The New Jersey grindcore project No One Knows What the Dead Think boasts impressive lineage, with vocalist Jon Chang (ex-Discordance Axis, Gridlink) and guitarist/bassist Rob Marton (Discordance Axis) tireless veterans of the underground grind scene. Throw in accomplished drummer Kyosuke Nakano (ex-Cohol) and the trio on paper is a force to be reckoned with. A fresh project crafted by expert hands presents an enticing proposition for starved grind fiends. I have a healthy respect for Discordance Axis and a particular soft spot for the underrated and insanely brilliant Gridlink, so anticipation for this one runs high. Can No One Knows What the Dead Think move beyond past glories to deliver their own grind scene shaking statement of intent?
Nailing the artful balance of paying homage to the past and forging confidently into the here and now, No One Knows What the Dead Think create some of the most exhilarating grind I’ve heard in ages. Taking the raw, controlled chaos and unhinged weirdness of Discordance Axis and combining this influence with the ultra modern sheen, melodic underpinnings, and finely tuned extremity of Gridlink‘s brilliant swansong, Longhena, the band add their own imprint and cutting edge songwriting to the equation. And the results are unrelenting and pretty damn impressive across the board.
Like the aural equivalent of a compact and deadly machine from a not so distant dystopian future, the sleek, chrome-plated device detonates with blistering speed, precision and whipsmart intelligence. Impossibly fast bursts of machine gun blasts coincide with coppery whiffs of melody and raw, cold-blooded riffs, operating like gnashing metallic teeth cutting through flesh, bone and sinew, like a hot knife through butter. Meanwhile intense, anguished vocalizations ring through the chaos. Chock full of character and cutthroat extremity, No One Knows What the Dead Think is offbeat and infectious, in a grind sense, with sharp, consistently strong and surprisingly dynamic songwriting incorporating both punk and death strains of grind. Additionally, a healthy whack of deranged skull cracking groove and hardcore bite seeps in, best exemplified on the crushing climax of “Dagger Before Me.” The drumming on the album is sensational, offering a complex, scattershot and creative rhythmic platform to launch from. Violent, high energy bursts and subtle melodies infiltrate “Autumn Flower,” “Cinder,” and “Sayaka,” an impressive trio of standouts, while the Discordance Axis reboot of closer “Dominion” relishes in its unhinged deathgrind lunacy.
Chang’s distinct and anguished screams, howls and occasional lower grunts, add a further degree of intensity, emotion and extremity. On the flip-side, his abrasive, glass shattering shrieks may be too much for your casual grind fan. By design grindcore has long been known for its bottled extremity going hand-in-hand with brevity, where EP sized full-lengths are the standard norm for many grind acts. No One Knows What the Dead Think are no exception. Ripping through ten tracks in a mere 18 minutes, the sustained white knuckle intensity is leveraged by genuinely dynamic, addictive writing and melodic embellishments. By the time the album flies by, there’s a hunger for more, and though I appreciate the band’s get in, fuck shit up and get the fuck out approach, another couple of songs of similar quality would have been a welcome addition, especially when “Red Echoes” is merely a throwaway interlude. Nevertheless each proper track represents a diamond cut gem of elite modern grind, flawlessly executed in its uncompromising brutality, technical proficiency and unchained ferocity.
There’s little to complain about what No One Knows What the Dead Think have conjured for their debut album. As a base, the band take the finer qualities of their famed past projects, adding a fresh and exciting spin to the mix, equating to a bleak, modern grindcore album of immense quality and ribcage rattling intensity. Bottom line; grind aficionados need to jam this motherfucker in their earholes and polish it off with a dose of the same day release of Takafumi Matsubara‘s (Gridlink, Retortion Terror) debut platter for the ultimate grind fix.
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Willowtip Records
Websites: facebook.com/nooneknowswhatthedeadthink | nooneknowswhatthedeadthink.bandcamp.com
Releases Worldwide: September 20th, 2019