Picture the scenario…you just finished a long week’s worth of clock-punching, soul-crushing slave labor, grudgingly doing your part in the nine-to-five daily grind. Tired and anxious for the time to relax, you stagger to your car to once again join the frenzy of the same old rush hour mob. As your weary eyes squint from the piercing light of the setting sun on the horizon, soothing thoughts of unwinding with a couple of drinks flood your brain and you give the horn a tap in honor of the asshole that cut you off just before your normal exit. Grumbling at the realization that the trip home will take longer than usual, you take the next ramp and enter the freeway. Sighing with relief, you find that the traffic is flowing quicker than expected and you light a cigarette. Then it happens. Several cars ahead, a tractor trailer loaded with cargo swerves into the other lane and the front end explodes in a head-on collision with what appears to be a car inexplicably going the wrong way. Sucked into the resulting chain reaction of crashes along with several other drivers, your outcomes are all horrifically the same. As you pull yourself from what is left of your car, you find yourself adrift in a sea of madness. All around you, twisted metal, shattered glass and broken bodies lie scattered on the blood-smeared pavement. A peaceful afternoon commute has turned to one of violence and tragedy in mere seconds. But you have somehow managed to survive…and you swear you can hear the reaper himself breath a sigh of disappointment.

While the latest full-length monstrosity from Finnish grindcore quartet, Rotten Sound, won’t likely harvest the kind of body count found in a fifteen car pile-up, it surely packs an undeniably  similar harsh, jarring and combustible quality of tension and chaos that can so suddenly erupt to turn a calm day to smoldering ash. Cursed (Relapse Records) more or less picks up where the band’s 2008 album, Cycles, left off. However, this album not only takes up the torch, it immediately burns down any ill-conceived notion that Rotten Sound are lightening their crusty death assault any time soon. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, consider this yet another solid, incendiary step in the band’s evolution of grind brutality. Exploring the concept of humanity’s constant struggle to stay afloat in the sea of pain it has, in most cases inflicted upon itself, the record is overflowing with the kind of dark atmospherics and instrumental prowess found on previous efforts.

With a somewhat raw production quality at times, Cursed is sixteen blasts of unbridled rage that simply do not let the listener stop for breath. While short, punishing one-word-titled numbers like opener “Alone”, “Declare” (the record’s longest track at just under three minutes) and “Terrified” are graced with the seething, gravel-throated vocals of Keijo Niinimaa. Together with a virtual sonic tempest of D-Beat machine gun percussion, feedback and groove-tinged truckloads of breakneck riffing that could very well leave the listener begging for more. The only real downside may be the lack of any real change of pace. Nothing is wrong with a one-hundred percent annihilation by any stretch. But variety can also be a great asset.

Regardless of such, Rotten Sound have certainly unleashed hell with this one. Cursed does for grindcore what the atom bomb did for the world of explosive ordinance. This record ups the ante when it comes to standards of annihilation!

Cursed streaming