As a dedicated Grindcore consumer for the past ten or so years, I have become aware of a distinct difference in the sound of bands coming from Europe and those that emanate from the United States. Most American “Grindcore” bands aren’t actually Grind bands by traditional standards, but rather play either power-violence or just very fast hardcore punk.
This isn’t a knock against them in any way as I feel that their deviation from the trappings of said sub-genre allow them more room to experiment with different elements that often lead to new and original sounds. Yet, there are very many American “Grindcore” bands who don’t really center their music around blast-beats and velocity, and fail to incorporate any type of crust or d-beat influence on their music, which makes it hard to consider what they’re doing to be truly, Grind.
On the other side of the pond you have wave after wave of bands who cling to the Grindcore formula and worship at the altar of Grind traditionalism. Starting with Nasum and following through with bands like Rotten Sound, Afgrund, The Arson Project, Gadget and etc. The list is almost endless. I feel like these bands truly understand what it takes to make a Grindcore record in it’s truest form: emphasis on blast-beats, crust influence, velocity, brevity and of course, intensity. The only downfall of this sound is that so many of these bands play music that is interchangeable. I could easily confuse a Rotten Sound song for one by Nasum but would never confuse a Weekend Nachos song with one by a band like ACXDC.
Which brings us to Every Scum Is A Straight Arrow by Poland’s Straight Hate, an album that falls firmly in the mold of the European sound I just described. This album is pretty paint-by-numbers in terms of that sound, clean production, dynamic yet not groundbreaking songwriting and overall an absolute relentless emphasis on speed. This album does not stray too far from the proven formula, though it does have a few interesting moments here and there and overall it’s well executed enough that I feel confident to add it to my personal catalogue of albums I go to when I’m in the mood to listen to pure, straight up Grindcore, with no noise experimentations of breakdowns.
Check out the tracklist below!
Scum Is A Straight Arrow Tracklist:
1. High Priest's Hand Gesture 00:51
2. Don't Be So Cheap 01:00
3. Beautiful Slut 00:56
4. Self-Deception 01:10
5. Lovely Family 01:42
6. Fuck It This Is Grindcore 02:11
7. Looking For A Victim 01:37
8. The Defenders Of Morality 01:29
9. Disagreement 01:43
10. Corporation 01:29
11. Ludzki Szlam 01:34
12. Extinction 01:41
13. Impatient Diarrhea 01:09
14. Old Friends 01:06
15. The King Of Everything 01:52
16. Sofa Agent 01:50
17. Tear The Flesh 02:14
One thing I really enjoy here is how the guitars utilize the HM-2 “Buzzsaw” sound but do it in a way that isn’t necessarily overbearing and still allows levels of clarity in terms of the guitar playing. I myself am not a big fan of that guitar tone, one that I’ve heard countless bands do before and one that I feel easily obfuscates the guitar riffs in the name of distortion which in my opinion is just too “needly” and “pinched” to convey heaviness. But like I said, it is done tastefully here. I also really dig the vocals. The lower growls seem to have some type of chorus effect over
them that makes them sound very present much like those other European stalwarts Aborted.
Songwriting wise, there aren’t too many big shakes here. I do really enjoy the absolutely bezerk opening salvos to “Don’t Be So Cheap” and “Impatient Diarrhea.” The last third of the album is definitely the strongest portion beginning with the absolutely stellar “Extinction” which is centered around a dystopian groove that is equal parts early Maruta as it is early Slipknot. It’s easily my favorite song on the album.
Lyrically the album is, um…it’s uh…well there are words, I will say that much. I don’t know, the lyrics are written in very obviously broken English and at their best convey a sort of vulgar, Neanderthal Charles Bukowski and at their worst they sound like direct messages from a Facebook robot. But, honestly if you’re looking for introspective lyrics go listen to the new Frankie and the Ocean album or whatever.
So in summation: American Grindcore are punks trying to play Metal and European Grindcore are Metalheads trying to play punk. As for Scum Is A Straight Arrow, this album is solid, not amazing, but solid and if nothing else, & there’s a song here about fucking your couch.