PICK OF THE WEEK: Escuela Grind blast back against oppressors with snarling ‘Memory Theater’

It’s crucial to have a spot to ruminate on issues or one’s own philosophies in a place that’s secure and doesn’t threaten ideas that could trigger those who don’t feel the same way. Having your own territory to explore your mind and ideas is crucial to becoming a fuller person, and as long as those subjects aren’t feeding off fascism or oppression, it’s a great way to enhance your intellectuality.

New England crushers Escuela Grind center on that idea with their thunderous second full-length “Memory Theater.” The title is based on a concept where a space created by those thoughts, feelings, and philosophies is formed, and these thunderous nine tracks are just that for this band—vocalist  Katerina Economou, guitarist Kris Morash, bassist Tom Sifuentes, drummer Jesse Fuentes. This is as volatile creation that also involves Economou’s studies in history, politics and experiential events, along with her own life (a sort of memory play, as it were) and piles that into this pit of explosiveness that aims to destroy those whose goal is to keep people down and fight back against power structures with no interest in equity. It’s so great hearing more bands embrace these ideas and lashing back at the growing tyrannical embrace so many people are inexplicably embracing. This music is more vital than ever.

“Endowed With Windows” opens with urgency, firing up and sludging, easily leaving bruising. “Access my mind through all its windows,” Economou howls, “Not through my hormones nor through my skin tone,” as the track rips away. “My Heart, My Hands” explodes and hammers, sending jolts through your nervous system, chugging and splattering, smearing menace that’s lined with blood. “Cliffhanger” feels doomy and dark when it starts, but then the detonation sends sparks flying, the thrashy fire claiming victims. “Don’t push me because I’m close to the edge,” Economou warns, the playing slowly swaggering and burying you in sand. “Strange Creature” brings trampling guitars and power that corrodes, adding grit that leaves abrasions on the skin. “Banished from the ground, banished from the sea, banished from the spirit,” Economou wails as the menace builds, and the playing melts flesh.

“Faulty Blueprints” is blinding and filled with rage, slaughtering and draining marrow from bone. The guitars swoop as the massacre increases, the words, “Must not rebuild faulty blueprints,” spat from Economou’s mouth. “All Is Forgiven” crushes as the drums mash, and the playing sends bone fragments sprawling. Economou shrieks and rakes you across the coals as the pace gallops dangerously, and the playing stampedes to its end. “Forced Collective Introspection” is absolutely storming, overwhelming before you even know what hit you. The playing continues to get faster and gnarlier, and things are properly unhinged, Economou shouting, “Feels like you got something you want to say, crisis is a terrible thing to waste,” as the final moments are stomped into the ground. “The Feed” mashes as everything comes unglued, the vocals destroying everything in its path. The channeled aggression releases stream that’s built up inside, guitars sweep, ad the drums splatter, letting the blood drip and pool. The closing title track rings out before engaging violently, the fiery vocals elevating your body temperature. The energy is thick and rich, the playing has a manic desperation, and Economou wails, “When I dream, I see skin flailing, loose from tissue, gilt as a painting,” leaving terrifying imagery in your brain as the record comes to a devastating end.

For the cowardly crowd that cries over everything being woke, Escuela Grind is a band you won’t survive, “Memory Theater” a record that will elevate the quivering fear you feel in your guts. This band’s brand of muscular grind is empowering, fights back against people trying to rewrite rules to move the gears of oppression, and fears no one who is trying to stand in the way. The record gets your blood rushing, your strength pooling, and your fists clenched as you join to battle the forces trying to hold you back and bury them deep into the earth.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/escuelagrind/

To buy the album, go here: https://mnrkheavy.com/collections/escuela-grind

For more on the label, go here: https://mnrkheavy.com/