Jun 222011

In these SHORT BUT SWEET posts, we’ve been catching up with EPs released by both well-known and not so well-known bands from near and far. A couple weeks ago, we got a message from one of our Finnish readers whose NCS name is jeimssi, recommending that we give a listen to a band from Pori, Finland, called Retaliatory Measures, and so we have. And since we’ve already started the week with posts on Monday and Tuesday about Finnish metal discoveries, I thought we might as well just continue going with the flow on that.

Retaliatory Measures are relative newcomers. To date, they’ve released two EPs, the most recent of which is the subject of this post. It’s called MMX and it was released in December 2010. The EP delivers six songs, and I liked every one of them — even the brief intro track, which begins with an accomplished acoustic guitar instrumental before turning on the jets and charging seamlessly into the EP’s first full song, “Judgement”. In fact, my only real criticism of the EP is that the intro should have been integrated into “Judgement” as a single standalone track.

But that’s a minor criticism. MMX is a fast-paced package of death/thrash that hammers like a nail gun, with killer riffs, dark melodies, and truly bestial vocals. This regrettably short collection of songs will get stuck in your head like a big iron spike — and with the band’s permission, we’ll give you the chance to download it for free.  (more after the jump . . .)

I’ve had very little interest in the re-thrash movement of the last few years, but I’m all in favor of the kind of thrash that Retaliatory Measures delivers. The relentlessly punchy rhythms and catchy hooks will give your neck a good workout. The guitars swarm like a pack of wolves converging on a kill, accented by the occasional tremolo lead and scalding, squalling solos that were even sweeter because they weren’t injected as an obligatory component of every song.

MMX also includes more dynamics in the tempos than you’ll hear on the general run of nüthrash albums, exemplified by an old-school breakdown in “Judgement”, with half-paced slugging rhythms and a molten guitar lead, and the tempo drop in “Obsessed” with its morbid, moaning guitar line and brutally cavernous vocals.

Don’t be misled by all my references to thrash, because although the pace, riffing, and drum stylings are definitely within the thrash tradition, the band have got one of their clawed feet planted firmly in the territory of dark death metal (and there’s even a whiff of black-metal sulphur hanging around some of the songs).

Much of the death-metal flavor of the music comes from Pessi Haltsonen‘s attention-grabbing vocals. They’re just fucking brutal — cavernous, resonant, and jagged as saw-teeth — but they’re never monotonous. Sometimes, his voice arcs upward in a nasty howl, and sometimes it drops deeply into the bowels of the earth, where the other inhabitants are typically the gurgling vocalists of brutal-death or deathcore bands. But when Haltsonen hits those unusually low, vicious bass notes, it still sounds like actual singing.

Thanks in part to the über-bestial vocals vocals and in part to the crafting of grim melodies, Retaliatory Measures succeeds in delivering music with the hard-charging, headbangable, catchy-as-fuck riffing of thrash, but with an air of palpable menace. While enjoying this EP quite a lot, we’re also really looking forward to what the band comes up with next.

To give you a taste of what Retaliatory Measures can do, here’s a song called “Obsessed”. I recommend that you crank the volume to the setting labeled “ear-and-nose-bleed”.

[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/04-Obsessed.mp3|titles=Retaliatory Measures – Obsessed]

For more info about Retaliatory Measures, here are the links to their Facebook and MySpace pages. You can order the MMX EP by messaging the band at: retaliatory@live.fi, and the band has also allowed us to host the EP for digital downloading right here. We’re providing two versions — a file of the songs in the .wav format that the band provided (which is a big download because of the higher audio quality) and a separate file we created, converting the songs to a high-bitrate .mp3 format — which still sounds damn good and won’t take as long to download.



And now here’s a ReverbNation widget with two more songs from the EP. I highly recommend “Existence” in particular.

get music on iTunes


  1. Wow. They do a perfect job of melding thrash and death, in my opinion. There’s a lot of good elements in thrash, but I’ve never really gotten into thrash vocals… The vocalist here does a fucking killer job with the lows, and it almost feels like the music just settles into grooves around the vocals. In a good way. Often, death metal vocalists (despite how much I love them) feel like they could be easily replaced by another person without much change. Not here. I really felt like the vocalist wasn’t just growling along with the music–it was more like he was propelling the music forward.

    I’m not trying ignore the rest of the band–I just think the vocalist is really doing an excellent job!

    • Agree completely! I do like the instrumental parts of thrash (except when all the songs start to sound the same), but traditional thrash vocals just don’t do much for me, particularly over the length of an entire album. The vocals here really enhance the music. And I’m not taking anything away from the other musicians either — in particular, guitarists Kalle Hahtamo and Janne Halima know what the fuck they’re doing.

      • Hah…I’lll third that statment. One of the biggest reasons Ive never gotten into regular thrash was because of the vocals. Maybe its because im so used to the growls and rasps of extreme vocals at this point, but the hardcore yells in thrash never sound right to me. Mixing the more extreme vocal styles of black or death metal makes all the difference to my enjoyment.
        As for the band…yeah I can get into this. Very good stuff. Much thanks to the person who brought this to your attention

        • I think you’re totally on to something here.
          I started listening to death metal before I ever really heard thrash. It’s like going from a bulldog to a chihuahua in terms of intimidation. They’re both barking, but one of them is lacking bite.

          Or in more metal terms: it’s like the difference between Cthulhu and a regular, old, pissed-off octopus. One’s gonna kill you and eat your soul, the other is just gonna be freaking annoying….

          That wasn’t really more metal, was it?

      • Ah! Yeah! I’m not trying to denigrate (or even overlook) the other musicians! But the vocals really just straight up tied it up, slit its wrists, and plucked out its eyes.

        Or something…I’m trying to say they killed it.

  2. Oh boy was i happy when i read the topic of this post! Pretty much agree with Phro about the vocals. And the song ‘Existence’ gets my special recommendations aswell, not that the others would be any worse, but that’s a good song to start with, imo.

    • Yep — that’s probably the best song on the EP. Really nice guitar leads and solos in that one.

    • And by the way, I’m forgetting my manners: Thank you for turning me on to this band!

      • Bad Islander! Twenty laps through the jellyfish pond!

        And if you do it again, next time they’ll have extra-long grabber thingies.

        • I pwomise, never again! And to make up for my bad manners, I just got the band’s permission to offer a free download of the EP. A download link for the mp3 version of the songs is now up, and as soon as I finish uploading the much larger .wav files, I’ll add a link to that, too. Am I forgiven?

      • No problem at all! I’m just happy people like it. It is the least i can do for you/NCS, who’s introduced me into bands such as, to name few, Kartikeya, Xerath and the most recent one: Fleshgod Apocalypse(Br00tal!). Perhaps, some day, i’ll get a chance to even the score abit. =)

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