By Sarah Kitteringham
CALGARY — Despite their unremittingly fast tunes, when it comes to releasing music Vancouver grindcore unit Massgrave does things slowly. With a relatively small online presence, the quartet keeps the band “casual” while working on other projects and experiencing the joys of new parenthood.
Following a “pretty quiet year for the band” in 2015, this April will see the release of The Absurdity of Humanity, a 12-song, 20-minute album that took “nearly two years to write.” The release continues their lineage of ferocious, grinding crust, with an extra dollop of punk injected throughout.
Captured by Rain City Recorders by Jesse Gander, the new album will be available via Haunted Hotel Records or the band, who will be hitting Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon for a mini tour in late March, where they are “hoping to have the record” on hand. To learn more about the impending album and the band’s lyrical tendency to comment on societal and microcosmic problems in their short discography, we chatted with guitarist Goat, who joined the band while “still in high school in 2000.” Answers are edited for length.
BeatRoute: Your song titles are indicative of the problems in the punk scene – songs like “Dead Beat Promoters,” “Mainstream of Shit,” and “Fuck Scion” for example. In particular, I’m curious about the latter and if you’re celebrating or indifferent to the fact that Scion just announced they are discontinuing that vehicle line and presumably their bizarrely marketed garage rock and extreme metal events?
Goat: When we heard Scion was done we were like “We did it!” What a joke that whole thing was, and so depressing it was to see how willingly people jumped on board.
I won’t lie; there [are] some great bands that have played Scion-sponsored events. It’s not about the mainstream metal and grindcore bands for me. I expect to see those names on corporate sponsored shows, but it was a bummer seeing those bands that came up in the DIY punk scene bend over for Scion. Some respect was lost, and some of my records ended up in a used bin.
BR: Speaking to more serious sociological issues, a lot of your songs speak to the atrocities perpetuated by mankind. In a broader sense, social justice has become a major theme on the Internet in the past two years in particular. I’m curious about the identity politics and ideologies of your band, and if you have any thoughts on the weird arguments that are constantly being waged online regarding equality.
G: I’ve written lyrics for over 80 MG songs, and over the years topics have become much more broad. The crazy stuff humans do to each other and the earth is an easy thing to write about, because I’m reminded of it everyday. We have never claimed to be PC, or heavy political activists, but we do feel strongly about many issues we write about.
Of course we’re against racism, sexism, and all forms of social inequalities, but what punk band isn’t? Many of these topics come up time and time again, and I think it’s good that they do. Writing about inner conflicts and personal anguish is just as important to me.
We don’t typically get involved with Internet arguments; we all know how those things play out.
Massgrave performs at Rock Against Easter 6 on Friday, March 25 in Edmonton at the Alley alongside Archagathus, Skunk, Languid, Vivasectomy, and Begrime Exemious. On Saturday, March 26th they play in Calgary at Vern’s with Languid and Savage Streets. Listen to them online at https://massgravecrust.bandcamp.com/.AB, Alberta, Massgrave, The Alley, Vern's