Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Grinder - The 1st EP (1990)

It doesn't look like much, but Grinder's 1st EP was ironically their last release with No Remorse Records before signing over to Noise Records for the incredibly dull 3rd full-length, Nothing is Sacred. It's similar to a lot of other short form thrash releases of the time: a few new studio tracks and some live material prescribed as a bonus. Strangely, Grinder have never really felt as 'alive' as they do on this album. Though Adrian Hahn's vocals and the force of the riffs are highly reminiscent of Arizona thrashers Flotsam & Jetsam, they distinguish themselves cleanly from the rest of the German thrash scene, and there's a lot of undeniable energy here that would have been great could it have persisted through a full length.

"Reeling on the Edge" is a bit misleading, sort of an eerie ska/metal piece with dopey sounding, rapped lyrics that remind me of Run DMC, or Phil Rind on the crappy Sacred Reich funk song "31 Flavors". At least until :45 in when it becomes a pure thrust of choppy speed/thrash and the vocals assume their Eric A.K. stance. Sadly, the ska shit returns in the next verse, so ultimately all the good parts are wasted. Not the case for "Incarnation Off" and "Truth in the Hands of Judas", which are both well written if not highly memorable thrashers that I honestly prefer to anything found on their second album, Dead End. The dense guitars, intensifying vocals and wild leads drive them over the brink of mediocrity, and I like the well plotted chorus of the latter.

As for the live material, you've got "Just Another Scar" from Dead End, and "Dawn for the Living" and "F.O.A.D." from the debut album. The quality of the sound here is average, but at least it's bright and clear enough to do justice to the songs. "F.O.A.D" is just as dumb as it was on Dawn for the Living, but the other tracks show that the band might have been even more fun live than in the studio. I can imagine The 1st EP would have been favorable for the fans, as it shows the band at their peak of energy, but there are really only two songs here worth hearing, and the rest can kindly fuck off.

Verdict: Indifference [5/10]

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