Death metal may have had a vintage year, but its snottier cousin wasn’t too far behind, as both grind veterans and young upstarts hit us with salvos of blastbeats and razor riffs. Rich Holmes flew into the eye of the storm to bring us Rushonrock’s best grindcore albums of 2020.
10. Resin Tomb – Resin Tomb (Brilliant Emperor Records)
Featuring members of Snorlax, Descent and Siberian Hell Sounds, this Queensland outfit were never going to write saccharine AOR ballads. Or, in fact, anything remotely mainstream. Resin Tomb’s devastating onslaught raged with urban anti-hymns and nightmarish, dissonant deathgrind, and its five songs were wrapped in an all-pervading sense of dread. This was Brisbane’s dark underbelly, exposed to the world.
Read the full review of Resin Tomb here.
9. ACxDC – Satan Is King (Prosthetic Records)
ACxDC – aka Antichrist Demoncore – were in reassuringly rabid form on their second full-length. And the LA outfit seemed raring to go on their first release in four years. Satan Is King was a breakneck thrillride of scorn and defiance, a maelstrom of whiplash riffs where hardcore, grind, death metal and powerviolence collided… and sparks flew. It was impossible to ignore.
8. Mustasuo – Katharsis (Off Records)
The Finns’ debut mixed blast furnace grind with ice cold atmospherics – and took a big pinch of inspiration from d-beat legends Unkind too. The result was a tense and at times, bleak opus that marked Mustasuo as a band to watch in the 2020s and gave us everything from the Cult Of Luna dramatics of Tuomitulle to Noitaympyrä’s crusty Scandicore. An impressive first step for the trio.
Read the full review of Katharsis here.
7. Henry Kane – The Age Of The Idiot (Transcending Obscurity)
A solo project of Jonny Pettersson (Wombbath, Bezerker Legion, Ashcloud et al) Henry Kane set the tone with 2017’s Den Förstörda Människans Rike and then topped that record with The Age Of The Idiot, an exercise in brutal nihilism and dystopian death crust. Nasum, Rotten Sound, Wolfbrigade and Skitsystem all went into Pettersson’s grinder… and what emerged spat venom in the face of our poisonous, hate-filled society.
Check out the full review of The Age Of The Idiot here.
6. Caustic Wound – Death Posture (Profound Lore Records)
This US act’s debut revelled in the downtuned devastation of embryonic grindcore, with Repulsion, early Carcass and pre-Barney Napalm Death providing the blueprints. Songs like Terror Bomber and Cabal were underscored by Tony Wolfe’s low end bass rumble, peppered with crazed leadwork and covered in gristle. Caustic Wound took you back to ‘89 in a cider-powered DeLorean – and it was a great place to be.
5. SKAM – The Sound Of Disease (Redefining Darkness Records)
The Sound Of Disease was the sound of a band railing against the devastating effects of mental illness, to a soundtrack of white hot grindcore. The Swedes’ fierce onslaught certainly wasn’t pretty, yet beneath its grimy surface were intriguing textures which brought great emotional depth – and a sense of catharsis – to the record. Sure, there were nods to Anaal Nathrakh and Disfear on The Sound Of Disease, but SKAM forged their own path on their debut. And it will take them far.
4. Benighted – Obscene Repressed (Season of Mist)
Benighted’s ninth opus cut a bloody swathe through 2020 and then poured acid into the wounds. The Frenchmen’s unrelenting deathgrind attack was unnervingly addictive, and its flesh searing blasts and gory grooves made Obscene Repressed a go-to record for a quick hit of unhinged extremity. Hell, there was even a curveball cover of Slipknot’s Get This to get your teeth into.
Read the full review of Obscene Repressed here.
3. WVRM – Colony Collapse (Prosthetic Records)
A petrol bomb filled with working class angst and ignited by eviscerating blastbeats. A war of sonic annihilation that rivalled the work of Nasum and Phobia in its savage intensity, and never let up. Yep, with their Prosthetic debut, this North Carolina band emerged from the underground and delivered one of the most powerful grindcore albums of recent years. There was no escaping WVRM’s fury.
Check out the full review of Colony Collapse here.
2. Fuck The Facts – Pleine Noirceur (Noise Salvation)
With the follow-up to 2015’s Desire Will Rot, Fuck The Facts cemented their status as one of grindcore’s most dexterous acts. And as soon as Doubt, Fear, Neglect opened up, it was obvious that the Canadians had created an album to rival their best work – not bad for a band with more than 60 releases to their name. From the post-rock shimmers of the title track to L’abandon’s angular blast spasms, Pleine Noirceur was a fascinating excursion into grind’s outer limits.
1. Napalm Death – Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism (Century Media)
Napalm Death haven’t exactly been prolific over the last decade. However, thanks to 2012’s Utilitarian and 2015’s Apex Predator – Easy Meat, it was a case of quality over quantity for the grindcore pioneers. And Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism saw the band imbibe the same potent creative juices that made those records so enthralling. Napalm Death’s 19th studio album – largely written by bassist Shane Embury – was a masterclass in extreme music, a multi-hued opus of boiling point rage and unrestrained expression. But did we seriously expect anything else?