Rotten Sound – Abuse To Suffer Review

It’s been five years since the last Rotten Sound full-length, 2011’s killer Cursed, and three years since the eight-minute follow-up blast of Species At War. Both of those releases firmly cemented Rotten Sound’s place among grindcore’s greats, an elite company into which they ascended with Murderworks and Exit in the early-to-mid 2000s. Their blend of Napalm Death ferocity with Swedeath buzzsaw bite is as infectious as it is destructive, and though it may not be quite as blistering as Cursed, Abuse To Suffer is by no means limp and weak.

Predominantly, Abuse doesn’t deviate too significantly from what came before – Rotten Sound’s attack isn’t broken, so it requires no fixing, after all. The production is rougher, the edges scuffed – the drums are given a more prominent role, pushing the aggression up, but it comes at the expense of the guitars, now pushed more to the side and a hair less sharp. Admittedly, that difference is an aesthetic one, and your appreciation of it comes down to what you value more in your grind, the rhythm or the riff, the blast or the bite.

Beyond that, Abuse is pretty much business as usual for Rotten Sound, which is really the only criticism one could level against it. It’s not so much that it’s markedly a downward step from Cursed, so much as it is that it’s just another iteration of the same cycle with some minor variations. Blast, grind, slow, rage, chug, explode, repeat… Still, like I said, it isn’t broken, so take that complaint with about one quarter of a grain of salt…

From the opening squall of “Lazy Asses,” it’s clear that Rotten hasn’t let up – Keijo Niinimaa is still supremely pissed off, his full-throated bellow powerful and stout. Mika Aalto’s guitars battle with Sami Latva’s drums for dominance, but still, that beautiful HM2 growl slices with jagged perfection. Through ragers like “Trashmonger” and slower poundings like “Time For The Fix,” the intensity ebbs and flows, never breaking, easing up without ever releasing. The near-center moment of “Yellow Pain” showcases some riffing that’s as close as this will ever come to “melodic,” and is all the better for it. In a final moment of typical-yet-still-effective pacing, Abuse skitters to a halt with its longest track, the nearly five-minute “Extortion And Blackmail,” a twisting and bent midtempo drive that serves to ease the ears out of the beating that precedes it, fading into a wash of static or wind or fire or all three at once.

At this point, Rotten Sound is on top of their game, so it’s no surprise that Abuse To Suffer is a stellar grind album. It’s not their best, not as good as some earlier efforts, but by no means a failure. It’s predictable, solid grindcore from a band that owns the style. And hey, that’s fine – I predicted a skull-cracking, and I got one. I certainly can’t complain all that much about that…

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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