Friday, March 9, 2018

Cassette Review:
The Grindful Dead
"Black Goat Barbecue Bash Edition"
(Rip Roaring Shit Storm Records)

£3.75 //
Edition of 50 // //

What is your earliest memory?  That is a question I ask myself, musically, every time I hear an artist such as The Grindful Dead.   In this instance I had to trace my memory back to when I first heard something in the realm of hardcore, which took me back to when I was in my teens and bought my first Sick Of It All album.  For many reasons, that became my top of the mountain when it came to how heavy and brutal something was and throughout the course of time it has continued to live up to that title.

The Grindful Dead have killer guitar riffs, pounding drums and explosive bass lines.  The vocals are in your face and it's just a sound which can take over an entire room.    I have this funny way of listening to music that I like to often times imagine the band performing their songs and where I could see that as being fitting: someone's basement, a small club, a giant arena, etc.   For The Grindful Dead, I could just as easily see kids destroying themselves while listening to these songs in a club setting which holds numbers in the low hundreds as I could see them in one of those giant open stages with moshpits in the grass.

It might sound weird to say because this is hardcore/metal music but I feel a lot of what it will mean to you is left to how you choose to listen to it.   While it feels like it should be a more direct idea of "Well it sounds like this band meets this band", the fact is this music takes me back to a simpler time in my life.    Back before the year 2000 I was heavy into the Connecticut music scene and not only did CT have some of the best hardcore bands out there, the tours brought through some of the best as well (And yeah, I'd travel to Boston and NYC for shows as well)

Though "Black Goat Barbecue Bash Edition" might not take you back to your younger days (Perhaps you are in your younger days still?) it should at least serve as a reminder that there was a time when music was abrasive and without restraint.    You see, my problem with a lot of music in the 21st Century that has been labeled as either hardcore or metal is that it will start off hard but then they start singing in the chorus or get that melody, that "emo" mixed in with it to the point where I feel like a lot of kids in their teens might not know hardcore music without such elements.     The Grindful Dead keeping tradition alive in that sense is just one more of the services that they offer.

This cassette also makes me realize what a strange upbringing I had when it came to cassettes.   Pretty much once they invented CDs, many cassettes went to discount prices.  So I stuck with them for a while but eventually made the switch.   When I began listening to punk rock (which took me to hardcore) it was on CD as well, much like that first Sick Of It All CD I purchased.   The funny thing is, I purchased my first Sick Of It All CD before I could drive.  Once I was able to drive and got my own car, it had a tape deck in it so I went from CDs back to cassettes.   I think about all the great punk and hardcore albums I've owned on CD over the years but feel as if I should have been introduced to them for the first time on cassette.

Perhaps that's what The Grindful Dead, most importantly, is doing for music right now.  This could be the first truly hardcore type of metal music someone is hearing-- and that is important.  But for someone old like me, it's like hearing the genre all over again for the first time-- which is also just as important.    Not many artists (if any) can say that but this cassette has that special power.   If you will simply press play, you will be able to feel it as well.

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