Grind, Joel - The yellowgoat sessions 3.5/5

Reviewed: 8-1-13


1. Ascension (intro)
2. Hell’s master of hell
3. Vengeance spell
4. Foul sprit within
5. Cross damnation
6. Grave encounters
7. Black order
8. The eternal one
9. Hail to cruelty
10. Descension (outro)

On the surface of it, ‘The yellowgoat sessions’ might seem like a bit of a redundancy – the solo project of the leader of a band that has spent the majority of its life as a one-man operation. But when you hear Joel Grind talk about it, it does make its own kind of sense.

Firstly, the songs, while recognizably very similar to Toxic Holocaust, are notably of an even simpler and more stripped down nature. The 2nd reason is that Grind released the music under his own name just because he felt like a brief return to his lo-fi roots after a couple of CD recorded under more professional circumstances. In this sense, I like the cut of the guy’s jib – it would have been very easy to slap a couple of more songs onto the end of the product and release it through Relapse under the more marketable Toxic Holocaust banner, but for whatever reason Grind has decided to dip his toe into the DIY one-man band pool again.

As noted, despite the superficial similarities, the music here is of a more primitive nature than Toxic Holocaust (think on that for a second), essentially sounding like a reverby early 80s proto-black/thrash recording. The cover art – a bastardization of Bathory’s ‘s/t’ and Venom’s ‘Welcome to hell’ if ever I saw one – gives a pretty clear indication of what the main influences are, and the emaciated 25-minute playing time is largely made up of 2-3 minute blasts of minimalist riffing and bare-bones single-kick drumming.

Though despite the crusty cave-thrash charms enjoyed by most of the tunes, 2 of the more interesting tracks are those that forgo the full-pelt, Venom/Sodom-style commotion for something more foreboding and sinister. Both “Foul spirit within” and “The eternal one” shamble along steadily on ultra-simplistic riffs, with the very earliest Bathory tracks like “Raise the dead” an obvious reference point. Grind’s rasping, blackened vocals are the same as ever, but sound very much at home in the unfamiliar primordial mire of these insidious creepers.

It can’t be denied that the songs are exceptionally one-dimensional and repetitive (particularly those snare fills), but to complain about that is to miss the point somewhat. By its very nature, ‘The yellowgoat sessions’ is by no means an inventive collection of songs, and even manages to recycle a few bits here and there from the Toxic Holocaust back catalogue (for “Grave encounters” see “Endless armageddon”), but it succeeds absolutely in the limited goals it has set for itself. More energetic than Toxic Holocaust’s slightly lackluster ‘Conjure and command’ from 2011, this return-to-the-roots efforts makes it sound like Joel Grind is once again full of the expected piss and vinegar.




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