The Best Grindcore Album - Metal Storm Awards 2019





Do you people seriously think that we can come up with ten unique ways to describe grindcore year after year after year? Just give up the search for words, because Eterno Rancor is the real business and that's all there is to it. At 20 minutes in length with 15 songs (friggin' grindcore, man), Besta's third album is a carnivorous beast of grating punk-metal noise, with the added bonus of the Portuguese language allowing the band a new and largely unexplored angle from which to approach brutality (there are some rough sounds in there, you know). It might come as a shock knowing that half of the band comes from Sinistro (post-metal is not known for its speed), but give Besta listen, because they're the Bestaround (and no one's gonna ever bring them down).

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Birdflesh do with Extreme Graveyard Tornado what they've done with every other album they've released during their many quality years of service: have fun, get messy, destroy everything, regret nothing. With their nonsensical humor and penchant for writing legitimately catchy hooks, you'll find everything you could ask for here from a grind album, with the added benefit of some surprisingly inventive melodies that work like ginger ale in a rye mixed drink.

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With Pollinator, Cloud Rat really seem to have matured their sound and come into their own. It's the perfect blend of frantic, nasty, crushing, and pummeling, as the band alternates between up-tempo, hard-hitting bangers and slower, groovier numbers that show off their talents for creeping things down a notch and pounding you with groovy riffage. Featuring excellent performances in the guitar, vocal, and especially the drum department, Pollinator could easily be Cloud Rat's best release yet.

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Adding to their already lengthy library of neck-breaking tutorials and gore porn discography, Horror is the culmination of a brutal buildup of decades spent slaughtering everything from guitar strings to human infants. Exhumed may be one of the founding fathers of grind, but their veteran proficiency -- on full display here -- is what helps keep them sounding fresh. That, and their advanced technicality, make for an interesting and borderline pleasant listening experience, if it isn't sacrilegious to say so.

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Full Of Hell have always been fairly far from your "typical" grindcore band, and Weeping Choir is a pretty stern reminder of why that is. To say that these guys have come a long way with the evolution of their sound would be an understatement, as here a frenetic grindcore foundation merges with elements of death metal, black metal, harsh noise, and even drone doom for a downright harrowing, nightmarish experience. Perhaps the band's most ambitious release yet, Weeping Choir shows off all the tricks Full Of Hell have up their sleeves, and raises curiosity considerably high for where they may go from here.

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2019 marked 22 years since the formation of Japanische Kampfhörspiele and Verk Ferever (faux-German rendering of Work Forever) is already the ninth album of the German grindcore veterans. However, songs like the catchy popgrind stomper "Kaputt", the groovy banger "Im Feierabendverkehr", and the nine-minute long, cacophonous industrial soundscapes of the title track prove that JaKa are very far from being tired of their work. More likely, it must be acknowledged that Verk Ferever is their freshest, boldest, and most diversified work so far. They still have the grind and they still have the groove - but on top of that, they now also have trumpets and trombones and they do not hesitate to use them.

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No One Knows What The Dead Think... but hopefully it isn't as brutal as this, because otherwise we don't have a whole lot to look forward to at the end of this nightmare. No One Knows What The Dead Think brings together Jon Chang and Rob Marton, two-thirds of Discordance Axis, with Kyosuke Nakano of Defiled for one of the most purposeful grind albums to drop in a long time. Even at one or two minutes apiece, each of these songs is jam-packed with inventive riffs and actual melodies, changing up rhythms and moods often enough to make blastbeats and screeching sound like prog; songs like "Autumn Flower" and "Stars Hide Your Fires" are downright poetic. This is what grindcore sounds like when it's made with an artistic goal in mind.

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Pound -

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Skating the line between grindcore and mathcore ever so carefully, Pound's (just how are you supposed to say that anyway?) is a lesson in how to do a lot with very little. An instrumental album consisting only of guitar and drums, is violent, technical, catchy, and, oh, yeah.... groovy as hell. An all-around fun listen that invites multiple replays, is a solid reminder of the fact that, at least with music, sometimes less really is more.

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It has been a good year for albums that sound like what the packaging says. Takafumi Matsubara, of Gridlink and others, unites a constantly revolving cast of musicians in a 17-song examination of everything that grindcore is, ever has been, and might be in the future; this album marks Matsubara's return to music after a forced absence due to medical issues, and so he goes all-out in barreling through everything he apparently wanted to play during that time (mostly grindcore, but you'll find some left-field surprises in here - just listen all the way through). The mix of tones, speeds, songwriting styles, production techniques, and even languages is arresting, yet the eclecticism never fails to engage, and it's over in a flash. Strange, Beautiful And Fast indeed.

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Holy fuck, those drums sound old-school as fuck, which is probably what is so endearing about Theories: it's how close they keep to their roots without feeling like they shouldn't experiment with their deathgrind sound as well. There's clearly a lot of thought put into the songwriting on Vessel, but never does clever songwriting come before the raw energy that the rabid band has here. Especially those fucking drums, jeez!

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