It’s been too long since we added any actual metal bands to The Weird List. (And no, Van Canto doesn’t count.) Let’s fix that right now with a long-ago suggestion from superstar reader Ian Frost: a goregrind trio called The County Medical Examiners. Yeah, that’s them in the photo. We’ll explain why they look like bankers in a sec.
We explained goregrind when we wrote about Cattle Decapitation awhile back, but just to recap: It’s basically grindcore with lyrics entirely about death, decay, dismemberment, surgical procedures and pretty much anything having to do with terrible things happening to people’s tender insides. If those Body Worlds people have a favorite subgenre of metal, it’s probably goregrind.
Goregrind has been around since the ’80s, when it was invented by the band Carcass. So by now there’s actually a ton of bands playing this style of music and most of them honestly aren’t all that interesting: They just write songs with titles like “Pus Grinder” and “Bathed in Feculence” and sing in that demon Cookie Monster style over riffs that kinda sound like someone emptying a .50 caliber machine gun into a mountain of hamburger meat. But here’s what sets The County Medical Examiners apart: They really are professional medical examiners. Which in the world of goregrind makes them total pimps.
The CMEs have never gone on tour, and admit that they record under fake names, which has led to a lot of speculation that the whole thing is a giant hoax staged by one of the other goregrind bands. But in a 2006 interview with MTV, head Examiner Dr. Morton Fairbanks insisted that the whole thing is for real.
According to Fairbanks, TCME originally started as a Carcass tribute band, but at some point they began writing original songs…although he admits their original material is so derivative that they’re basically “playing covers of songs [Carcass] didn’t actually write but could have.” He also confirmed that the old dude in all the band photos is bassist Dr. Guy Radcliffe, who at the time of the MTV interview was 63, which would make him 69 now. “He’s classically trained and he also plays upright bass,” Fairbanks told MTV. “I’m embarrassed to bring him riffs sometimes, because he knows way more theory than I do.” We think he might actually be this guy, but that’s just a wild guess.
TCME hasn’t released any new music since 2007, when their second album Olidous Operettas came out on Relapse Records, which is also home to Cattle Decapitation and other “Carcass clone” bands like Regurgitate and General Surgery. So we have no idea if we’ll ever get any new music from these guys, but who cares, really? It’ll probably sound exactly like their old shit, which sounds exactly like Carcass.
Oh, one other nifty touch: Olidous Operettas came in a biohazard bag and smelled like rotting corpse meat. Bet the other goregrind bands wish they’d thought of that.