite albums from last year, check it out:
2014 was as good a year for grindcore as any but this band’s first demo “Consumed” topped the list of my favorite releases of that year. We talked about the proliferation of the Oakland sound in this scene and it’s executed in such a way here that it quite frankly surpasses most of the albums that probably inspired it. Not only is every aspect of this release recorded to maximize the sonic violence of every channel, but this thing is just riff fuckin’ city. I’ll never forget driving in my car listening to this for the first time and just playing over and over the opening riff to “Indefinite.” You know you’re onto something good when the Phobia cover is actually the weakest song on the album.
Honorable Mentions: Compulsion to Kill, Diseksa, Cardiomyopathy, Code Error