Ever wonder what it would be like to be sitting peacefully on an outhouse latrine only to have the structure upended by backwoods goons, leaving you writhing in excrement? Probably not, but a good musical equivalent to this “Deliverance” scenario would be listening to Grindvirus, the new offal-ing from long-running Polish grinders Squash Bowels. Lest you think it’s an inappropriate metaphor note that two gems on their Willowtip debut include “Shit Oneself” and “Bacterial Fertiliser.”
Cripple Bastards aren’t the only sickos roaming unchecked around Europe in recent decades. Squash Bowels has been playing since 1994 and look like hardened KGB agents in their grainy album photos. Their roster includes numerous splits, a few proper albums and a thesaurus of inappropriate song titles. If combining Impaled and Phobia with a grosser-than-gross joke book sounds appealing to you than Squash Bowels is mandatory listening.
Unlike most goregrind Grindvirus doesn’t just traffic in shock-at-all costs stupidity, potty jokes and “songs” composed in three minutes. Vocalist Andy Pakos has a nasty throat that’s part Ross Sewage of Impaled and part Phobia’s Shane McLachlan. The powerviolence-tinged riffs aren’t instantly forgettable and the album plows forward like good grind should. Then again, it’s not high art nor does it aspire to be. When an album looks like a pathological gastroenterologist’s sketchbook you know what’s ahead. Grindvirus is music for miscreants performed by adult men that might be carrying industrial sized-bags of lime in their tour van.
Willowtip Records seems to delight in dredging up European bands that produce unsettling extreme metal and giving them a bigger audience. They did it with Sweden’s Crowpath and they’ve done it again. Grindvirus is an album for people who genuinely feel bad listening to some of the stuff on the Relapse Slimewave compilation and need the excuse that the music is worth the time. Grindvirus won’t make any best-of lists but might make you wish you had extra absorbent Depends on hand and handi-wipes to clean off the lingering residue.
“Poison got folks pretty riled up, but if it wasn’t clear from the “Rock of Ages” tour name that Def Leppard was meant to be the main draw of the night, a digital countdown announced that fact in giant numbers. The old ‘all that glitters isn’t gold’ chestnut might’ve made me wary when the band first appeared on stage, Joe Elliot and Rick Savage (like Michaels) rising from behind the drum kit. From Elliott’s mic stand and sneakers to the graphics on the band members’ t-shirts, Def Leppard was covered in glitter, and the multi-screen LCD backdrop functioned as a similar sparkly ‘enhancement.’”
Laura Wiebe reviews the June 17th Hamilton, Ontario stop on the current Rock Of Ages tour, featuring Lita Ford, Poison and Def Leppard.