Rotten Sound - Cursed
Record Label: Relapse Records
Release Date: March 15, 2011
Hailing from Vaasa, Finland, Rotten Sound are a chaotic blast of unrelenting grindcore and on this, their Relapse Records debut, the band summons a tidal wave of crushing metal intensity that mercilessly beats the listener to a pulp over the course of 28 minutes. Chock full of crusted-over riffs and frantically strummed guitars that sound like amplifiers being smashed to pieces in a mud-pit in Hell, Cursed offers no shortage of the kind of sonic aggression that fans have come to expect from these seasoned grindcore masterminds. Explosive blast-beats propel grimy chunks of hellish distortion while lead vocalist Keijo Niinimaa bellows gutturally about all manner of decay and darkness. Riffs hack and slash their way into your cerebrum just as quick as they hack and slash their way out. Wailing, speed-freak guitar solos ares sprinkled over the top, all adding up to one of the best grindcore releases in recent memory.
The culmination of everything the band has done up to this point, Cursed is proof that grindcore can be a unique and disarming experience without being cheap or hackneyed. Every bit of anger and aggression; every slice of primal rage caught here on tape feels 100% genuine, something of a rarity in a genre riddled with artists that often amount to something like "Spinal Tap gone grind". Their intensity is never over-the-top and is sometimes kept fairly well in check on certain tracks, allowing for the listener to take a breather (or as close as you'll get to one) just before pouncing back out from within the shadows to continue the barbaric musical lashing.
But while this album provides a fresh and memorable take on the grindcore genre, it's unlikely to do much to convert non-fans. It's a long way from "accessible" and halfway through the album, even fans may find themselves craving an hour or two of smooth jazz just to unwind from the nonstop onslaught of death metal; from the runaway freight-train grind attack. But for the battle-hardened grindcore fan, it's sure to hit that sweet spot. And hard. Easily the group's strongest release to date, Cursed breathes new life into a genre that has become more and more hit-or-miss as of late. Here's hoping that more bands will follow in Rotten Sound's footsteps, finding the right balance between frenzied death metal fury and ear-shattering grindcore aggression; and that Rotten Sound will continue to release music of this caliber on future albums.