Afgrund - Vid Helvetets Grindar (Candlelight/Earsplit)

Could be the best grindcore release of the year - pull out all the stops and grind your face off!

This is the second 'full length' release by Swedish/Finnish grindmaniacs Afgrund clocking in at just under half an hour. Like many of the genre, the songs are short & catchy: the longest is an epic 3:32! 

 

This release sees Afgrund straying yet further from hardcore & punk influences, focusing more on the intense, blasting side of grind, yet still scraping out their own niche and unique sound. Having said that, this isn't a typical 'heard one song, heard them all' kind of release where every track is an attempt at sounding heavier and faster than the last. Each track is a journey of discovery in itself, shedding influences from all over the metalsphere. For example, as far as I know this is the first grindcore release where the echoey backing vocals reminiscent of 80s thrash rears its fists in the air! I'm talking about T(h)rash Vortex with its cunning injection of enough thrash not to dilute the grindyness. 

 

A Burning Cross On Your Perfect Lawn brings to mind a Scandinavian Napalm Death. Coupled with Driven, reminiscent of Brutal Truth, you start to wonder if the band is suffering from some kind of derangement.

 

The drumming is tight as hell, pneumatic precision in No-one Gives a Fuck Anymore, blasting your carcass in Forbruckningsartikel and all throughout the album - you would think it's a showcase for the drummer alone, but no.

Dynamic guitar shreds, rips and obliterates your softest areas leaving you acoustically dermabraded. Klinisk Digital Kyla appears like a nod to Hilly of Damaged fame, but you can't keep this guitarist still for a second.

 

For almost half an hour Afgrund covers a lot of ground, a tribute to their punkier roots, one (thankfully only one) core besmirched track which surprisingly didn't jar, even a rocky groovy outro to The Empire, redolent of Blood Duster. No matter where they go in this release they make it a sound all of their own. I need to see these mad bastards play live. 

 

The vocals are pure grind, on the higher end, but with heaps of range and dynamics. Sure, he screams like a man possessed, but he also screams like a man in agony, in a straitjacket, in chemical delirium - you name it.

 

This album is a must-have for those who love their grindcore.

 

Afgrund's Vid Helvetets Grindar is out now on Candlelight/Earsplit.