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It’s funny how things going in the right direction always has to suddenly end in a catastrophy. I’m talking, of course, about guitarist and singer Mieszko Talarczyk who died last year in the Tsunami disaster. Nasum was still evolving as a band, and one can only marvel in the hopeless thoughts what may have happened if this band still was active. Well, I’ve mourned my idol, and let’s leave that at peace.
This is certainly an evolvement over their last efforts. Even though I found great songs in all of their former albums, this was by far my favourite. The sound has changed. They sound more polished than ever on “Shift”. It may bear some similarity to “Helvete”, but if you listen to two tracks from each album you’ll know the difference. The guitars could’ve been a little bit higher, but the mixing is satisfying at its worst.
Every Nasum album up ‘til now has started violently, straight up in-your-face grindcore from the first second. Well, be ready for a surprise, as the first track “Particles” starts. A weird vacuum-like sound slowly fills your speakers, and a clinging sound counts in the first slow (!) part. That’s right, we’re introduced with a slow blackish type riff and a kickass low guttural roar. It doesn’t last very long though, and we’re on our typical Nasum experience. Fast as hell, violent as fuck and chaotic in its presence. This is the best intro to a grind/death album I’ve ever heard. The ultra-fast riffing and drumming doesn’t take a pause until track nr. 5. “Wrath” is different from the rest. Slower, heavier and (in some ways) better. They made a video for this track, so they must have favoured it themselves. Off we go again with the fast grinding. “The deepest hole” is very good. It has very little melody to it, but that melody drives it. Interesting track. “The Smallest Man” starts out nice, with Mieszko screaming “You’re such a whore!” several times over a slower riff. The rest of the track is also good, the chorus particularly. “Closer to the End” is the second definite earcatcher. Pure chaos dwells out at first, then slows down to a quite melodic and harmonic part. The guitartone variations in the slow part are good and clever as hell, and this is where you really can tell Nasum has matured. They’ve tried something new, but not just because of the trying, but because it’s just so damn good. The same goes for “Fury”. Melodic and different, but still damn good, and one of the best here. The last track “Darkness Falls” is also a standout track. Great harmonies used on the guitars & beautiful (yes, beautiful) shrieks from Mieszko sums up this album.
I can’t seriously listen to this in my car anymore. I get so excited, and start doing air-guitar and –drums from the beginning to the end. Simply put, that’s how you know your listening to some intense, dark, and great music!
Nasum, one of today's highly touted - and most hated - grindcore bands seems like an unstoppable juggernaut now. Ever since Human 2.0 they seemed to have found the perfect niche, and have kept on bringing the pain. If "In Grind We Crust" is their musical motto, then they are certainly doing a great job. However, it's the mentality that has Nasum messing things up.
The albumn musically is, as stated earlier, good old Nasum... in every way possible. Honestly, if they didn't incorporate breakdowns (which, thankfully, are amazing) all the songs would sound the same. It's been that way since Human 2.0. And seeing as how Helvete was practically the same albumn as Human 2.0, I was interested to see how Nasum would switch it up with this albumn. Well, aside from the breakdowns, Nasum have added (very trace amounts of) melody - best exemplified by songs like Fury - and 2 (two) guitar solos. I won't spoil the songs that have them, since they're gone in 5 seconds flat anyways. There's a definite metalcore/NWOSHM vibe (as heard in Fight Terror With Terror), and Nasum don't overdo it, so expect to see some bandanas and two steppers in the crowd during the tour for Shift. Despite what sounds like what could make a lion's share of a difference in this albumn's overall sound when compared to Human 2.0 or Helvete, it only appears in such small amounts, a concrete difference cannot be noticed between any of the past 2 albumns.
Nasum seem to have the mindset that they can change votes, or start revolutions with their music. If it's one thing I cannot stand, it's politically correct grindcore. Napalm Death only get away with it because they're legends, and they did it right. Nasum complains about stuff like pollution and terrorism, things that affect less than 1% of the population of the world, them not included. In the end, they sound like a bunch of uneducated hippies hating someone because Jerry's money hungry bandmates who still tour using his songs that sucked (The 'Dead') said not to like that individual. I am also 99% sure that the "...not about how much money your campaign has raised, but what you do once you take office..." sample is aimed directly at the aforementioned individual (George Dubuya Bush, for the mentally incompetent). Alas, my problem with Nasum is on a personal level, and it only affected the rating by about 3 points. Overall, this albumn is a solid one, if not a very consistent one, in which (almost) nothing new is tried, and we'll probably have to wait another 2 years until Nasum really stumble upon something radical and new. Even if they do, will it be able to stand up to Pig Destroyer's Terrifyer by then?