(DGR, feeling grindy, reviews the latest album by a group of Finns who’ve taken the name Spawn From Deceit.)
Even though it has felt like a system oft overlooked in favor of newer, shinier services like Spotify and Pandora, I have to give a huge shoutout to the last.fm recommendations system because it seems I find more new music through that site than I do the other ones, especially considering the rarity of commercials on the last.fm site player vs the other services.
Lately it seems to have noticed that I’ve been in a deathgrind mood and it has recommended bands accordingly. It did me a huge solid this time in the form of Spawn From Deceit, a Finnish grind band that is just starting to get its feet off of the ground – their first demo was released in 2010, just a year after the project was formed by a couple of guys in the group Ithaquan, and their first actual disc hit in 2011 with the title At Least We Did Care.
However, I found myself at their doorstep via the song “Volition” from the group’s 2013 release Woven Promises – Unraveled Victims, and, as we are wont to do on this site when it comes to music we enjoy, we had to share it, if only for its stark differences from the other, grindier bands that I’ve been reviewing as of late.
For one, the group have set all their music as pay what you want on Bandcamp, even joking at one point that they’ve made about eight dollars from it. For two, the group’s DIY ethic of making music that sounds like it was forged in a garage solely to unleash chaos upon a live venue carries into almost everything they do, with the exception of the sound on their discs (well, correction, cassette tapes, which we’re also getting in on with our NCS comps!), because so far, the group’s two main releases have sounded remarkably clear, making the band a joyously violent and aggressive listen.
Listening to Woven Promises – Unraveled Victims gives you a real sense that Spawn From Deceit have a decidedly punk rock “Fuck you!” attitude about their music, and to be honest, it fucking feels awesome. They’ve taken their brand of death metal fueled grind and added the tried and true fuck society attitude to it, and it works so well. It makes grind’s inherent riff muddiness, occasional sloppy playing (of which there is rarely any here — in this case it’s more for the intense buzzsaw guitar tuning), and super-fast playing feel reactionary to some unseen adversary. By listening to the band you feel like you’re in whatever fight they’re railing against as well.
The group don’t even try to bother hiding the political notions of their music and haven’t for some time. Their previous release At Least We Did Care had a song on it called “White Stands For Weakness”, or hell, consider the brazenly obvious message of “Fuck The Army”, and Woven Promises opens with an exceedingly violent one-minute head thrasher known as “Poverty Slaine?” that has been quickly working its way up the list as the go-to song for punching things.
It’s a sign of a good disc, though, that the “Punching Things” song changes daily. As of this writing, it has switched to “Punainen Lanka” and its two-step gallop in the middle of the song, followed by a crushing double-bass roll back into the two-step bit. Just for good measure, the whole thing is buttressed by blastbeats on both ends, because Spawn From Deceit speak in the currency of blasts and d-beat.
Of course, there’s also a humongous death metal slant to their music because of it. Once they hit the humongous blast sections coupled with the speedy guitars and vocalist Robert Björk shifts from his usual shrieking highs into some decidedly brutal lows, the group become an entirely different brand for the fraction of a song in which they do so. The whole opening of the song “Futile Foray” feels like this. It’s such a good shift from what becomes the norm on Woven Promises that it recharges you.
The group also see to it that a couple of the songs on this release are titled in the native tongue, but hell if you can tell if they’re actually screaming in Finnish, because regardless of whatever is getting on Spawn From Deceit’s nerves that specific moment, they’re going to be passionate about it. We’re just waiting for the moment when one of these groups decides to pull the wool over our eyes and scream incoherently about a fast food chain’s dollar menu disappearing.
Only two things can be brought up against Woven Promises, and in the grand scheme of things they feel fairly minor. One of the things you run into is the nigh-unavoidable issue of songs that tend to blur into one another. Even the most successful bands are only able to dodge it most of the time. It feels partly like it comes with the territory in this particular sub-genre; when you’re writing minute-long songs, occasionally they’ll combine to form a larger three-minute movement. Spawn From Deceit are a little punchier about it, as almost every song stops suddenly, like a brick wall suddenly springing up in front of your car. But the group also sound like they’re hitting certain checkpoints within songs, so you often hear the same drum beats repeating themselves in later songs.
To be fair, it’s also red meat for the folks within the pit to immediately lock their jaws onto. Even your humble reviewer isn’t immune to hearing certain motifs repeat themselves and feeling that undeniable adrenaline rush from it…leaving out all the blasts of course, which serve as a rapid-fire machine gun propelling Woven Promises forward with enough force to destroy cities like a railgun strike.
The second is that although the band are young and have that cocky “fuck you” attitude, it still feels a bit like they’re carving out their own space amongst other bands, and so they are given, occasionally, to sounding a bit like their influences. It’s just the occasional thing, because the band aren’t aiming for the ultra-violent space that many of their more death metal leaning counterparts currently occupy, but it feels one and the same when the occasional song blurs together with the next one. The band morph into an entirely different group for a moment or two, but the fact that it happens so rarely is, if you’ll forgive the pun, promising, because the new band with a something-to-prove attitude that bleeds so harshly into their music makes them stick out amongst the larger morass.
Woven Promises – Unraveled Victims is that punch to the stomach that you need on occasion when you’ve become too complacent. Spawn From Deceit bury themselves in feedback amidst their precision sharp grind as they wail away on their instruments, and it’s just sloppy enough to add some attitude to the music. They’re early in their career so they’re still cutting their teeth, but goddamn if the early results aren’t exciting. You’ll find the anger and passion for which one comes to this music, in spades and writ large on Woven Promises, and the high banshee shrieking over the top of some brutally violent instrumentation gets the blood flowing.
The band are fighting for every inch of space they can get on Woven Promises, forcing issues on you with each snare strike and each double-bass roll as the band tear their way through the album’s twenty-three-some-odd-minute runtime. Then, like many of the other discs of its ilk, you get to do the same run again and again, being crushed under the opening note changes of “Poverty Slaine?” all the way through to the quiet, resigned voice sample at the end of “Happiness”.
The group could probably get away with charging for their music, but since everything they’ve put out is “name your own price”, including this release, they engender some serious goodwill on their side and it fits in well with the group’s overall attitude. So long as they can get their name and music out there, that is enough to fuel them until they get their next chance to tear apart a room.