Chopped In JAV – Goregrind and Pornogrind in Japan
Porn is big business in Japan. The number of video-based businesses operating in Japan today is around 2.6 thousand, with JAV (Japanese Adult Videos) being released by the dozen on a daily basis. Stores like M’s Pop Life in Akihabara offer seven floors of products for consumers. With this in mind, it’s not a stretch to assume pornography seeps into music as well, with censored genitals or not.
When it comes to pornogrind in Japan, one cannot forget the connection to goregrind, with bands like Gore Beyond Necropsy coming out in 1989 (currently Noise A-Go-Go’s) who played a style they referred to as “Analdrillinggrind Harshit Core!!” Viscera Infest, CSSO (Clotted Symmetric Sexual Organ) and Butcher ABC are also huge names. Butcher’s main chef Narutoshi Sekine was a gory spiritual influence to what has come afterwards, overseeing many bands’ success as his Obliteration Records has released albums by newer artists like Diarrhea and Anal Volcano.
Happy Despatch Productions, a relatively new label, formed in 2019, put several of the country’s gore and pornogrind bands all onto one CD, the infamous Gore and Bizarre Grind Warriors From Japan. Some of the acts featured on this mix include Anal Zumou, Labia Majora, Pervert of Ability and Cosmic Goatpussy.
Happy Despatch owner Tomoyuki Tagami (who also performs as Environmental Investigation) says of the label, “It started on December 2019 to put out ExIx’s first release. I was interested in running a label to spread goregrind bands from overseas and to introduce goregrind bands from Japan overseas, because the scene here is a little insular, and some of them can’t speak English and hardly ever contact overseas fans or markets. So, I think it’s my job to become a bridge between Japan and the overseas fans and bands. If there is a new goregrind band or project in Japan, I’m willing to release their stuff. And if overseas bands want to contact Japanese bands, I want to help them.”
Some bands have broken away from the insular scene, though. Pervert of Ability have been around for just a few years (since 2019), but recently appeared on the Sick Dog Fest, an online streaming festival featuring over 80 bands from around the world. Their Temple of Gorecult EP presents the world of goregrind mingling with cult topics like Shoko Asahara’s Aum Shinrikyo cult and Pana Wave.
Niigata’sものすごい光 – Monosugoi Hikari is a goregrind/pornogrind band who are also leading the cult of brutal-minded perverts in the underground clubs. There is a blatant sense of filthy fun with the group, with festivals like Anal Extreme and Cumshot Festival being something that could possibly only exist in Japan.
Their album Pornative Nerds reflects this outsider looking into the JAV world mentality. Te band also has a promotional photo hanging out in what looks to be M’s Pop Life, among the blow-up dolls and pocket pussies –perhaps mocking the absurd items sold in this store manufactured for cheap thrills in isolated compartments.
The band has shared the stage with acts like Girls Next Gore (who proudly wear stockings and underwear on their heads), and Sperma Worm (a pink ski mask wearing madman who gurgles over electronic beats). As the amount of pornogrind bands are of a small number, they often share the stage with traditional death metal, grindcore or goregrind bands such as Invictus and Birth Asphyxia.
That said, they aren’t the only band to combine the irreverent with the nasty to make a colorfully grotesque outfit. Pinworm Puella headlined the Sunny Day Grind Festival, featuring acts like Sete Star Sept and Tentacle Centipede. Donned in red toques, they almost look they are a part of Team Zissou gone-grind. Their low-fi drum sound and use of pink in their logo brings to mind those early ’90s big-box porno tapes hidden in dad’s closet.
Speaking about why Japanese goregrind and pornogrind bands stand apart from those of other countries, Tagami says, “Many bands play anime or Japanese porn themed songs. In the early 2010s, there were many but most disbanded. Some bands are heavily influenced by the Obscene Extreme Festival, such as wearing bizarre costumes. I also did that while I was playing in Pinworm Puella and Girls Next Gore.”
Female representation in Japanese gore and pornogrind isn’t just blow-up dolls being tossed around at concerts. Grave Grinder pride themselves in vocalist Mai performing “no effects pig squeals,” which she does quite well while the other boys in Grave Grinder serve up groovy, dance-ready grind numbers. How did she get so good? “Practise and practise!”
The band took a break for a number of years before returning in 2020. During the past year, the band has released a number of hilariously irreverent video such as “No. 1 Japanese Porn Ninja” showing the band in ninja costumes doing a sewer square-dance; “Monster Train,” showing drummer Torucha’s face superimposed on a speeding locomotive; and “Psycho Power,” showing their cute dog Moumon, who Mai adopted from an animal shelter two years ago. Recently, Mai’s brother Sakaki joined the band for their song “Loser Party,” and they don’t rule out further surprises in the future.
In regards to the band’s return after their lengthy hiatus, Mai says, “In 2020, I realized we wanted to make more happy and dumb music with many ridiculous things along with chaos-style videos. So, we restarted the band.”
On being a female in a goregrind/pornogrind band, the vocalist says, “Gender is not a big deal for me. Gender doesn’t matter. Even if I was a male, I would still love porn/gore/grind music and I would still do vocals in Grave Grinder with Torucha.”
The endless library of pornographic mangas found in Japan have made their way to the audio world, with bands like Go-Zen leaving their mark on the scene by providing violent-as-all hell goregrind accompanied by grotesque ero guro artwork. Their 2012 album Hitoshizuku is an infamously iconic example, using art from perverted master Uziga Waita.
One-man band Onisirige, who recently released his debut album Dying From Cuteness on Impaled Ximena Records (known for anime grind bands like Septic Karnage), represents the newer crop of artists utilizing anime to spice up their presentation. Call it anime grind, animated pornogrind, or whatever else you want — it can’t be denied that bludgeoning riffs, frog vocals, and a three-breasted anime girl on the front cover is what you really want stuffed in your stocking.
Some bands are influenced by the Mexican goregrind greats such as Brujeria and Disgorge, with Spanish characteristics within the lyrics and album titles. Anal Volcano are a luchador-masked goregrind band featuring Go-Zen’s guitarist. The band, who began in 2014, are a roaring, sloppy blast of explosive diarrhea, but with a Mexican flair. They are handled by main butcher Sekine’s Obliteration Records and Brutal Mind out of Indonesia, and played the Japanese version of the Obscene Extreme Festival.
Vulgaroyal Bloodhill are another band influenced by Mexican grind, with Spanish lyrics, face-bandanas, Brujeria themed merch and even a tour in Mexico to spread the Vulgaroyal sickness. Their Obliteration Records-released album Los Muchos Meurtos de Vulgaroyal Bloodhill is like a sangre shockumentary on a CD.
For good old-fashioned gore, Meat Chunk are an old-school goregrind project which began in 2019. With these guys, it’s all about limbs: Bloody Limb Amputation is the name of their five-track EP, which is a chaotic slaughterhouse-floor of moist cacophony and a nightmare for amputees and vegans alike.
If you have read Junji Ito’s Gyo, you should be familiar with the term “death stench.” FesterDecay are a “pathological stench” goregrind band, which one imagines is similar to the smell Ito was describing in his grotesque manga. The band recently performed on the big stage at the 2021 edition of the Asakusa Deathfest, and released a new track for the perverted masses, titled “Aborticide.”
Finally, Diarrhea [Cha cha cha. -Ed] are another band handled by Obliteration Records (it really doesn’t get any more blunt or as nasty as diarrhea, does it?). Their Anal Torture Grind EP has a whole lot to do with the rectum, with songs like “Anal Torture,” Maggots in the Ass,” and the immortal classic and album closer, “Bloody Shitter.” Truly an album to put on in order to encourage some splatter on the john.