Finland’s Rotten Sound released the best grind album of 2016, with Abuse to Suffer. Hopefully you were one of the lucky ones who picked up the limited edition digipak which contained a couple of extra songs. Regardless Rotten Sound continue to push the boundaries of extremity and keeps it interesting all the while. Hell, it made it on my best of list, as well. But while all the grind lunatics were worshipping this beastly album, if you sneezed you would have missed out on Rotten Sound’s long out of print, 1997 debut album Under Pressure and 1999’s Drain, being reissued through Dissonance Productions. This label deals a lot with reissues and I had never heard these albums. I have Rotten Sound’s other releases, but sure I picked these suckers up to hear what the band sounded like before their gargantuan 2002 Murderworks album which slaughtered posers worldwide.
The debut album, Under Pressure, shows a band clearly trying to find their sound. This is not the same band that would go on to become one of the most ferocious and violent sounding grind acts today. Under Pressure is a death metal album. Keijo’s vocals, the original Rotten Sound member, had more of a gruff vocal style, deeper at times, and screaming, as well, with some hardcore type of vocals. He still had the hate in his vocals back then. I’ve seen this debut album panned quite a bit, which is unfair. While it’s primarily a death metal album, there still contains a fair amount of blasting. Shit picks up pace with the third track, “Stages”, one of the best tunes on the album. Awesome opening slow guitar riff, before the holy shit blast beat comes in a few seconds later. This is an intense song right off the jump. The 1.23 scream drowns out, right before the blast comes in. “Social Rinse” is another wonderful track, with a little bit of a nod to Napalm Death, in the grind part. The groove section is killer, towards the end of the song. The guitar tone has a little Hypocrisy flair to it. Again as a debut album I think this is a pretty damn good start. Again, more rooted in death metal, with some grind influences. Probably one of the first true death/grind albums, when you think about it.
2 years later, Rotten Sound would go on to release Drain and this is the start of their grind career and their new logo, which is the same as today. Album opener “Calm” comes blazing through with quite an extraordinary Swedish buzzsaw guitar sound that Erik Thomas would say “Holy crap, I gotta get my hands on this reissue, quicker than Frank can say Friday Flapjacks Fell Forward Friday Funday”. Yes this is the Rotten Sound that would eventually continue to create and turn the grind scene on its head. “Calm” just grinds, comes back to the opening groove and is punishing! “Dirty Currency” has an awesome drum beginning and the slow to fast grind parts are just outstanding. Keijo’s vocals began his true hate, piss and vinegar vocal style right here on Drain. “Super Satan” is a terrifically named song with the Holy Shit part at the 1.10 part with the isolated buzzsaw guitar riff before the grind whirlwind blast comes in and rips all your limbs apart. “Cartender” is one of the best and fastest songs Rotten Sound has ever written. Brutal beyond belief and a real catchy guitar riff. Drain is vicious.
The reissues have been remastered. I compared them to new album releases out today and the sound is as loud as those, therefore these 20 year old recordings have definitely been tweaked in sound. It would have helped if the liners mentioned this. Both reissues have the original album covers restored and both are digipaks with the lyrics printed on the inside panels. Some of the reissues that were released came out in jewel case formats and I’ve heard of some glitches with incorrect song numbering. If you are a fan of Rotten Sound and never heard their first 2 albums, find these immediately, since they were pressed in limited quantities. Excellent reissues![Visit the band's website]