If there wasn’t already a heft to unpack from Virginia’s outrageous grindcore scene, .GIFFROMGOD serves up a bloody smorgasbord. A collective brought together from the state’s extreme metal and screamo scenes, and taking hallowed tropes from both (hello two-vocalist-delivery!), they stuff them into the meat grinder on this resulting EP: a condensed thrill, with extra acid and noise.
What with the name alone, crass humour is part of the troop’s mantra, not that silliness isn’t balanced with serious intent. They share more optimistic outlooks on worldly issues: the banding together of humanity towards the good of our planet, down to community projects in their home state looking to empower overlooked members of society. A simple Google on their new home—celebrated heavy metal label Prosthetic Records—outlines their desire for listeners to contribute to a manner of charities working within reproductive justice, anti-violence and immigration initiatives. Subjects dear to their hearts (and lyrics), back up their brutal delivery with an empathetic touch.
Latest full-length approximation_of_a_human wore the group’s influences on their twelve sleeves: flashes of Greg Puciato throat-rippers, slices of Norma Jean and discordant panic chords that fit certain parts snugly into sasscore. Their dual screamer set up feels a (very welcome) ghost of scramz past. It’s a chocka mix of grind, powerviolence and noise rock that comes for you like a heavy music whack-a-mole. Even if 18 minutes across six tracks is not quite a maths equation that signals distress like most grind-adjacent projects, they’ve pumped all sorts of ideas into this thing, perhaps to its detriment. There’s no saying there’s a half measure here.
Implementing moments of static—which opens knife goes in, guts come out and meat_man meets man—could be intended instrumental or software malfunction. It matters not, crumbling songs into destruction from the very outset. The former (complete with my personal ever-favourite binny snare) speeds up and churns slam and speed-of-light riffs throughout, and the latter’s most frenzied movement blisters along with a repeated “baptised in the shit of my life” which, when spoken in lulled tones over an atmospheric bridge section, makes for the headiest and most appealing spot on Digital Red. dream features gets a thumbs-up for Sepultura grooves and a trudging breakdown. Those in need of respite turn to youth medium child psychic, an industrial interlude that bellows the spirit of Neue Deutsche Härte: silver chrome jackets, Blade, neo-cyberpunk and splintered glass.
The addition of chilling atmospheres make up a delectable accompaniment to sporadic tempo changes in their expanding soundset, a mood we should all expect and brace ourselves for with an opener blurting “a million mitochondria turned against the host / …and now they’re coming”. But humanistic concern dominates the lyrics rather than mentioning blood strewn everywhere, even if the full-frontal assault will leave you feeling that way. The collective’s spotlight on social injustice and the frailty of humankind in the wake of collapse is best perceived here. “Void begets void” reverberates, while an unintelligible closing remark quotes feminist anarchist Kanno Sugako, the only woman ever hanged for treason in Japan in 1911: “The pillars of words in my heart they collapse, one after the other in the autumn wind.”
Even if you’re not able to tell what’s going down (muddy production loses some of each instrument’s intended grit), a shared vision and desire for change is very much received. Collective action can spur a movement and whether that’s taking their scenes’ talented groups to the next level, or fighting for equality, .GIFFROMGOD seems set on achieving both. Here’s to a better future.
For fans of: Poison the Well, pg. 99, wristmeetsrazor
‘Digital Red’ by .GIFFROMGOD is released on 3rd March on Prosthetic Records.
Words by Elliot Burr