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Saturday 16 September 2023

A View From The Back Of The Room: Escuela Grind (Live Review By Danika Ulrich)

Escuela Grind, Torpid State & Vulgar Dissection, Corporation, Sheffield 10.09.23

As I arrived I was greeted by the neon monsters that adorn the walls of Corporation, Sheffield. I’ve always had a heightened sense of excitement when a gig is at a completely new venue for myself. I made it upstairs just as opener, Vulgar Dissection (9), were hitting the stage. The death metal four piece were a strong choice to open. Although numbers were lacking in the crowd during their set they still brought the energy you’d expect from a sold out show.

Next up was Torpid State (7). The more punk leaning act reminded me a lot of Ho99o9 with main vocalist harnessing vocals similar to Bryan Garris (Knocked Loose) whilst the second vocalist had a cleaner style. The two contrasting sounds together made for an interesting set.

Fifteen minutes earlier than billed, Escuela Grind (10) instantly captured my attention with their highly animated and dynamic performance after taking the stage. The band opened with the ear-splittingly loud guitars of Endowed With Windows. Immediately I’m shown that frontwoman Katerina is incredibly energetic and entertaining. Her brutal vocals are better than some of the more extreme male vocalists. 

Although attendance was on the smaller side at Corporation, the attitude of people who did attend made up for a lack in numbers. The multitude of reactions from the audience throughout their set demonstrates the versatility of Escuela Grinds work. They are more than just a grindcore band, as they also incorporate elements of death metal and metalcore into their music. At the halfway point of their set the band cuts the audience in half as they perform a song from their unreleased death metal EP. The wall of death that followed was funny to see, it was lacking a few too many people to make any impact but the thought was there.

As the show came to a close, Katerina took a minute to dedicate the evening to women and LGBTQ+ people in a male-dominated subculture. The night then ended with a brutal cover of Hatebreed's Filth, which was utterly deafening. The bands playful approach to grindcore and their desire to encourage new demographics to the genre will undoubtedly infuriate some people but, if the shows continue to be this good, the cult following that Escuela Grind has attracted will only continue to expand. Captivating riffs mixed with the chaotic drumming left me with an experience verging on the surreal. It was a journey trying to process what I was listening to. The grindcore revolutionaries Escuela Grind put on a phenomenal performance.

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