Apr 042023

(Here’s DGR‘s review of the new album by Finland’s Rotten Sound, which is out now on Season of Mist.)

The thing to keep in mind with Rotten Sound‘s newest album Apocalypse – arriving almost five years after the group’s last recorded material in the 2018 EP Suffer To Abuse and almost seven years if you want to stick strictly to full lengths in 2016’s Abuse To Suffer – is that it is the sort of grind album that starts and stops. That makes no sense, you say, every album has a beginning and end, what sort of difference does an album starting and stopping have to do with the descriptor of an album?

To refine it a bit, let’s treat Apocalypse this way: There is no build up to Apocalypse and there is no wind-down in Apocalypse, at any point, at all. You hit ‘play’ on the album’s first song and Rotten Sound are already screaming at a thousand miles an hour and every song after that does the same. The start/stop mechanism is the most perfunctory in existence. It’s a quick blast of feedback and the song is over with not a single song getting close to the two-minute mark.

Eighteen tracks total out to about twenty minutes and forty seconds of music – if my napkin math be true – and you’ll know when Apocalypse stops because all of it just halts. A dead stop, right in place, with nothing more to say. It is eighteen volleys of sound with a band running as fast as they can from moment one right until they slam into the concrete barrier that is the end of the song “Inflation” and things just.. stop. Apocalypse starts like the apocalypse is already under way and ends once the final bit of the world has burned. Rotten Sound decided that with their latest full-length they were going to write one of the most no-pretense, no-holds-barred, hammer-on-the-nail style grind albums that they could have.

With an album like Apocalypse you can hear why Rotten Sound have become one of the go-to pillars of the grind scene and also how they’ve been a part of a grander movement that has spawned so many – so many – different bands throughout the years. It’s a ceaseless release, filled with rants about soceity’s ills and faceless in its attacks. Eighteen songs clocking in at twenty-some-odd minutes translates into an almost twenty-minute circle pit.

You could break songs out but in reality this is the style of grind where you’re listening to it more because you enjoy the style of explosion rather than any particular assortment of riffs. Rotten Sound beat the ever-living hell out of their instruments and use a multi-front vocal attack that allows for vocalist Keijo Niinimaa and bassist Matti Raappana to turn every song into a call and response section in the same way a cage fighter can land a punch combo.

Rotten Sound‘s previous two releases – the Abuse/Suffer series – did stretch their songs a little longer as the band absorbed a healthy amount of death metal influence into their sound and worked a bunch of low-end into the mix. They’re very dark and shadowed sounding for grindcore albums that you would normally expect to be knife-sharp and relentless. They were moody discs and for grind albums, stewed in it quite a bit, like a creature of constant static hovering in the corner of a room. Apocalypse has none of that: it is all fire and devastation that could hammer mountain ranges flat.

You come to Rotten Sound because you want the non-stop fury and endless attack. Apocalypse delivers this by the bus load with such steady cadence that it becomes a ‘mood’ album long before you start breaking out the individual songs for your favorite circle-pit section. Again, due to its percussive nature and seemingly endless font of energy, that twenty minutes will just whip by. Apocalypse will be an album that you turn on because it will power you forward; the energy of every song is bound to wake up anyone who might be dragging.

The pairing of songs like “Surburban Bliss” and “Digital Bliss” but having two songs between them feels more like a formality than any particular song being broken out; that whole stretch is a fantastic excuse for drummer Sami Latva to hammer a snare drum into the floor. Songs like those two and then songs like “Nothingness” and “True And False” not even bothering to get past the thirty-second mark means Apocalypse comes from a very traditional grind place.

This album is all energy, all fury, and all attack. It starts suddenly and yes, stops just as suddenly and with such force that iy almost feels like you’re liable to go skidding for another thirty feet to finally wear off all the acceleration and g-force that Rotten Sound have hit you with.


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