Grog
Scooping the Cranial Insides

”Scooping the Cranial Insides’‘ is the type of release that has me wondering how I could possibly miss out on Grog‘s existence up until now. Originally released last year and surfacing on Murder Records in vinyl format this summer of ‘012, it sure as all heck goes to support the statement that grind is in top fucking shape right now. Lately, bands of that lignée never cease to unleash fresh-sounding spins on the style that make for tracklists that are nuanced and unpredictable throughout. Portugals Grog sure know how to come up with a cookout of mean ass proportions with one particularly seasoned approach to drumming, and quite a few nifty surprises on the riffage front (frenetic atonal and absolutely relentless speedy face melters, coupled with technical prog death venturers that are hit and miss but daring in these especially compact and not at all roomy track layouts, downtuned and thick serpentine build-up riffs, and sometimes surprisingly lite and harmonious melodic lead work). Each song has its own neat and luxurious trickery to bring to the forefront and you just never know what Grog will be up to the next second – they may seem to be on a roll of hyperblast and wall-to-wall buzzing abstract rhythm sections, but they sure as hell bring more teethy experimentation and huge chunks of Immolation-tinged boldness on the dial; this isn’t your typical run-of-the-mill grind album – it touches on a few incarnations of death metal without ever loosening up, except on the one question mark of this whole record (”10 Cummandments”, being a less than successful attempt to depart from the main creative soul we have here, blatantly). You ain’t gonna be satisfied with one single spin of this album’s main approach to the genre – you’ll need more of this essence throughout each of the remaining days of the season as a prime refreshment you’ll want to tell all your friends about.

The first actual track to speak of, ”Beyond the Freakish Scene”, is aptly titled. The blinding drumming keeps on switching between patterns in a way that brings plenty of ammo to this sound all of its own. There’s a particularly ravenous climax about two minutes in, and the overall packaging is compact, and also highly, and decently satisfying. ”Split 3 to Share” is already what I would qualify as an instantaneous fucking pummeller of epic proportions – it’s a favourite of mine, and that’s only three tracks in. It showcases great cohesiveness between the drumming (which is particularly hellish and varied in its approach on this cut) and the guitars, and suggests a very absorbing main groove with a pretty killer main riff that’s bound to stick with you. There’s a good touch of drama and corny DM comedy in the victim screams crawling throughout the mazes of aggression on here, which I can’t help but to approve. There’s a stomping factor to this cut – and touches of hardcore don’t fail to make a handful of appearances all through the album for good measure, in small, but noticeable amounts to the well-focused ear. 2.12 higlights the goodness of this track’s savory groove, which seems to escalate into catchier, and catchier patterns of utmost tightness. 2.40 is such a violent and wild descent, you’re bound to be quite addicted to its theatrical effectiveness, and it’ll sure keep you coming back for additional spins. ”Sphincterized” bears that same ridiculously fucking engaging and nuanced-sounding prime-cut decapitation-work stamp of excellency with hooks in droves – it’s just friggin’ tight as all get out. The verses are sick, and, yet again, the groove is irresistibly headbangable. It’s a bestial devourment and annihilation of remains that’s effortless, fast, and absolutely threatening. It’ll leave you breathless, which is exactly what you want when sitting down with a grind album of brief songs that all have to hold their own in memorable ways within short individual spans of duration.

”Hanged by the Cojones” stays on this one excitedly derailing train with more drumming that will cut you up in half and squash all in its wake. 56 seconds in, skillfully complex riffery crawls its way in. There’s a progressive drop of tons and tons of bodies encased in concrete afterward – heaving and thomping atop of you in such a way that you’re perplexed by how well this is sinking in – this is one of ’em short, but varied and creative tunes you might wanna note down as Grog‘s proof that there’s nothing standing in their way – they make their death metal fucking SWARMING with influences and twists n’ turns. They don’t stick to a linear formula – they keep shit interesting, and it sure doesn’t seem hard for ’em at all. The main groove is yet again a thing of fucking beauty (these guys nail it every time – it’s now useless to even bring it up, they don’t fucking fall behind on groove even once in this record, when it’s actually part of the songs). It meshes with lickery that adds an interesting stylistic layering to the package. It’s a very intricate song, all in all. ‘’Acephalus Meatgrind Orgy Hibernation’’ is just as godless. It starts off mid-paced on nicely thick down-tuned licks, but kicks into high gear rather quickly, naturally. This isn’t a fucking relaxation album – it’s poisonous and intent on NOT fucking about in any sort of way, at least this far into the deal. From 1.27 and on, there’s a sick march going on – this has to be one of the coolest patternings on the record. It escalates into riffage that’s well-constructed and cleverly assorted with nuanced and sincerely original drumming pattern shifts.

‘’Stream of Psychopathic Devourment’’ is rather simple-y on the riffage front, but also painlessly, and without any fanfare, effective and brutal. The drumwork is yet again cutting – as freakin’ always. The delivery is, in fact, highly energetic on all accounts. The melody in the intro of ”Sicko” led me to believe this might be a slightly ”different” monster, which it’s not, at least not in all respects. It’s entirely brutal, but I guess it also manages to step up the plate in a slightly new-ish terrain for this record with melodic and meticulous leadwork with slightly progressive-sounding chaos brewing (that I didn’t dream up – these chaps are savvy on the tech front, which is later a very blatant fact – they listen to LOTS of tech death without a doubt). The main section/riff is absolutely bold. There’s a nifty alternance between said main riff and a nice roll of punches. ”Anal Core” is positively dizzying. The vocal delivery is insistant, ruled by uncontained fucking shrieks. About 57 seconds in, these cool as all hell schizophrenic and limb-from-limb chainsaw art-friendly vokills sound particularly psychedelic atop the very libertine and swirly riffage. It’s definitely more of a crustgrind-sounding cut in its typical but entertaining vein, especially in its main section.

‘’Re-reborn Monstrosity’’ sure is catchy as fuck. The melodies will, no doubt, stick with you. Again, the drumming is strongly dynamic. 1.11 hosts a nice and unusual build-up that’s threateningly badass enough, and the shift between this kind of slower part and the main sanity-compromising rape-groove is simply stellar and intelligent. There’s a certain focus on these serpentine and slower licks, plus even a hint of more prominent tech/jazzy-sounding basswork that seriously should’ve been emphasized more often throughout. ”The Misanthropes” is a second fave of mine – there’s more meshing of audible bass sounds and nicely atonal and abstract rhythms going on. The groove at about 1.32 is especially punishing. ”Ravenous Loathing”, as the title rightfully indicates, is fucking awesome. 1.09 sees the use of more of a progressive approach to drumming (which is simply slashing, not to worry) and there’s a certain build-up happening when the spoken part slips atop. The soft rumbling of the bass, at that moment, adds a certain veil of morbidity that’s unfortunately very short-lived (krank the damned thing up on the next record – it does wonders). The high shrieks are, in this track also, particularly mental. The ringing of the leads slicing on through adds a considerable chunk of important memorability and bone-chilling quality to the end roundup of the tune.

”10 Cummandments” is the one mishap on the record that I find really couldn’t sink in to a point where I actually knew how to appreciate it or think it sounded on the money. It’s actually far off in the fucking desert. It obviously sounds a lot more technical in its beginning, which is all well and good as it starts off. The melody is, without a doubt, oddball, and that’s a suitable word to describe it. The basswork is just as contemplative – and there seems to be some for-the-living-heck-of-it intent to experiment. The drumming is as sharp as in the other tracks, and the leadwork, seeming a tad disjointed from all else, is very libertine, with a dense, spacious reach. From the moment the vocals kick in, it seems the whole ordeal gets meatier to back it up, and actually begins to sound more like death metal again, but there’s definitely a melodic vibe going on as 1.26 brings in the ambient and spacey feel back on board. It’s an okay alternance between both approaches – still, it seems the wolves are being locked up here, and I can’t listen to this guitarwork and think it’s truly Grog‘s voicing – it simply fails to hit home and feel genuine.

On a drastically different avenue – ‘’Eskeletos De Cona’’ is the most crustpunk-sounding number on this entire record. It ain’t brutal by any means, but it’s catchy and fun. ‘’Barbie Doll Fuck Em All’’ sounds like some dude with his ballsack stuck in the grinder – it’s a classic blast of grind. It’s fast, furious, and chaotic. ”Decrepit Pussies Cabaret” (WHAT a nice title) is a killer, last mix of groove and stomp in a compact and short packaging.

If you’ve missed out on this release when it first came out, you simply need to get it blasting – consider it added to my collection of favorites in terms of high class brutality that belongs on the top shelf.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Noch
July 23rd, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    lignée. did not know this word. it doesn’t seem to be like other French words that have been readily adopted to English, like deja vu or laissez faire. is it more common where you are?


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    your reviews are some of the site’s most detailed and specific btw, nicely done.


  3. Commented by: Noch

    Lignée means ”in the same category”, more or less. XD Or ”of the same ilk”. Thanks man, I always make damned sure I put in all the details I wanna throw out there about what I observe in an album – I always do a whole bunch of scribbling during the listening session, and that shapes up as nicely long, and pretty in-depth work. I’ll keep on going in that direction. \m/ Thanks for reading.


  4. Commented by: AZAGTOTH

    Great review from a great band.

    Cheers and keep up the good work ; )


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