- For the fictional character see Grindcore .
, sometimes shortened to
, is an extreme music genre that emerged
during the mid–1980s. It draws inspiration from some of the most
abrasive music genres – including death
, industrial music
and the more extreme varieties of
Grindcore is characterized by heavily distorted
, down-tuned guitars
, and vocals which consist of growls
and high-pitched screams. Early groups
and Napalm Death
are accredited for laying the
groundwork for the style. It is most prevalent today in North
America and Europe, with popular contributors such as Brutal Truth
Lyrical themes range from a primary focus on social and political
concerns, to gory subject matter and black humor.
An infamous trait of grindcore is the "microsong". Several bands
have produced songs that last only seconds in length. British band
holds the Guinness World Record
song ever recorded with the one-second "You
" (1987). Many bands record simple phrases that may be
rhymically sprawled out across an instrumental lasting only a
couple of bars in length. Anal Cunt
A variety of "microgenres" have subsequently emerged, often used to
label bands according to a few alternative traits that deviate from
standard grindcore, including goregrind
focused on horror themes, and pornogrind
fixated on pornographic
Other offshoots include noisegrind (especially raw and chaotic) and
electrogrind (incorporating electronic elements). Although an
influential phenomenon on hardcore punk and other popular genres,
grindcore itself remains an underground form of music.
Grindcore relies on standard hardcore
and heavy metal
instrumentation: electric guitar
However, grindcore alters the usual practices of metal or rock
music with regard to song structure and tone. The vocal style is
"ranging from high-pitched shrieks to low, throat-shredding
and barks." In some cases, lyrics
may not even exist. Vocals may be used as merely an added sound
effect, a common practice with bands such as the experimental
A characteristic of some grindcore songs is the "microsong",
lasting only a few seconds. In 2001, the Guinness Book of World
awarded Brutal Truth the record for "Shortest
Music Video" for 1994's "Collateral
" (the song lasts four seconds). In 2007, the video for
the Napalm Death song "You Suffer
" set a
new "Shortest Music Video" record: 1.3 seconds. Along with the
microsong, it is characteristic of early grindcore to have
diminutive song lengths. Such is the example of Carcass'
Reek of Putrefaction
(1988), where the song span averages about 1 minute and 48
Many grindcore groups experiment with down-tuned guitars. While the
of Napalm Death's debut, 1987's Scum
, is set to standard tuning
, on side B, the guitars are
tuned down 2½ steps. Their second album
and 1989's EP
were tuned to C♯
their third release, was tuned up to a D
went further, dropping 3½
steps down (A
The blast beat is a drum beat characteristic of grindcore in all
its forms, although its usage predates the genre itself. In Adam
MacGregor's definition, "the blast-beat generally comprises a
repeated, sixteenth-note figure played at a very fast tempo, and
divided uniformly among the kick drum, snare and ride, crash, or
hi-hat cymbal." Blast beats have been described as "maniacal
percussive explosions, less about rhythm per se than sheer sonic
violence." Napalm Death coined the term, though this style of
drumming had previously been practiced by others. Daniel Ekeroth
argues that the blast beat was first performed by the Swedish
group Asocial on their 1982 demo.
("No Sense"), Sepultura
("Satanas"), and Repulsion
also included the technique prior
to Napalm Death's emergence.
Grindcore lyrics are typically provocative. A number of grindcore
musicians are committed to political and ethical causes. For
example, Napalm Death's songs address a variety of anarchist
concerns, in the tradition of anarcho-punk
. These themes include anti-racism
, and anti-capitalism
. Other grindcore groups,
such as Cattle Decapitation
, have expressed disgust with
human behavior, animal abuse, and are, in some cases, vegetarians
. Carcass' work in particular is
often identified as the origin of the goregrind
style, which is devoted to "bodily"
themes. Groups that shift their bodily focus to sexual matters,
such as Gut
and the Meat Shits, are
sometimes referred to as pornogrind
's lyrics are notorious for
their black comedy
, while The Locust
tend toward satirical
collage, indebted to William S. Burroughs
The early grindcore scene relied on an international network of
production. The most widely acknowledged
precursors of the grindcore sound are Siege
, a hardcore
group, and Repulsion
early death metal
outfit.Siege, from Weymouth,
Massachusetts, were influenced by classic American
hardcore (Minor Threat, Black Flag, Void) and
groups like Discharge, Venom, and Motörhead.
Siege's goal was maximum
velocity: "We would listen to the fastest punk and hardcore bands
we could find and say, ‘Okay, we’re gonna deliberately write
something that is faster than them'", drummer Robert Williams
street punk groups like Discharge and Charged GBH, crossover thrash such as Dirty Rotten Imbeciles and Corrosion of Conformity, thrash metal like Slayer,
Metallica, and Sodom, early black
metal (Venom) and death metal (Possessed), hardcore punk, like Black Flag, and older hard rock, as inspirational.
The group is
often credited with inventing the classic grind blast beat
(played at 190 bpm
), as well as its distinctive bass tone.
, in particular, advocates
the band as the origin of Napalm Death's later innovations.
of Brutal Truth
declares that "Horrified
was and still is the defining core
of what grind became; a perfect mix of hardcore punk with metallic
gore, speed and distortion."
Other groups in the British grindcore scene, such as Heresy
, have emphasized the influence of American hardcore punk
, including Septic Death
, as well as Swedish D-beat
. Sore Throat
, and a variety
of European D-beat and thrash metal groups, including Hellhammer
, and American hardcore groups, such as
and DRI. Japanese hardcore
, particularly GISM
, is also mentioned by a number of originators of
the style. Other key groups cited by current and former members of
Napalm Death as formative influences include Discharge
, and the
aforementioned Dirty Rotten Imbeciles. Post-punk
, such as Killing
and Joy Division
, was also
cited as an influence on early Napalm Death.
Grindcore, as such, was developed during the mid-1980s in the
United Kingdom by Napalm Death
, a group
who emerged from the crust punk
Albert Mudrian's research suggests that the name "grindcore" was
coined by Napalm Death's second drummer, Mick Harris
. When asked about coming up with the
term, Harris said:
Other sources contradict Harris' claim. In a Spin
magazine article written about the
genre, Steven Blush declares that "the man often credited" for
dubbing the style grindcore was Shane
, Napalm Death's bassist since 1987. Embury offers his
own account of how the grindcore "sound" came to be:
Carcass, an early UK grindcore group,
founder Digby Pearson
concurs with Embury, saying that
Napalm Death "put hardcore and metal through an accelerator."
Pearson, however, said that grindcore "wasn't just about the speed
of [the] drums, blast beats, etc." He claimed that "it actually was
coined to describe the guitars - heavy, downtuned, bleak, harsh
riffing guitars [that] 'grind', so that's what the genre was
described as, by the musicians who were its innovators [and]
While abrasive, grindcore achieved a measure of mainstream
visibility. As James Hoare, deputy editor of Terrorizer
Napalm Death's seismic impact inspired other British grindcore
groups in the 1980s, among them Extreme Noise Terror
. In the subsequent decade, two pioneers of the style
became increasingly commercially viable. According to Nielsen Soundscan
, Napalm Death sold
367,654 units between May 1991 and November 2003, while Carcass
sold 220,374 units in the same period. The inclusion of Napalm
Death's "Twist the Knife
on the Mortal
soundtrack brought the band much greater
visibility, as the compilation scored a Top 10 position in the
chart and went
than a year.
North American grindcore
Brutal Truth, live at Hole In The Sky,
Bergen Metal Fest 2008
Journalist Kevin Stewart-Panko argues that the American grindcore
of the 1990s borrowed from three sources: British grindcore, the
American precursors, and death metal
early Napalm Death albums were not widely distributed in the United
States, American groups tended to take inspiration from later
works, such as Harmony
. American groups also often employ riffs taken
from crossover thrash
or thrash metal
. Early American grind
practitioners included Terrorizer
, a particularly dissonant group who lacked a bass player,
were also particularly influential. Their style was sometimes
referred to as "noisecore" or "noisegrind", described by Guilio of
as "the most
anti-musical and nihilistic face of extreme music at that time."
was a groundbreaking group
in the American scene at the beginning of the 1990s. However, Sharp
indicates that they were more inspired by the thrash metal of
than the British
groups. Discordance Axis
had a more
technical style of playing than many of the predecessors, and had a
much more ornate visual and production style. Scott Hull
is prominent in the contemporary
grindcore scene, through his participation in Pig Destroyer
and Agoraphobic Nosebleed
Stuffed with Dope
has been described as "the Paul's Boutique
of grindcore", by
critic Phil Freeman, for its
"hyper-referential, impossibly dense barrage of samples, blast
beats, answering machine messages, and incomprehensibly bellowed
rants." Pig Destroyer is inspired by thrash
, such as Dark Angel and Slayer
of The Melvins
, and grindcore practiced by Brutal
Truth, while Agoraphobic Nosebleed takes cues from thrashcore
, like D.R.I. and Crossed Out
. Pig Destroyer's style is sometimes
referred to as "deathgrind", because of the prevalence of death
metal influences, as are Cattle
, from San Diego, also take
inspiration from powerviolence (Crossed Out, Dropdead
), first-wave screamo
(Angel Hair), obscure experimental rock
and the Loaf
), and death metal
Locust were sometimes described as "hipster
grind" because of
their fan base and fashion choices. Other later prominent grindcore
groups of North America include Brujeria
, Cephalic Carnage
, and Circle of Dead Children
. Fuck the Facts
, a Canadian group, practiced
classic grindcore, characterized by the "metronome-precision
drumming and riffing [that] abound, as well as vocal screams and
growls" by Allmusic
Continental European grindcore
European groups, such as Agathocles
, from Belgium, Patareni
, of Croatia, and Fear of God
, from Switzerland, are important
early practitioners of the style. Filthy Christians, who signed to
Earache Records in 1989, introduced the style in Sweden, while
Italian grindcore. Guilio of Cripple Bastards asserts that the name
itself took some time to migrate from Britain, with the style being
referred to as "death-thrashcore
" for a
time in Europe.
Rotten Sound, a Finnish grind band, in
, who emerged from the Swedish death metal
scene, became a
popular group, addressing political topics from a personal
perspective. Anders Jakobson, their drummer, reported that "It was
all these different types of people who enjoyed what we we were
doing. [...] We made grindcore a bit easier to listen to at the
expense of the diehard grindcore fans who thought that we were,
well, not sellouts
, but not really true
to the original essence of grindcore." Other Swedish groups, such
as General Surgery
, practiced goregrind.
, from the Netherlands, and
, from Finland, and
, from Belgium, were subsequent
European groups who practiced grindcore with death metal
Legacy: Influence on other genres
Grindcore's impact spread quickly through the world of extreme
music. For example, Napalm Death's strong inspiration from Swans
links grindcore to noise rock. Since then, Japanese noise rock
have borrowed elements of
grind, and toured with Brutal Truth in 1993. Naked City
, lead by avant-garde jazz
, performed an avant-garde form of polystylistic
, grindcore-influenced punk jazz
. Zorn later formed the Painkiller
project with ambient dub
producer Bill Laswell
on bass guitar and Mick Harris on
drums, which also collaborated with Justin Broadrick on some work.
In addition, grindcore was one influence on the powerviolence
movement within American hardcore punk, and has affected some
strains of metalcore. Some musicians have also produced hybrids
between grind and electronic music.
is a raw and dissonant
subgenre of hardcore punk
. The style
is closely related to thrashcore
similar to grindcore. While powerviolence took inspiration from
Napalm Death and other early grind bands, powerviolence groups
avoided elements of heavy metal. Its nascent form was pioneered in
the late 1980s in the music of hardcore punk band Infest
, who mixed youth
hardcore elements with noisier, sludgier qualities of
. The microgenre solidified into its most
commonly recognized form in the early 1990s, with the sounds of
bands such as Man Is the Bastard
, No Comment, Capitalist Casualties
, and Manpig.
Powerviolence bands focus on speed, brevity, bizarre timing
breakdowns, and constant tempo changes. Powerviolence songs are
often very short; it is not uncommon for some to last less than 30
seconds. Some groups, particularly Man Is the Bastard, took
influence from sludge metal
. Lyrically and conceptually,
powerviolence groups were very raw and underproduced, both
sonically and in their packaging. Some groups (Man Is the Bastard
) took influence from anarcho-punk
, emphasizing animal rights
. The Locust
and Agoraphobic Nosebleed
reincorporated elements of powerviolence into grindcore.
Industrial and electronic music
Among other influences, Napalm Death took impetus from the industrial music
Napalm Death's former guitarist, Justin
, went on to a career in industrial metal
. Mick Harris, in his post-Napalm Death
, briefly experimented
with the style. Scorn also worked in the industrial hip hop
styles. Fear Factory
have also cited debts to the
genre. Digital hardcore
initially German hybrid of hardcore punk and hardcore techno
. Agoraphobic Nosebleed and
the Locust have solicited remixes from digital hardcore producers
and noise musicians
. James Plotkin
, Dave Witte
, and Speedranch
participated in the Phantomsmasher
project, which melds grindcore
and digital hardcore. Alec Empire
collaborated with Justin Broadrick, on the first Curse of the Golden Vampire
album, and with Gabe Serbian
, of the
Locust, live in Japan. Japanoise
also participated in the
Empire/Serbian show. The 21st century also saw the development of
"electrogrind" (or "cybergrind"), practiced by The Berzerker
and Genghis Tron
which borrows from electronic music
. These groups built on the
work of Agoraphobic Nosebleed and The Locust, as well as industrial metal
. The Berzerker also
appropriated the distorted Roland
TR-909 kick drums
producers. Many later electrogrind groups were
caricatured for their hipster connections.
, like grindcore, draws on thrash
metal and hardcore punk. However, metalcore groups also rely on
: slower, intense
passages conducive to moshing
. In the
mid-1990s, some metalcore groups became to take inspiration from
developments in grindcore. For example, mathcore
groups such as Dillinger Escape Plan
, Some Girls
, and Daughters
, and screamo
groups, like Circle Takes the Square
, have been associated with grindcore by
some commentators. These groups also include elements of post-hardcore
. By 2009, deathcore
bands began to describe themselves as
grindcore, but have been met with criticism.
- Metal: The Definitive Guide (Garry Sharpe-Young)
- Metal: The Definitive Guide (Garry Sharpe-Young), US Death
Metal and Grindcore
- Carcass (1988).
- Johnson 2007, page 04.
- Adam MacGregor, Agoraphobic Nosebleed review, Dusted,
June 11, 2006.  Access date: October 2, 2008.
- Strub, Whitney. the Key Club: An Interview with Mark 'Barney'
Greenway of Napalm Death". PopMatters, May 11, 2006.
Accessed on September 17, 2008.
- Ekeroth, p. 22.
- Sepultura, 1985, track 11.
- Stormtroopers of Death, 1985, track 11.
- Sarcófago, 1986, track 10.
- "Grindcore Special," p. 46.
- Carcass biography. NME.com.  Access
date: April 25, 2009.
- Eduardo Rivadavia, Anal Cunt bio, Allmusic.  Access date: April 25, 2009.
- "The Locust: Catching Up with J.P.," October 17,
- "Grindcore Special," p. 44.
- Steven Blush, "Boston Not L.A.", American Hardcore,
Feral House, p. 171.
- Matthew Widener, "Scared to Death: The Making of Repulsion's
Horrified", Decibel no. 46, August 2008, p.
- Mudrian 2004, p. 50.
- "Grindcore Special," p. 41.
- "Grindcore Special," p. 43.
- "Grindcore Special," p. 45.
- "Grindcore Special," p. 52.
- "Dark Recollections: Napalm Death, Scum," Terrorizer,
issue 183, May 2009, p. 84-85
- Mudrian 2004, page 31.
- Interview with Mick Harris, DVD half of Napalm Death's
Scum 20 year anniversary
- "Crustgrind," "Grindcore Special" part 2, p. 46
- Ibid., p. 35.
- Felix von Havoc, Maximum Rock'n'Roll #198.  Archived by Havoc Records. Access date: June 20,
- Type "Mortal Kombat" in "Album" space.
- Kevin Stewart-Panko, "Altered States," "Grindcore Special" part
2, p. 42-43.
- Phil Freeman, "Gratuitous Grindcore Gross-Out Gimps' Glade and
Guns Get Guffaws", Village Voice, September 13, 2005.
 Access date: July 19, 2008.
- Anthony Bartkewicz, "Pig Destroyer", Decibel, July
2007  Access date: July 24, 2008
- Bryan Reed, The Daily Tar Heel, July 19, 2007.
 Access date: August 6, 2008.
- "The Locust, Cattle Decapitation, Daughters", Pop and Rock
Listings, The New York Times, April 13, 2007.  Access date: August 6, 2008.
- Mudrian, p. 265
- LA Weekly, September 18, 2003  Access date: July 24, 2008
- Jason Birchmeier, Matando Güeros review, Allmusic.
 Access date: October 3, 2008.
- D. Shawn Bosler, "Soilent Green", Decibel, September
2005.  Access date: October 3, 2008.
- John Book, Ultimo Mondo Cannibale review, Allmusic.  Access date: October 3, 2008.
- Alex Henderson, The Genocide Machine review, Allmusic.  Access date: October 3, 2008.
- Greg Prato, Stigmata High-Five review, Allmusic.
 Access date: March 21, 2009.
- "Grindcore Special," p. 54.
- Ekeroth, p. 262.
- Ekeroth, p. 263, 381.
- Anders Jakobson interview, "Grindcore Special" part 2, p.
- Ekeroth, p. 263.
- Eduardo Rivadavia, In for the Kill review, Allmusic.  Access date: October 3, 2008.
- Paul Kott, Still Psycho review, Allmusic.  Access date: October 3, 2008.
- Cosmo Lee, Stylus, July 25, 2008  Access date: July 23, 2008.
- Filip Dupont, Vampire Magazine, March 9, 2007  Access date: July 24, 2008
- "Grindcore", Allmusic.  Access date: September 16, 2008.
- Brad Jones, "Bore None", Denver Westword, July 6,
1994.  Access date: September 16, 2008.
- Andrew Parks, "Boredoms Explore the Void", Theme
Magazine, issue 7, Fall 2006.  Access date: September 16, 2008.
- Bagatellen, "Slave to the Grind", April 21, 2004  Access date: June 21, 2008
- Christopher Thelen, Daily Vault, 8/17/1998  Access date: June 21, 2008
- Cosmo Lee, Stylus Magazine, May 15, 2006.  Access date: August 8, 2008.
- "Powerviolence: The Dysfunctional Family of
Bllleeeeaaauuurrrgghhh!!". Terrorizer no. 172. July 2008.
- Anthony Bartkewicz. " Screwdriver in the Urethra of Hardcore". Decibel
Magazine. July 2007. (Subscription-only site; interview
reprinted in full at
(blacklisted link). Retrieved November 17, 2008.)
- Andrew Marcus, "Buzz Clip", SF Weekly, August 6, 2003.
 Access date: August 7, 2008.
- Christian Genzel, Scorn, Stealth review, Allmusic.com,
 Access date: July 24, 2008
- David E. Flick, Scorn, Stealth, Re:Gen
Magazine, January 18, 2008  Access date: July 24, 2008
- Simon Reynolds, "Chill: the new ambient." Artforum,
January 1995.  Access date: July 24, 2008.
- Interview with J. Amaretto of DHR, WAX Magazine, issue 5, 1995.
Included in liner notes of Digital Hardcore Recordings, Harder
Than the Rest!!! compilation CD.
- Whitney Strub, Agoraphobic Nosebleed review, July 26, 2007.
Stylus Magazine.  Access date: July 19, 2008.
- The Locust Biography  Access date: July 19, 2008.
- Ipecac Records, The Curse of the Golden Vampire. 
Access date: July 20, 2008.
- "Alec Empire Interview: "People Are Organized But Political
Music Is Not Really Being Made", Indymedia Ireland,
December 28, 2006  Access date: July 25, 2008.
- Kevin Stewart-Panko, "Shock Tactics," "Grindcore Special," part
2, p. 52-53
- Liz Ciavarella, "The Berzerker: Sonic Discontent," Metal
Maniacs, vol. 26, no. 2, February 2009, p. 80-81.
- "The best part of every metalcore song is the breakdown, the
part where the drums drop out and the guitars slow their frantic
gallop to a devastating, precise crunch-riff and everyone in the
moshpit goes extra nuts." - Tom Breihan. "Status Ain't Hood".
"Live: Trivium, the Jackson 5 of Underground Metal". The
Village Voice Daily Voice. October 11, 2006.  Access date: July 21, 2008.
- Steve Carlson, Hell Songs review, "Blog Critics", October 19,
2006.  Access date: September 13, 2008.
- "San Diego Reader" Access date: September 13, 2008.
- "Contemporary grindcore bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan
[...] have developed avant-garde versions of the genre
incorporating frequent time signature changes and complex sounds
that at times recall free jazz." Keith Kahn-Harris (2007),
Extreme Metal, Berg Publishers, ISBN 1-84520-399-2, p.
- Corey Apar, Heaven's Pregnant Teens review,
Allmusic.  Access date: August 24, 2008.
- Joe Davenport, Hell Songs review, Delusions of
Adequacy, August 24, 2006.  Access date: August 25, 2008.
- Stewart Mason, Daughters biography, Allmusic.  Access date: August 25, 2008.
- "Another interesting sub-sub-genre was this strange crossover
of first-generation emo and
grind. Bands like Reversal of Man or Orchid may not have stood the
test of time, but it was a pretty cool sound at the time and one
that was pretty uniquely American. - Greg Pratt, "Altered States,"
"Grindcore Special" part 2, p. 43.
- Ryan Buege, "Circle Takes the Square is in the Studio."
Metal Injection, June 15, 2008.  Access date: July 8, 2008
- "'These kids on MySpace and Headbanger's Ball with the
lame breakdown death metal bands really need to quit calling that
crap grindcore -- it's offensive,' chides bassist James Delgado of
Dallas grinders Kill the Client about this most grating of pet
peeves. And he's right, you know." - Scott Alisoglu, "Kill the
Client: The Art of Grinding," Metal Maniacs, February 2009, vol.
26, no. 2, p. 92.
- Appleford, Steve (1998). The family that plays
together. Guitar, 15(12), 40-42,
45-46, 49-50, 53-54, 57.
- Blush, Steven (1991). Grindcore. Spin,
- Carcass (1988). Reek of Putrefaction. [CD].
Nottingham, UK: Earache Compact Discs, Cassettes & Records.
- Ekeroth, Daniel (2008). Swedish Death Metal. Bazillion
Points Books. ISBN 978-0-9796163-1-0
- Grindcore Special (2009), Terrorizer,
180, 41-56, and 181, 41-56.
- Johnson, Richard (2007). Napalm death. Disposable Underground,
- Lilker, Danny (2007). "A User's Guide
to Grindcore." Grind Your Mind: A History of Grindcore
[CD]. Liner notes. Mayan Records, MYNDD056.
- Mudrian, Albert (2004). Choosing Death: The Improbable
History of Death Metal and Grindcore. Los Angeles, CA: Feral
- Sarcófago. (1986). Satanas. On Warfare noise [CD].
Belo Horizonte, MG: Cogumelo Records. (2007).
- Sepultura (1986). Antichrist. On Morbid visions [CD].
New York: Roadrunner Records. (1997).