Review Summary: Grind your face in.
Imagine you are walking along the street one day when suddenly you take a brick to the teeth, you stumble into the road and get run down by a speeding automobile. Yes, your face amongst other things is now fucked. This is kind of like listening to Swedish grindcore band Nasum. Formed in 1992 by former members of Necrony and suitably taking their name from horror film ‘Flesh For Frankenstein’ (Nasum meaning ‘nose’), it was six years before the band released a full length ‘Inhale/Exhale’. That’s not to say the band hadn’t been busy; having already built up a large collection of splits and 7 inch releases and having spent time mastering a fantastic live show - an experience audience members were unlikely to survive. Over the next several years the band released another 3 LP’s; their last simply titled ‘Shift’ hitting the shelves in 2004.
The album is just over half an hour and contains just twenty-four tracks. The songs themselves are of typical grind ilk, the majority clocking in at around about a minute and a half with only three pushing the two minute mark. Each one goes all out to thrash your face off repeatedly like a bulldozer of power over 9000 repeatedly running over your face.
When comparing ‘Shift’ to Nasum’s other work the first thing that becomes apparent is the production here is much slicker which only increases the records power. It doesn’t prevent the record from being less evil sounding , just listen to that first menacing riff in album opener ‘Particles’ possibly the only time you‘ll hear anything that it isn’t trying to outpace the fastest of Slayer songs (you know the ones which kinda sound like a cat dying). From here on though you quickly find yourself embroiled in violent chaotic riffs and lightning paced drumming rolling you in blast beat after blast beat accompanied by vocalist Mieszko Talarczyk’s guttural shrieks drenched in absolute pure evil. This is a record that sounds like the world cracking and opening up to swallow you whole and has a similar effect - you running home and crying to mama. The band slows down a few times, even introducing some nice melody and harmonies into a couple of songs, most notably ‘Wrath’. For the most part, however, this is a record that positively bathes in it’s monstrous sound, it’s wave on wave of razor like guitar work, unheavenly cries and frantic but technical drumming.
The thing is with this style of music it tends to be pretty polarising. In the sense that 93% of people on hearing just one song would most likely classify grind somewhere between ‘pretty shitty’ and ‘quite possibly the worst thing I have ever heard’. Who can blame them? I mean the sound Nasum showcases on ‘Shift’ at times bares resemblance to the sound of two trains going full speed colliding into one another in a head on collision. But this chaotic and quite possibly terrifying sound is what makes this record so beautiful. It’s unlistenablility simply increases my desire to listen to it. Some would argue that this isn’t music but who are they to judge what music is and isn’t? Music is an art and Nasum have perfected theirs. It’s a shame that 2004 was to spell the end of the band - Mieszko Talarczyk being confirmed amongst the dead after the tsunami in Thailand, resulting in his bandmates calling an end to Nasum as a creative entity.