At some point I was wondering what happened to my favorite Hatebeak and Caninus. Why did I even start this search? The free time due to the lockdown brought me to other bands that decided that a human singer is not for them and turned to the animal kingdom (and not only) for alternatives. We can say that we have heard everything in music but there will always be cases that will make us reconsider. Those of you who have curiosity and time to waste, keep reading.
The Woofers And Tweeters Ensemble
This case is worth mentioning because it is probably the first one where music was combined with animal sounds, although it is quite different from the bands listed below. This project-parody released an album in the distant 1983 called “Beatle Barkers”. This is actually famous songs from The Beatles, played by unknown musicians, with voices from dogs, sheep, chickens, parakeets and a cat. However, not all of them are real since the voices of dogs (which are most of them) are from a dog impersonator! For a non-Beatles fan like me, it is quite funny.
I do not know how much they were influenced by the project above, but they are considered among the pioneers of this situation since they started in 2003! Blake Harrison (who later joined the death/grinders Pig Destroyer) in guitar, bass and drum programming and Mark Sloan in the same tasks joined forces with an African gray parrot named Waldo. Waldo learned to sing…death metal. Without any exaggeration. Epic screams that put shame to many regular singers on death/grind music. The name of the band and the titles are taken from well-known bands in the scene, slightly changed to resemble birds. After a demo and three splits with other strange bands they disbanded in 2009, only to return in 2015 with the full-length “The Number Of The Beak” which contained all their…songs until then. They remain active so far and we expect more from them in the future.
I could not find much information about them here. Ukrainian band with a pigeon behind the microphone. Why; Because the singer Mary was nicknamed pigeon by the other two members because of her vocals. Well, she decided to take it a step further and put a regular one in her place. They are supposed to play grindcore but with such poor production, it reminded me of Deep Purple, with the exception that it’s played faster. They have probably released only one EP, “Pigeon Wing”.
Like Hatebeak, Caninus started in 2003 by Justin Brannan, guitarist of hardcore act Most Precious Blood, and they released a split together. From the name we understand that we are dealing with canines and this is how it happens, since the…vocals are taken over by two pit-bull terriers, Budgie and Basil in death/grind style. They released the album “Now The Animals Have A Voice” in 2004. Even Richard Christy (Charred Walls Of The Damned, ex-Death, ex-Iced Earth) played drums for them. They disbanded in 2011, after Basil’s death. Budgie had the same fate in 2016.
The name is an obvious pun. Pugtopsy came to fill the empty seat left by the Caninus, putting on the vocals a pug called Pupcake Lövbacken and playing something that reminded me of metalcore/deathcore, even though they refer to themselves as black metal. Sparse presence so far though, so it remains to be seen what they will do in the future.
We mentioned Richard Christy earlier. He probably liked a lot his participation in Caninus and now has his own project, with which he released a split in 2018 with Hatebeak. Christy takes over all the instruments and for the main vocals he uses three guinea pigs named Tico, Taco and Sugar while he does some backing ones. Playing death/grind also (as almost all the others), the result is hilarious.
Could Russia stay out of this? Definitely no. Insect Grinder uses a cricket for vocals on death/grind music and I must say that it was one of the most fun ones sounds on this…genre, since the lovely insect follows the intensity of the music. The EP “Infected” of 2009 is something you must listen to, with an alligator participating as a guest on the last track.
Captured! By Robots
Let’s move along, aside from the animals, on to a scarier case that reminds us that one day they will revolt and enslave us all. Robots. Here we have the talented Jay Vance, founded in 1998! Jay takes the nickname JBOT and has with him the robots GTRBOT666 on guitar and DRMBOT 0110 on drums, which he programs both in the studio and at concerts while he takes over the vocals. The exception to the…rule of the list but it does not matter. So, according to the story behind the band, Jay built them and they enslaved him, forcing him to play with them against his will. Starting with a more classic rock sound, he has now turned it into grindcore. With four full-length albums, one EP and one live DVD, this is the most productive band on this list.
Compressorhead were made between 2007 and 2012 in Germany by Frank Barns, who has the help of four other people in songwriting and vocals, two of whom played in NoMeansNo. Initially the band had four members, Fingers (guitar, 78 fingers!), Bones (bass), Stickboy (drums) and Junior, Stickboy’s “assistant” for the hi-hat. In 2012, their first live show took place. They started playing covers of Motörhead, AC/DC, Pantera and The Ramones. In 2017, after a Kickstarter campaign, two more members were added, Mega-Wattson (vocals) and Hellgå Tarr (guitar). And the singer’s voice may be pre-recorded but the rest of the robots play their instruments for real. What is more metal than that?
P.S.: More projects with robots are The One Love Machine Band, The Trons and Z-Machines that play in a different music style. I don’t believe that they need much analysis, you get the point.