Washington, D.C.’s No/Más make blasting grindcore blended with a strong strain of d-beat and crust punk. Those influences manifest themselves in a few key ways. In the case of a song like “Rabia,” it’s that the first 36 seconds ride a d-beat, until a moment’s silence is cut by a freight train blastbeat. Or in a song like opener “Claustrophobia”, it’s a mid-tempo breakdown near the halfway mark that channels grinding kinetic energy into raw punk fury.
These are common influences in grindcore, to the point that it would feel unnecessary to mention them save for the fact that each element of the band’s style is so distinctly articulated and well-integrated. While the way the band deploys its more overtly punk influences is a big part of this record’s sound, don’t expect a punk record with some grinding parts. This release is all forward momentum, and every breakdown is just seconds away from the next full-bore grind section.
This EP signals a sonic leap forward for No/Más. The songwriting on the Last Laugh EP is tighter and more confident than on 2018’s ten-track Raíz del Mal. The production differences in the two releases are notable as well. Last Laugh is a thicker, fuller sounding record without sacrificing immediacy or bite. The guitars sound heftier, the growls deeper, the drums crisper.
No/Más have been growing rapidly as a band since 2017, and they show no signs of slowing down. This release has rightfully attracted more attention to the band, as has a recent support date with Pig Destroyer in Baltimore. These songs feel engineered to be impactful in a live setting, and playing shows with this material is sure to continue to grow their fanbase.
Last Laugh is a notable release in the world of grindcore, and seems likely to appear on a number of year-end roundups of the best releases of 2019 despite stiff competition from releases by Cloud Rat and Discordance Axis offshoot No One Knows What the Dead Think. If their next major release can capitalize on the improvements made on this one, expect to hear a lot more from No/Más.
Last Laugh is available digitally and on CD from Horror Pain Gore Death Productions.