Blast Rites: Guineapig – Parasite Review

Think that grindcore is all about unrelenting aggression and speed and blastbeats?

Well, I mean, yeah, sometimes it is… More often than not, even…

I can see how you would think that.

But my point is that it doesn’t have to be.

Release date: June 10, 2022 Label: Spikerot.
Enter bands like Italy’s Guineapig, whose downtuned and clinical take on goregrind is groovy, baby, yes, indeed. Tightly wound, often swaggering and sporting an almost djenty modern guitar tone, Guineapig expands upon the groove-gore blueprint of The Day Everything Became Nothing and Germany’s Cock And Ball Torture (particularly the Egoleech record), although it thankfully avoids a certain general thematic ickiness that plagues the latter of those acts.

As the half-human body-horror-on-white-background cover art and the mechanical-technical band logo implies, there’s a science-fiction-y sheen to Parasite that both augments and belies the grossness of the themes and vocals, certainly adding an additional dimension to a style so often lacking more than one or two of those. With its surgical precision, 7-string tone, and beatdown swagger, Parasite pulls from the likes of Coroner, Meshuggah, and hardcore, even as it’s occupying an entirely different lane than any and all of the three.

Opening with the faded-in horror-theme synths of “Ocular Tormentor,” Parasite balances sporadic blasts against a more “midtempo” drive (relatively speaking, of course, and often faster than most band’s fastest moments). “City Of The Monkey God” sports a bounce that could almost be described as “jaunty,” but yet it’s still heavier than hell, particularly when that lower-than-low gnarled bass leads into that swaggering coda, sludgy and grimy without being sludge in the least. Handled by bassist Alession and guitarist Fra, vocals alternate between a guttural growl and a heavily fx-ed sewer gurgle, the latter quality the most overtly “goregrind” of any of Guineapig’s traits. The tempo shifts and occasional oddball accents of “Supreme Body Bizarre” further hint at djent, offset with more of those beatdown grooves, but in the simplicity of the riffs and the vocals, if not always elsewhere, Parasite remains grindy at heart, even as it’s tangential in execution. Atmospheric arpeggios in “Liquified” and “Zatypota” hint at Tommy T. Baron’s riff stylings, though Guineapig is a far less intricate beast than that classic Swiss trio. (On an interesting but skippable note: Parasite closes almost as it begins, with a different take on “Ocular Tormentor,” this one a Euro-dance-metal remix, that’s … outside my wheelhouse, so I dunno, maybe KMFDM, but with more gurgles?)

For as much as I love filthy blast-ridden grime, occasionally, it’s nice to have a little vacation from the gutter. Guineapig’s sense of swagger and pared-down riffing may not be for every gorefreak and grinder — especially those who favor breakneck rage or vomit-encrusted muck above all else — but for those willing to accept a little bit of cleaned-up tone and a whole lot of hardcore swing beneath their inhuman gurgles, there’s much on Parasite to enjoy.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

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

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