Review Summary: This kills everything.
Death Toll 80k is a finnish grindcore band, who land on the more old-school side of grind, with huge Napalm Death influence. Harsh Realities is their debut album, and oh man what kind of an album it is. This 25-minute record includes 23 neckbreaking grindcore masterpieces, and it definitely gives From Enslavement to Obliteration
a very good challenger for my favorite grindcore album ever.
What we have here is pure nonstop grind madness. Subtlety is a word unknown for DT80k, the riffs are the main point almost all the time and they are all completely in-your-face. If you're a beginner in grindcore, this might be exhausting, but the album lasts just the right time and despite the sameness in all the songs it's not boring at all, because it's incredibly well done. There is not a trace of modern influence here. Blistering grindcore riffs, lethal blastbeats and completely unintelligible, hatred-fueled vocals fill the album with a very intense and war-like atmosphere. The cover artwork definitely fits with the imagery this record brings to the mind.
The lyrics are pretty much what you expect for grindcore, preaching about all kinds of negative things. For example, here are the lyrics of Bleak.
No strength to wake up
All life seems too pointless
Another day another struggle
Life lost all meaning
No sign of improvement
No hope of anything better
No will to survive
Reading the lyrics makes listening to the album a bit more annoying, as I'm pretty sure they did not try pronouncing a single word, so it's better to just let the wall of noise hit your eardrums and not think about it too hard.
Aside from this little problem, there just are no flaws in Harsh Realities, and I think it may be the best grind album of the 2000s. Just put the record in (or mp3 files or whatever you happen to have at your hand) and let the aural madness hit you like a freight train.