Nasty – Heartbreak Criminals (Century Media)

Monday, 4th September 2023
Rating: 7.5/10

Following up from 2020’s Menace, the purveyors of ‘fucked up music for a fucked up world,’ Nasty return with their ninth full-length in Heartbreak Criminals. With their visceral and violent sound completely intact, one shouldn’t expect any major shake-ups this far into the band’s career. It’s another set of pulverizing cuts for the band to employ in the live setting that’s sure to appeal to their fanbase, and those who want some devastating breakdowns in their hardcore.

The straight-laced hardcore meets beatdown sound is nothing if not frenetic. Nasty are fantastic at doing what they do, and it’s no surprise people have latched further onto the band and they’ve spring-boarded into more success (this being their second release for Century Media too). With songs that hover in the grindcore time limits (mostly the one to two minutes and change range), they are pros at the ‘get in and get out’ mentality. But that doesn’t mean things are scant. This level of intensity isn’t meant to last 4 or 5 minutes at a time. Nasty pulls out a punchy riff, meaty breakdown, or both – embed them into your brain – and move onto the next track. Take “Reality Check,” they start with an aggressive gallop, launch into groovier territory, deliver a repeated chant that ends with the band’s name, and exit the track with a thunderous breakdown. No mess, no fuss – just brutality. There are but two exceptions to this and unsurprisingly they are the longest songs on the album. The title track carries all of the usual Nasty chugs and energy, and even an absurdly heavy breakdown, but also displays some more melodic moments in its second half. It works well though, distinguishing the track, as well as the later grooving “Kiss from a Rose,” for brief breaks in the onslaught without tarnishing the band’s punishing aura.

If you like your music frenetic and vicious, Heartbreak Criminals will give you exactly what you crave. Nasty know how to work everything they need into the music with a minimal amount of extras, and that’s meant in the best way possible. This is what aggressive music is all about – no bullshit, just pure ball of fury energy that will incite you to random acts of destruction.

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