Do you ever wonder if maybe Beethoven was just pretending to be deaf towards the end of his life? Like, maybe he was just tired of listening to eight dozen violins go “eek eek eek sliiiiiiide,” right? Maybe he was tired of the wigs and tailored jackets and paying someone to dust his piano or whatever, and just craved a little simplicity. I bet the poor guy just wanted to crush a sixer of Miller High Life while listening to Vol. 4 in his basement.
The name of the game for Sonic Poison is a split-lip combo of grind and death metal that looks to some of the oldest of the old school for its inspiration. This means that Eruption’s death metal is shot through with punk and crust and that its grind is loose and raw, careening and clattering like a freight train dangerously close to leaping off its axles. The discerning, refined listeners among you will probably hear bits and bloody pieces of Master, Battle Thrower’s In Battle There is No Law, Slayer’s Show No Mercy, and Repulsion’s Horrified, but beyond and above any specific influence, Sonic Poison play at such white-hot speed and with such lunging aggression that the whole mess sounds like it’s being pumped through a radioactive boombox.
(In case you happen to be a big dumb stupid idiot like me or Luddy van B, that is a very good thing.)
Eruption’s 16 songs scream and sizzle by in about 21 minutes, and while the best way to experience it is probably just to buckle up and let it wash over you like an acid tsunami, Sonic Poison’s songwriting is just sneaky enough to call out specific highlights. “Carbonized” is an early standout with its chugging midsection, brief flailing guitar solo, and hideous screams right at the end, but there are plenty of other gems throughout, like the thrashing breakdown in “Uprising,” the huge swagger of “The Scavenger,” the punky, distorted bass that leads off “Taste of Inferiority,” and the inside-out d-beat of “Radiate the Masses.” At a whopping two minutes and six seconds, album closer “World We Knew” is Sonic Poison’s sensitive epic, their “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Stairway to Heaven” or “Child in Time.”
Sonic Poison’s vocals (courtesy of guitarist Jussi) are a perfect accompaniment to the rest of the rude noises. Jussi’s main register is a midtone, bellicose snarl that hovers somewhere between crusty hardcore and almost black/thrash meanness, but songs are punctuated with fits and starts of wails, screams, whipcrack call and response hollering, and more. The rhythm section of Niko on bass and Eetu on drums (both of whom play rather dissimilar triumphant swords and sorcery heavy metal in Lord Fist) is surprisingly tight given the overall corrosiveness of Eruption’s style. The bass throbs and races alongside the drums, which skitter and blast with furious intensity that never aims for unnecessary flourish.
Lots of people say Citizen Kane is the greatest movie ever made, but you could listen to Eruption approximately six times in a row instead of watching Citizen Kane, so what the fuck? Roll over, Beethoven. Take a hike, Orson Welles. There’s a new Rosebud in town, and its name i- [writer’s torso is suddenly pierced by an Eiffel Tower-sized javelin hurled by an irate movie critic clutching a “Beethoven Is No Laughing Matter” t-shirt.]