Grindcore is a worldwide phenomenon where leftist punks, extreme metal shredders, and Anal Cunt fans can finally come together. Those are just a few of the demographics on display in director Doug Brown’s Slave to the Grind, an entertainingly exhaustive primer on the lightning-paced sub-underground sound and its many factions.
The film begins by breaking down the drum beats that typify several recognizable playing styles: the “cheat beat,” the d-beat, and the swiveling feet of Terrorizer’s Pete Sandoval. A brief history is sketched out from Repulsion’s invention of grindcore in Flint, Michigan, to the perpetually rotating lineups of Napalm Death in the UK. Regional variations continue to crop up in Japan, Sweden, and Quebec, where things really get weird.
Slave to the Grind differs from other scene-surveying documentaries by criticizing the actions of a controversial figure such as the late Anal Cunt singer Seth Putnam, who peppered his performances with racist slurs and Seig Heils. Grindcore might push the envelope, but that doesn’t mean people will put up with the musical equivalent of an 8chan edgelord. In 2014, noisecore heroes Deche-Charge paid him the ultimate tribute with their 101-song album, Disgrace To The Corpse of Seth.