Archagathus – Coffee Grinder

Genre: Grindcore | Label: Bringer of Gore
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba| Listen: Youtube

Canadian grinders Archagathus have been outrageously prolific over the years, so much so that some of their releases may have been buried only to be resurrected a few years later for completion. After releasing their first 12″ in 2010, Archagathus released two more in 2011. One of these was the incredible “Canadian Horse” LP, which I’ve given much praise in a previous review. The other one is what we have here, the “Coffee Grinder” LP. It contains 14 tracks that were initially recorded back in 2008, and then finished in 2011. These are considerably rawer than the “Canadian Horse” LP, and not surprisingly sound more inline with the many split 7″ recordings Archagathus were putting out around the late 2000’s.

“Coffee Grinder” contains the duo of Dan Ryckman and Joe Warkentin, with the former performing all instruments, and the latter supplementing the vocal department. Some of these songs, namely “Sad Together,” “Intelligible Happiness” and “Unrealistic Janitor” have appeared on previous recordings, and are possibly the earlier verisons of these songs. The other 11 tracks are exclusive to this release, with most of them getting the job done in a mere minute. Most of the songs revolve around fairly simple verse/chorus structures that pummel away between blast beats, polka-mince beats, and punky d-beats. This should not surprise anyone who are familiar with these guys.

Despite the simple structures and fairly predictable material, there’s no shortage of sick riffs, hooks, and nuances all around to keep it fresh and something worth coming back to. The longest track, “Functional Society System” actually has an intro that builds up for about the first half of the song. “Mince Bastard” provides a simple groove that makes it instantly likeable. The usage of all sorts of vocal styles also give these songs tons of character, which prove Warkentin’s value as a second vocalist on this record. Both guys can do tons of crazy things with their voices, and that’s been a strength of the countless projects both have done over the years.

As mentioned, this is a pretty raw affair, but it is earlier on in Archagathus’ career. I think it’s entirely listenable, and even genre appropriate, so it’s certainly not bad, but there’s things like a lack of crisp attack on the kick drum. The cymbals’ high end seems a little strange, and there’s guitar hums and feedback where most folks would just clean it up. All that adds into the charm of this record, and kind of feeds into the lore about how it was initially recorded a few years earlier before the band came back to it.

Out of all of Archagathus’ full lengths, this one is probably the hardest to come by, as it’s only been done in limited runs on vinyl and tape. It is their rawest of their four LPs (it does very clearly state “raw shit” on the cover!), but it’s one I come back to often because I usually prefer listening to their longer releases instead of going through a million 7″ splits, so I’m glad the band decided to dig these songs up and get them finished. If the early years of Archagathus interest you, this one is certainly worth hunting down, even if just digitally.