(The Finnish grindcrushers in Rotten Sound released a new EP via Season of Mist on May 18th, and DGR gives it a detailed review here.)
Rotten Sound’s 2016 album Abuse To Suffer is one of the better examples of a neatly packaged album of grind out there to date, with the band having seemingly found a near-perfect length for their latest vitriolic blast-beast to unleash upon the world. Like many of their songs, Abuse To Suffer ends almost as suddenly as it begins with an almost perfunctory pop of the snare to finally send things off, neatly tying off the near half-hour you get with the Finnish speaker destroyers. Which means that the group’s latest EP — Suffer To Abuse — makes for an interesting proposition, arriving nearly two years after its predecessor and picking up right where the band left off, as if the Rotten Sound crew just couldn’t let go of that disc just yet and so dished out another eleven minutes (spread across seven songs) of hyper-fast and ultra-precise grindcore, leaning heavily on the circle-pit aspect of the -core sound.
The limited edition EP, which saw a staggered release between Europe and North America (for whatever nightmarish reasons, and not the first group this has happened to this year — Centinex also had a month between continents with their disc Chaos Manifesto), can be neatly summed up as exactly what you want you from the group — another quick expulsion of sound that remains relentless throughout, with just enough sludge around the edges to add a little dirt to the group’s latest sweat-fest.
Intentional or not, naming their latest EP as an inverse of their album Abuse To Suffer brings up some interesting thoughts. A few of the songs on Suffer To Abuse feel like fuller expansions of ideas that were present on its predecessor, and at other times the songs feel like continuations of tracks that were present as well. That is the point of an EP though. It’s often a place for an artist to experiment or continue with ideas that may not have had room to breathe on a full disc, usually as a sudden burst of creativity. Everything Rotten Sound does feels like a sudden burst by design, though, so it’s hard to tell what exactly brought about this new expulsion, just that it’s an enjoyable one.
Suffer To Abuse is a bit punchier than its full-length predecessor as well, which production-wise felt a little bit thicker than its EP-sibling. Abuse To Suffer found full usage in its low end, sometimes enveloping the band in a warm sound amidst all the blasting chaos that swirled around them, making the Rotten Sound guys sound much heftier, like they were throwing their weight around with that full length. Suffer To Abuse, with its eleven-minute-and-fifty-two second run time, is the sleeker model, and much sleeker-sounding in its production, with the drum and guitar work rolling back to the forefront (if you’re a fan of snare-drum annihilation, this EP has blast segments in spades).
Suffer To Abuse settles into a groove pretty quickly though, becoming another proud release in the fine tradition of “circle-pit, the album” style of EPs, filled to the brim with circling and speedy guitar-violence that throttles its listener from one segment to another, with no song reaching the three-minute mark. The handful of breathers that build into the overall listening experience actually turn out to be some of the most interesting, as the breaks that slow everything down happen at an almost neck-snapping velocity.
The nihilistic dirge of “Stressed Mess” never moves out of its languid crashing and feels like the slow and heavy decompression of the song prior to it, the assaulting “The Misfit”, whose sub-two-minute time is built out of a start/stop rhythm section that segues into multiple headbanging gallops before dropping back into its hammering verses. Leading into the slower “Stressed Mess” makes the song hit intensely hard, and the act of following into the murkier waters of “Stressed Mess” within the first three songs has Rotten Sound applying a fine layer of haze to an already heated performance. Of course, they just as quickly kick that song out the door and on its ass with the punkier “Harvester Of Boredom”, whose blast-fueled mayhem was one of the first released from the EP.
That aforementioned groove that Suffer To Abuse falls into is a pretty recognizable pattern once you get past the first few spins of it, at the moment where the release evolves past “that’s a fucking dense block of grind” and into its recognizable “two fast songs, one slow song” formula. While the first two songs spill into the introverted “Stressed Mess”, the other slower track makes itself known with “Nutrition”.
“Nutrition” is an interesting song because for its two-and-a-half minutes it is a constant tease, hinting that it might get faster as each verse seems to build back up into what might seem like a forthcoming outburst of angry and fast-moving violence, but it instead chooses to tumble back into a similar and slow-moving sludge vein that the band are more than happy to mine. Arriving after two faster songs, it makes Suffer To Abuse feel like it has movements and has been broken up into parts. Of course, Rotten Sound immediately annihilate the effect of “Nutrition” by closing the EP with “Slaves Of Lust”, which is just a fifty-second wall-to-wall destruction tutorial, beginning and ending in a torrent of crashing around like one final spasm on the percussive “SLAVES…OF LUST!” yell and serving as the promised cathartic release after the constant build and deflation of “Nutrition”.
Suffer To Abuse on its own makes for a neat little package at nearly twelve minutes. As mentioned above, it is relentlessly precise when it wants to be, and during the times where it wants to be sloppy and just throw its weight around, it accomplishes that as well. Rotten Sound have long travelled the path of the furious blast, and Suffer To Abuse is another release that leaves nothing but ash in its wake.
It’s good to hear from this specific grindcore wrecking ball, and getting it so soon after an album just makes it all the better. The band aren’t breaking new ground here, but instead building out from what they’ve already established, each song seamlessly flowing into the next, even with the perfunctory start and stop blur on the drum kit to signal the next wave of fire headed your way. Suffer To Abuse is one of those quintessential “quick hit to the system” EPs; it goes by in a blur, and if you let it run is prone to worm its way into constant repeats. If you’re a fan of the mosh-pit-made-song format, then Rotten Sound certainly have you covered here.