The thrill available via some wildly intense underground music is continuing to grow, including via these few awesome recent releases you should probably be listening to. The music ranges from maniacal physical intensity to suffocating atmosphere, with a continued focus on devastating brutality throughout.
Takafumi Matsubara — Strange, Beautiful and Fast
Takafumi Matsubara was the guitarist for the widely lauded grindcore band Gridlink (who actually shares a member with another band on this list too). Now, after years of work, he’s back and only getting stronger on this “solo” record, which has the really memorably succinct name of Strange, Beautiful and Fast and features the contributions of a wide array of well-known contemporaries, from Full of Hell’s Dylan Walker to the Polish grindcore band Antigama.
The album overall definitely focuses on grind, but the textural dynamics that Matsubara has packed in here are really at times extraordinary, to say the least. More than just some kind of single focus on a kind of musical rage, Strange, Beautiful and Fast rushes through a blinding hurricane of emotional, “humanity”-laden textures from straight-up derangement to sonic expressions of morbidity. There’s even an atmosphere of “sadness” at times, and even though that’s a truly delicate musical experience to tread the line between devastation and anger that delivers that feeling, Matsubara delivers the portrait basically perfectly. His atmospheric sweeps that he runs alongside the cacophonous build-ups and destruction of the main “meat” of the album snake around listeners and pull them into this album’s world, where nothing is quite sacred but opportunities are open, even if the path there is (realistically) caked with grime, here expressed musically.
It’s an overall exciting experience, and if you hang onto this insane storytelling for long enough, you’re likely to find a place to latch on.
Check it out:
No One Knows What The Dead Think — s/t
The newly available self-titled album from No One Knows What The Dead Think features two former members of the luminary grindcore band Discordance Axis, including vocalist Jon Chang — who was also in Gridlink — and guitarist/bassist Rob Marton. Former Cohol member Kyosuke Nakano also drums for the group, whose self-titled release is their debut and so far only release on the horizon.
The record packs a lot of “meat,” to say the least. Again here, the members have crafted something that’s beautifully and powerfully dynamic when you really dig into the “story,” no matter what the “grind” tag might suggest. The group have got a lot of powerfully disorienting riff ideas circulating through this storm of sound, and they deliver these and the rest of their work’s elements with a direct viciousness reminiscent of somehow ending up trapped in some lab’s wind tunnel turned all the way up. The music just keeps going and going, and hanging onto this cacophony thereby just ends up more and more thrilling.
It’s utterly insane viciousness turned into a wild jam, like a soundtrack to craziness where the outcomes aren’t so foreboding after all.
Check out the music:
Loathe — “Gored”
The growing in stature U.K. band Loathe are back with two new songs, including “Gored” and “New Faces in the Dark.”
The tracks both prove straightforwardly vicious right off the bat, with some of the band’s favorite suffocating, sinister atmosphere getting to remain front and center here and even grow. Beyond that level, the band tack on a disjointed, perfectly unsettling barrage of erratic lines from the guitar and other instruments that deliver the feeling of getting trapped on some circus ride careening down a dark tunnel with who knows what at the end. The band bring their elements together with a brute force that on the one hand, leaves the texture of the ingredients intact with a wonderful intensity and blasts any sense of sonic safety into a million or more little pieces.
This is not just a thrill ride but a thrill ride amped up beyond your wildest beliefs, like you’ve been driven to the edge of a cliff not just because of some privilege-granted desire to feel the wind on your face but because there are murderous figures rushing at you through the woods and it’s time to make a choice — jump or die. Oh and there’s also a rockslide coming down from off to the side of those murderers, and some of the lethal chunks of stone are rolling your direction and off over the cliff too.
In other words — the band prove wonderfully blunt and inescapable.
Check out the thrillingly disorienting “Gored” below