Outside of Napalm Death, Finnish (Vaasa based) act Rotten Sound has to be one of the longest running acts within the grindcore scene.
Founded some seventeen years ago, Rotten Sound have weathered numerous line-up changes, pumped out a colossal amount of releases (Which aside from five full-length releases, includes a ton of E.P.’s and split releases) and all the while managed to remain at the top of their game within that time.
Following on from their stop-gap E.P. release ‘Napalm’ from last year (Which was essentially a tribute to the grindcore legends Napalm Death and three new songs), Rotten Sound (Who comprise of vocalist Keijo Niinimaa, guitarist Mika Aalto, bassist Kristian Toivainen and drummer Sami Latva) are back with their sixth full-length release ‘Cursed’.
Grindcore isn’t particularly known for its innovation or reinvention, and Rotten Sound isn’t about to stand out as the exception to that rule. ‘Cursed’ isn’t all that removed from what the band served up listeners with their last album ‘Cycles’ back in 2008. But while that may be true, it has to be said that within today’s grindcore scene, there are precious few acts that can rival Rotten Sound in terms of consistency, sheer aggression and making songs within the grindcore mould as memorable as these Finns.
Running for just under the twenty-eight minute mark, ‘Cursed’ is just the right length for a grindcore album, and plenty of time for the band to belt out sixteen tracks of pure venom from start to finish, with the minute long ‘Alone’ (Featuring Misery Index vocalist Jason Netherton as special guest) leading the charge. With its rumbling bass tone, sharp and raw guitar sound and chaotic blast beats, Rotten Sound have certainly perfected their grindcore sound, and created what can only be described as the sound of the apocalypse.
The initial full on blast of ‘Superior’ (Which features Entombed’s LG Petrov) and ‘Self’ (Featuring Victims’ vocalist Johan Eriksson and Total Destruction guitarist Saku Hakuli providing the lead work) are cleverly balanced with some crushing groove based tail ends, while the slow burn of ‘Choose’ (Again, featuring Petrov), ‘Power’, ‘Declare’ and ‘Exploit’ allow the band to shake up the tempo enough to keep the album varied from start to finish.
Elsewhere, Hakuli’s frantic solo work at the start of ‘Hollow’ is a stand out, as too is Aborted’s Eran Segal on the hectic ‘Plan’, while former Rotten Sound guitarist Juha Ylikoski (Who is now in Throes Of Dawn) helps out on ‘Ritual’.
Overall, ‘Cursed’ is another exercise of sheer brutality from Rotten Sound, and pretty much the sort of album you would expect from the band given their extensive history.
But unlike a lot of other grindcore acts, Rotten Sound know how to shake up the formula enough to keep the album interesting throughout, and keep the listener totally enthralled throughout. In a lot of ways, this is Rotten Sound’s most refined and diverse effort to date, and just the kind of release that’s sure to became one of this year’s most acclaimed grindcore efforts for 2011.
For more information on Rotten Sound, check out - http://www.rottensound.com/
© Justin Donnelly