Blast Rites: Nashgul – Oprobio Review

I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to come up with fresh and interesting ways to describe grindcore records. Even with the surprisingly wide scope of what’s often dismissed as a very limited sub-genre, there are still only a finite number of accurate descriptors, so I’m as guilty as any (and far, far more guilty than most) of overusing many of those, be they “razor-sharp” or “pulverizing” or “crushes” or whatever.

But one thing that I very rarely get to say is, “Hey, this grindcore rocks!”

Enter Spain’s Nashgul and Oprobio, their third full-length in just over two decades…

Release date: September 29, 2023. Label: Selfmadegod / Esagoya / To Live A Lie
Sixteen bursts of blasting grind mixed perfectly with punked-out d-beat-ish rock, Oprobio is a ripping combination of the destructive and the eminently catchy, one hell of a good time even as it rips your throat right out. Of course, there’s world-razing aggression, but there’s also massive swagger in parts. The rollicking midsection of “Sewers Across” is balanced tightly against the pure savagery of the preceding “Immured,” or in the case of “Let ‘Em Rest,” Nashgul flips ably between the two attacks, crushing and grooving going hand in hand. The vocals range from a lower death grunt and a midrangier gravelly bark, the usual suspects for the style, but there’s a certain throaty punkiness to both that adds to the d-beat influences, putting Nashgul another half-step closer to the raging raucousness of a Wolfbrigade or the like. The stop-start crunch of “Fraga Rules From The Tomb” marks the halfway point, leading into the blistering “In My Gut,” and beyond to the bass-led instrumental “Buried, But Still Alive” and the closing basher “Rexeitamento,” all of it a raging, roaring, rocking ride.

Last week, I declared tech-grind maestros Cognizant’s newest, Inexorable Nature Of Adversity, to be one of 2023’s best grindcore albums, and I stand by that. This week, I am declaring Oprobio to be one of 2023’s best grindcore albums, and I absolutely stand by that, as well. Within the fact that the two are only really directly comparable based on stylistic categorization and a handful of basic precepts, well… there’s that surprisingly wide swing I mentioned above. One is more of the brain, and one is more of the body, and both are totally of the heart, both pissed off and smart and pulverizing (there’s that word again) even as they come at all of that from different angles.

Still, much more important than my faux-highbrow takes on grindcore overall, is this simple fact: Oprobio is an absolute blast, in terms of generous usage of the drumbeat, of course, but also in the colloquial sense of “So.Much.Goddamned.Spirit.” And most importantly of all, it’s damned near mandatory listening for anyone with an interest in grind, in fun, and especially in thrashing about your immediate surroundings, breaking things and banging heads, and in doing that all in every one of the best possible ways.

Crack a beer; crack a smile; crack your skull. This grindcore rocks.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

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

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