Kageneko / Merked split cassette

Great split between two grindcore bands from the West Coast. Both sound pretty similar, but MERKED has real drums and KAGENEKO is a classic cybergrind band with the drum machine playing impossibly fast beats. Reminds of something you’d find in some random distro in the early ’00s. Nothing groundbreaking here, but it’s fun as hell.

Merked Murk Mob cassette

Oakland’s heavy hitters MERKED play twenty tracks of sinister, grinding powerviolence with a gruesome slab of sludge, recalling HARD TO SWALLOW and UNRUH. Excellent stuff that does not tire on the ears like some forms of PV can. Punk grind attitude, somewhat sloppy at times, in a fluid way. It sounds like they are having a good time doing what they love and I like that. A three-piece that sounds like a mammoth, lots of breakdowns and some mid-tempo moments. I got through the entirety of the twenty tracks and it sort of felt like a play. There is definitely a story here and they don’t overdo it; the tape simply slams start to finish. I reviewed CHOKE from the Bay Area some months ago as well, and still have yet to see them. Lame of me, but it would be rad to check both these bands out. That would vibe nicely, I think.

Merked / Slag split cassette

Total and complete grindcore devastation. The samples of righteous violence between MERKED songs make everything even more intense (“I swear on my fucking mother, if you touch her again you’re dead”). Dark and heavy grind-churn savagery that makes me scared to flip the tape…fortunately, I’m playing on an autoreverse deck. SLAG continues the savagery on the flip, pure San Jose grind supremacy. Of all of the records (and tapes) I’ve listened to this month, these are absolutely the most brutal sounds I have heard—fans of grind and violence are well advised to not sleep on this shit. Absolutely colossal release.

Merked Merked cassette

Walking that tightrope between powerviolence and straight up grindcore, MERKED seems to fit right in the middle somewhere with a style that I have seen referred to as grind-violence. Seventeen tracks of pummeling, heavy, slow, and brutal followed by relentless and fast riffs, very few of which break even the one-minute mark. Pepper in a bunch of sound clips and you can surely recognize the recipe. For fans of NO LESS, IN DISGUST, and anything in-between.