Look, I’m not gonna sit here and bloviate about what a terrible year 2020 was. I’m sure this week there will be an onslaught of “think pieces” from hopelessly self-involved bloggers about how the nightmare of this past year caused them to do some serious soul-searching and how they “found themselves” by open an Etsy Bunt Cake business, or whatever bullshit narratives yuppies are jerking themselves off with these days. No, at Blast Worship are here to talk about GRIND and GRIND ONLY (and powerviolence, too, if you’re into that sort of thing).
Did losing a year’s worth of live shows suck? Absolutely, but there still were a whole lot of bangers released this year and that’s what we’re gonna focus on. As per usual, we are counting down the top 20 SONGS of this past year because this is GRIND and THE SHORTER, THE BETTER. What, you think I’m gonna listen to an entire album’s worth of music? What is this, 1978 or some shit?
20. “분노에 찬 눈” by Jardim De Flores
Wow, I remember writing the review of this album back in February and being like “Damn, if this record is any indication, this year will be totally awesome!” Wow, what a dumb, stupid asshole I was then. But there was one thing I was right about: this band rules.
19. “Pig Halo” by Hong Kong Fuck You
This band is beyond amazing but goddamn do they release a lot of music. Since I wrote about them last month, they already released another EP and are dropping another one this week. Like, goddamn, bros, did you guys quarantine in the studio or some shit?
18. “Advanced Disco Theory” by Skullsmasher
What a year it was for our friend Andrew Lee! Ripped to Shreds appeared on countless best of lists, penned an editorial on this website that went viral and he even got a body pillow made of himself! Andrew released a lot of music this year but it was this album released in August with the help of Human Obliteration drummer Jimi Hughes that caught our attention the most and it was this song in particular — with its sideways Discordance Axis hammer blasts — that warmed our hearts the greatest these past few months.
17. “Slick Dick Willy” by Snagg
GRINDCORE BABY, THIS IS THE REAAAAAAL.
16. “Pain and Time” by Snarler
This song is sort of like the grand canyon: It begins with mountainous walls off blast beats, then devolves into the valley of thee stankiest powerviolencee breakdown you’ve ever heard and then ends with another mountainous wall of blasting. That’s how the Grand Canyon works, right?
15. “With A Little Hell From My Friends” by Vixen Maw
Cartoonish cybergrind with a Beatles pun for a song title? Sign us the fuck up. But let us not forget that in the middle of the maelstrom off computerized drums and 1940s movies samples, there sits the holiest of things: a fucking nu-metal guitar riff. Do it all for the nookie, baby.
14. “Who Invited Wattie?” by Fissure
Full disclosure: I was personally present when this band’s bass player made the prank phone call that is sampled at the beginning of this song and, to be quite honest, it was one of the greatest moments of my life. The woman on the other line was working the desk at Marriot in Bakersfield, California, and god only knows what was going through her mind at that very moment.
13. “Human Cesspit” by Incinerated
We could talk about all the various elements off this song: the gore-soaked vocals, the guitar tone, song structure, etc., but let’s just go ahead and address the turd in the punchbowl: the breakdown that opens this song. Chef’s kiss.
12. “Body Farm” by Miasmatic Necrosis
A late comer to the 2020 pantheon (October is late for us here), Miasmatic Necrosis’ Apex Profane is nothing short of a buffet of delight for the Carcass-worship crowd, with the breakbeat-infused “Body Farm” serving as the standout track on a standout album.
11. “L’abandon” by Fuck the Facts
You can’t say 2020 was ALL bad when we got a new album from these Quebec grind-experimentalists. There’s a lot going on in Pleine Noirceur per usual and whether you’re onboard or not depends on your willingness to be toyed with. This track in particular is a wild roller-coaster through contorted artcore and surreal melodicism that has become the band’s trademark.
10. “Satan is King” by ACXDC
There were a lot good powerviolence up-and-comers to emerge from the cesspool that was 2020 but leave it to the O.G. L.A. Devil-crew to put all these young whippersnappers in their place. “Satan is King” is the definitive hardcore group-chant of the year and it is an absolute crime that we may have to wait well into this next year in order to hear it live.
9. “Thorn Palace” by WVRM
Poor WVRM. They were gonna open for Napalm Death on a U.S. tour back in April until this stupid-ass virus came along and shut everything down. That’s like the grindcore equivalent of getting your PHD. Luckily for us they still were able to release Colony Collapse, a tour-de-force which featured this absolute gem of a tune which ends with quite possibly the heaviest breakdown ever recorded by human beings ever (except for maybe that Incinerated song we discussed earlier).
8. “The Rope Calls Your Name” by Feastem
Back in March (five years ago) these Swedish grindcore flag bearers released Graveyard Earth, an album full of airtight bangers that directly bore the lineage of bands like Nasum and Rotten Sound. It was the opener that caught my attention the most, a swirling whirlwind of skank blasts, HM-2s and anthemic lyrics that personify the rage of having to sit at home for eight months straight.
7. “Pixelated Gore” by First Days of Humanity
In a year of great intros, this one may be the best. First Days took a break from their obsessive focus over humanity’s violent origin to write a concept album that played homage to sci-fi horror and ’80s video games. The synth intro to this song has such perfectly executed “Aliens” retro vibes and then just explodes into Repulsion-style splatter gore. Masterful.
6. “Elitism” by Meth Leppard
At this point, Meth Leppard is basically meme culture in the form of a grindcore band, and we at Blast Worship Industries are all about it. This song encapsulates everything we love about the Leppard boys: A satirical name, a satirical mosh part, and some serious blast work.
5. “Greatest Drain” by FUCKED
What is this? A new challenger approaches? And they are attempting to take the throne of screamo-influenced grind away from Syntax and Cloud Rat? And what is this? A wistfully melodic slow burn that’s equal parts Converge and post-Black Metal? Oh my stars and garters.
4. “Chronic Bedlam” by Internal Rot
If you eat your own boogers, then Grieving Birth was probably your favorite album of this past year. Internal Rot stand firmly at the intersection of gore, grind and old-school death metal and their grimy musical formula has developed them a dedicated legion of fans. Few things have brought me as much comfort this past year as the teasing punk riffage that opens this certified Blast Worship banger of a track.
3. “Doomed” by Grid
Grid’s Livsleda EP really captured my attention in a way that no new (to me) band has done in quite sometime. The album is fascinating blend of classic Swedish grindcore with some serious melodic experimentalism that generates several undeniably catchy and memorable moments such as this particular song right here. “Doomed” ends with a melodic D-beat part that serves as a sort of a darkened, triumphant ode to the year that could have been. Beautiful.
2. “Swarm” by Ixias
I feel like everything this band did this year was beyond perfect but if I had to pick just one song it would be the opener off of their split with Deterioration. The tribal menace and disgust maladaptive melodicism of “Swarm” just really stood out in a year in which anguish was the collective theme for everyone worldwide.
1. “Sano Dhukur” by Chepang
Chatta might go down as the single best Chheepang record ever, which is saying a lot. No band is pushing the creative boundaries off grindcore right now like these Nepalese badasses and every track on “Chatta” is a journey in its own right, but ‘Sano Dhukur’ is my personal choice for the cream of the crop. It’s got everything: a hurricane of angular guitarwork, an irreverent solo and the utterly relentless pounding of having two separate drummers play at the same time. Kshitiz and the boys were awfully good to us this year, hopefully Santa repays them kindly.