Eighteen blazingly fast cuts that reflect and criticize modern society, Rotten Sound, punches quick and hard with nothing left over. One of Finland's most famous grindcore bands, who have been holding strong since 1993, bring more angst in their latest opus, Apocalypse. Without even one song clocking in over two minutes in length, fans can expect another aggressive barnburner.
Core members guitarist Mika Aalto and vocalist Keijo Niinimaa, together with Sami Latva on drums and newcomer Matti Raappana on bass, this frigid quartet leaves little to abstraction with their latest release. These are songs with a sharp message to match the abrasive music. One of the early singles, "Nothingness," is about getting lost in the system as we go about our daily business without much time for reflection. The video is clear and to the point.
"Suburban Bliss" is all about the d-beat when it comes to the music and all about the perceived doldrums of living in the midst of suburban sprawl when it comes to the words. With lyrics like "Mortgage of tomorrow/Reason to wake up/Must work to pay/Too many square meters" it sounds like Rotten Sound is witnessing some of the problems in Finland that we had here in the US in the run up to the 2008 mortgage crisis. On top of that financial misery, the band tackles the high price of everything these days in "Inflation."
Rotten Sound broaches the issue of sustainability in "Renewables" as they criticize the move towards electric cars with lyrics like, "Energy sources/Are to be built/Materials/Are to be mined again/Batteries for/Charging storage/Are not sustainable/New ways to pollute." Lyricist Keijo tells listeners to think about consuming less and thinking more long range about the environment, perhaps in a world where individual means of transportation isn't really necessarily. Similar content about climate and climate-change conspiracy-theorists is driven home in the biting song, "Science."
Perhaps my favorite song on the record is one that rings true from sea to shining sea in today's North America. "Digital Bliss" is about our use of handheld technology and how we have all become addicted to looking at our cell phones and how we are now all being controlled by machines. Now maybe sing a song about how some people feel the need to watch entire live shows through those same handheld cell phones and I think we have a stellar follow-up!
Overall, while this record might leave some wanting for a bit more of the earlier sound, it's a solid LP overall and perfect for those like me with very short attention spans. If I have a chief complaint, I would have liked a bit more diversity from song to song. Rotten Sound never really hit that apex of top tier grindcore bands, but what they produce is still worthy of many repeated listens and Apocalypse is welcome addition to your music library.