When I was thirteen years old I snagged an album with a wicked (cool word in 1983) cover. It was a drawing of what looked like a cynical, smartass devil. The album was Venom’s Black Metal, and my pals and I thought it was damn near the funniest thing we’d ever listened to. Crappy production, crappy musicians, goofy songs, and horrible vocals. We played that record to death, much to the displeasure of our mothers, girlfriends, and girlfriends’ mothers. C’mon, Huckles, why are you blathering on about Venom? This is supposed to be a writeup for Grave Danger, the second album from Finnish miscreants Foreseen. Well, that is what I’m doing here, but my point is that Grave Danger is basically another Venom album. And for olde rivet-heads, there’s no such thing as too much Venom.
Caveat: I’m a bit inebriated as I write this review. You have to be, if you want this kind of music to sound “good.” And in this state, boy, does it ever work [The management of AMG do not advocate excessive alcohol consumption in order to make sloppy metal sound better. – The Management.]. “Violent Discipline” starts off the racket, and violent it is, but disciplined it is not. It’s hard to believe it takes a five-piece band to equal the cacophony the Venom trio created 34+ years ago. Opening exactly as if it were a Venom outtake from Welcome to Hell, the song fades in with squealing feedback and a percussive racket before the song itself starts, which is also a percussive racket. A close listen reveals a good deal more skill than the early records I continually refer to, but the music is played with such a desperate looseness that it can be hard to pick out said skill. It wouldn’t surprise me if the band played in spandex or yoga pants, because they clearly have no concept of a pocket. Add in the out-of-breath shouted vocals from Mirko Nummelin, a Cronos soundalike, and you have pure unadulterated chaos.
I mean all this in a good way. For those of us who remember the olde days of bands like Venom, Hellhammer, and others who had some great ideas and concepts but not the chops to pull them off, Foreseen fit in perfectly. There’s more skill in these songs, but the spirit is the same: fast, furious, exuberant, with a complete lack of pretension. Want to put a breakdown here? Do it. Feel like a sudden pick-slide or drum fill for no apparent reason? Fuck yeah! There isn’t much point singling out various songs for their unique qualities, but standout tracks (such as is possible) include the title track, which is just pure out-of-breath punk-tinged speed, the aforementioned “Violent Discipline” with its numerous random breakdowns, and the short, intense 91-second closing track “Suicide Bomber,” which sums up everything about Foreseen in a musical IED.
Everything about Grave Danger is a glorious mess. The music is looser than a goose, the arrangements can make no sense, and Nummelin’s vocals shout randomly throughout the music, often behind or ahead of the band. The production follows suit, with genuine lo-fi values, boxy reverb on the drums, and no cleanup or post-production spit and polish whatsoever. I’m talking this all up quite a bit, but of course this style, pounded into the listener for eight songs over a mere 29 minutes, does have a limited appeal, coming off more like a gimmick than a serious, legitimate act. Still, the point of Foreseen as a band, and Grave Danger as an album, is to toss out anything resembling serious metal and just go balls-out in the fun department [The management of AMG do not advocate going “balls out” in the fun department or any other department for that matter. – The Management.].
It might seem odd for a guy whose go-to music is more of a proggy nature to gush (relatively speaking) over messy, chaotic old-school thrash, but there’s room for many bands and styles in this fella’s library, and sometimes something like this is a breath of fresh air. Foreseen are enjoying themselves so much on Grave Danger that you have to as well, damn you. Does this review wander all over the place, odd thoughts here and there, only loosely following the structure dictated to us by our AMG Overlords? Yup. Just like the music.