Blast Worship: Chepang

Where they from?
Brooklyn by way of Nepal. I have never been to Nepal but but from what I hear they have a lot of big hills over there. Remember back in the ’90s when all those documentaries came out about people who died trying to climb to the top of Mount Everast? Am I supposed to feel bad for someone who died on what essentially is a very expensive hiking trip of their choosing? I remember watching one of those documentaries at the Norwalk aquarium with my Mom when I was like 8 and just thinking “Yeah, well, that asshole probably deserved to lose his foot to frostbite” and then I promptly quit the Boy Scouts of America and began a long career as a drug addict.

Why the hype?
I have written extensively about this band, both here and in other publications, because I firmly believe they are one of the most exciting groups in all of grindcore currently, and perhaps ever. Chepang have two drummers, one guitar, two vocalists, and were formed entirely of immigrants from Nepal who dub their music “Immigrindcore” and pose their art as being in direct defiance of America’s more xenophobic turn in the past few years. But the eccentricities don’t stop there. Guitarist Kshitiz Moktan incorporates influences from metalcore’s more angular pioneers like Coalesce and Botch and every live lineup of the band seems to feature some new unexpected addition: a saxophonist, a noise DJ or even an unplanned freestyle hip hop breakdown. Everything about the band fully reflects grindcore’s initial experimental nature: fluid, spontaneous, fearless.

Latest Release?
CHATTA, which will be released this Friday. CHATTA achieves an incredible feat in that it is simultaneously Chepang’s most tried-and-true grindcore album to date while also being it’s most experimental. The first 11 songs are some of the most suffocatingly dense music of the band’s entire career, replacing hardcore breakdowns with angular, discordant blasts accented by John Zorn-esque saxophone spasms. The album’s second half features track remixes that alternate between The Matrix soundtrack vibes to the more challenging work of Xrin Arms and Aphex Twin. It’s been a long while since I’ve come across a grindcore album that I felt was so fully realized and complete, a finished artistic statement rather than just a collection of jams. It’s one of those few albums in the world of extreme metal that I feel absolutely must be listened to in its entirety in order, and as of now, is a top contender for my album of the year.