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Slave to the Grind

Documentary, 2018

By Tom BakerPublished 19 days ago Updated 10 days ago 3 min read
Seth Putnam (May 15, 1968 – June 11, 2011)

Watching Slave to the Grind, the Death/Grindcore doc that covers the genre from its roots in British hardcore punk to whatever the hell it is supposed to be today, I don't feel as if I learned anything more than that members of Carcass were also in Napalm Death (big surprise), and that Seth Putnam (a self-destructive mini-ogre who died in 2011 of a heart attack; making one to wonder if AxCx ever had a song called "You Died of a Heart Attack") was hated and generally derided as a hate-filled, pathetic, drunken, drug-addled bastard. (Another big, big surprise.)

Seth, Satan rest his soul, is the most interesting subject matter covered here, as his self-destructive death wish of a decline was precipitated by a coma (AxCx DID have a song called "You're in a Coma"), a laundry list of addictions (coke, crystal meth, booze all the time, you name it), and violent, sociopathic behavior guaranteed to get you or anyone that would regularly engage in such activities, DEAD; or, at least, in jail. In Seth's case, both happened (although one condition, as might be imagined, was more permanent than the other).

At any rate, the only other memorable point here, real memorable, is an interview with Barney Greenaway from Napalm Death, in which he stresses that HIS band, while having the same violent sound and intensity as the other bands, has "peaceful lyrics." At the very least, they have WOKE lyrics and did decades before WOKISM became a thing. There is also a short interview with a transgender grindcore screamer, although I can't remember what band they were in, or what bands they used to be in.

Watching this, you're still no closer to understanding WHY some kids gravitate to the musical extremes, or why anyone would "enjoy" music that is essentially anti-music. (I ask myself the same question of the strongly related "noise" genre, and I've recorded hundreds of noise pieces myself. But: Why? What did I see in it? The idea of hooking pedals up to do abstract, anti-music, these days bores the shit out of me.)

Anyway, this is a Critique, mainly because I don't have enough to say about this documentary to stretch this out to six hundred words. It's enjoyable, if not particularly enlightening. But you kind of DO have to be a "slave to the grind" to appreciate what's going on here.

On a closing note (har-har): My ex-wife and her friend once went to actually SEE AxCx (uh, it stands for, in case anyone was wondering, Anal C---, a rather rude combination of unpleasant nouns) at this dive in downtown Muncie, Indiana, way back in the 1990s, when I was still young and sexy and thought the future might be fun. Now I don't particularly remember what she said happened (I had to work that night), but I think the club owner shut the show down as soon as he realized the band was intending to throw chairs from the stage. I think she said someone from A.C. (Seth?) pulled a dude from the audience to the stage and got in a fight with him. The cops were called, and the gig shut down. But nobody, I think, was arrested.

Someone from AxCx (Seth?!) came up to them afterward and asked them if they knew someplace the band could go and party. They were too intimidated to answer in the affirmative, and so stammered and stumbled and he walked away grumpily, and my ex's story is as close as I ever got to the glory that was Anal C---.

And now I'm going to share this with my friend Crissa, who introduced me to AxCx so many decades ago, and who I had a dream about last night, sitting beside me on a couch, covered in ice or something, while we watched a boy in big, baggy raver pants climb a barren tree outside. He was also covered in dripping water and ice. Go figure. (And, well, hot damn: I DID HAVE ENOUGH WORDS.)

Slave to the Grind (2018) Documentary

movie reviewmetalhistorybands90s music80s music

About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.:

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Comments (2)

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock19 days ago

    Interesting review. Doubt it's my thing, either.

  • Naveedkk 19 days ago


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