Rotten Sound - Cycles
Spinefarm Records
18 songs (33:57 )
Release year: 2008
Rotten Sound, Spinefarm Records
Reviewed by Goat

Primarily made up of members of Havoc Unit, the new face of …And Oceans, Rotten Sound is much, much more than a mere side-project. Indeed, many Grind fans see the Finns as the successor to Nasum’s crusty throne, such is the regard that the band’s releases are held in, particularly those from 2002’s Murderworks onwards, that being the first release of the band to gain much attention. It was with 2005’s Exit that people really began to sit up and take notice, however, an excellent album full of riffs and blasts, without once seeming forced or repetitive.

So, what were you expecting from Rotten Sound’s fifth album? For those newcomers to the grindgasm, the clue is in the name – this is a putrid noise indeed. Take a handful of Entombed circa Left Hand Path, stir in plenty of Nasum and garnish with some Scum-era Napalm Death, and you’ll have a good idea as to this particular decomposed blast: an especially sludgy and ferocious half-hour’s worth of kickass Grindcore. The production helps by coating everything in an ever-so-slight layer of treacle, really bringing out that classic Swedish Death Metal sound and applying it to the finest Grindcore destruction. It’s pretty hard to criticise a band when within two minutes of putting the album on you’re risking permanent damage to some already injured neck muscles by headbanging like an epileptic on withdrawal from crack addiction, yet that is the position that I found myself in whilst writing this review (the headbanging, not the crack addiction).

For grindgasmics and grindgasmesses out there, there’s little more that you need to know about Cycles, but this is one of the few albums of the genre that should appeal to virg(r)in(der)s. For a start, there’s nothing sloppy about the playing here – some supremely technical drumming holds up many varied and generally pretty damn catchy riffs, with the odd solo to spice things up. Only five songs here are over the two-minute mark, yet there’s more than enough in each song to keep you interested and to make the album last more than a couple of listens. The twisted and unique ways that this band channels these aural wrecks is fascinating, from the post-Discharge surge of Blind to the Southern-baked Sludge of Caste System – there’s more to writing Grind songs than you’d think!

It’s worth listening to Cycles just for G’s vocals – each retch, scream, growl and yelp is positively inspired. Kudos to Rotten Sound too for the fact that not a single song here is below a minute long, which suggests that Grind bands are coming to the realisation that making songs of a few seconds’ length in order to prove how extreme they are is so passé. Napalm Death has done it and moved on, why can’t they?

The popularity in recent years of the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan suggests that Grind is moving away from the gory, perverse stereotype and into the intellectual arena where Extreme Metal seems to dwell these days. Note Cycles’ near-esoteric artwork; quite a step forward from the man-eating-a-shotgun of Exit and the blood n’guts of Murderworks! Yes, Grindcore is finally respectable, no longer the sole domain of unwashed and dreadlocked hippies as it once was, and few bands are making quite so compelling a racket as Rotten Sound.

Killing Songs :
All absolutely slay
Goat quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Rotten Sound that we have reviewed:
Rotten Sound - Cursed reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
Rotten Sound - Napalm EP reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Rotten Sound - Exit reviewed by Aaron and quoted 89 / 100
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