Genre: Grindcore | Label: Haunted Hotel Records
Location: Winnipeg, MB / Fort Wayne, IN| Listen: Bandcamp
When it comes to grindcore, you’ll find yourself discovering bands often, as your favourite artists tend to do splits. Winnipeg’s Archagathus are one of the most active in the international grind scene, releasing a plethora of split records over the years, much like their main influence of Agathocles. In 2013, they released a split 10″/CD with mid-west grinders Nak’ay, who also have also put out their share of splits. This is among my favourite material from both bands, although I am far more familiar with Archagathus’ discography than I am Nak’ay’s.
Archagathus’ sound, as mentioned, is rooted in the punky grind sound championed by Agathocles, better known as mincecore. There’s plenty of that throughout the record, usage of 4 chord punk riffs backed by d-beat rhythms. They take that punk influence a step further on the bridge in “Morbid Disaster,” making a really catchy part that eventually gives way to raging blastbeats (which are in no shortage). There’s a lot more death metal influence poking its head out here than usual for Archagathus, reminding me of Napalm Death’s “Mentally Murdered” EP. Tracks like “Miserable Corpse” and “Decapitated Priests” implement tremolo picked death metal riffs, and even Bill Steer sounding solos for brief moments. The band employs several different vocal techniques between both guitarists, utilizing death metal growls, screams, and punk yells, giving the songs more depth. The tight musical performance was captured well, as the self recorded material sounds leaps and bounds better than most DIY grindcore. Their side is only 8 minutes but it’s left a lasting impression on for years.
The Nak’ay side features a much more raw and blastbeat oriented approach to grindcore in comparison. Throughout 9 minutes, they blast away at full speed, utilizing fast thrash beats between all the blastbeat sections. This material reminds me of early Napalm Death’s relentless approach, especially with the rawer production. The guitars a little buried, with the drums really up front, but it doesn’t feel out of place on a grindcore recording. Nak’ay does utilize a few techniques to break their songs up, including samples with added noise effects, as well as having all three members contribute vocals. There are parts that breakdown to non-blasting such as in “Black Out,” “Curriculum,” and the closer “Blank Stare.” These parts are effective in keeping their side from sounding monotonous.
Truth be told, I binge listen to Archagathus pretty often, and their material on this release is some of my most listened to. I don’t listen to the Nak’ay side as often, but when I do grab the actual 10″, I always enjoy what they’ve done here. Archagathus’ discography is so large that it’s an intimidating feat to know where to start, so I wanted to highlight this one, as both sides are quality grindcore.