(As part of his effort to circle back to earlier parts of the year and catch up on stuff we missed, DGR has a good time reviewing the nuclear shockwave of an album released in March by Finland’s Feastem.)
It’s tempting to write short reviews for grind albums, in part because in the time it takes to hammer out some words about them there’s a distinct possibility that you could loop around the whole disc four-to-five times. Feastem’s Graveyard Earth is no different in that regard: Released in March to close off a close-to-seven-year gap between full lengths, Graveyard Earth clocks in at a little under twenty minutes of drum kit battering and shrieking violence.
Grind albums trend toward being quick expulsions of auditory violence and Graveyard Earth is very comfortably nested in that musical family tree. It is – understandably – seething and mean, with a whole range of targets serving as musical clay pigeons for Finland’s Feastem to knock out of the sky, with only one song clearing the two-minute mark.
Feastem move fast and Graveyard Earth will likely toss its fair share of people to the side, and honestly, Graveyard Earth is easily one of those albums better suited for a specific mood. But if you need all-consuming blasts and guitar work that could power you through even the slowest of events, then Graveyard Earth is fantastic.
Especially the way everything hits after the opening bass guitar dirge in the title song, my goodness.
Graveyard Earth make their intentions clear immediately. The first four seconds of the album are already a rushing torrent of noise as vocalist Petri Eskelinen sounds like he is screaming himself completely hoarse. As an aside, I will likely never not be amused by the fact that this is the same Petri Eskelinen who handles singing vocals for the group Rapture. He’s also got another grind project called Psykoma with the bassist of Axis Of Despair/Coldworker that just put out an EP in early May as well, so you can easily tell where he’s musically entrenched these days.
If you’ve ever wondered what musically might cause someone to nervously start grinding their teeth, some of the vocal delivery on Graveyard Earth has that effect. It’s so high and verging on shrill and panicked that it almost sounds like it hurts. But the way it fits in with the relentless piston-firing that is Feastem’s take on grind is perfect because it means the whole thing is designed to be all energy, all the time, because if it ever stops then it completely disintegrates via sheer heat and momentum.
It’s funny too, trying to pick out highlights from the album. It’s like being pulled aside and being asked, “Alright, which of the twenty minutes of being held face-first against a discharging flamethrower did you enjoy the most?”. It’s also so explosive that you can’t help but absorb it all in one go. You can tell by the lack of breath between the songs and the rapid-fire blasting behind each one, that’s probably also how it was planned by the band.
There are some absolute peaks in that hellstorm though: “Terror Balance” has a pretty fucking solid groove behind it, and the previously mentioned “Graveyard Earth” song is such a mean bastard of a track that it almost clocks you upside the head after its intro. “Creeping Heat” and “In Isolation We Die” are probably the points wherein Feastem go the most nuclear on Graveyard Earth; one might be expecting the hands of stringed warriors Olli Nokkala (guitar) and Niko Lainas (bass) to start falling off by that point. “Mouths Of Others” is also great if you’re looking for songs on the record that are extra-punchy, as it and follower “Turha toivo” both clock in at under a minute — fifty-one seconds and thirty-eight seconds respectively.
Feastem hit all the grind checkpoints with ease. They’ve spelled out over the course of their career that they like the hyperspeed, panicked, and drum-annihilating branch of the grind tree, and Graveyard Earth is their latest addition to that family. They come screaming in from moment one and they go screaming out, indulging a twenty-minute self-immolation bathed in nihilism and punk-rock ‘fuck you’ lyrical stylings. There’s a ferocity to it, but there’s also the fun of auditory annihilation to go along with that.
You get twenty minutes of noisy and raw intensity, wherein the circle-pit riffage and occasional groove serve as your moments of respite, not any moment where the band actually slow down because Feastem make clear that their philosophy is along the lines of ‘why the fuck would anyone do that?’. If you’ve been digging for some new hyperspeed grind to add to your collection and this one blew past you in March like it blew past us, it’s recommended that you circle back and check this one out along the way. It’s worth the effort.
I think I’m on my eighth loop since I started writing this.