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Album Review

By the release of 2008's Cycles album, Finland's aptly named Rotten Sound had been trawling through the grimy trough of crust and grindcore for some 15 years, and so it's not all that surprising that their experience and — dare it be said — maturity come across with incredible clarity due to the disc's relatively "clean" production standards. Of course, some purists will feel that this clarity is an affront to grindcore's defining scorched-earth sonic policy, but you just can't please everyone, now can you? And come on, all of the other genre trademarks are here: dirt-encrusted guitar riffs, check; rattling bass, check; machine-gun drumming, check; lacerated vocal croaks, check; and sub-two-minute songs, check! All in all, Cycles sees Rotten Sound jamming 18 face-melting, toe-curling onslaughts into 34 minutes of wholesale devastation — and doing it in style thanks to the aforementioned audio fidelity, which really helps to showcase not only their stupendous instrumental chops, but also the unusually well-considered messages behind the quartet's oftentimes political, always provocative and nihilistic lyrics. Oh, and it's hardly all 100-mph madness with Rotten Sound, as they mix in copious time changes into slower, meatier riffs present on numerous tracks — particularly the three-plus-minute anomaly "Alternews" (maybe it's their "Kashmir"). All kidding aside, Cycles, far from rocking the grindcore rowboat with its top-notch recording standards, does the movement proud by rendering most of its original tenets a little more palatable for fans of other metal genres.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Finland, like most countries, has its mainstream, middle-of-the-road pop stars (people who sound like Celine Dion or Gloria Estefan singing in Finnish) as well as its musical extremists who cater to the underground; and rock doesn't get much more extreme and underground than Rotten Sound. In the '90s and 2000s, Rotten Sound has favored a brutally harsh, violent, angry, and ferocious approach to death metal/black metal and grindcore. There is nothing merciful about Rotten Sound's blistering albums,...
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Cycles, Rotten Sound
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