Wednesday 8 August 2018

REVIEW: Organ Dealer/ Nerve Grind/ Invertebrate, Split (EP)

By: Mark Ambrose

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 01/07/2018
Label: Night Animal Records

Organ Dealer/ Nerve Grind/ Invertebrate Split EP” DD//7” track listing

1. Organ Dealer,”Feed”
2. Organ Dealer, “Burn”
3. Organ Dealer, “Remnants”
4. Organ Dealer, “Totality”
5. Organ Dealer, “Contour”
6. Organ Dealer, “Silence”
7. Never Grind, “Bow to Nothingness”
8. Never Grind, Existential Significance
9. Never Grind, Worthless Failure
10. Invertebrate, “Mindgout”
11. Invertebrate, “Fuckface”
12. Invertebrate, “Good for Nothing”
13. Invertebrate, “Choke”
14. Invertebrate, “The Reckoning”
15. Invertebrate, “Chump”

The Review:
It’s a god damned golden age of grind.  Even the overlooked gems are getting second lives in the form of reissues (who the hell would expect beautiful, expansive Spazz discographies in multiple formats NOW?), reunions, international festivals, and bona fide geniuses putting out fresh releases constantly.  The deluge of content is overwhelming, but the appreciation for the true forebears quickly wipes out posers and tryhards.  Plus, there’s a certain punky self-effacing attitude that is undeniable about grind – this shit is on the fringes, and not in some right wing edgelord way.  It’s crass, it’s brutal, it’s sometimes silly, but for those who love it, there are few ways better than spending fifteen minutes (or often less) than smashing your way through a grind split.  The best of them have the minute shifts in style and tone that make the genre far more diverse than its harshest critics would have you believe.  And if it’s just a mediocre effort – hell who doesn’t have fifteen minutes to spare?  Thankfully, the three-way collaboration from Organ Dealer, Nerve Grind, and Invertebrate, heralded as an East Coast/West Coast “meeting of the grinds”, is definitely the former: an all-star smashup that offers entry for genre newbies and no holds barred true grind annihilation for the most seasoned veterans.
Organ Dealer may be my favorite underground grind band of the moment.  Maybe it’s the hometown pride, maybe it’s the sheer volume of output, but there’s also genuine craft to what they’re releasing – a sometimes mathy, sometimes hardcore balance that makes them stand out on every release.  I’m a fan of the dual vocal style as they employ it here, with guitarist Tom Maher offering guttural backup to Scot Moriarty’s higher register hardcore bark; it’s not necessarily melodic, but there’s a dynamic force and musicality to the way Moriarty spits out (on “Burn”), “You cannot gaze at me! Without me life is naught!” 
The balance of Trevor Gramm’s clear, pristine basswork; the dual guitar riffing of Jeff Knoblauch & Maher; and Eric Schnee’s mind warping drumming start the EP with the breakneck “Feed” and the brutality never relents. 

“Totality” is the most distinctly “mathcore” sounding cut, with Schnee ascending into jazz-metal bodhisattva mode.  When they back off from blast beat pummeling, like on personal fave “Contour”, Organ Dealer slides into a sneering punk swing that just hits me in the perfect way – I wanted to start my own circle pit on mass transit but had to settle for upsetting my seatmate on the bus with excessive headbanging.  “Silence” is a grim standout for me – it’s not “classic” grind, but it’s nasty and heavy, and the perfect bookend to the six stellar tracks Organ Dealer lay down.
Nerve Grind go straight for the lizard brain, offering ignorant as fuck deathy grind that doesn’t even crack the two minute mark.  I didn’t have a lyric sheet for this one, but with titles like “Bow to Nothingness”, “Existential Significance”, and “Worthless Failure”, I assume guitarist/vocalist Jeff is bellowing out some truly soul-crushing madness – the perfect match for the downtuned murky progressions.  The drumming by Douglas is that relentless old school blast beat madness that only requires a simple kit but genuine chops that would make black metal Frost wannabes cry into their plastic mead horns.  It’s brutal and short and solid grind.
Invertebrate highlight that weird playful grind attitude I really love.  Using key samples and excellent timing, they often made me laugh out loud before launching into misanthropic sludge-inflected grind.  Lyrics like “fucking disgrace / emotions erase / good for nothing / pile of shit” highlight the mantra (if there is one) of this band’s 7 tracks: fuck you AND fuck me, too.  Another power trio, they have a solid vocal interplay by all three members, with one offering a somewhat adenoidal bark that was weirdly satisfying and unique amid the deathy growls and hardcore shouts.  The majority of the tracks are breakneck classic grind, with satisfying forays into sludgy, groove-inflected riffing.  I’d be really interested in seeing them break out more in a full-length, even if it’s just 15 minutes long, too.
Overall, this untitled split doesn’t reinvent or redefine anything about grind, but with so many lauded, heavy bands eschewing just what endeared them to metal audiences (the “black” in the “blackgaze” crop, the “metal” in the prog metal glut), Organ Dealer, Nerve Grind and Invertebrate stick to brutal basics and seem all the more remarkable because of the lack of gimmicky bullshit.  When they throw in some unexpected grooves, ease back into a slower tempo, or pepper in some funny sampling, they serve as essential reminders that heavy bands can be innovative and exciting without hopping on the latest bandwagon or hitching themselves to the fads that crest and crash every few years in American metal circles.  These guys are lifers – the fact that they’re excellent musicians is just that much more exciting for anyone who’s been paying attention to the underground.

Organ Dealer/ Nerve Grind/ Invertebrate Split EP” is available here