Rotten Sound - Abuse to SufferIt must be tough carving out a lengthy career within the somewhat narrow and restrictive confines of the grindcore genre and remaining vital and relevant as fresh faced young upstarts storm the scene. This problem hasn’t seemed to halt Finnish stalwarts Rotten Sound, who started their career back in 1993, from delivering consistent, high quality output. Although their careers overlapped, I regard Rotten Sound as worthy successors to the indelible mark left by the mighty Nasum; cranking out top shelf, nasty-as-fuck grind for the modern generation and demonstrating a knack for writing consistently engaging grind songs and catchy riffs without sacrificing their take-no-prisoners approach to paint-peeling extremity. The connection between the two bands was further reflected by Rotten Sound vocalist Keijo Niinimaa (better known as “G” wink, wink) filling the void left by the passing of Mieszko Talarczyk during Nasum’s one-off 20th anniversary tour in 2012. As comforting as it is to reminisce about the sadly missed Nasum, Rotten Sound have well and truly left their own mark on the modern grindcore scene. Now the angry Finns return with their seventh full-length album, entitled Abuse to Suffer.

If the chaotic urgency of Abuse to Suffer is any indication, age shall not weary these pissed off veterans. Rotten Sound attack with the focused aggression and ferocity of a pitbull latching onto an intruder’s nutsack, ripping out a barrage of sick, crusty grind tunes over a typically concise 28 minute run time. While never veering too drastically away from their tried and true formula, Abuse to Suffer finds the band sounding meaner, filthier and somehow angrier than usual. Perhaps the slight sonic change-up into a grimier sounding, rawer aesthetic has lent Rotten Sound an even uglier and more visceral edge. Or maybe events in their shared lives over the past couple of years has bled into the piss and vinegar drenched riffs, furious tempos and frantic blasts comprising the album. Whatever the case, it sure is nice to have Rotten Sound back again.

Like many grind albums, Abuse to Suffer runs like one continuous and relentlessly intense beating of the senses, punctuated by shifts into equally aggressive, but dialed back, tempos and knuckle dragging grooves. These moments come around quite frequently and showcase the kind of smart dynamics and tempo variations rare in the grind field, offering sweet payoffs from the extreme adrenaline charged nature of this grinding beast. Their ability to be equally menacing at half pace, along with their strong grip of songwriting dynamics, have long been valuable points of difference for Rotten Sound and Abuse to Suffer offers many of the same quality attributes. That being said, a handful of songs hold a stronger individual identity to stand out from the pack. Sludgy riffs and a bitter hardcore edge defines the punishing midsection of “Machine”, while back-to-back bruisers “Time for the Fix”, “Slave to the Rats” and “Brainwashed” are similarly nasty, groove-thickened gems, propelled by creative drumming, catchy riffs and dynamic arrangements. This grind and groove combo, culminating in the savage grind/noise/sludge finale “Extortion and Blackmail”, serves the band exceptionally well. Meanwhile “Yellow Pain” finds Rotten Sound dabbling outside their perimeters into pure sludge territory, dishing up a whiff of melody and sounding convincing rather than derivative on their own vicious take on the genre.


Abuse to Suffer shows that Rotten Sound is as reliable as ever. Most of the material maintains a solid standard, although some of the more by-the-numbers tracks pale slightly in comparison with the catchier, groove-laced songs. Abuse to Suffer comes equipped with a buzzing, dirty production job which lends the album a live, garage-y feel. Unfortunately the positives are balanced out by brutal compression, that when coupled with the scathing material puts unnecessary strain on the old ears and head.

Aside from the aforementioned and mixed sonic tweaks, the band deliver much of what their longtime fans will expect. If you like Rotten Sound there’s little reason not to enjoy this latest platter. It may not stand as the band’s finest album, that honor still belongs to 2005’s Exit, but Rotten Sound have delivered another solid slab of ear-destroying madness for the grind inclined, adding to their impressive body of work.

Rating: Good
DR: 4 | Media Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Season of Mist
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Releases WorldwideMarch 18th, 2016

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  • AngryMetalBird

    good song – horrible production! that spoils it for me :(

  • groverXIII

    Between this, Gadget, Collision, Magrudergrind, Venomous Concept, and W R I T H E, this has been a pretty solid year for grind so far.

    • Rob

      Indeed. And damn, I missed that Gadget had a new one. Really dig them.

    • Martin Knap

      poor Collision got some thrashing on this site :-)

      on a different note THRONE OF HERESY’s new album sounds like some sweet melo-death, did AMG staff take notice?

    • Luke_22

      Yeah good times for grind at the moment. Keen to hear that Gadget album. I remember digging their debut a lot many years ago, unfortunately I dont think we got the promo though.

      • Yes we did!

        • Luke_22

          Dammit how’d I miss that!

    • lennymccall

      Don’t forget The Drip first full length is being recorded as we speak.

  • Wilhelm

    Nightmare mastering job; those drums sound awful – it’s a shame, because that guitar tone is solid.

    • Luke_22

      Yep, I’ve lucked out lately with some horrendous mastering jobs on a few otherwise solid albums. Definitely knocked down my score on this one.

      • Bart the Repairman

        The word “horrendous” became such a synonym of audiophile mastering job, that I had to read your post three times to understand it properly.

        • Luke_22

          I’ve cleared up the confusion.

          • Bart the Repairman

            Haha, I wrote it with a grain of salt, but thanks man:)

      • Tom Hardy

        Speaking of production – here’s one perspective. When you go see a band live, what do you get as a person in the audience? CD production? VINYL production? Not quite. I feel like the expectation for everything to sound crystal clean on records is weird, not unfair but personally, it doesn’t bother me. But that’s just me. The murkier, dirtier, harsher, rawer sounding a band is on an album, it me, mimics what I’d probably get to hear if I saw them live which makes me wonder – wouldn’t that be a lot more authentic? Brings me back to the time I briefly discussed a Skepticism live album reviewed around these parts.

        Yo Mr. Sound Guy, can you re-set everything cos we don’t sound like this on the album we’re selling at our merch table outside. Good luck with that Mr. Band Guy.

        • Luke_22

          I see your point but I actually reslly like the dirtier production they went for here. The issue is the severe compression and excessive loudness which is entirely unnecessary on a grind album with an already noisy and abrasive nature. In a live setting it would be a lot less problematic.

          • Name’s Dalton

            I would like to see indie rock recording engineers like Bryce Goggin, Steve Albini, Bob Weston, or John Agnello get involved metal bands. Get John Golden to do the mastering. Albums like June of 44’s Engine Takes to the Water, Gapeseed’s Project 44, Slint’s Spiderland, and Chavez’s Ride the Fader (which incidentally was released on my 24th birthday. Still my favorite birthday present ever. Thanks, Chavez) sound magnificent and have incredible dynamic range. They sound amazing. Guitar notes explode and fray; drums are thunderous; vocals are spot-on in the mix, and the bass is audible.

        • Bart the Repairman

          Live shows and CD’s share the same problem. Loudness for the sake of loudness. After Decapitated’s gig I was deaf in one ear for 3 days. On the other side, sound quality of Steven Wilson’s show was fantastic and crystal clear, literally like on CD. See the analogy? There are poor engineers in studios and poor engineers in concerts.

          • Tom Hardy

            I hear ya mate.

            Unrelated – standing close to bands is such a cool experience but I recall the second time seeing Meshuggah or Dead Congregation, I wasn’t up front in the pit this time, enjoyed the lights and music from the back.

          • Bart the Repairman

            I still try to find this golden spot – close enough to see what’s going on fretboards, but far enough to avoid being crushed amidst sweaty bullies…

    • Name’s Dalton

      For the most part, the drum sound doesn’t bother me. When I focus on it, they sound muddy as hell, but I’m overwhelmed by the guitar tone, the riffs and those vocals. During their slower or mid-paced moments, they remind me of Icing-era Cherubs. Never a bad thing.