Review Summary: If we cannot live in peace, we must die in peace.
It’s not necessarily an overarching statement to say that metal can put forth more vicious music than perhaps any other genre (hardcore comes close). Naturally, when making such a claim, warrant must be provided. Some obvious examples could be presented, such as Cryptopsy
or Anaal Nathrakh
. To justify such a statement, however, I present Finland’s death / grind outfit Rotten Sound
. If ever there was an album that defined the spirit of being angry, it’s their latest outing Cycles
. Lasting roughly half an hour, it’s a ride listeners won’t soon forget.
Some bands can be set apart from their contemporaries just by a certain quirk they employ or something as simple as the tone of their guitars. Needless to say, it came as a giant surprise to me when I heard the buzz-saw crunch tone of bands like Entombed and Dismember emitting from my speakers in the form of grind. Although not particularly the most endearing tone, it nevertheless provides Rotten Sound
with an extra punch they may not else wise have been able to attain. This tone has been tweaked to perfection, however; each note emanates a feeling of getting punched in the face. Combine this with lightning speed grind riffs, and one could say listening to Cycles
is quite like the audible form of Bruce Lee beating you near to death. Unfortunately, for those few bass enthusiasts, this production leaves the bassist way out of comprehension. Only with extremely careful listening can the muddy plunk of the bass be heard. For what it’s worth, it keeps up with the guitars effortlessly.
Grind releases often sit between two polar extremes; those with between 8 and 12 songs each lasting about 2-3 minutes; the other end has grind releases with about 3000 songs each lasting about 4 seconds. Cycles
falls neatly between these two extremes, with 18 songs and clocking in at about half an hour. What most grind albums suffer from almost unwaveringly is that the songs often blend together. This is not as evident on Cycles
, as each song has its own identity; the riffs vary greatly and do not blend together. Cycles
carries a full blend of riffs, ranging from death-inspired to doom-inspired, and never lets up for a moment of its runtime. When the album isn’t forcing you to submit through the sheer weight of its production mixed with its speed, the slowed down interludes provide an outrageously heavy counterpoint. Grind also suffers from a lack of riffs that are catchy and easy to remember; throughout Cycles
, slight groove influences can be heard in the playing, giving the album a catchy, lasting feel.
Vocals are often a make it or break it deal for listeners; whether it be too high pitched, too whiny, too deep, too incoherent, or too what-ever-else-you-can-think-of, vocals play a key role in determining the ease of listening for an album. Cycles
features one of the most aggressive, pissed-off vocal deliveries I have ever heard; every growl, every scream, every rasp is pure vitriol. Never for a moment does the singer fail to remind you that you are listening to extremely pissed off music. This garners a strange effect, however; not only does he add to the part of the music, but the vocalist often is an instrument himself, adding a higher tone to the standard chainsaw crunch of the guitars.
is grind at its absolute finest; anyone who loves the genre absolutely needs to check this out. With ace guitars, killer vocals and pounding rhythm work, Cycles
hits the ground running and never stops.