No One Knows What The Dead Think – No One Knows What The Dead Think Review

On these fine digital pages, we once wrote that “… most rational humans hate grind.” This remains an accurate statement. Grind is what “normal” people hear when you play them any sort of metal.

“He’s just yelling.”

“The guitar… is that even guitar? It’s just a distorted wall of noise.”

“You seriously like this? What’s wrong with you?”

To which we reply, “Yes, yes,” and “Well, you see, grindcore is actually…” as our audience walks away in search of actual human interaction.

But the abnormal, irrational among us realize that grindcore distills all the best extremities of heavy music and scratches an unreachable itch. Furious drums, ripping guitars, inhuman screams; these are the only tools of the elusive grindbeast, and they are all pushed to the extreme in short blasts known as “songs.” Grind is all lean muscle on meth, with no wasted effort on melody, dynamics, or other such cowardly pursuits.

Intellectuals are always welcome in metal, and experimentation should be as embraced as distorted guitars and maximum volume. But grindcore? This is lifers-only territory, the back of the seediest dive bar, where even the roaches are armed. Hunter Hunt-Hendrix’s Transcendental Grind Manifesto doesn’t exist for a reason.

Release date: September 20, 2019. Label: Willowtip Records.
If you know where you are, and just need confirmation: Yes, this album kills. Go get it. If you don’t, then please meet Jon Chang and Rob Marton. Discordance Axis is still whispered about in hushed tones in those dive bar bathrooms. Chang and Marton were the vocal and stringed maniacs, respectively, along with Dave Witte (who is probably playing drums for you right now) that formed that lauded trio back in 1992. They folded up shop in 2001, and grind nerds have lamented their absence ever since, despite the fact that they only ever toured in Japan. Former Cohol drummer Kyosuke Nakano joins Marton and Chang here, and the new trio is just as dangerous as the old one. Chang more recently lent his insanity to Gridlink, whose sophomore outing Orphan definitely inspires No One Knows What The Dead Think, and whose damn-near-perfect swan song Longhena left us wanting more since 2014. You may wonder if this is Discordance Axis 2.0, or Gridlink: The Sequel, or a new grindcore animal entirely. The answer is yes, and if that is a problem, it is yours alone.

In the four minutes it takes NOKWTDT to get through two songs (ease up, Opeth!), the pace is relentless. The riffs are brutal, albeit with an intricacy for those bold enough to look closely. Then “Dagger Before Me” begins with similar fury, but midway through the riffs open up. They chug along slowly, a single rhythmic chord atop devolving, naked drums as the song closes. I might have exaggerated slightly about the lack of dynamics in grindcore. Slightly. Marton and Nakano only slow down to show how fast they can keep going. If Chang weren’t so damn vitriolic, I would consider praising their music as spirited and lively. Screw it, this is a spirited album, full of lively songs written and expertly performed by seasoned veterans. Grindcore for the lifers. Despite my hilarious joke up there, most songs are between 1:30 and 2:30, with just enough time to make their point and develop their own identity.

Plug No One Knows What The Dead Think directly into your lizard brain. Let it reveal its full nature to you through eight razor wire tracks. Pause and take a deep breath as “Red Echoes” samples ambient noise and Japanese spoken word, and stay seated while “Dominion” rips your head off one last time. Then do it again and again. It’s only 19 minutes, and we have long since established that rationality is not one of your strong suits.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

  1. I had no clue this was the work of 2/3rds of Discordance Axis coming in, but it was unmistakable after listening to a track. This is lethal.

    Also, your description of grindcore is spot on. And it’s never more true than with this particular set of maniacs.


    1. Well shit, now we know what the Dead thinks. (thanks for reading!!)


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