Grindcore is in a really interesting place right now with the genre being expanded on literally every frontier. Bands like Full of Hell and Gridlink have proven that not only that there are new standards in the sheer brutality of grindcore, but also in the artistry of the genre.
It's interesting to see things moving forward in this way, but after all it's only logical, you can only get by with banging out thirty second songs about anarchy for so long before a new poetry enters the art form. Even in the modern grind scene, heaviness trumps all. Of course, everyone and their deadbeat uncle has a grindcore EP out right now, so we're here to try and help you to pick through and determine some of the best.
7. Cave State
There isn't a lot of information out there about Cave State. This South California act has toured the US a couple of times and has seen their work released in a handful of super limited formats. The band's dungeon level production, marked by a super echo-y drum sound, doesn't conceal the sheer excellence of their work. Wonderfully violent, there is a certain destructive magic to the crunch of a song like "Primitivo". Toss in a few heavy-as-balls breakdowns, and you start to get a sense for how incredible this group is. It leaves you wondering what is going to come next from SoCal's fastest band.
6. Human Cull
The only international act on this list, the Exeter-based Human Cull have a whole mess of releases under their belts, each one better than the last. Featuring a highly politicized brand of grindcore with more than a few crust punk sensibilities, Human Cull will rip your head off with one of the most straight up terrifying sounds in the scene today. There is a certain sense of demented glee that makes their new record so special and will leave you scraping your jaw from the floor. Their latest release, Stillborn Nation, is 23 tracks of grindcore madness that leaves you clawing at your skull, wondering what the fuck happened to reality, and begging freedom from the destructive truths that this band spews.
With three releases out this year alone, Augurs are rapidly making a name for themselves as one of the most demented bands in grindcore. Unafraid to write longer songs, these guys really get into the artistry of the genre whilst simultaneously acknowledging its punk rock roots. There is an incredible sense of darkness to their work that makes it incredibly visceral and borderline terrifying at times. The noisy elements that help to give the band flavor are a key part of it too – creating an eerie majesty to tracks like "Pretermit" and carrying the listener off into weird soundworlds. The point being – Augurs get what grindcore can, and should be, and seem destined to help bring the dialogue surrounding the genre to a whole new level.
Having already put out their first full length, three EP's and two splits before any member reached the age of 21, Bandit have rapidly become one of the most buzzed-about bands in their scene. Fusing crushing riffs with a triple vocalist (!) attack, the bands sound makes them almost feel like an even darker Full of Hell. Punishingly groovy and always eager to start a pit, there is a sense of youthful hatred that defines this band and helps to launch them amongst the up and coming grindcore greats. These hyper-prolific young men are angrier, faster, and frankly, better than almost any of their peers, and are doing some truly exciting stuff with their songwriting. Endlessly brutal and unafraid to crack your skull, Bandit have the know-how and the dedication to go far.
I'd never heard of this band until multiple friends forwarded me their Bandcamp page when they found out that I was doing this article. Upon checking this group out I was utterly blown away by what they do. The dissonant misery in their music is impressive, to say the least, and shows a much more twisted reality than many of us would willingly acknowledge. Fusing grind, hardcore, d-beat and black metal these guys are perhaps the most 'out there' of any band on this list, but that (obviously) doesn't prevent their inclusion. The raw destruction communicated in their music hints at a weird new future for the genre and sees the potential for emotionally relevant grind, making it reminiscent of bands like Discordance Axis or Gridlink. Unlike some of the bands on this list Leucrota is not straight up grindcore, but that doesn't stop them from being one of the heaviest acts here.
These Philadelphia natives and Maryland Deathfest veterans are wonderfully groovy but also primal in their brutality. The strangely bluesy touches that help to define this band give definition to a balls out attack that leaves you gasping for air. Backslider use a fairly straightforward grindcore backdrop but then bring in touches of just about everything else to help to establish themselves as one of the most interesting bands out there. Beyond that – as I know from personal experience – this band is one of the most exciting live acts on the scene right now. Deliciously vicious and seemingly enamored with their own sense of sonic violation, I'm very curious as to where their sound will see them go next.
1. Jarhead Fertilizer
This is perhaps the ultimate hidden underground band. Featuring current and former members of Full of Hell, Jarhead Fertilizer use a twin bass assault to produce some of the heaviest music the genre has ever unleashed. Fresh off of a split with Purge, Jarhead Fertilizer have proved themselves time and time again to be the angriest, the heaviest, and in many ways possibly the best band in the underground. Simply put, there is an abrasive magic to their music that leaves your nerves raw and your spirit on edge. Jarhead Fertilizer see the human condition and then seek to tear it apart. Vicious almost to a fault, I'm genuinely concerned for the sanity of the band members – how else could they create music that is this deliciously disturbed?