EPs tend to get lost in the mix, especially during a year overflowing with great music, but that absolutely shouldn’t be the case with Rotten Sound’s superb Suffer to Abuse. The Finnish grindcore heavyweights latest release might be a bite-sized offering, but Suffer to Abuse’s brevity matters little when the seven songs displayed here are so consistently excellent and replayable.
Rotten Sound kicks things off on an absurdly strong note with “Privileged” and “The Misfit,” which are classic grind in the best possible sense. Frontman Keijo Niinimaa’s throaty screams smoothly shift from slower, deep roars to manic-paced screaming, while the backing instrumentation, which boasts sprinkles of technicality that enhance the otherwise in-your-face intensity, appropriately compliments both styles.
Those nuances are subtle enough to be practically imperceptible for the first 10 or so spins, but it doesn’t take an in-depth analysis to get a major kick out of what’s sure to be a couple of 2018’s best grindcore songs. That’s a helluva way to open a record, and while the rest of the EP doesn’t quite maintain that impeccably high standard, Suffer to Abuse’s following five songs aren’t far behind in quality.
While the slower “Stressed Mess” and “Nutrition,” the EP’s longest tracks, offer something of a breather from the otherwise blitzkrieg pace, both pieces are still plenty heavy in their own right. “Nutrition” is particularly pummeling, thanks to its sludgy, winding guitar riffs that are perfectly boosted by the faintest hint of bass licks.
Elsewhere, Suffer to Abuse is full of the comparably straightforward, albeit sufficiently pummeling and enjoyable, grind. A handful of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bits such as Niinimaa’s especially depraved roars in the latter half of “Harvester of Boredom” and the false ending in the excellent midsection of “Slaves of Lust” help elevate Rotten Sound’s strong but undeniably safe grind material.
Admittedly, nothing on Suffer to Abuse is reinventing the genre, and genre skeptics are unlikely to be converted by anything here. Still, it’s hard to complain too much when the music displayed here is of such consistently high quality. We’ve probably all heard something like this before, but Suffer to Abuse’s little variations and aforementioned highlights more than make up for the lack of groundbreaking innovation.
Suffer to Abuse’s short runtime is one of its strongest boons. Filler material is nonexistent and every song, riff and frenzied scream easily stands on its own while still working perfectly as part of the whole. The riotous “Slaves of Lust” boasts a ridiculously fun ending that seems to come mere seconds after "Privileged" blows the gates open, and then it’s all over.
It all feels over way too quickly, but that’s more a sign of the EP’s brisk pace and impressive consistency than anything negative. As far as 12-odd minutes of modern grind goes, it’s hard to do much better than this. Suffer to Abuse is an easy sell for grindcore fans and one of the genre’s unexpected surprises of 2018.