Houkago Grind Time – Bakyunsified (Moe To The Gore) Review

It’s hard to tell by looking at me, but I used to be a runner. Back then, the building that I worked in had an unoccupied office area that was repurposed into a “gym,” and since no one else used it, every day after work, I’d truck down there to run on the treadmill. I’d pop in a CD of whatever music I wanted to run to, and I’d flip on the TV for some unrelated visuals. Because I wanted colors and motion and no plot that I had to focus on, I usually opted for cartoons. More often than not, I found myself watching Dragonball Z without the sound.

And as I watched, I had no idea what the hell was going on.

One day I forgot the CDs I’d pulled, and I was ironically too lazy to walk down to the parking garage to get them, so I thought, “Well, I’ll see how this Dragonball Z is now that I can hear the dialog.”

And as I watched, I had no idea what the hell was going on.

What I’m getting at here is that I know sweet FA about anime. Once, back in college (roughly 400 years ago), my friends invited me over to watch a movie called Giant Robo (or something like that), and all I remember about it was that it was about a giant robo(t).

But on the plus side, what I do know a thing or two about is grindcore.

Release date: November 13, 2020. Label: Psychocontrol / Grindfather Productions.
Houkago Grind Time is the one-man grind project of Ripped To Shreds leader Andrew Lee, and Bakyunsified (Moe To The Gore) is his / their / its first full-length after a short barrage of splits over the past year or so. Lyrically, if you haven’t already gathered from the above, this particular project is centered around Lee’s affinity for manga and anime. The band name “Houkago Grind Time” itself is an homage to a fictional band from a manga / anime series. Also, I looked up “moe,” and it appears to be an anime term for things that are cute or precious, so there’s that. I can add those to my list of Interesting Factoids Regarding Anime, alongside that gem about Giant Robo being a movie about a robot. So now I’m up to three.

Of course, what matters most about Bakyunsified is this: The grinding part of Houkago’s time is damned fun, and Bakyunsified benefits greatly from the same level of skill and reverence that Lee brings to Ripped To Shreds. Like that band, Houkago Grind Time is clearly indebted to the greats of the genre, but it manages to tread in their footsteps without feeling rehashed or kitschy in any way. (Save, of course, the whole anime schtick, but that’s part of its appeal. It’s precious — one might even say “adorable.”)

Musically, Bakyunsified is a raw and ripping rager in the bloody spirit of classic Carcass and the legions of their worshippers, the early Exhumeds and Regurgitates, et al. The vocals are appropriately gurgling and growled and grotesque, and these guitar tones are filthy and gnarly. The production on hand is far from perfect, of course, and that’s a good thing; it’s roughshod and grimy, both sharp and blunt in equal measure, almost dripping with that certain viscous nastiness, which is precisely a great start for gory grinding greatness. Guitar solos boil up like discharge oozing from the open wounds of tracks like “Effortless Regurgitation Of Kyoani Moeblobs,” and later guest spots from fellow grinders Leon del Muerte (Impaled, ex-Exhumed, ex-Phobia), Yamocho “Harlan” Hagamoto (Aspirate Coma), and Dave Callier (PLF) spread the fun around, even as Lee is clearly a more-than-capable lead guitarist in his own right.

It’s difficult to pick individual highlights because all of Bakyunsified is a bloody blast, a weirdly gleeful romp through sixteen pummeling tracks in twenty minutes. There are some standout riffs — the death metal steamroller introduction of “War Bad,” before the blasts and Callier’s Slayer-esque guitar mistreatment, or the stomping slice-’n’-dice of “M Is For Moe” — but like most of these, Bakyunsified is better taken as a whole, instead of its individual parts. At the end of these twenty minutes, the entire affair — both the grinding and the silly (one might say “adorable and / or precious”) humor that adorns it — is damned near irresistible; and that’s more than enough to sell me on Houkago Grind Time, even if I don’t understand any of the references. If nothing else, as much as I love a good medical-dictionary-quoting Carcass tribute (see: Pharmacist), just knowing that the lyrics reference something different — especially something as diametrically opposed as anything one might call adorable and / or precious — is an interesting twist on the well-proven goregrind formula.

Whatever the hell is going on here, I’ll take some moe of this, please.

Now I guess I’ll go see if I can find somewhere to stream Giant Robo

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.