I'm a big fan of what Foreseen is doing right now, so when Grinding Fear got on my radar, I paid close attention. You see, both bands hail from Helsinki, Finland and share many of the same crossover hardcore thrash influences.
Formed in late 2016, Grinding Fear released their 2018 demo, Reaper's Disease, this past summer. "We had a band with [guitarist] Oskar [Bruun] and my brother [drummer] Eero [Savolainen], but it was just jamming with friends and just having fun, nothing too serious," offers vocalist Juho Savolainen. "Later on, Eero and [guitarist] Aleksi [Mattila] started jamming together and it eventually turned out to be the beginning of Grinding Fear. When our previous project ended, Oskar joined in. He had played bass, but now we asked if he wanted to play guitar."
Speaking of Oskar, he adds: "After the release of our first demo, we kept playing more and more gigs and writing new stuff. The songs we wrote ended up as Reaper’s Disease."
People who love hardcore know how much of a rich history Finland has in the scene. I want Juho and Oskar's take on what’s happening there right now. "The hardcore scene in Finland is alive and well, mostly thanks to the guys at Circuit Breaker Bookings. They've booked shows for Gatecreeper, Harm’s Way, and Renounced, among many others. These guys book most of the shows these days, and pretty much half the gigs we’ve played have been organized by them. The guys from Foreseen/United Forces also bring a lot of bands over."
"There are new bands popping up quite frequently and it feels like there is a new era coming up in Finland. For a while it seemed like the ones carrying the torch for the Finnish scene where the guys from Foreseen, Bolt, Cutdown, St. Hood, Upright (RIP), Ratface, Out of Breath, and Eye for All (RIP)," says the singer.
Oskar agrees and adds some more insight: "There’s everything from beatdown, crossover, to more traditional styles of hardcore (NYHC, CLEVOHC, UK82, D-beat, etc.). Some interesting bands we think that you should check out include Igniter, Ravage Ritual, Kohti Tuhoa, Gray State, Long Gone, Power Surge, Corrosion, Silver Speed, Execution Mania, Civicide, Sick Urge, and Sonic Poison, just to name a few."
Though Grinding Fear is definitely a crossover band, I would say the sound leans heavier into the metal side of things in the songwriting department. "The origin of the sound comes from the vision that me and Eero had," Juho tells me. "We wanted to start a band that would be a mix of bands like Merauder, Cold as Life, Dmize, 25 ta Life, and Cro-Mags, but with the addition of everyone else's musical input in the band, it has since then evolved to a more crossover style of sound. We’ve also been adding elements of death metal and all kinds of other heavy music to our sound. Nothing is off limits and if it sounds good and fits in, why not use it?"
I'm always fascinated on how people write lyrics in a language that isn’t their native one, so I ask Juho about that process. "The more you write the more you get ideas, to me, it comes in periods; creative and non-creative. I write thoughts, rhymes, poets, emotions, I try to explain what’s going in my mind. Basically, just things that make me think, worry, or piss me off. With writing I try to solve my thoughts, find answers and give some hope and courage to people to survive in their daily lives, from what I’ve seen, realized or learned.
"Sometimes I just write things down in Finnish, and then I start translating them. In some cases, they just rhyme by accident, but usually like to make changes to make them more singable. Reapers Disease means an existential crisis; the gift of life is a curse, and we are all feeling it. We are all one, and together trying to find purpose of life, and so on."
Oskar is optimistic of Grinding Fear's future plans. "A proper full-length would be a dream come true, and that is definitely a goal for us to one day have one released. When it comes to touring, we have a few plans, but nothing has yet been decided. Hopefully, we’ll be able to tour in the near future!"