Washington D.C. has always been known more as a punk hub than for metal. True, Wino got his start in nearby Wheaton, Md., Clutch hails from Montgomery County and Pig Destroyer resides in Northern Virginia. But when most fans of underground or extreme music think of D.C. they think of Minor Threat, Henry Rollins, The Bad Brains and the hugely influential early output of Dischord Records.

The latest product of D.C.’s underground is Magrudergrind, who rely heavily on grind and D.C.’s storied punk past. The band got a boost when they were featured on Scott Hull’s This Comp Kills Fascists Relapse sampler and are poised to get bigger. Their first album from Willowtip after years of threadbare touring and split releases is an earnest blast flavored by walls of feedback, hilarious samples and Avi Kulawy’s phlegmy roar. While most of their peers are awash in milquetoast chugging metalcore they’ve crafted something that is honest about its influences but still completely original.

Those looking for comparisons have brought up the obvious: Nasum, Phobia, Rotten Sound and Assuck. While Magrudergrind contains hints of all these bands a more apt comparison would be to look back into D.C.’s underground vault. The best moments of this album – the walls of feedback that color thick riffs, the frenetic drumming and the sense of desperation – reminded me in particular of the early D.C. crossover band Void. Both are propelled by a contagious sense of honesty and urgency. Magrudergrind’s album is a sharper, more musically deft version of Dischord’s classic Flex Your Head sampler, which contains some of the canonical early D.C. punk recordings. Magrudergrind also writes meaningful lyrics but has a sense of levity, much like grind pioneers Brutal Truth.

A lot of young bands have given themselves titles like “angriest” or “most brutal.” Magrudergrind is content to just play and record and in the course proves that some of the kids are indeed alright.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Justin M Norton
July 21st, 2009


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