Somewhere on Park Street in Montclair, New Jersey, wedged modestly between two upscale restaurants, sits a simple and inconspicuous-looking door. Behind that door is a stairwell that descends and expands into a cavernous basement area. Nearly every inch of it is covered in graffiti and stickers, the side walls support rows of beaten couches and seats torn out of old cars, and an elevated section at the far end serves as a makeshift stage. For years, this basement has been referred to as The Meatlocker, and on the night of Friday, May 20th, it was home to an unrelenting maelstrom of grinding noise.
The Meatlocker was just one stop along the US East Coast tour of The Kill before their major event at Maryland Deathfest IX in Baltimore the following week. Joined by partners in grind Doubled Over, the two bands comprise a lethal duo, paragons of Aussie grindcore excellence. This night’s portion of the tour featured a stellar cast of supporting bands, all in top brutal form. Up-and-coming grindcore act Nemesis Complex took the stage first, ensuring that the audience’s ears would be properly broken in for all the following bands with a wall of harsh, blasting noise. Picking up swiftly afterwards was the two-man cannibalistic squad Rogyapa, satisfying any lingering cravings for more grind. Following was a violent thrashing from Amputee, featuring members of New Jersey grind act Chainsaw to the Face. The Communion from New York was up next, lashing out a slew of chilling riffs and dynamic vocals. Also churning through the stage amps was a storm of thick and fuzzy sludge grooves laid down by local band Dutchguts.
By 1:00 AM, as Doubled Over was setting up, many in the crowd had either caught their second wind or reached a suitably drunken state—just in the nick of time. A two-piece for this show, they wasted no time in sending the audience into submission: careening through sharp tempo changes, throttling into high-velocity, slashing blasts only to yank it suddenly down to a painful, doomy trudge, all before rocketing back up to speed again. A powerfully driving snare pulled many into the pit with ease, backed by solid guitarsmanship and guttural growls to complete the sound. Doubled Over delivered on both intensity and the ability to transfer its unyielding energy directly into the crowd. At the end of the set, they were joined by The Kill’s vocalist to punctuate with a cover of the legendary Excruciating Terror. Even if some audience members may be unfamiliar with Doubled Over, their stage magic compels all in the vicinity to thrash without compromise.
With both bands playing on rental instruments that they only received after arriving in the US, The Kill shared the same drum kit and likewise decimated it with the same breed of fury from down under. It seemed apparent that rental or not, no instrument would be unfamiliar enough to prevent itself from being shredded as they started their set. With the shout of a song title, followed by a swift dive into the first track, the grind was soon underway. The line between the stage and the pit blurred to the point where not even the band was safe from the rumpus of the hordes. High-pitched, serrated screams cut their way to the surface of waves of thrashing bodies as the vocalist was pulled into the crowd. It seemed that the final reserves of utter insanity were stored up over the course of the show for this moment, as thunderous blast beats pummeled skulls left and right, and searing guitar riffs needled flesh with little to no regard for mercy. The Kill opened up a cataclysmic can of grindcore that washed over the entire Meatlocker with incendiary force. The setlist unloaded like fully automatic rounds and concluded the night with proper devastation.
I type this now with a face that is still half-melted after the experience, flecks of skin dripping down onto my keyboard. New Jersey is quite often considered the “armpit” of the United States, and if the arrival of these bands on the night of May 20th was intended to be a tactical strike to wipe us off the map, then I would not be surprised—we were obliterated in the best way possible.
Thank you, our Australian friends, the rest of the bands, and everyone who came out, for reminding us what it means to fucking grind.
"Gingerbelly is the current bassist and noise-shitter for Nemesis Complex. He doesn’t usually write blog articles, but may consider doing it more often in the future for cash to help pay for his facial reconstruction surgery. He also (quite shamelessly) suggests that you should check out the Nemesis Complex blog for a free download of the band’s new album, “Enemy.” And he’s not even done with the self-whoring yet, because he also notes that you can find plenty more cool stuff at the NxCx YouTube channel. If you found all of this to be a vile and offensive load of tripe, you can send him hate mail (nemesiscomplexnj[at]gmail(dot)com) and personally call him an insufferable prick."
Relapse Records have announced that they will be releasing a 7" Box Set of The Comp Kill Fascists, fittingly to commemorate the last day of the "worst president in U.S. history": George W. Bush.
I love the idea. This limited edition box set features a load of killer grindcore, hardcore and powerviolence bands including Brutal Truth, Magrudergrind, Insect Warfare, Maruta, Agents of Satan, Weekend Nachos, Shitstorm (members of Torche), Main Will Destroy Himself, Total Fucking Destruction, Chainsaw to the Face, Kill the Client, ASRA, Wasteoid and Spoonful of Vocodin.
The box set also features a 7x21" poster, and seven 7" housed in a box featuring the incendiary Bush "Cockstika" cover art that was turned away by all but one printing company. All pre-orders will also include a limited-run t-shirt featuring the same artwork. The compilation was originally pieced together by Scott Hull (Pig Destroyer, Agoraphobic Nosebleed) and touted as one of the best releases of 2008 by Decibel and Revolver.
I tell you what, I think I just gained a little more respect for Relapse Records. Available for $35 USD plus postage. I'm considering grabbing it.