There are few genres in the heavy metal family tree as divisive, misunderstood or as extreme as the discordant musical amalgamation known as Grindcore. Combining the explosive energy of hardcore punk, the brutality of death metal and the experimental soundscapes of noise/industrial/ music, these bands took the boundaries of metal to new extremes in the late 80’s that are arguably yet to be surpassed.
Napalm Death – ‘Scum’ (1987)
Perhaps one of the most highly acclaimed bands on this list, Napalm Death have a long and prolific record for creating some of the most mosh-worthy and brutal music of the late 1980’s. Their debut release, ‘Scum’ is an album that not only thrust Napalm Death from their Birmingham roots onto the international extreme metal scene, but also set the groundwork for the musical blueprints that would later make up Grindcore. Crushing riffs, borderline unmeasurable tempo speeds, blast beats, monstrous growls and politically charged lyricisms dealing with environmentalism, corporatocracy and corruption are all to be found within the unrelenting track list of this record. Songs such as The Kill, Scum and Polluted Minds feature some of the grooviest, atonal yet memorable riffs ever put to tape. This album also contains one of the shortest songs ever written, You Suffer, which set the benchmark for the often-short song-lengths that can be found with Grindcore.
Repulsion – ‘Horrified’ (1989)
Repulsion’s first and only full-length release, ‘Horrified’ is a staple mention amongst Grindcore fans who often cite this record as one of the seminal moments for Grindcore’s cacophonic origins. Featuring unrelenting drum fills, hardcore punk fuelled vocal utterings, mid-paced riffage, face-melting solo work and impenetrable rhythm guitars, ‘Horrified’ took all of the elements that made thrash metal and death metal the kings of the extreme metal underground and pushed the musical boundaries to eleven. Lyricisms and song titles dealing with gory and anatomical diatribe floods this album in an unstoppable torrent of disgust and pestilence. Despite the album’s short runtime of only 29 minutes long, ‘Horrified’ contains 18 tracks of some of the most ferocious, breakneck extreme metal ever conceived.
Terrorizer – ‘World Downfall’ (1989)
Terrorizer’s first full-length release, ‘World Downfall’ is an unparalleled exercise in the art of grind. Consisting of members from acts such Napalm Death and Morbid Angel, Terrorizer is somewhat of a supergroup in the realms of the extreme and macabre. Devastating yet catchy grooves, unrelenting blast beats, lo-fi production, death metal vocalisations and lyrics dealing with socio-political issues in a similar vein to Napalm Death lace this album from its opening moments to its inevitable closing seconds. Much like Napalm Death’s debut release, ‘Scum’, ‘World Downfall’ utilises album artwork constructed by a collage of sacrilegious, violent and destructive imagery referencing terrorism, environmental destruction and genocide. Within its 36-minute runtime, ‘World Downfall’ takes its listeners on an unforgettable rollercoaster through tracks such as After World Obliteration, Enslaved by Propaganda and World Downfall. ‘World Downfall’ is most certainly one of the most influential releases of the late 1980’s and forever shaped the musical identity of extreme metal into the following decades.