Mindgrinder

Riot Detonator

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Sweden has been the most celebrated country in the Scandinavian death metal/black metal invasion, but neighboring Norway certainly runs a close second in terms of extreme metal activity. Countless death metal and black metal bands came out of Norway in the '90s and 2000s, and one of the many outfits that belongs on that incredibly long list of Norwegian extreme metal providers is Mindgrinder. Although formed in 1996, Mindgrinder didn't have any CDs available in North America until Candlelight distributed their first official full-length album, Mindtech (a 2002 recording), in the United States in 2004. Recorded in 2004 and distributed by Candlelight in the U.S. in 2005 (it was a Nocturnal Art release in Scandinavia), Mindgrinder's sophomore outing, Riot Detonator, is best described as death metal with a strong thrash metal influence. The death metal/black metal field is, of course, an outgrowth of thrash -- one could argue that death metal and black metal took thrash's metal/punk blend to an insanely brutal and ferocious extreme -- so it isn't surprising that some Nordic death metallers are still celebrating death metal's thrash roots in the 21st century. Morbid Angel is a definite influence on this CD, as is pre-'90s Testament. But the deep, guttural, growling, demonic-sounding vocals are pure death metal -- and while Riot Detonator has been influenced by some American bands, the disc still has a generally Scandinavian quality. Overall, Riot Detonator is decent and competent but less than spectacular. While the forceful, head-crushing material is well executed, it falls short of remarkable -- and there isn't much to separate Mindgrinder from countless other Nordic death metal bands that have had an appreciation of thrash. But again, Riot Detonator is a decent, if predictable and less than distinctive, contribution to Scandinavia's ultra-crowded death metal scene.

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