Not to be confused with American indie-rock group, Grandaddy, the London quartet of Grandad play a filthy form of crust punk mixed with doom metal. The band’s music is not pretty, nor does it want to be. You’ll find more melody in a one-string guitar recovered from the decaying farmland of a hillbilly ranch. Think of bands like Driller Killer and Extreme Noise Terror but with the ugly tone of Hellhammer’s early demos.
Scream Blast Repeat first encountered Grandad in a live setting in August last year when they supported Calligram in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. This reviewer remembers four hairy men dressed in hand-me-down PE shorts and faded t-shirts. In other words, the type of people you’d turn away from a smart pub after nine o’clock in the evening. Their music sounds exactly as they present themselves – gnarly, bedraggled, rough around the edges, unconcerned with orthodoxy or convention. It’s hard to discern if there’s a social message or deeper meaning to the lyrics beyond abstract comedy and nihilism. ‘Kicked the Bucket’ is an instrumental opener that makes economical use of just four power chords drowned in heavy gain and extra bass fuzz. It’s no exaggeration to say that the insides of a septic tank are cleaner than the distortion emanating from the amps on this track. You’ll soon learn that the musician who benefits most from these primitive passages is the drummer, who plays with great extravagance and freedom on this EP.
Songs of thirty-six seconds like ‘Respect Yer Elders’ finish before you can process them. What else is there to say other than “thank you for producing a sharp blast of grindcore chaos”? ‘Long in the Tooth’ is much easier to understand. The feedback-drenched death-grind assault will leave you with vertigo. Those vocal screams are raw and painful, much in the same way as Mel Mongeon of Fuck the Facts harms her gullet with every word of vehemence. Pain is not something that can be rehearsed and refined. You can’t tame it, so why do it more than once in the recording booth?
Dare we ask what ‘Onion Boiler’ is about? The band bring a sack of the pungent vegetables with them on stage as part of their set design. Is it the “give onions a chance” campaign; a metaphor for peasant life in the twenty-first century; or simple veneration of a popular root vegetable? They pulverise through these deliberations in the carnage of a grindcore intensity. Maybe they’re laughing at post-modernism or avant-garde art – good on them. ‘Mutton Dressed as Lamb’ will showcase some death metal tremolo patterns if your ears can identify the changing notes underneath the slime of ubiquitous guitar overdrive. If not for the drummer’s insistence on adding rolls everywhere and varying the tempos, you’d think Grandad were a bunch of paupers with primitive musical equipment. But that’s part of their unintentional charm because this band do not care about being liked. They avoid melody like hygienic people avoid drinking water from open rivers.
Grandad aimed to write a nasty record with a glisten of savagery in their eyes. They succeed in their mission on Allotments. Less than 0.00001 percent of the music-listening population will enjoy it, but that won’t stop a macabre smile appearing on your face when you stream it through your headphones.
Release Date: 22/01/2023
Record Label: Self Released
Standout tracks: Long in the Tooth; Blue Rinse
Suggested Further Listening: Thlurm – The Thlurm Must Die / Dungeon Scum (2022), Driller Killer – Total Fucking Hate (1995), Nequient – Darker Than Death or Night (2022)