Porcupine x Griphook, Split EP (In This Economy Records, 2022)

It’s fitting that there’s scant information on In This Economy Records. Leaving nearly no digital fingerprints, there’s no one to blame for the aural punishment on the label’s latest, a split release featuring Porcupine and Griphook.

Apparently, when Akron meets Chicago, gloriously bad things happen. Let’s get right into it.  

I’ve long sung the praises of Chicago’s Porcupine and they’ve gone and dropped another trifecta of singularly chaotic hardcore.

Still replete with their now trademark melange of indescribable extremity, the Windy City weirdos have added a touch of AmRep nihilism to their attack.

“Neutralizer” grinds along like the bastard offspring of Deadguy and Zeni Geva or perhaps Dazzling Killmen. The vocal interplay is expert, lobbying the listener back back and forth atop seasick rhythms. 

“Martyrdom” find a the band at their absolute creative zenith. On brand for the lyrical ambitious and obtuse bunch, it launches into being on the back of a perfect sample. It doesn’t take long for the track to devolve into a glorious mess of rumbling hardcore, albeit stitched together with the eerie wail of breathy vocals and bonkers guitar runs. There’s something here for everyone, y’all.

Porcupine vacillate violently between fleeting passages of straightforward devastation and mangled moments of noisy manipulation. On their final offering, “F.L.A.M.," they manage  to capture the intensity of a first take. Their pugilistic take on hardcore swings blindly at everything, as if Oxbow stumbled into Rorschach’s practice space.

There’s little left for me to say about the most daring and prickly band in modern hardcore. This is essential listening. 

Porcupine (Photo: Chris West)

If you’re gonna drive the car off the road, you need some equally unhinged travel companions and Akron’s Griphook more than fits the bill. This being my first taste of the punishing wares of the self-dubbed "Akron's Princes of Darkness," I was ill-prepared for just how feral and fucked sounding this band is.

Damn near dispensing with the very idea of song structure, the gore-obsessed Ohioans meet us on “Don’t Go in the House.” If you’ve ever wondered what grisly sounds might emerge from the demented ramblings of a B-movie baddie supergroup, we might have an answer. The Rubber City maniacs start with an uneasy bass riff that explodes into a choppy and discordant nightmare. 

Elsewhere, “Effects” and my personal favorite of the bunch “Sorority House Massacre," triple down on the band’s gore-obsessed punishment. The former is a forty second chunk of lurching feedback that’s paired to lyrics that conjure up the crazed demands of a grindhouse movie director.

The latter finds Griphook peddling destruction with a bit more pace. What starts as a Void-esque blast of noisy hardcore punk gets the same grisly treatment once the vocals hit. As advertised, it’s a seasonally apt stanza set that sums up your favorite classless slasher of yore. 

Griphook (Photo: Jarett Theberge)

Happy belated Halloween, friends. Here’s some music to be murdered by… 

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Tagged: griphook, porcupine