If you’re not familiar with the band, if I say the words Squash Bowels, do you not already get an idea of what to expect when you hear their music? Unforgiving heaviness, horrors, disgusting themes, music that would make your neighbors refuse to associate with you? Would it surprise you if I told you they’re actually a folk band? Obviously, that’s utter bullshit.
The long-standing Polish band is known for their relentless, disgusting grindcore violence, and they have an impressive back catalog that might take you some time to get through if you’re starting from square one. There are like 75,000 releases in their arsenal, so yeah. But that gigantic resume aside, we haven’t heard from the band since 2009′s “Grindvirus,” released by our friends over at Willowtip, so it was a huge sigh of bastardized relief when their sixth record “Grindcoholism” landed in the Meat Mead Metal inbox, complete with 14 cuts and 32 minutes of total madness.
Squash Bowels now call Selfmadegod Records their home, which makes sense both musically and geographically, as the label also is based in Poland, and this killing machine that started nearly two decades ago shows no signs of aging, slowing down, mellowing out, or anything that could make their grind-frenzied audience nervous. These songs are what you expect from the band, and the fellows who make it all happen–bassist/vocalist Artur “Paluch” Grassmann, guitarist Andrzej “Andy” Pakos, and drummer Mariusz “Melon” Miernik–are nothing short of generous when it comes to creating insanity that will make you want to throw lamps around your house and vomit all over the floors from the stench all at the same time. I know. That’s pretty disgusting.
The gore and muck that make people salivate over bands such as early Carcass, Rotten Sound, label mates Antigama, and Pig Destroyer are going to salivate once the opening strains of “Tastelessness” kick into gear, with gurgly growling, punishing grindcore, and even a little shadowy doom slipping in for good measure. “Trap” also has a doomy feel and punchy, cool riffs that should shake you right into “The Theater,” a thrashy good song that hits a killer groove and has death-inspired vocals. “Surrender” has its fair share of crunch and violence, but then it turns on a dime and accelerates the speed and anxiety. “The Second…” has deep growls and lets a complete demolition erupt, paving the way for “Inclinations to…” that has grisly, menacing vocals that turn into shrieks of fury. The title cut—and what a fabulous title it is—lets mud and muck spread all over the place while the sounds of alcohol-filled glasses clink together in the background. The song is a total demon.
“Steering” has some nasty blast beats and mean vocals that are joined by charred guitars to get their message across. “Naked Positive Act” lets the groove back into the picture as it grinds and abuses your senses, leaving you no room to recover before “La Mienta” strikes. That song is thrashy and meaty, with the vocals nearing pig squeal territory but not quite jumping into that pen. It’s one of the burliest cuts on the entire record. “Compassions” chugs along at a rumbling pace with the guitars simmering, and soloing poking at classic heavy metal. “Litany of Hungry” is a really weird one at first, but then doom drops and metallic soloing rips a hole in the wall. “Foreign Will” is gloriously pissy and short, while closer “Stigmatizing” gives one last gasp of groove, grind, and monstrous vocals that stab an exclamation point at the end of the record.
Squash Bowels remain ugly, seamy, and furious, and it’s not likely they’re going to smooth out their sound any time soon to end up on a Mayhem tour or any of that garbage. Their stuff plays best in a small room in front of people brutalizing one another, as their music is the perfect soundtrack for that style of healthy aggression release. “Grindcoholism” is strong and heavy enough that, if grind is your game, you might find yourself properly addicted.