Once upon a time, in the magical year of 1992, a new pedal was created, one that would forever help to shape the style and direction of extreme metal music. This pedal, of course, was the Boss Corporation’s very own HM2 pedal, a certified nasty pedal that whipped out tones so thick and destructive that it was only natural that extreme music embraced it wholeheartedly. Of course, at the same time as this pedal, a new band was rising in the Finnish grindcore scene, one that would embrace the unholy tones of the HM2 pedal and help to inspire the direction of much of modern hardcore, grindcore, and metal. This band was Rotten Sound and now, some 23 years later, the band has returned with a new slab of HM2-worship-grind, showing that even as the grindcore scene strives so desperately to emulate what they created, the student can never truly surpass the master.
Rotten Sound have been somewhat of a main stay in the grindcore scene for their entire existence, showing other bands exactly how one can be downright nasty and dirty while still maintaining some semblance of song structure. The band understands how to take things to the exact brink of chaos before reeling the entire thing back in, avoiding total chaotic, catastrophic meltdowns inherent in some of their other extreme peers at the time, such as Man Is The Bastard or Electro Hippies, while still remaining at enough of a frantic pace to keep things interesting. It is in this happy compromise that Rotten Sound has always found success, knowing that extreme music can still be delivered just as successfully in a slightly more structured form.
Much of that structure, in a slightly ironic way, comes from the much clearer, more defined punk influence in many of their songs. Take, for example, the track “Time for the Fix”. While it spends a significant amount of time in frenzies of blast beats, the perfect amount of time is allocated to sludgy, punk riff filled breakdowns that help to shape the song beyond a simple blur of fast beats under buzz saw guitar riffs. This more punk oriented, “melody” driven approach is also perhaps what has helped to cement Rotten Sound as a staple of the modern extreme punk and metal scenes, as the signature “Rotten Sound Approach” can be heard in every band from Nasum to Trap Them, as both bands add a significant amount more punk crunch to their approach as well as, of course, using the HM2 pedal almost as religiously as the pioneers themselves.
However, despite their place as grindcore legends (which they damn well deserve), Rotten Sound has also not been much on the “innovative” side beyond their initial kick for much of their career. Which, in terms of grindcore, is not exactly a bad thing. It is, after all, a genre where many of the bands simply pride themselves on the simple ability to play faster than one another, scream louder, use more HM2, or have more blast beats. It is simple in the most perfect ways, acknowledging what it is, not trying too hard to move past that, and taking it to the perfect level where it doesn’t simply become self parody.
Rotten Sound is somewhat of a prime example of this thought process, especially on Abuse to Suffer, where the band takes the same classic formula they have been using for years, and once again hits the nail on the head with it. It is an album full of energy and full of life, where every song is taken to its most logical, extreme conclusion. Every song is varied, especially helpful when many grindcore albums tend to stagnate over one song semi changed each time, keeping each listen fresh, interesting, and captivating. This record is simply the return of kings after a whole 5 years spent waiting, and it seems to be a more than fitting return, announcing proudly that Rotten Sound has existed for 23 years, and seems to have no plans to quit any time soon. If only there was just a tad bit more HM2.