Dutch grindcore powerhouse, Suffering Quota, are now on their third album since forming in 2014. Their current LP, Collide, is a sequel to 2018’s Life in Disgust, which made a sizeable dent in the scene and landed them a live slot at the coveted Obscene Extreme Festival in the Czech Republic. They don’t bother publicising their individual names, though they’re not anonymous, either. Suffering Quota see no need to promote egos when the collective is more important. Are you ready for nineteen minutes of white-hot rage?
Grindcore has done more than any other genre outside of dance and jazz to dispense with the conventional song structures that use verse-bridge-chorus formats. When Napalm Death exploded into the consciousness of music journalists in the late 1980s, they did so as a phenomenon (perhaps tongue-in-cheek?) known as “anti-music.” Suffering Quota share the same blitzkrieg approach to music, yet they also enjoy fusing multiple extreme genres into the equation. The first three songs evaporate before you can make sense of them. ‘Out’ starts with backwards keyboard loops before the staccato drums enter and the bass frets the opening riff as if announcing the arrival of the anti-Christ. ‘Miles’ needs only thirty-six seconds to combust under a barrage of death metal riffs and hardcore roars. ‘Rights’ bares its teeth with a constant succession of rapid snare rolls. You’ll struggle to identify the guitar chords among such a devastating tidal wave of noise.
The purpose of Collide is to do just that – to collide with your settled equilibrium and upend your comfortable environment. Sometimes, they approach this operation with a thought for your health. ‘Side’ utilises the standard blast beats and single-take vocal screams but spaces out the one minute and fifty-four seconds with vicious tremolo breaks and bass-heavy doom beats. ‘Drown’ abandons the hardcore fury in favour of a more technical onslaught of double-kick grooves and bass fills. The latter instrument could be tuned as low as A, but the guitars seldom use the low-end apparatus to make your tremble. “God loves violence. Why else would there be so much of it?” asks Ted Levine’s character in Shutter Island in the opening dialogue to ‘Grow’. You get the picture.
Suffering Quota are proud of their melting pot of influences from hardcore to death metal and crust punk. It puts them closer to Wormrot than Rotten Sound, but they excel when the gory metallic elements dominate. ‘Pig’ is a magnificent way to weaponise the power of the chromatic death metal chugs over a thunderous bass and drum assault. ‘Aid’ inflicts the pain with a discordant thrash of the guitars as the drummer blasts everything in sight like a tank operator firing the last round before the enemy’s air support blows him out of existence. It makes sense to end the album with the only song longer than three minutes. ‘Scorn’ froths at the mouth with hardcore aggression and leads you to the unpromised land of calm for a brief fifteen seconds of tom-drums and deep bass upstrokes before tossing you back into the field of combat. You weren’t expecting a respite from the action, were you?
Grindcore records can be experiments in trauma therapy or cathartic outlets for civilised people to cleanse their body and mind of the impediments to inner peace. Suffering Quota fall into the latter category and remind us that a bed of roses will always grow thorns.
Release Date: 26/05/2023
Record Label: Tartarus Records
Standout tracks: Drown, Pig, What
Suggested Further Listening: Herida Profunda – Power to the People (2022), Rotten Sound – Apocalypse (2023), Endorphins Lost – Night People (2023)