PLAY FAST OR DON’T: GIRLS THAT GRIND
Okay, so I’m not a punk, and never claimed to be. My punk cred is spotty at best (though I do have sweet Amebix neck tattoos!), and my knowledge is far from encyclopedic. However, I do love the fuck out of crust punk, d-beat, fastcore, powerviolence, 80’s hardcore, and grindcore, so you’re going to have to deal with me writing about it within the context of this series, because a) there are tons and tons of badass female musicians within those scenes, and b) duh, this shit rules! Of course, lumping all those disparate genres together is a little lazy on my part, but you’ve gotta admit that punk and grind go together like peanut butter and chocolate (or whips and chains).
For whatever reason, women seem to have had an easier time finding acceptance within this particular part of the overall extreme music scene. For example, I’m sure plenty of you are already familiar with rad bands like Fuck the Facts (featuring Mel Mongeon) and Agoraphobic Nosebleed (featuring Kat Katz). Cretin’s brutal babe of a frontwoman, Marissa Martinez, is well-known for her willingness to speak out about her status as the most famous transwoman in grindcore, but lest we forget, her skills behind the mic and shredding an axe are unfuckwithable. While Faiza is no longer in the band (having been replaced by former Insect Warfare vocalist Rahi (holy shit)), her vitriolic vocals made Hatred Surge the powerviolence powerhouse that they are today. Loads of legendary bands like Aus Rotten, Nausea, Skarp, Disrupt, and Iskra feature either female members or contributing members. (Could Adrienne Droogas of Spitboy BE any more badass on AR’s“The Second Rape? ”It’s an incredibly powerful, important song that you should really check out.)
As you can see, there are tons of killer grind/crust/powerviolence bands out there that happen to feature female members (especially within the realm of crust punk) and, as usual, I don’t have nearly enough time or space to pay homage to every single one of them, so here is a small handful of my favorite speed-dealing, face-melting, XX chromosome-owning grindcrushers, pxvx madwomen, and crust punx… In grind we crust.
FLAGITIOUS IDIOSYNCRASY IN THE DILAPIDATION
Like blackened crust demonesses-turned-experimental doomsters Gallhammer, these lovely Japanese ladies seem to have gotten more attention for simply being lovely Japanese ladies than for their actual music, but, seriously, FID fucking RIPS! Makiko’s vocals are inhumanly brutal, and their vicious live show (as seen at Maryland Death Fest, Obscene Extreme, etc.) speaks for itself. Catchy, fast-as-fuck, and immensely satisfying, their self-titled LP is essential grinding.
MIND OF ASIAN
Here’s another Japanese collective- – all female, all fastcore, all batshit insane from what I’ve seen. They’re released splits with Voetsek and Unholy Grave, toured with Magrudergrind, and basically fucking rule. Short, fast, LOUD.
APPALACHIAN TERROR UNIT
I really, really love this band. This cadre of female-fronted, anarcho-socialist, environmental rights activists hail from West Virginia’s coal country, and have witnessed firsthand the ravages that machinery, strip-mining, poverty, and hopeless economic distress have visited upon their home. Needless to say, they’re pissed, as their their brutally powerful blend of crust punk, dark, violent thrash, and straight up punk makes abundantly clear. Think Nausea, Conflict, Amebix. Listen to their desperately intense debut LP, Armageddon Won’t Be Brought By Gods… But By Men Who Think They Are.
AFTER THE BOMBS
This Canadian stenchcore band broke up fairly recently (sad face) but I couldn’t resist adding them in here, because Janick’s vocals are so fucking rad, and honestly, what’s not to love about a bunch of post-apocalyptic crusties who worship Deviated Instinct and Bathory? R.I.P.
Between Amy Lawless’ gnarly vocals and Athena’s wicked bass skills, Voetsek are clearly going to fuck you up. Bay Area thrash run through a grindy, crusty filter and spat back out in yer face. They’ve also fairly recently released a split with Mind of Asian – how’s that for solidarity? Up the ladypunx!
Deranged Japanese fastcore, dueling male and female vocals, up-tempo, classic clanging metallic crust sped up to warp speed — fucking YES! I couldn’t find any live videos, but the seven songs (in under 9 minutes) below should give you an idea of how insane these grind bastards are. Speaking of Japan — check out Conga Fury for more female-fronted badassery.
WINDS OF GENOCIDE
Featuring another kickass transgendered lady at the mic and hailing from England, Winds of Genocide are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Winds of Genocide = early Bolt Thrower mixed with liberal doses of classic UK crust and a generous dose of old-school, thrashy black metal, and absolutely jaw-dropping rough, guttural vocals (and one helluva Tom G. war grunt) from Kat Shevill — fuckin’ class!
This ended up being more about crust than anything else, but I definitely want to hear more suggestions for other girlgrinders and powerviolence broads (read the intro before recommending Fuck the Facts 6734957 times, though, ‘kay?). Stay tuned for the death metal edition…
Kim Kelly (or Grim Kim, if we’re being formal) scribbles for a number of sweet metal publications (Terrorizer, Brooklyn Vegan, Invisible Oranges, Hails & Horns, and tons more), promotes wicked records with Catharsis PR, and road dogs for your favorite bands. Keep up with her exploits & numerous band recommendations on Twitter, or peep her blog Ravishing Grimness. Check out this sweet article she just wrote for The Atlantic, while you’re at it!