Escuela Grind takes Atlanta to school

Written by Scott Belzer

In the world of hardcore, metal, grindcore, and power violence (and everything in between), only a few bands check each box as effortlessly as New England’s Escuela Grind.

The four-piece—made up of energetic vocalist Katerina Economou, shredding guitarist Jason Eldridge, thundering bassist Kris Morash and spastic drummer Jesse Fuentes—has taken moshers, headbangers, and barstool bums to school for the past six years with their own brand of punishing melodies. You want blast beats? You got it. Guttural growls and defiant yells? Of course. Short-yet-intricate walls of sound sure to melt your face and your eardrums? Ohhhh yeahhh. 

While this may sound par for the course in terms of brutal grindcore, Escuela Grind delivers it in a tighter package than most. Few songs exceed three minutes, and the lyrics are as passionate as the music is chaotic. Escuela Grind’s live show is one of the best you can see right now, with album-level audio, relevant-to-our-Apocalyptic-times-yet-funny stage banter, and one of the most energetic and entertaining vocalists in the game. Economou claims the stage as her own but also seeks out a connection in the crowd. They’ll headbang with you, share the mic, rush from one side of the stage to the other, maybe twerk once or twice, and push you back into the crowd—all within the two-minute runtime of a single song. 

With such palpable energy, it’s hard not to join the spectacle—and the band will very much appreciate it. As Escuela Grind themselves say, “See, Escuela Grind is all about intersectional progressive revolution, inclusivity, and good vibes… delivered via captivating carnage. The music might be terrifying, but the overwhelming spirit behind Escuela Grind is a message of empowerment.” 

Escuela Grind will be empowering Boggs Social & Supply on April 5. To ensure everyone’s vibe is right, they’ll be supported by fellow New Englanders Bonginator and Atlanta locals Apostle and Mannequin Grove.

Bonginator takes all your favorite elements of death metal and throws them in a cannabis-filled blender, self-described as “TWO-STEPPING NEON WEED DEATH” (yes, the capitals are necessary). The four-piece delivers punishing riffs and breakdowns that outweigh a Mack truck hauling cast iron, sure, but also brings cheeky lyrics about gorebongs, doinkinite, and zombies. It would be easy to dismiss Bonginator’s schtick as just another gimmick if it wasn’t so damn competent and fun. 

Founder Erik Thorstenn’s vocals and guitar chops could go toe-to-toe with any other in death metal. He’ll give you a pig squeal high and Demilich-inspired low in the same verse before settling into an unrelenting medium. Bassist Ron Bernhaut and drummer Joseph McNamara thunder along to bring metalheads and weed enthusiasts alike the complete package. Within three minutes, you’ll bang your head, laugh, and want to mosh your way into a riot, especially when you hear Thorstenn yell, “Save the world… by smoking weed.” 

Apostle, Atlanta’s own chaotic post-hardcore trio, will help set the riotous vibe. Guitarist/vocalist Murice White’s aggressive range is only matched by bassist Michael Thomas’s energy. As we’ve told you before, Thomas’s style is a sight to behold, and his frenetic energy is contagious, to say the least. How drummer Evan Price sets the tone and brings it all together is a mystery unto itself – but one I’m willing to see again and again. Watching Apostle will make you want to rewatch those old clips of Dillinger Escape Plan, Norma Jean, and The Chariot—but only after buying one of Apostle’s LPs or EPs. 

And if it’s post-hardcore you’re craving, show openers Mannequin Grove has it in spades. The Atlanta quintet delivers a wall of sound that’s both punishing and emotive. To call the band big, heavy, and loud would be correct, but it doesn’t quite capture the overall atmosphere that Mannequin Grove creates. It’s introspective. It’s aggressive. It’s melodic. It’s everything you want from a heavy band setting the stage for a night of chaos. 

-Scott Belzer  

Tickets to see Escuela Grind, Bonginator, Apostle, and Mannequin Grove Wednesday, April 5th at Boggs Social & Supply are on sale here.