Afgrund

Vid Helvetets Grindar

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    7
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What can you say about a Scandinavian grindcore album that offers 15 songs in 27 minutes, with titles like "A Burning Cross on Your Perfect Lawn" and "Inevitable Environmental Collapse"? You'd suspect the band of being political in nature, and you'd be right; you'd anticipate fast 'n' furious riffing and vocals delivered in the same voice one might use to scream at a particularly hated opposition leader from the middle of a crowd at a protest march, and you'd be right about that, too. So what separates Afgrund from the pack of bands like Nasum, Rotten Sound, and a trillion others who've adopted this formula of downtuned bass, relentless drumming, and hoarse, desperate sloganeering? Well, they're a little meaner-sounding than Nasum ever got, and dirtier, too; the gleaming, polished edges of the Scandi-grind sound are a little pitted and pockmarked, which is a good thing. They use samples of movie dialogue between songs, which is an old trick entirely dependent on the quality of the spoken lines, and Afgrund's choices are at least as good as Agoraphobic Nosebleed's, which is saying quite a bit. Also, a lot of the vocals -- the ones in English, anyway -- are pretty clearly intelligible (at least, if you've already got an ear attuned to hardcore punk), so you can chant along if you want. This isn't a world-changing album, but it's a solid effort within a genre with very clear rules.

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