When Grindcore is done well, there’s just nothing as devastatingly Metal.
Case in point is Finland’s ROTTEN SOUND and their fuckin’ tremendous sixth full-length album, “Cursed,” a leveling beat-down of Hardcore sensibility fused with skull-stomping Death Metal aggression. While not your standard 30-tracks-in-25-minutes Grindcore feeding frenzy, ROTTEN SOUND pour acid across 16 well-conceived and completely crushing tracks that grab you by your collar and knock your teeth, retainer and all, into the recesses of your throat.
At just 49 seconds, “Green” is the album’s shortest track, but inside it you’ll discover all the animosity of a decade’s worth of pent-up anger ripping away while addressing the misgivings of society’s quasi pro-nature stance. In addition to sharing the album’s longest song duration, both with two-minute and 48 second time slots, “Hollow” and “Declare” examine the ambivalence of reality and human nature while boring thunderous amounts of glaring, groove-peppered Grind direct into your psyche. Regardless of track length, ample fist-clenching breakdowns and rivet-gun bursts frequent this carnivore in seamless continuity.
A slightly muffled production lends “Cursed” an air of authentic frustration while also imbuing it with an almost Sludge-like low end that allows the album to churn and destroy from the chainsaw-roaring opener “Alone,” to the blasting and Deathly d-beat conclusion, “Doomed.” The vocals by Keijo Niinimaa are appropriate Core-styled roaring, barking, and growling that occasionally froth rabid and huge in pounding tracks like “Choose” and “Exploit.” The drumming by Sami Latva is frenetic and overwhelming, especially in tracks like “Terrified,” and the waves of crunching and massive bass and guitar work by Kristian Toivainen and Mika Aalto powers “Cursed” with an indomitable attitude that sends sonic pulses cascading furiously across every track.
As malevolent and chaotic as Grindcore may sound and be, elite bands like ROTTEN SOUND are proving that this underrated Metal genre doesn’t simply breed and foster the intense, but it’s a union of profound and ardent messages that ask their head-banging adorers to think for themselves. Half-Death Metal and half-Hardcore, ROTTEN SOUND’s “Cursed” is all goddamn heavy. One of the year’s best.
(Online June 9, 2011)