Celebrating Terrorizer's Legacy, 25 Years Later

Terrorizer - 1989 line-up
Terrorizer - 1989 line-up
Courtesy of Emma Pintado

Terrorizer’s 1989 debut album World Downfall showcased what would become trademarks of the grindcore genre. That is, extremely short bursts of aggression similar to punk, but amped up by distorted death metal riffs and the fastest blastbeat drumming imaginable, with all of it a backdrop for politically-conscious lyrics.

The album is now considered one of the cornerstones of the grindcore movement. But the L.A. group disbanded shortly after World Downfall was recorded, leaving a massive hole in the grindcore movement. 

On Saturday, however, vocalist Oscar Garcia will revisit many songs from World Downfall for the first time in 25 years. It will go down at Grindcore 2014, an all-day extreme metal fest held at  at 333 Live. The event will celebrate the life of Terrorizer (and Napalm Death) guitarist Jesse Pintado, who passed away in 2006 from liver failure.

In addition to a set with his main band Nausea, Garcia will perform for a one-night only set called “Terrorizer L.A.” featuring greats from today’s L.A. extreme metal scene.

Garcia admits that he was hesitant to revisit the seminal album at first, but having Nausea guitarist Leon del Muerte sign on helped him along. 

“I didn’t want to do this with just anybody,” Garcia says. “Leon is the only other guitar player I could trust up there besides Jesse to play his parts in Terrorizer songs. If Leon wasn’t going to play, this wasn’t going to happen.”

The confines of 333 Live – which once was home to Prince’s Glam Slam club – are a far cry from the L.A. backyard shows that Terrorizer mostly played during their initial existence. The video below depicts a similarly DIY gig at Hoover Park Rec Center in 1987.

“You had to rent a hall or play a backyard in East L.A. or South Central,” Garcia says.

“There was an empty dirt lot by the 105 freeway in Lynwood. Someone put up a fence around it, and set up a stage with some tiny Christmas lights. But you could get 500-600 people in at a couple bucks a head and play until cops showed up.”

This weekend’s fest will feature other greats dating back to the ‘80s L.A. scene, like Wehrmacht and F.C.D.N. Tormentor.

Organizer Emma Pintado, who is Jesse's sister, wanted a lineup that her brother would have loved to see.

“Bringing in some of the older bands was important to it,” Emma says. “Those bands were a part of the L.A. scene at the time and were friends of Jesse. In the end, everything here has a connection to him in some way.”

Terrorizer L.A. headlines Grindcore 2014: A Tribute to Jesse Pintado this Saturday, July 12 at 333 Live

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