Since I am a nice bloke, I wish all of you a happy new year full of booze, life and misery (there's a quote here!). I hope I will be able to keep the blog flowing with even more terrific records, although to be faire, you will probably have to settle for terrible some times. To put everyone in a great mood for 2014, I shall start the year with a joyful, light-hearted and definitely optimistic record from the mighty (up to 1992) Mindrot.
Today, Mindrot is mostly known as a rather decent 90's doom-metal act, remembered for their "Dawning" Lp released on Nuclear Blast in 1995. But back in 1990, when the band formed, Mindrot was part of the amazing California anarcho/crust scene. I already talked a bit about it in the Resist and Exist post, but strictly in terms of early crust (meaning filthy, metallic and gnarly), California had to offer such a concentration of smashing bands over a short period of time (from the mid 80's on to the early 90's as bands like Iconoclast, Diatribe and obviously Crucifix seemed to belong to a slightly earlier generation). See for yourself: A//Solution, Glycine Max, Apocalypse, Confrontation and of course Mindrot. To this crusty bunch you could also add anarchopunk-sounding Media Children, Atrocity or A State of Mind, hardcore-punk heroes Final Conflict, Armistice, Another Destructive System or Holocaust and even, a little later on, old-school grindcore like Phobia. This scene deserves its own "The day the country died" and I truly hope that a couple of bored and motivated old-timers from that era will sort something out one day (now, that could be a grand New Year's resolution for 2014!).
This Ep should be considered as Mindrot's first real record. However, their 1990 demo is so good, so powerful and so unique in its own way (there are some seriously crushing, amazing songs on that tape that more than deserve a comfy spot in the stenchcore pantheon) that, more than a mere demo, I see it as a proper album at least as good as the first Prophecy of Doom Lp. I sense that this is becoming my gimmick but honestly, someone should reissue this demo on record for fuck's sake (yeah, yeah, I know, do it yourself, right?). There are two songs on the Ep called "Endeavor" (I am currently fighting the urge to write it properly, meaning "endeavour"!), with an intro AND an outro. Now, that might sound like a bit much for just an Ep but I think it gives the record a sense of completion and of storytelling. I like it. In terms of music, Mindrot played at that time some seriously heavy, dark and anguished music with guttural vocals. Even then, you could hear that they were really into early doom-metal and death-metal and that, overall, the musicianship at play was superior to their fellow crusty bands of the era, or maybe they just aimed a bit higher with a better sound, more time spent on song structures. Or, more likely, they just learnt to play their instruments. I often think of Mindrot as the American Prophecy of Doom, although they were not quite as strange and more polished. But they still embody that shift from all-out crusty bollocks (aka dirty punks adding poor musical skills and a healthy dose of snottiness to extreme metal) to proper metal music. They are still punk enough for me and from an orthodox point of view they play real CRUST, the way the genre was meant to be played, but with added extreme doom-metal.
As I mentioned, Mindrot belonged to the tightly knit anarcho-crusty scene and the time of the 1990 demo, the "Endeavor" Ep and the split Ep with Apocalypse (certainly the best old-school metallic crust, us kids say stenchcore now though, ever), they shared a member with Confrontation and some Matt Parillo, who would form the almight Dystopia a few years later by way of Carcinogen, was playing the guitar. When Mindrot became a real doom-metal band, a former member of Apocalypse joined them as well. But enough mundane facts. There is a rather relevant parallel between the cover depicting what looks like a dead and tortuous tree half-hidden behind the very coarse grain of the picture and lyrics about the very physical effects of alineation, the inner emotional confusion inherent to modern life and the ever-present pain, depression and despair. No song about cider-drinking on this one. This should be the soundtrack to your next winter holidays. But then with a band called Mindrot, and what a great name that truly is when you think about it, you can't really expect anything else.