I was a big fan of Rotten Sound's 2011 LP, Cursed, so I approached this new EP with high expectations, all of which were gloriously met and exceeded by this vicious surge of grindcore madness. For those who don't know, Rotten Sound have actually been around since 1993 and put out their debut album, Under Pressure, back in 1997. But despite their 20-year track record (…or should I say land-speed record?) they tend to be mentioned less than many of their veteran peers. With any luck however, this year's Species At War and their slot on Maryland Death Fest (can't wait!) will help change that.
While the band has clearly mastered the art of the standard minute-long grindcore blast and thrash tune, they do a great job of integrating slower, more punishing sections into their music as well. This leads to excellent and exciting riff-fests like "The Game" and the EP's closing track, "Salvation". If you want a good idea of how the music sounds, think of Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Pig Destroyer and have them play in the style of today's so-called Entombed-core bands like Black Breath and Nails. The guitar tone is reminiscent of that feeling you get when walking down a muddy road after it rains…and some jerk in his car comes along and runs right into a puddle. Think of the best soundtrack to the wave of mud descending on you and that should give you a good idea of the band's sound.
(I'm sure I could have used some chainsaw or zombie-related analogy too, but I thought that was funnier…)
As for pure grind, songs like "Cause" and "The Solution" burn the metal candle at both ends with all the ferocity and blastbeats the genre demands. Seeing as it is an EP, it's tough to grade Species At War, as it feels more like a promotional disk released in lieu of an LP to be released at a later date. But besides this obvious fact, I cannot find any real flaw in this release. As with anything, if you are a fan of the grindcore genre and are looking for a no-nonsense fix to feed your addiction, two shows of Species At War should prevent any need to call the doctor in the morning.
Favorite songs: "Cause", "The Solution", "The Game", "Salvation"