Grindcore, often shortened to grind, is an evolution of hardcore punk, most commonly associated with death metal and crust punk. Grindcore is characterized by heavily distorted, down-tuned guitars, blastbeats, hardcore punk and crossover thrash influenced riffing, short songs, and a vocal style consisting of growls and higher-pitched vocals, often similar to those found in black metal. Lyrical concepts range from social and political issues to gore and horror to humor.
The genre was pioneered during the mid-1980s in the United Kingdom by bands such as Napalm Death and Sore Throat, the name "grindcore" having actually being coined by Napalm Death's drummer Mick Harris, though its roots are in American hardcore punk and hardcore punk influenced heavy metal bands, such as Siege, D.R.I., Deep Wound, and Repulsion.
Many of the early bands were seen by their contemporaries as part of the anarcho-punk and hardcore punk scenes, as many anarcho-punk and peace punk bands in England and hardcore punk bands in the United States had already incorporated elements of metal into their music. Many of these early bands were, and still are, obscure. For instance, the hardcore punk band Siege only released one do-it-yourself demo entitled Drop Dead, and Repulsion was posthumously exposed to the world in 1989 through the album Horrified, which was released in Europe through Carcass-owned Necrosis Records, despite having originally been recorded in 1987.
One well-known characteristic of grindcore and related genres is the "microsong;" songs lasting seconds. Clocking in at just over one second long, the Napalm Death song "You Suffer" often credited as being the shortest song ever, and in 2001, the Guinness Book Of World Records awarded Brutal Truth the record for "Shortest Music Video" for 1994's "Collateral Damage." However, others, such as the Cripple Bastards on their demo 94 Flashback di un Massacro and Agoraphobic Nosebleed on their 3" CD/10" LP Altered States of America, have taken this aesthetic to even greater extremes. Altered States of America contains 100 songs, with song length ranging from four seconds to, at most, one minute, adding up to a total play time of about 20 to 30 minutes. American grindcore band Anal Cunt, a project of Seth Putnam, has recorded an album entitled 5643 Song EP, an EP which contains 5643 "songs" in less than 15 minutes by way of creative multitracking and recording processes.
Cybergrind (also known as E-Grind): Cybergrind is a form of grindcore heavily influenced by electronic music that, aside from the instruments used in ordinary grindcore, uses computer generated sounds and/or drum machines and other synthetic instruments. Cybergrind often bears similarities to extreme forms of breakcore.
Deathgrind: A grindcore/death metal hybrid, often with focus on the technicality of death metal and intensity of grindcore. Cattle Decapitation, mid-period Carcass, and recent Napalm Death fall into this genre.
Goregrind: A form of grindcore characterized by pitchshifted vocals as well as gore and/or horror themes. Regurgitate and Reek of Putrefaction era Carcass may be the most well-known of the goregrind groups.
Noisegrind: Grindcore with an emphasis on noise and or speed rather than musicianship. Other features include feedback, out of tune or improvised instruments, and poor production. Most noisegrind bands do not take themselves seriously, and consist of only a few members, normally a vocalist, drummer (or a drum machine), and guitarist. Examples of noisegrind bands include: Anal Cunt, Anal Massaker, and Gore Beyond Necropsy.
Pornogrind: Grindcore characterized by sexual themes, vocals that range from pitchshifted growls to absurdly high-pitched screams, and an emphasis on groove. Pornogrind bands include: GUT, early Cock and Ball Torture, and Gronibard.
Power violence: Grindcore stripped of its thrash metal elements, thus focusing more on its hardcore punk origins. Power violence songs are normally short and fast. Examples of power violence bands include: Charles Bronson and Fuck on the Beach. No relation to power metal or power rock.
Grindpunk: Grindcore and blastbeat drumming mixed with punk rock/hardcore rhythms. Vocals usually range from high screams to low crusty grunts. Lyrics are usually political and social commentary. Examples of Grindpunk are Disassociate from N.Y.C. and Phobia from California.