My comrades may disagree, but I find the forced exploration inherent in reviewing to be a feature, not a bug. Operating outside of the norm drew me to metal in the first place, so I embrace this newfound stream of eclectic tastes and unexpected origin. Debutantes Grossty are the latest enigma I find rapping at my door. One of the only bands grinding in India today, they offer escape from the trappings of a metal culture that, though born of difference, too often trends toward uniformity. Grindcore was forged in forgotten clubs by handfuls of misfits that only expected the chance to let their music speak for itself. What better genre for a country generally forgotten by metal at large?
Though emanating from a largely isolated environment, Crocopter takes its cue from early grind’s crust punk influences to pound out an eclectic experience capable of transforming itself with each new track. Though drawing influence from acts like Extreme Noise Terror, Cripple Bastards and Magrudergrind, much of the sheer brutality associated with those acts is hemmed in favor of cycling grind vignettes that keep the album moving constantly. Opener “Brink” moshes its way through 80 seconds of fury, splashing deliberate infusions of punk across a palate of blistering anger and pummeling beats. Dual vocalists Bad Influence and Pimp fight for mic supremacy throughout, one bringing the down-low growls, his crustier counterpart barking and half-speaking over the top. This mix is surprisingly well-executed, the dichotomy complementing Crocopter’s many moving parts. Snapshots of groove on “Laugh at Their Lives” and hammerheaded mentality on “Burn Baby Burn” fill in the edges of an album as wide-ranging as it is straightforward.
With 21 songs in 21 minutes, Grossty bounce through 31 flavors of gnashed teeth and crusty riffs, recalling sloppy days of yore without sacrificing inherent quality. It’s difficult to say how well the super tight runtime lends itself to Crocopter’s stylistic ADHD. Hopscotching from track to track is a grindcore mainstay, but when combined with a pu pu platter of direction, it is only natural that some material feels passed over. Diversions into punk and jazz stop in only long enough to say hello, while the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Cannibal Corpse riff on “Crocopter” and the death-turned-hardcore “Jesus Christ” are but two instances of enticing heaviness that feel underutilized. “Pussy Bun” and the title track offer the heaviest blocks of riffing, but the album tends toward the gang-shouts and thin riffing of tracks like “Saltie” instead. Grossty seem to aim precisely for this punkier production. It’s hard to fault the band for a conscious stylistic choice, even if I’d like more meat on the bones, but I know they can clearly do better than their invasive tin can snare mix. Intentional or not, it plunks every beat over the head from start to finish like St. Anger on speed. Though brutal cuts like “Pussy Bun” escape this torment, spacious tracks like “Mermaid Marriage” and “Proud to Be a Pervert” suffer a constant bonking that dominates every blast and fill. I can still hear it now. Bonk. Bonk bonk.
The fun nature of Crocopter is simply too much to ignore, however. By now you’ve surely noticed the Anal Cunt-reading-children’s-books song titles. They perfectly encapsulate the energy and freedom felt in the goofy moments when Grossty step away from grinding. Likewise from the never-boring vocal tandem. Their incoherent babble suits the music’s roiling nature, an attribute enhanced by Kuchi’s fleet-of-foot drumming. Chaotic and barely in control, he successfully flies through all the tempo shifts and beat selections required to hold Crocopter together. Though minute-long runtimes provide innate track replayability, I keep coming back to the lithe 1:33 of “Pussy Bun.” The cut is instilled with the right combination of frenetics and amusement, practically begging me to mimic cries of “Pussy bun!” like a poorly voiced Pokemon.
Crocopter is notably well-formed for a debut album and deserves its full international release. By sticking to what works, the boys from Bangalore build a solid foundation from which they can continue their assault on the international underground. Grossty command a natural flow that will allow their idiosyncratic expression to ultimately dictate the heights they reach. With some polishing around their rougher edges, the band could make grindcore a primary Indian export.