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Albums like Cursed and bands like Rotten Sound are the main facts that sometimes tend to make me think of grindcore as the most interesting branch of extreme music. Just look at those names: Napalm Death, Nasum, Magrudergrind, Discordance Axis, Gridlink, Defeatist, Pig Destroyer, Brutal Truth, Kalibas, Dephosphorus... The list is endless, grind is never ending.
So, there are some albums that are never going to be forgotten. Some of these are: FETO, ECDER, World Extermination, The Inalienable Dreamless, Helvete... and, well, Cursed.
Cursed is an unstoppable assault of ridiculously catchy riffs, extremely well thought-out song structures, hyperspeed blastbeats, breathtaking downbeats and sludgy/groovy parts, inhuman screams and basically what one can ask from a modern day grind album.
The production is clean yet not sterile, which basically means that the low frequencies are not turned into meaningless noise. As a result, the deadly riffs can be easily heard even from people that have not undergone post-graduate grind education. There are some noisy parts going on at some points, and in a way they're the only thing that will help you distinct songs in an album that has a virtually perfect flow, if you don't pay enough attention. The drumming features all typical grindcore drumming elements, like blastbeats and d-beats and the rest, but sometimes it just sounds a little bit more rock n roll-ish, and combined with the ultra catchy Entombed-like riffs... yeah, it's death 'n' roll. Oh, there are also slow parts that are accesible for slowest people to headbang to. The lyrics are mostly about politics and some times allegoric while still to the point, and the album is divided in six sections, each section having a distinct lyrical theme that is explored through different aspects. The vocals are badass, and it's not surprising that Keijo Niinimaa was chosen to be the singer for Nasum's 2012 farewell tour, holding the microphone of deceased frontman Mieszko Talarczyk (RIP). Many musicians offer guest appearances on this record, the most prominent -and inevitably, the most interesting- contributions being those of Jason Netherton (Misery Index, ex-Dying Fetus) and LG Petrov from Entombed. The bass is very tight and fits the drumming and the riffs perfectly. Finally, the artwork seems great even though it's a bit indecipherable, to me at least.
All in all, Cursed is an album you should definitely own and one of the highlights of 2011, a year with releases as great as Gridlink's "Orphan", Wormrot's "Dirge", Defeatist's "Tyranny of Decay" and Wake's "Leeches". It is a memorable album that even your cool non-grindfreak father will like, and still it's true as fuck. KEEP IT GRIND!
It only took me one listen to realize Rotten Sound hadn't made any headway since their disappointing Cycles. Calling it a slide might be a bit too much, rather than a fall like 90's Napalm Death, the band has simply repeated themselves and added only tweaks and bugs to their execution with recent releases. That stomach-churning guitar tone that was responsible for clearing whole forests back in 2005 with Exit has been diminished to a digital liquid soup with a lack of character. The grime that covered every inch in Exit (including the hostile artwork) has been blunted into a fatter, more boring sound. The vocals have lost whatever punch they had and are some of the most repetitive and uninteresting around (this would be a title fight between Deafeatist in the land of the inane). Songs lack character and definition, possibly a symptom of using such a muddied guitar tone, but somehow all those Swedes back when made it work.
To make things worse, the band finds time to do their best Entombed imitation with "Choose" and its immediate successor "Hollow." It's beyond me why this band's wasting time with slow sections because they're the same stock riffage the band has come to use (as well as any generic death metal band) in their trip into mediocrity. The song writing's so boring, if you were to play them "Slave" from Exit, they'd view it as some superior entity above themselves.
A name that used to mean something, Rotten Sound's content to repeat themselves as long as you're content to listen.
Originally Written for http://perpetualstrifemusic.blogspot.com/
After almost 20 years, Rotten Sound still knows how to write strong and direct music. This "Cursed" record is the proof.
Finland is the country where the best Gothic rock/metal bands come from and as some musicians say, the long winters make the people cold and sad, but Rotten Sound is the evidence that those winters can also make people violent and twisted.
On March 15, Rotten Sound released "Cursed" via Relapse Records and this record contains sixteen tracks that will leave you no space to breathe or think. That's right, Rotten Sound is a grindcore machine gun that won't allow enemies to survive.
"Cursed" is not a regular raw grindcore record as it is well produced and is not just a bunch of distortions, cymbals, and snares getting out of the speakers. I even dare to say the guitar's distortion is specific and quite unique. In other words, I am able to say those distortions make the sound a little bit industrial and you will even listen to solos in tracks like "Hollow" and "Addict". Keijo Niinimaa is so furious on the vocals that you will feel you want to break stuff. The drums are incredible and I must say Sami Latva knows his place and knows when he should be more active or just get along with the other guys.
Rotten Sound is the proof that grindcore is not always the same because the track change between each song is well felt.
The band was founded in 1993, but with this record it seems like the boys did not get old. I say these guys will be bonded to grindcore till death do them apart.
Originally written for and posted at Riff Magazine
With a career spanning nearly 20 years, Rotten Sound are a force to be reckoned with in the field of grindology. As much as I love grindcore in all its forms--good or bad, long or short, fast or slow--almost no band in the scene plays with as much heart and ingenuity as these Finnish grindologists. From their blisteringly fast less-than-a-minute songs to their sludgeified grind epics, every release offers up something new and refreshing and Cursed is far from an exception.
As usual, Cursed doesn't even give you a chance to take a breath before pummeling you with the opening lines of "Alone" and dragging you through tormented pits of depravation until the last chord of "Doomed" echoes in your speakers. Along the way they do let you stop and reorientate yourself momentarily, slowing the pace and delivering the goods at a down-tuned, doom-inspired discourse, but only for a second before it's back to beating you mercilessly with their aural assault. While they're not redefining the genre by any means, Rotten Sound are at the top of their game, and Cursed is one of their best albums yet.
What Rotten Sound have managed to do so well is what a lot of grindcore bands lack: write catchy and memorable songs. Songs like "Hollow", "Addict" and "Exploit" are almost upbeat in their catchiness, while still maintaining the ever-present face fucking heaviness that the band is known for. Even their most kinetic and powerful songs find a way to reel you in with a catchy, down tempo groove somewhere along the line, e.g. "Self" and "Power". What also stands out about the album is its diversity and cohesive structure. Very few grind bands are able to successfully write an arcing album, mainly staying the course of an ear-pummeling onslaught of blast beats and machine gun riffs. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for 30 straight minutes of in your face brutality, but it certainly is refreshing to hear some grind with a little "oomph" (hell, they even throw in a pseudo guitar solo in the middle of "Addict"). Songs like "Green" and "Machinery" are straight up, unrelenting grind, while "Declare" and "Terrified" invoke the tiniest bit of sludge that makes you wanna punch your way through a crowd of screaming babies. It is simply divine.
Topping out at just over 30 minutes (as any good grind record should), Cursed keeps you on your toes and guessing all the way through. Though Rotten Sound are certainly veterans of the genre, they amass an energy and integrity that speaks of a much younger and more vivacious group. 20 years and counting and they're still leading the pack. Not even Napalm Death can stake a claim to that these days.