The first thing that ‘s hitting my eye right now is that this French guy at Head Split Design is without question quite good. His design works tend to look a bit similar but the job he’s done on this release is really worthy of note – flawless design, excellent artwork, choice of colors, placement of text etc. Real nice from every angle. Uh, Swedish only lyrics, nice.
On the music side, Afgrund hasn’t changed much since the split with Relevant Few that I reviewed not long ago. I might say something like “that’s how Rotten Sound might sound if they were Swedish”, but the truth is that there is something slightly different going on here. We can take a band like Gadget for prototype, but the sound here is only moderately dissonant, slightly darker, and with some extra range in vocal style. These guys are young but pummel hard at their tools, in particular the drummer has some stamina to display. I am appreciating the production of this work too, but when one talks about Swedes on this field of music you can generally count on quality. The sound is balanced, and thick even when blurring in faster riffing. The songwriting is solid too, actually there is really little one can complain about on this album, except maybe those few annoying mid slow tempos in songs like “Afgrundssjal” (che palle…). My personal opinion? Well, this stuff is fast and powerful, with just a few distant hints at trendy “dissonant” melodies that plague the genre (as in the song “Katarsis”). I believe this is one of the best bands in their biz, some riffs sound even like they were taken from old Extreme Noise Terror. That’s a plus. Honestly speaking however I prefer a slightly rawer and more unrefined kind of grind, as the one advocated by bands like Skitsystem or Retaliation, or even better some of the oldest straight in your face kind of English proto-grind or noise core bands… this is really a bit far from my field, even though i am able to appreciate it.
One neg thing: I had the chance to see the band live a few weeks ago and I have to say it was quite a boring and unpleasant experience. Nothing really memorable, there just was no real punch and things just seemed to slip out of the stage without much mark left behind. This is a way better band to hear on Cd than to see live.