March 30, 2023

Album Review - Rotten Sound "Apocalypse"

Album Review - Rotten Sound
It’s been five long years since Finland’s Grindcore darlings put out a record. Apocalypse’s predecessor, the Suffer to Abuse EP was hardly the encore fans were hoping for after the raucous 2016 full length, Abuse to Suffer. That’s not to say it didn’t deliver in terms of quality, but a grindcore EP reaches a level of brevity that’s laughable for an already lean brand of metal, and at under 12 minutes of music, fans were left in the lurch for half a decade waiting for more from one of the Genre’s most respected acts. 
I’m not trying to misrepresent what’s in the package this time around. It’s not that Apocalypse, by comparison somehow possesses scale. In fact its less-is-more approach is still at the center of its content for certain. There is just more of it. “Hectic” singularly describes this album. One of those where you just sit back for a moment and go…”Sheesh.” Ya know when you start a movie or video game and are warned about the risk of seizures for those with photo-sensitivities? Consider this the auditory version of that warning statement. Apocalypse wants to annihilate you from the onset, with bludgeoning drumming performed at hyper-speed and relentless, heavily distorted buzzsaw riffs. Every track sounds like it was recorded in a single take during a live session in the middle of the pit - and you are likely to walk out injured.
Although aggression is the cornerstone of their sound, musically speaking there isn’t a ton of variety to be found here, and at the risk of being nit-picky, I’d like to see a bit more negative space to break up the wall of noise that takes place for the entirety of the album. Whereas bands like Teethgrinder can be guilty of over-using samples and passages to set up tension and create an ominous sense of angst, Rotten Sound take the opposite approach and leave the listener with almost nothing to cling to as each song wooshes by at breakneck pace. After almost a dozen play-throughs I am still struggling to discern one track from another as I write this. and in that regard I would say replay value is quite low, mainly because it’s a been-there-done-that situation. Having said that, It’s a commitment to the band’s “rotten sound”, that make this release so immediately accessible. Unlike other bloated records that require multiple listens under various conditions and sonic environments to unpack, Apocalypse is refreshingly cursory.
Apocalypse conjures just the right amount of punk sensibility with the brutality and frenetic pace of speedcore. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a collection of tracks that exemplifies the genre as well as Rotten Sound has assembled here. On the pantheon of Grind stands pioneers like Napalm Death and Carcass, with an infinite number of newer, only marginally-memorable acts available to stream at the click of a mouse, but somewhere lying in between the legends of time and the self-produced Gen Z groms is the sweet spot of the genre – Bands that may not go down in history according to the official record books, but certainly will leave a lasting impression in the hearts and minds of those that respect the scene. This is filthy meat & potatoes grindcore that will chew you up and spit you out, and I am here for it. 
- Kamron K