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More coal for the furnace - 70%

androdion, January 18th, 2013

The year begins in style for the Finnish quartet, with a new release signalling their premiere on Season Of Mist's roster. The new EP, Species At War, follows modern grindcore conventions and is pretty much unrelenting in its delivery.

With the start of a new year many resolutions are vouched for and promises abound are made. Eat right, lose weight, read more, get out more, you name it. The point is that each and every year people tend to kind of start over again, as if the passing of a single digit would be enough for a change of mentality. Rotten Sound on the other hand avoid this pitfall and instead keep doing what they do best, and that is modern grindcore. Species At War shows the band continuing down the path laid out by more recent efforts, namely Cursed whose influence and writing style can be clearly heard on this eight minute long EP. It's pretty evident that the band has undergone a new path ever since Consume To Contaminate, counterbalancing groovy mid-tempo riffs with rapid-fire volleys of blasting brutality, and this new work shows pretty much the continuation of that songwriting tendency.

With only six songs that average between one and two minutes this EP feels very much like a teaser for an upcoming full-length release. A way of saying that the band is alive and 2013 is going to be a good year. "Cause" opens up the hostilities with the band's signature bass-heavy and thick production style, immediately hitting you in the face with relentless blasting that never ceases to bash you, with Keijo's spiteful vocals on top. Next you notice and you're already slowly banging your head to the buzz saw groove of the following, "The Game", and as if the band was just taunting you the album leaps again into full-fledged fury with yet another track. The sonic output is more balanced now and shows the trade-off between the two styles, which is the same to say that "War" is a mix of the elements found within the first two songs. Shorter songs usually serve as blast fests alone, but when they extend nearer the two minute mark the tendency is for a wider development that more accurately presents the distinguishing elements used by the band. The remaining bulk of this release is virtually identical in form and presentation, but still there is room for an interesting riff on the mid section of "The Solution" or the cool breakdown into a groovy part that leads "Salvation" to an end. In fact the second half seems to be superior to the first, probably due to the songs being longer and displaying more ideas.

As rapidly as it begins it also ends, carrying with it the spirit of these rabid Finnish madmen with it. This new EP is pretty much Rotten Sound by the book, with all the predicaments that are carried along with such a statement. Sure the band is at a clear peak of form, but then again their sound has been constant and similar for over half a decade now. So all in all this feels like it's just more of the same and it doesn't really do much to differentiate itself from other releases. Sure it will please fans of the band and even I find joy in listening to it. But in the end this new EP could've brought a renewed sound or at least a bit of novelty, both of which would've been gladly welcomed. As it is presented it shows that the band isn't embarking on New Year resolutions, instead they're just rehashing what they've been doing for the past few years. And you either like it or you don't.

Originally written for and posted at Riff Magazine