It’s Monday and Mondays suck, so let’s grind it out with Blind Equation’s LIFE IS PAIN.
Welcome back and welcome to 2022. Or if it is your first time here, hi, hopefully you stick around. We are already three weeks into the new year, and I so thoroughly lose track of time that I missed the last two weeks. But me missing a Monday is the least surprising thing ever. And as it goes with Januarys, I tend to be digging back into the ever-growing crate of music I want to share with you all. Blind Equation was something I wanted to spotlight last November. Not only that we closed out 2021 with cybergrind, so it seems only fitting to open it with more cybergrind.
The Illinois enigma Blind Equation is no stranger to the cybergrind came. The project has existed since 2012, so happy decade of cyber destruction. The latest release LIFE IS PAIN is something you might have come across if you run in the Twitter (cyber)grind sphere. For a taste of what you are in store for, perhaps you have heard bands like Discordance Axis or Gridlink described as “video game boss music.” Imagine that, but with elements of MIDI and chiptune.
It cannot be understated how much cybergrind really is the wild west, and perhaps one of the last bastions of musical innovation. And maybe that is a pompous thing to say when bands like 夢遊病者 exist, but the genre is largely rule-less. There is noise, auto-tune, a whole lot of keyboards, and more. If LIFE IS PAIN was a blender, then Blind Equation hits the puree switch and adds whatever looks good from the kitchen table. “Lcd Dem” opens like the first level of an old Nintendo game. Then the distorted vocals kick in and Blind Equation goes to town. If it is your first foray into cybergrind, it is a bit jarring, like getting used to the controls of a new game. But there is something undeniably catchy about it.
There are blasts on the album. Oh how there are some glorious blasts. “:reconnect:” goes hard straight out of the gate. The track is furious and fuming, building, breaking, building, and then breaking even more. “johncenafunnymeme.exe” has a quick sting at the beginning but slows things down a bit but does not skim on the aggression. Other tracks like “Still Dying” show a perchance for a punkier side of things during its breakdown. And then other ones like “Shortages II” (feat. ZOMBIESHARK!) have a kind of metalcore attitude to them (along with autotuned vocals).
There is a lot to unpack on LIFE IS PAIN. But there is also a lot to unpack throughout the scope of cybergrind. Chiptune, Nintendocore, grindcore, metalcore, hardcore, punk, and beyond. People who like the 2000s era MySpace bands will probably find something to love here. If one is going to go down the cybergrind rabbit hole, Blind Equation is a great jumping-off point. It is well-composed, interesting, aggressive, and emotional. Welcome to ’22. We are in the future. Get cybergrinding on this!