Rotten Sound – Abuse to Suffer (Season of Mist)

Monday, 4th April 2016
Rating: 7/10

The struggle now with Rotten Sound, more than ever, is, where else can they go? Is it possible they’ve crested with the Exit, Cycles, and Cursed triumvirate? Surely. When a band is so brazenly extreme in such a tight window, it’s not their fault they run right into the unenviable vortex of being out of new ideas. Their 2013 Relapse Records swansong Species at War EP was largely forgettable, for it was an 8-minute outing that felt like one long song that had no mobility. Abuse to Suffer (their first for Season of Mist) fares a little better, thankfully.

The Finns can still mow ‘em down in quick fashion. The pushy barrage on “Lazy Asses” is the proverbial show-stopping opener where the momentum starts. “Intellect” and the sludgy “Fear of Shadows” follow suit, the latter heading into always-favorable Wolverine Blues territory. A similar approach is found on “Time for the Fix,” a number that crashes and bangs into frenzied grind territory, with the guitar/bass combo of Mika Aalto and Kristian Toivainen creating quite the wall of sound. From there, Abuse to Suffer often grapples with an inability to create song separation, even as the blindingly fast “Machine” and d-beat/crust-happy “Retaliation” make quick, efficient work of things.

Abuse to Suffer thoroughly demonstrates no let-up or slowing down from Rotten Sound, who we’d be remiss to add have been a Finnish death/grind signpost all the way since 1993. While it’s a partial truism some grind bands have aged well (see: Napalm Death, Brutal Truth), Rotten Sound remains a tricky proposition. They have already peaked, but with Abuse to Suffer, they’re fighting stagnation as much as they possibly can.

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