Album Review: Blind Equation – “Life Is Pain” (Cybergrind)

Written by Melinda

Blind EquationLife Is Pain
Emotional cybergrind from Illinois, USA
Released September 3, 2021
Independent (Name Your Own Price)

I would rather die than think like you. Another dull blade stuck in the sands of time.

Emotional cybergrind. That’s the review. But I’ll continue for those who enjoy reading and maybe don’t know what that means to me. 

You’re probably wondering, cybergrind? Isn’t that a ridiculously fast memey video game sounding genre with programmed drums? How can that be emotional? Well it turns it out it very much can be thanks to the connective tissue that is the synths and one hell of a vocalist. The synth does an admirable job of allowing the pace to slow down without losing any of the cybergrind “vibe” and the percussion is organised really well around the pacing too. The vocals are very expressive and very harsh, it gets skramzy but it also gets mathcore, depending on whether the vocalist is straining for inflection for raging for bombastic screams. Across the album you will hear a variety of extreme genre influences including more metal vocal performances.

You might read the track titles like “johncenafunnymeme.exe” and think, oh this is going to be goofy, but then the lyrics are:

you’re barely breathing, yet you’ve found no light
you will find out soon enough there’s no end in sight
nothing to live for
suffering adds to the pain
death draws nearer every passing day
trapped forever, no escape
no one hears me
in the blistering rain

So they’re turning the meme aspect of the genre on it’s head lyrically while still playing with it aesthetically. They do this musically as well with oddly out of place “internet culture” samples used in juxtaposition to the intense screaming of alarming mental health related phrases. To me, it speaks to the hollowness and sadness of being trapped inside of this computer. But you know me, I love to project my own meanings onto things. 

The track “Shortages II” featuring ZOMBISHARK! is a highlight for being one of the more heavy tracks that entwines a more poppy emo style with the grind side of cybergrind. It’s a quick burst of energy at the midway point of the album that gets you pumped to keep going, there’s no fucking way you could put that track at the end. The other features “Pain” featuring Natty Grey and “We’re Just Fine” featuring Hot Lettuce! Are both great tracks as well, on the last half of the album so they’ve really packed the order of things nicely. They set you up solo and establish a mood, and then bring in friends to corrupt it in various stimulating ways.

The video game 8-bit (or is it 16-bit? Oh god don’t hate me, I’m not nerd enough) elements are certainly present but it always sounds like the most intense and horrific part of a game, it’s 22 minutes of sweaty palms holding a controller and screaming in frustration. I love on tracks like “Still Dying” where the synth gets so fast with so many notes that it begins to crescendo into a digital waterfall.

The Bottom Line

Blind Equation are clearly well versed in making electronic music and have an eccentric widespread musical influence that shows in their ideas. They do not fuck around or waste any time in delivering a impassioned violent performance. They manage to communicate a world of tenderness, frustration and desolation amongst a chaotic instrumental backdrop. It’s absurdly palatable. There’s plenty of CDs and cassettes too.

Lyrics in bold at the top of the review are by ZOMBIESHARK! who feature on the track “Shortages II”

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