Death Toll 80k – The Future Is Yours Review

The Finns are great at death metal, and I’m told they’re great at black metal, also. Turns out they’re also stellar at grindcore. Who knew?

Well, besides anyone who’s been paying attention to Death Toll 80k for the past thirteen years or so… It’s not like it’s a big secret or anything.

Release date: September 24, 2021. Label: To Live A Lie / Bringer Of Gore.
In the span of those thirteen years, Death Toll 80k has steamrolled their way to a cozy spot right up towards the top of the modern grindcore pile-up, their absolutely ferocious blend of crusty classic grind, pummeling d-beat, and tightly wound thrashing as irresistible as it is destructive. Their debut full-length popped up in 2011, titled Harsh Realities and sonically living up to its name, and after a couple of follow-up splits, a second full-length appeared in 2017, titled Step Down. That one was definitely and thankfully mis-named, as it was anything but a step down, a bit shorter but equally stout. Both of those records are relentless, but also incredibly engaging; they’re energetic and absolutely vicious, built on Insect Warfare-esque bursts of classic grindcore fused with thrash riffing catchy enough to hook the high-top-wearing heshers.

And then DT80k kinda went dark for a few years. But fear not, intrepid grinders: The beast is back and running at full strength with this EP joint-released by To Live A Lie in the US and Bringer Of Gore Records in Europe.

With nine songs in just under eleven minutes, The Future Is Yours is a short blast, but it’s definitely a powerful one. Three straight rippers open the proceedings, with the relatively “epic” “The Final Step” stretching itself to a full minute and a half with a groovy crossover thrash riff that would’ve fit right in on a record by fellow Finnish punkers Foreseen, with whom Death Toll 80k shares a bassist. Similar structures show in each of the four longer tracks, with closer “No Compromise” and “Until The End” balancing the blastbeating with some Bolt Thrower-esque bulldozer drive. Here as on those earlier Death Toll 80k efforts, Oula Kerkelä’s vocals alternate between a low guttural grunt and a high-pitched scream, indistinct in each instance, more punctuation than focus. If there’s anything that could potentially be improved in Death Toll 80k’s formula, it’s there, that those grunts and shrieks can sometimes be monotonous and they’re certainly lacking any particular musicality or any semblance of intelligibility, even if that’s very likely the point. Still, when the end results remain as powerful as all of Death Toll 80k’s results have been, take that criticism with a nearly microscopic grain of salt. (Kerkelä’s high-pitched shriek often just sounds like he’s screaming “Die! Die! Die!” about 80,000 times… which, y’know… adds up.)

So, yes, these Finns are great at grinding, as they’ve always been. Welcome back, fellas, after a four-year break in releases. Keep ‘em coming, and make ‘em all this good.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

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

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