Holy Grinder (Canada) - 10 Desecrations (2024)


For some bands, a signature sound is a curse. The Ramones never shook the "every song sounds the same" accusations, despite making a record with 60s Wall of Sound pop producer/murderer Phil Spector or making a mid-80s hardcore album. Neil Young famously waged war on Geffen Records in the 80s by releasing an electronic, vocoder-heavy experimental rock album followed by a 50s-throwback rock 'n' roll album after pressure from the label to imitate his previous successes.

For Holy Grinder, however, their distinctive sound is a strength, not a limitation. Few bands make bass-led, noise-heavy grindcore in quite the way they do. But after 8 years, 4 albums and a number of splits and EPs, they've kept creating exciting, challenging music within that seemingly limited framework.

10 Desecrations continues Holy Grinder's run of fiery, uncompromising noisegrind albums. In a post celebrating the album's release, they called it "the definitive record of this band". And after multiple listens, the notion is understandable. It's the noise, speed, heaviness and experimentalism one expects, but with what feels like an added sense of urgency and clarity.

Among the standout tracks is one that's bound to become a signature song for the band, "Transphobe Extermination". Sonically, it's a high-speed blast of fist-pumping grind. Lyrically, it's a militant rallying cry against anti-trans violence and a welcome bit of frankness in a subgenre too often content with toothless, psuedo-political jabs at "the system".

Elsewhere, "Toxic Positivity" flails and stomps, mixing grindviolence with prominent use of noise electronics. Album midpoint "Excrement Cage" features mostly saxophone for half of its 3 minutes, transitioning to instrumental grind with more prominent electronics. The title track begins like Tetsuo the Iron Man doing his morning stretches and turns into sludgy, industrial powerviolence. It's one of the few slower tracks that's not an instrumental, which speaks to the intensity and focus of the record as a whole.

This is a raw, kinetic document of Holy Grinder. Whether it's "definitive" is left up to the listener, as the band's discography is filled with high points. What's not up for debate is this: avant garde music within the grindcore space has few better practitioners, and we'd best appreciate them while we can.

10 Desecrations is available digitally on Holy Grinder's Bandcamp. It's available on cassette via No Time Records and Baby Chico Records.

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