HOUKAGO GRIND TIME “Houkago Grind Time 2: The Second Raid”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Andrew Lee is a super busy guitarist of Chinese descent who dabbles in several kinds of metal but who loves to grind like nobody’s business. He has two extreme projects coming out at pretty much the same time, so doing a double review of them is a no brainer. RIPPED TO SHREDS is more of an actual band and specializes in a sound that combines Swedish death metal with grind influences while HOUKAGO GRIND TIME is Lee’s one-man pure grindcore project with a goofy anime fixation.

Let’s look at “Jubian” first. That’s the English version of the actual title, which is a Chinese ideogram. The Chinese angle is very pronounced with RIPPED TO SHREDS and makes the band rather unique. As for the music, anybody who loves the chainsaw HM-2 guitar tone will go apeshit for it. It’s a musical bulldozer full of crusty riffs but also occasional bursts of surprising melody, rather in the vein of DISMEMBER. “Violent Compulsion for Conquest” lays down the law right away and sets the tone. The real surprise is the 10 minute plus “In Solitude—Sun Moon Holy Cult Pt. 3”...surprising because it works so well. The track switches riffs constantly, tossing in some doomy chords and ripping solos, and it manages to avoid boredom, which is quite a feat. In contrast, the final track has a title which takes longer to say than the length of the actual tune itself...that one is nothing but pure grind. RIPPED TO SHREDS have come up with a killer release that has Swedish blood but Chinese bones.

Now for HOUKAGO GRIND TIME, Lee’s more pure grindcore offering. The band is based around the theme of “moe” anime and I can say with absolute certainty that there are few things in the world I hate more than this revolting cutesy girl crap. The squeaking voices of these characters are like a knife in my brain and artistically, the anime style is worthless and borders on the pedophilliac. I would rather be boiled in my own urine than watch an episode of this drivel. But what about HGT’s music? Well, that’s a different story, as it grinds like a motherfucker. This is awesome sounding grind in the vein of GENERAL SURGERY, REGURGITATION and PHOBIA. Ignoring the subject matter, almost all of the 16 tracks here blast away with raw but catchy riffs, some super fast, some in more of a “skank” vein. Highlights are “Rum Raisin Daisuki” , “People Die When They Are Killed” and “Mincing Cabbages”. If you can put the anime samples out of your mind, HGT is a great example of modern day grindcore. Oh, and the record features a who’s who of guests from acts like PHARMACIST, ROTTEN SOUND, ENEMY SOIL and more!

So Mr. Lee is sure onto something with both RIPPED TO SHREDS and HOUKAGO GRIND TIME. I am interested in checking out the other projects he’s involved with as well.