Blast Worship: The Top 50 Grind/Powerviolence Albums of 2010-2019: Part 4

Welcome back to our countdown of The Top 50 Grindcore/Powerviolence Releases of the Past Decade! If you missed them, you can catch up on parts one, two and three first. This week we tackle entries 20 through 11. Let’s get into it:

Looking for an Answer
Dios Carne (2017)
Those looking for riffs need to look no further (puns very much intended). Spain’s Looking For An Answer absolutely lay down the fucking law with their 2017 LP that sadly would serve as the band’s swan song (for now). Dios Carne borrows liberally from the realm of Old School Death Metal but leaves behind the more annoying vestiges of that particular microgenre in favor of elements of old school, crusty grindcore that result in a thorough ass-kicking from start to finish. This album is mean, lean and takes absolutely no prisoners. Rest in power. Favorite Track: “Utopia De Sangre”

Cloud Rat
Moksha (2013)
Early in this decade this Michigan trio discovered it’s now trademark formula of melody, crust influenced grindcore and overall sense of artistry and ran with it, the result being one of the most interesting and dynamic discography’s off the 2010s. 2013’s Moksha perhaps best sums up all the band’s various moving parts into the most succinct individual recording of their career. There’s the darkly rageful blasting of songs like “Aroma” and “Vigil”, the jaw-dropping emotional swing of “Infinity Chasm” and even a Neil Young cover that’s somehow more devastating than the original. Cloud Rat were one of the most emotionally powerful bands of this past decade and Moksha is them at their apex. Favorite Track: “Infinity Chasm”

Sulfuric Cautery
Three Years of Torture (2019)
I’ve said it before here and I’ll say it again: this band is as good as they are difficult to navigate on the internet. Ohio’s own (yes, they really are from Ohio this time) Sulfuric Cautery have essentially created their own subgenre within the grindcore realm: Hyper Gore Blast, which borrows from the most disgusting elements of goregrind and mince paired with cartoonishly fast drumming to create a sound that has further pushed the grindcore envelope into previously unimaginable territory. Though highly influential, this band’s discography was for a long time very difficult to track down in a linear fashion which is why I’m including their compilation from earlier this year, “Three Years of Torture”, which collects the band’s output from the past few years. All 65 tracks on this album are worth listening to but it’s tracks 7 through 18 that are my personal favorite, capturing the band’s absurdly fast and harsh blur gore at its absolute finest. Favorite Track: “Intestinal Decorations”

Lathi Charge (2016)
Grindcore as an act of resistance, Brooklyn-based Chepang saw their rise to prominence mirrored by the rise of a certain U.S. politician whose entire platform was based off of archaic anti-immigrant dog whistles and xenophobic rhetoric. Fitting than that this band composed entirely of members originally from Nepel dubbed their style of music “Immigrindcore”, a potent mixture of hardcore, grind and disharmonious melodies that span several continents. Though the band has yet to release a bad album, it’s their debut EP, 2016’s Lathi Charge, that still remains the pinnacle Chepang release, a sonic assault that displays the band’s propensity for balancing harshness and chaos with dynamic and enthralling songwriting. Favorite Track: “Kathemandu”

Cielos Negros (2017)
This band is as important as they are criminally unheralded, Los Angeles’s Syntax have been quietly creating a grindcore revolution since their demo EP was released by Grindcore Karaoke back in 2009. Syntax combine grindcore with screamo elements to craft music that is at times hauntingly beautiful and nowhere else is this better displayed than on their 2017 full-length “Cielos Negros”. The dry studio production only serves to further highlight the uniqueness and artistry of the band’s music which captures the most emotional elements of screamo with the bravest and most fringe aspects of grindcore. “Off That Water” is the shining example of the band’s formula, beginning with a mathy, off-kilter blast beat in the manner of Discordance Axis only to emerge with a powerful sweeping surge of melody that would make the dudes in Deafheaven weep. This is grindcore at an extremely high level of artistry and passion. Favorite Track: “Off That Water”

Hatred Surge
Human Overdose (2013)
Similar to Looking for an Answer, Texas’s Hatred Surge decided to incorporate certain elements of old-school death metal into their already ferocious brand of music and the results were pretty thoroughly exceptional. The difference being that Hatred Surge started life as a powerviolence band (and an excellent one at that) so the death metal on display here is being filtered through more of punk lenses and that’s arguably what makes it so great. The blast beats aren’t as fast as they are hard-hitting and the vocals are more angry than they are inhuman but the result is something almost similar to a modern update of Repulsion’s 1986-cum-1989 classic Horrified, a dirty, filth-strewn and violent piece of punk metal that hates you in the best way possible. Favorite Track: “Skinjob”

Despise You
And On and On… (2011)
Not only is this the highest ranking traditional powerviolence album on the list, and not only is this the best PV album of the decade, but 2011’s And On and On… is arguably one of the best punk albums of all time. More so than any other band on this list, Despise You seem to personify the absolute hatred and distrust of society inherent to punk music and unleash its full force on this album. Songs like “Three Day Hold” and “Painted Grey” are basically minute-and-a-half diatribes that serve as a sonic middle finger to anyone and everyone, not least of which is the listener. No band is as punk as Despise You and no band should even try. Favorite Track: “Roll Call”

Remain Dystopian (2015)
One of the most technical releases on this list and perhaps in the entire cannon of modern death/grind, Maruta’s 2015 album somehow managed to avoid the adoration it properly deserved. Detractor’s claimed it was too overwhelming with its barrage of technicality and virtuosity but in hindsight such criticism seems a bit obtuse for this style of music. “Remain Dystopian” is the most manic and dynamic of the band’s three full-length with every song providing a roller coaster cyclone of creatively discordant guitarwork and abstruse blasting that attacks the listener from every possible angle, with the result being one of the finest overall entries in the pantheon of tech grind. Too technical? OK, Boomer. Favorite Track: “Protocol For Self Immolation”

Mephitism (2018)
My favorite record of last year, Mephitism not only set the standard for what a modern European grindcore band should sound like, but basically set the bar so high that no band within the next 10 years will be able to reach such a level. The key ingredient here is Lopan’s fretwork, a whirling dervish of speed that alternates between darkly disharmonic arpeggios and nihilistic crust riffs with a quickness and intensity not often matched in extreme metal. Songs like “Carcan” and “Dasein” hit the listener with such intense whiplash that by the time the mother of all mosh parts shows up halfway through “Gueules Cassees” it’s almost a welcome relief before the trio decides to eviscerate your face with more of its ruthless grinding. Favorite Track: “Gueules Cassees”

Death of Self
Mental Disintegration (2012)
Before he rose to metal fame with the hateful, doomy sludge of Primitive Man, guitarist Ethan Lee McCarthy fronted several Colorado-based grindcore bands, most notably Clinging To the Trees of a Forest Fire and Death of Self. Whereas Clinging to The Trees contained hints and foreshadows of Ethan’s later doomier work, Death of Self was pretty much a straight up grindcore band but channeled through the hateful and anguished prism of Denver’s most prolific extreme metal musician. To describe Mental Disintegration as “harsh” or “chaotic” feels offensive in its understatement. The ten songs here are nothing short of a churning hellscape of death cries that at times rivals the most esoteric War Metal in terms of pure sonic devastation. Ethan’s vocals are quite possibly the most brutal sound I’ve ever heard human beings make and his guitar work is likewise consistently strangulating and unforgiving. This album is a listening experience not soon forgotten. Favorite Track: “Never Ending Struggle”