The phenomenon called Grindcore completely passed me by. I saw Heresy in 1986 and I didn't like it. When Napalm Death arrived on the scene I thought they were just a joke. In hindsight I think I never gave it a chance, I simply didn't want to like it. Maybe it was because this particular bastard son of Hardcore caught on at a time I was getting away from HC, into 70's and 60's music. Or maybe I was already too familiar with Grindcore's two main ingredients: ultra-fast "steak-cutting" style drumming and The Grunt. As early as 1982, local heroes Blitzkrieg played at grindcore speed. I sorta looked up to them, quite literally as they were all big, tall (and big-haired) guys. They were "Crass punks" who thought they had some pretty serious stuff to get off their chest (but hey, so was I, back then). Their Complete Disarmament LP from 1983 doesn't hold up that well after two dozen years; the ultra-fast tempos often send them flying off the rails, and the tone-deaf singing gets tiresome after a while. But it still establishes them as pioneers in the steak-cutting er... steaks.
One of the first singers to introduce the Neanderthal "undecipherable at any speed" grunt was Hans of Amsterdam's Mornington Crescent. I remember people seriously didn't know if "Possession", their EP's opening track, should be played at 33 or 45 rpm! Mornington Crescent didn't play a lot, and I vaguely recall they were deemed "politically incorrect" by some of the scene's more left-wing elements. But apart from the fact Hans was nicknamed Heinrich, I never noticed anything "wrong" about him when he tried out as a singer for my band Gepopel back in '85. I wanted to concentrate on my guitar playing (as the saying goes...) and he wanted to give it a try. The first song we practiced was In Our Hands; we did the instrumental intro, and then instead of my "baby-voice" (courtesy Tony Nitwit) this earthshaking roar comes in! I remember falling about laughing, unable to continue playing the rest of the song. It sounded great (I wish we'd recorded it), alas, 6 weeks later we'd imploded and it all came to nothing.
Anyway, behold the true roots of Grindcore:
(All songs 1983)