A grindcore show is typically referred to as one of two things (if not both): noise, or a religious experience. Don’t be scared of the frightening anatomy of it all; embrace it, soak it in, let it have its way with you. These are all lessons I picked up rather quickly at Montreal’s own Bar Le Ritz for a gathering of hate, violence, and banging heads. Fucking Full of Hell was in town and they brought some buds with them.
What I can tell you from feeling out the reactions of the fellow attendees of this surprisingly packed cult gathering was that both local acts killed. Detainee played about as long as one would typically move a bowel (and as furiously), and Patent slew while slinging in some Jazz breakdowns in there. It was Montreal Grindcore at its finest and apparently very much worth catching next time either of their names cross your gaze.
Next up was a familiar face for this particular grindcore noob – APES, from Quebec City. This was not my first encounter with this grind and dark hardcore quintet, and I can absolutely assure you it won’t be my last. I’m a particular fan of the sound at Le Ritz since its reincarnation after Il Motore, and this show was no different. The one key thing I noticed as different from my previous encounter with this act was an unnoticed groove in their compositions, almost as if I had somehow just “gotten it” out of the blue. The lesson to be learned here: if at first you don’t submit to a sound, dunk your fucking head in again and eventually it’ll all make sense. They played banger after banger and a few new tunes, and then the set was done, leaving me in need of a drink, and STD test, and some tacos.
Up next to decimate what was left of my face was Gatecreeper hailing from the various corners of Arizona. This act was a slight pause from the relentless pummeling of the grind-laden line up of the evening, soothing us crowd members with a light bit of fucking balls-deep death metal instead. This act brought a weight to the room that I could not possibly prepare myself for. It was so heavy and so brutal that slow felt fast and ambient felt crushing. Trying to check it out in recordings quite simply does not do these dudes justice. Go to a show and bring lube.
Last to serve you that punch momma told you not to drink was Full of Hell out of Ocean City, Maryland. Saying it was a religious experience doesn’t begin to describe the truly cerebral experience I bore witness to. The beautiful thing about the style this band unleashes is that no amount of research could possibly prepare you for what their performance brings. They are faster than fast, heavier than any one person should consume in their lives, and frightening. Honestly, it was psychologically concerning and devoid of discernable musical sense. There are people in this world that you truly wish would find the therapeutic help they need to be functioning members of society. I truly pray to whatever unholy creature that listens that frontman Dylan Walker never seeks that help if it means we the people can continue to witness this kind of destruction. Of course, the band isn’t just a frontman with a synth setup. The whole act brings fire and brimstone to the stage and it’s an experience that words can’t fully depict.
So I say this to you yet again: go to shows, any fucking kind, especially if they scare you. Throw yourself in the fucking shit of it, really experience it even if it’s just once in your life.
Written by Jason Greenberg
*edited by Kate Erickson