[aural time-slip] The Accused – Grinning Like an Undertaker


[Reviewed by Peter Marks]

Jesus christ what the fuck IS that!? Oh hell, not them again. Why are you playing this, you hate me that much?

These were some of the comments I garnered each and every time I played this glorious record. An unrepentant mixture of thrash, punk and metal which earned this band the honor of their own genre: splatterock. It’s worth noting that not only did they manage to offend and anger every friend of mine at the time they drew this out my dad when he barged in on me banging my head to their albums:

Grow up.

Just what a fifteen year old wants to hear from their parent, yes? Of course, I only played it louder and when he pulled the plug I put it in my walkman and headed out downtown. They say technology frustrates the aged, this would have been one of those moments. Many other fans of this band no doubt have stories of their own to tell about the shit they took for enjoying what was on offer here. I’d relate more but I have limited time and besides, who wants to ruin the memories of those days by connecting them to a present where the majority are either married or parents themselves. Sad indeed.

Led by their murderous zombie mascot Martha Splatterhead, The Accused cut a path of decimation and left nothing but bleeding victims and burning bodies in their wake. This was a bunch who were obsessed by the more lurid underside of society, they reveled in bloody viscera and were happiest writing songs about their muse ripping the heads off her victims or corpses tearing into the throats of the unwary. This was no place for suburbanites to put up their picket fences and gentrify everyone else out, the world The Accused depicted in their songs showed no mercy. Lives snuffed out in the span of under three minutes, yeah baby you’d better believe it.

When the sun went down hell itself came to grind out vengeance upon the earth. Punishment was severe, excuses were not accepted; Martha always had those razor sharp nails ready to open you up, she’d even smile while your entrails drained out of you onto the concrete.

Such a sweetheart.

Some bemoaned the metal influences of this record and yet they’d always been there. The recording sessions must have been manic, the speed of these tracks is simply blinding; the riffs are in a word: blistering. Those who’d continually written them off as some kind of joke now had to contend with an Accused who displayed greater musical dexterity than ever before with transitions between tempos they themselves must have shaken their heads at. I couldn’t help but grin by the time I got to the song “M is for Martha” with it’s staccato beats and venomous lyrics; between the verses the band flexed their muscles over and over with unbelievable precision. Go. Then stop. Linger on that note. Give it back to Blaine and let him scream some more.

Here are a few other items of note: before grunge came along and shit over everything, Seattle had a thriving metal scene. The Accused straddled multiple genres but among extreme music aficionados of the time there was never any question: they ruled. This is the most overlooked band ever to come out of that place and sadly they are mostly forgotten. Their records were uncompromising, their live shows absolutely terrifying and in 1990 they hit their peak with ‘Grinning Like an Undertaker’ a testament to years and years spent on the road, in the studio and in dingy apartments beyond count. Their work is being slowly re-issued (I’m told) so perhaps a new audience will get to take the same plunge I did 25 years ago with this album and pound some nails into that coffin.

The Accused – Grinning Like an Undertaker
Nastymix Records, NMR 70220-4
CD/LP/MC 1990

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