It’s Monday and Mondays suck, so let’s grind it out with the premiere of the Dickless Tracy’s Grave New World.
I know in the last… honestly year of this column there has been a lot of cybergrind. And as much as I love that stuff, we are taking it back to the old school of grind. For those that like their grindcore closer to old-school death metal, you might already be familiar with today’s band. It has also probably been a while since anyone has dropped into this column and found an album longer than fifteen minutes.
Hailing out of Slovenia, Dickless Tracy has been grinding out the tunes for a long time. Starting back in 1997, the band has been punching out EPs, demos, live albums, and full-lengths for twenty-four years. With Grave New World the band unleashes their fourth full-length and continues their grind/death metal crusade.
There is a distinction to be made between grindcore, death metal, and deathgrind. All have very distinct sounds, but there are grindcore bands out there that are either deathgrind or mix death metal and grindcore. Dickless Tracy is the latter and their sound is a perfect encapsulation of this distinction. They have very clear death metal moments and very clear grindcore moments that they blend. And for the uninitiated, this is an album where one can make that distinction.
Concerning the songs themselves, Dickless Tracy still sound like they are recording back in the 90s death and grind scenes. The music is not just blast, blast blast, album over. There is melody, brutality, breakdowns, and of course blastbeats. The opening track “Deathless” is very much mostly a slice of death metal. It is not trying to do 5485 bpm, though it does start out plenty fast. Other tracks like “Devoured From the Inside” are dripping in death. The song sounds like a straight-up horror movie and the vocals might be at their most brutal here.
However, tracks like “The Apostles of Terror” have very melodic, even gloomy, downtrodden sections that add a very dark layer to the record. It does not detract from the brutality, however. Rather, I would argue it adds to it. “Morphing Into Maelstrom” breaks down as well, though this one gets to sounding like a monument of madness. The song chugs along, breaks down, chugs some more and even gets a little thrashy. It is very reminiscent of Gorguts at times and towards the end tips its hat to 80s hardcore-punk.
As a whole, Grave New World is a return to old school death and grind. The album has a metric ton of great riffs, blasts, and horror to go around. If you have been craving some new brutality, you have found it. Dickless Tracy have put out an absolute banger of a record. And as it says in their YouTube description: “Grind or be grinded.”
I tend to ask for a quote from the band concerning the record. I received several for this premiere, so I am going to post some of those below to add more context to the record, lyrics, art, etc.
About the music:
"Grave New World started taking shape back in 2015 after Jernej joined as a bassist. He brought a new form of hunger and a blaze of creativity the band needed. We crafted the songs for about 4 years to make sure that each would be killer and none filler. And as we did with our previous album, we really took care to write memorable, but still brutal songs and this time we really believe we succeeded in the marriage of speed and craziness on the one side, and doom ‘n’ gloom on the other.’’
About the lyrics:
‘’Lyrics were, as always, written by the brothers, Tomi and Ivan. The prevalent topic is, of course, death. This album speaks of many forms of death and everything that stems from or leads to it. Ironically, the first track is called ‘Deathless,’ but it still speaks of the diabolical rebirth after physical death. It is also our only Lovecraftian track. The other tracks also speak of death, spewed forth by the destruction of the environment (Pathetic Descendant Of Apes), consumerism (Dawn Of The Living Dead, Grave New World), disease (Devoured From The Inside), religion (The Apostles Of Terror and The Darkside), madness (The Curse Of Michael Myers, Morphing Into Maelstrom and Dissection Of The Mind) and a prevalent feeling of despair, loss and darkness to which one can surely succumb (Faydark Forest).’’
About the sound:
‘’We believe that the latest album also offers the best auricular representation of our death grinding madness. Responsible for this is our metal brother Andrej Čuk of the Slovene old school death metallers Ensanguinate, whom you may also know thru his YouTube video channel, Defenders Of The Riff, where he shows you all kinds of the riff-based magick. To encapture the grindstorm, he used the local based studio NegligenceStudio to record the drums; other instruments and vokills were recorded in his home studio, scented in the miasma of the rotting flesh of his non-metal neighbours.’’
Quote from Andrej Čuk:
"After discussing the band's vision both in terms of creativity and audio production, it was clear as day to me what the final product was going to sound like and how we were going to get there. The band wanted a powerful and defined sound that could go toe to toe with today's death metal
releases, yet we all agreed that the music should not sound fake and digital the way most metal does these days. Think modern day Vader and Immolation, but with the swagger of old school Slayer. The performances you hear are real and aren't edited to the point of sounding clinical, there's places where the songs breathe and sway; it was a real challenge to marry the old school to the new, to make the mix both hit hard and retain a sense of dynamics. In the end, we got there by tracking live drums in a killer room, using real amps, and bringing up the bass and vocals in the mix, all the while retaining that modern attack that makes Dickless Tracy sound heavier than ever!
About the artwork:
"Visually, we also wanted to capture this atmosphere in the visual aspect. We were thinking of finally doing a traditionally handmade or better, hand-drawn cover. We already used photography and Photoshop manipulation before, so this time we wanted to have a ‘’real’’ artwork, for a lack of a better word. Of course, as always, we wanted to bring forth the talent of perhaps not so well known dwellers of the underground. We contacted Alen Grijaković, a Serbian based artist and metalhead, whom our drummer Ivan met while Alen sessioned with Serbian legends The Stone.’’ ‘’It was a no-brainer’’, says Ivan. ‘’Alen is an a amazing artist who has a great artistic pedigree with The Stone and many other bands and his work with ink/fineliners is a sight to behold."
From Alen Grijaković of Opposition Artworks:
"Inspiration and creative idea behind the cover artwork stems from one simple (or maybe not that simple) thing – a modern human being. Being drowned in the streams of modern life, torn between the numinous hands of its master’s materialism and hedonism and everything that they preach, the contemporary human is devoid of any spirit, will or meaningfulness. It is alive, but at the same time unconscious and dead, each one in their respective casket of what they call “life”, unawarelly awaiting for the final reaping of the scythe of time and the all-consuming force of Death. The cover was drawn traditionally by hand, using the ink/fineliners on heavy art paper."
More from the band:
"The cover totally represents the feeling of the album that speaks about death, loss, emptiness. But we also wanted the booklet of the album to be a little bit more specific about the each track, like Immolation did on their last album. So we contacted our good friend Jurij Mikuletić of Psycho-Art who already did our 10 th anniversary T-shirt design back in 2007. We’ve been huge fans of his work through the years, so we kindly asked him to draw crude sketches in black and white shades to visually materialize each set of lyrics. He also did an amazing job, of course! And our merch-girl and roadie Tina Ahačič took care that all of this was put together in a one great looking CD- package."