Where they from? Tampa, Florida. There’s a common misconception that the city of Tampa is known officially as ‘Tampa Bay’, most likely due to the fact that the professional sports teams based in the Tampa area refer to the city with the suffix ‘Bay’, i.e. The Tampa Bay Rays or the Tampa Bay Lightning. When the town was officially incorporated in 1848 it was actually named “Tampa Town” but had it’s name shorted to simply “Tampa” in 1855.
What do they sound like? Merciless, militant Tampa (Bay/Town) hategrind.
Why the hype? As we enter the third month of this new year, I’m having difficulty finding new grind releases that really grab my attention or, at the very least, are worthy of the incredibly-rarified air that this column provides so I’ve decided to take this opportunity to spotlight some old favorites of mine from grindcore Christmas past.
Which brings us to these Tampa Bay Town bad boys. Cellgraft had their heyday in what I refer to as the This Comp Kills Fascists era of grindcore, which is roughly from 2007-2013, with the band deriving their name from one of Insect Warfare’s songs on that compilation. And man, it’s one thing to say that these guys worshipped IW, but I’m gonna go so far as saying that they not only transmitted that band’s militance but probably outdid them in that aspect. Every note this band plays is completely devoid of any hint of a breath of falsity and the results at once singular and spectacular.
My favorite release: Easily 2010’s External Habitation, which in terms of production value is the single most abrasive/heavy album of all time. It’s the one album that I actually have to make sure I have the volume lowered on my speakers before I put it on. The sound quality is simply a knife that slashes at your eardrums and the music itself does everything within its power to ensure that its victims have utterly no chance of survival. Last Days of Humanity is a fucking cakewalk compared to this.
Favorite Track: Album opener “Centrosymmetric” is the one that will get stuck in your head and does an incredible job of introducing the listener to the airtight punishment they are about to receive, but “Devolved Through Dependency” is the one that does it for me. Even though the centerpiece riff is kind of an Insect Warfare ripoff, it really doesn’t matter. When you’re getting your head severed in such a severe manner, originality doesn’t really matter.