Right now, Europe and Asia appear to be the hot bed for up and coming bands within grind and powerviolence scenes, although that's not to say America isn't holding up its end of the bargain, which is surely in safe hands if acts the calibre of Gripe continue to break through. We reviewed Gripe earlier this year (the cracking 'The Future Doesn't Need You' EP) and saw the potential then, and that promise continues on EP number two, 'Pig Servant'. Originally a three-piece, the band now have a new vocalist and have added a bassist to expand to a quartet, but that hasn't hindered Gripe and 'Pig Servant' marks a definite improvement all around.
Key to this is the recognised ability to change pace more often - Gripe don't simply power ahead as they did on the first record and recognise when to rein it in and unleash a more controlled violence. They open with 'Ghetto Rapist' again, using Mickey Rourke's 'blood for blood' speech from Sin City - a fine way to open any extreme record, I may say - as they did with 'TFDNY'; but everything else is fresh and the sights are locked on to kill. Tracks like 'Grind Into Extinction' and 'Southern Dehumanization are clear signs of the improvements made to the Gripe machine, displaying turns of pace from fast to slow to fast again with increasing ease and devastation at once.
That they're still independent isn't much of a surprise - there seems to be very much a DIY aesthetic to this band, particularly considering there's not even any artwork for this release. But surely its not going to be much longer, especially with the current grind/powerviolence boom. Things can only get better for Gripe, even if the world around them continues its steep decline.
Download 'Pig Servant' here