In the world of heavy metal, grindcore is a gross, abrasive, and fascinating art form, and that’s saying something, considering the plethora of metal subgenres that exist today.
Grindcore is jarring and easily the most chaotic form of metal present; the presentation of grind is somewhat of a sonic dialectic – it both provides a flow and formula and yet, is willing any second to abandon structure and unleash a barrage of noise. From songs that can run for several minutes and provide an array of styles through pummeling instrumentation, to cuts that can last several seconds (while still getting your eardrums to bleed) – grindcore is not interested in easy, conventional listening.
And as one of our favorite metal subgenres, of course, we had to write about what we consider the 10 greatest grindcore albums of all time. While each of the following albums contains that essential element of grinding instrumentation, each record is also different from one another, showing off the variety and creativity that the genre is capable of inspiring.
Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing – Discharge
While not entirely a grindcore album, Discharge’s Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing features qualities of grindcore that would end up appearing in records like Scum and Horrified. Discharge is one of the most influential acts in hardcore and punk, and their ferocious-driving aggression is also a sonic staple that would go on to inspire the grindcore genre.
Scum – Napalm Death
Next to Repulsion’s Horrified, Napalm Death’s Scum is the grand-daddy of grindcore. Taking the already heavy instrumental beatdown of hardcore punk, Napalm Death crafted a style of music that took that sound and turned it into something ugly sounding, in the best way possible. At the time of its release, the 28 songs that make up Scum came as a jaw-dropping shock in the world of music – a whole new level of gripping heaviness was birthed thanks to Napalm Death.
World Downfall – Terrorizer
Terrorizer is one of the most influential bands in all of grindcore history, and that is very much thanks to their debut album World Downfall. Unleashing a blistering display of grinding instrumentation that thrashes and pummels, Terrorizer brought forth tremendous brutality to their material that future grindcore bands would strive to build upon.
Horrified – Repulsion
Along with making for an excellent death metal experience, Repulsion’s one and only studio album Horrified is also an astounding grindcore experience. Grind may not always be known for creating atmosphere, but throughout the album, Repulsion provides songs that exude a grimy, filthy texture. In short, Horrified is a chaotic rush from beginning to end.
Prowler in the Yard – Pig Destroyer
While grindcore has been a genre known to involve a lot of socio-political lyricism, Pig Destroyer took their brand of grind in a more narrative direction. Along with the unnerving story the band crafted for this album, Prowler in the Yard provides some of the most aggressive, abrasive, and captivating instrumentation to be performed in all of grindcore history. Along with the screeching, almost painful-sounding vocals, Prowler in the Yard makes for both a thrilling and haunting experience.
Trumpeting Ecstasy – Full of Hell
Full of Hell is one of the most experimental grindcore bands going today. Blending grind with death metal, industrial, and noise, Full of Hell craft songs that exude captivating and skin-crawling atmospheres. On a technical level, the band’s music is remarkably intense, with songs featuring creative approaches to playing around with tempo, tone, and both minimalism and abundance. Although the band has several awesome records under their belt, 2017’s Trumpeting Ecstasy is by far their standout achievement.
Moksha – Cloud Rat
For as harsh as Cloud Rat can sound, the band also has an astounding talent for weaving lovely and gentle qualities into their music. On Moksha, Cloud Rat delivers a relentless presentation of searing and clashing instrumentation; but within a given song comes technical and creative surprises. Perhaps it’s the use of minimal space to create a chilling atmosphere, or a serene-sounding guitar progression makes its way in between thrashing instrumentals. Moksha is a testament to how grindcore does not need to be limited to just forward-driving heaviness, and what more it can do if it expands its creative wings.
Monolith of Inhumanity – Cattle Decapitation
Although Cattle Decapitation finds themselves often classified as a death metal band, a tremendous amount of the band’s stellar sonic qualities make up grindcore elements. Monolith of Inhumanity not only makes for the album that really put Cattle Decapitation on the map, but it also highlights how much more creatively bands can do with the technicality of grindcore. Imbuing different approaches to melody and compositional structure to the songs that make up the album, Cattle Decapitation created one of the heaviest death-grind experiences of all time.
The Inalienable Dreamless – Discordance Axis
Discordance Axis was active for only nine years, but during that time, they created an incredible record called The Inalienable Dreamless. While the record is chock-full of blisteringly speedy grind, it also features a refreshing technical presentation. Whether it’s through dissonant melodies or performing jarring, dynamic shifts in time signature, Discordance Axis crafted intriguing technical grindcore that deserves a hell of a lot more recognition.
In Battle There Is No Law – Bolt Thrower
On their way to becoming one of death metal’s most important bands, Bolt Thrower created a gripping death-grind record in the form of In Battle There Is No Law. Offering relentless slamming instrumentation, the record is a sonic experience brimming with sensory overload. Alongside thundering instrumentation, Bolt Thrower also weaves in awesome touches of melody, adding welcoming moments of vibrancy to the mix. While the band would go on to further develop their sound, In Battle There Is No Law stands as one of Bolt Thrower’s most exciting albums.