The first "pure" grindcore record for me had to be Assuck's "Anticapital." It was vicious. Songs like "State to State" and "Socialized Crucifixion" are timeless. It was released in 1991 at the height of the death metal underground's explosion, but you knew right away when you heard it something was a bit different...the songs were short, and the lyrics were politicized (like Napalm Death, who were also grind, but by that time had morphed into the death-grind that they have become famous for in subsequent years).
Anyway, "Anticapital" had this 'vibe'... it was just bleak, and perhaps they were among the first bands to go with the 3-piece set up sans bass player, creating whirlwind attacks in 40 second bursts of songs that bled one into the next in anarchic fury. Another thing about it that won me (and a lot of other death metal heads) over was the crushing production. It was done at Morrisound, like dozens of other death metal bands, so it had the reliably crushing guitar tone and drum sounds that brought out this animalistic ferocity, and that is why it still stands up today. It is obviously grindcore in retrospect, but then we didn't really know the difference, and the low vocals made it easily accessible for death metal fans, as much as the short songs, blast beats and gritty real-world lyrics attracted the crust punks to it. It was sincere, nasty, and genre-defining, and
it easily stands as one of the top grind albums of all time, in my opinion.
~ Alex Cha