Houkago Grind Time – Bakyunsified (Moe to the Gore) [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Ok, so this is part mea culpa, part you should actually check this album out. I had this album slated for review last month, but with the second half of 2020 turning into an ultra beatdown of responsibility, I whiffed on the release date. But far be it from me to let my shit-tier time management fall on Andrew Lee, the one man behind one-man-band Houkago Grind Time (and 2020 death metal standout Ripped to Shreds). Bakyunsified (Moe to the Gore) may house a whole lot of meta anime piss-takes, but don’t let that fool you: this spin is more grind to the core than it has any right to be.

There’s something about the way this project, father of four splits in the last two years, hits that perfect grind pocket of in-and-out brevity and rhythmic variation that resonates with me. The pulsating beatdown of “A Manual of Ways to Occupy Oneself While Waiting in Line for Limited Edition Merch” functions the way a melody would on something less committed to pummeling you into Flat Stanley. True to theme, the tour-de-grind that Lee unleashes is harrowing and hilarious. Fall down the Grand Canyon of crushing cavern roars on “Moe: Nani?!” Delight in the Swedish smorgasbord of nearly-out-of-control fret annihilation on “Effortless Regurgitation of Kyoani Moeblobs!” Visit the heart of Ikebukuro with adorable anime sound bites, nonsense lyrics, and in-joke anime song titles on, well, “All of Them!” “War Bad” and “Moe: Nani?” work double duty in that respect—making me laugh at their ridiculous voiceover clips1 and making me cry from the neck-shredding tonal whiplash into classic goregrind influences ranging from Carcass to Agathocles.

The absurdist nature of the window dressing may cause purists to shy away, but it shouldn’t. The smoking Slayer-esque squeals to close absolute smash “Makoto Shinkai Has a Goatee”2 certainly don’t give a shit. Getting the joke behind the nearly identical intro clips to “Endless Eight Part 2” and “Endless Eight Part 6” is nice, yes. However, any fan of being murdered by riffs, resurrected, and murdered again will be able to appreciate the superlative savagery behind “P Is for Keikaku,” even if the niche name3 soars over their head. The schtick is far from overworked—the sound bites are brief and well-spaced—and add charisma and charm to an album (and genre) whose sound can sometimes hedge toward homogeny.

Bakyunsified’s prerequisite bells and whistles are in place too. The production sounds surprisingly good and sufficiently murderous, while the Colin Marston (Everyone) master ensures a highly professional feel. With guests including P.L.F.’s Dave Callier and Leon del Muerte (Impaled, ex-Intronaut) jumping in for lead and vocal spots, Houkago Grind Time feels like anything but a joke band. If you pass this up based on the cover, that’s your right, but you’re fucking wrong. It doesn’t matter if you’re into slice of life. This is one slice of grind you shouldn’t miss.

Tracks to Check Out: All of them, it’s fucking grindcore, it’s not like you don’t have the twenty minutes

Show 3 footnotes

  1. The closing sound bite of “Moe: Nani?” is the hardest a metal album has ever made me laugh, and that’s actually a good thing.
  2. He in fact does.
  3. My personal favorite, though I’ll never not this at the clever combo of both metal and anime in-jokes on “A Manual of Ways…”
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