(We present DGR’s review of the three-way split between Organ Dealer, Nerve Grind, and Invertebrate, which will be released on July 1st by Arizona-based Night Animal Records.)
Spinning the new 7″ split from the trio of West Coast and East Coast grinders comprising New Jersey’s Organ Dealer, Los Angeles’ Nerve Grind, and Oakland’s Invertebrate is like firing the grind genre into a prism and watching it refract off into three separate directions. It’s easy to see the common object that unites the three bands, but where each one takes things outside of the short-song, burst-of-excitement style of songwriting is what makes this sub-twenty-minute split a whole lot of fun.
Organ Dealer show up with their branch of frenetic and hyperactive grind spread across six songs (fun fact: when added to the material from their split last year with BirdFlesh and the “Insominia Chamer” single, this means the band have now completely cleared the amount of material they put on their 2015 album Visceral Infection). Contrast that with the West Coast tag-team, starting with the three songs of Napalm Death’s long-lost relative, Nerve Grind, the music thick-as-hell and hammering tuned low to the bowels of hell, and Invertebrate closing out the whole affair with another burst of songs, coming across as a slimmer and more punk-rock-leaning branch of the grind tree — leaving just one song “Untitled”, granting a different one the name of “Fuckface”, and from a sheer numbers perspective making up half the track listing with a snappy and teeth-bared nine songs that all keep the run times sub one-minute-thirty.
It is difficult to break the split into three parts and look at them through the same critical lense, and the whole split flies by at such an intense burst of speed that it is exceedingly tough not to blur through the whole thing in one go, especially with Nerve Grind‘s three-song blast clocking in at sub-two minutes and displaying a version of grind that veers heavily into the sewage muck of death metal production. The low-end dominates in Nerve Grind’s segment, and the drums especially sound like a battering ram, with the band’s vocalist/guitarist Jeff sounding like a howling alternate-reality version of Barney Greenway armed with a band focused heavily on moshing riffs blasted out as quickly as possible.
Their positioning on the split is also an unintentional bit of interesting anthropology because they feel like the missing link between the up-front and relentless assault of Organ Dealer and the more punk, “throw our instruments around and capture the chaos” methodology of Invertebrate.
Invertebrate open their segment with an out-of-nowhere sample of “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights”, which, coming in at the tail end of the initial nine-song blur of this split, is neck-snappingly off the wall. Invertebrate take advantage of that quick moment of bewilderment to rip through a blizzard of songs in as much time as it takes for you to realize what that song sample was that opened things up. The sudden start, sudden stop, dynamic of this group of songs is perfunctory, because Invertebrate are just slamming out pit riff after pit riff in this blaze of tracks (one makes it only to seventeen seconds, and others stretch all the way to the thirty-to-forty second mark).
For all its sleazeball, trapped in a small room and insanely out of your mind on substances, atmosphere, Invertebrate keep things simple and fairly pure with all the sloppy hallmarks of flash-paper songwriting still in place. Each song starts out like a match fire, as a quick blaze that immolates its starting fuel incredibly fast, and after a handful of seconds that flame burns out and the next song starts up.
Organ Dealer come off as snappy as ever, having long since mastered their branch of frenetic and hyper-active grind way back with their 2015 disc Visceral Infection and since then keeping themselves steadily at the forge sending spark after spark into the air. Ranging from just a two-song single one year to the two splits they’ve done every year since, the New Jersey grind-bunch of hair-on-fire “AAAAAAAAGH” style songwriters don’t really shift too much from what already works for them on this new split.
All of their songs this time around have single-word song titles that get straight to the point, and the music morphs itself to match. The group rotate through a bevy of super-fast blasts and a pit riff or two, though they never last that long because the Organ Dealer crew love themselves a chainsaw buzzing guitar transition. Organ Dealer come across sleek and polished on this split, so that the chaos here is actually pretty easy to follow; there is a lot happening in these songs and you’re actually aware a lot is there, with nothing getting lost in the production murk — particularly during the song “Contour”, which threatens to start off fairly traditionally before disintegrating into the more traditional blast-nightmare that Organ Dealer dish out.
Given the nature of this music, the three-way square-dance between these three bands goes by shockingly fast, with each band appearing just long enough to create a spectre in the corner of your vision, the Nerve Grind segment especially so, given the almost “what the hell was that?” reaction spawned by the opening roar of their song “Bow To Nothingness”.
As a sampler this split is a lot of fun because even with their subtly different approaches to the overall genre, the three bands just dish out fast song after fast song, giving the listener over to the pure adrenaline rush of this style of music. No group really compromises; instead, they play to their strengths, and each segment feels fairly distinct, which makes a listening session a lot like getting thrown from wall-to-wall. The Invertebrate branch is a lot of fun for its sort of chaotic recklessness, whereas Nerve Grind come across murky and dark, and the Organ Dealer segment opens up this raucous affair with a whole lot of just about everything they could pack into each song.
The split’s overall nature demands that each band really has to make a mark and leave an impression on the listener, and they all do so easily here. The sudden and spastic nature of the split makes it a whole lot of fun to listen to, and the low barrier to entry makes it an easy recommendation, especially if people are looking for some new groups to look at. This one is worth the time.