By Greg Pratt
When it comes to grindcore, and bands at the top of the genre like Finnish heroes ROTTEN SOUND, fans aren't looking for evolution. Heck, we don't even mind if the albums all sound similar. Okay, to be honest, we want every album to sound identical to the last. We're easy like that. Luckily, Rotten Sound are easy like that, too: their new EP, Species At War, contains pretty much absolutely no surprises.
"We are not big fans of 'evolution' when it comes to our releases," says vocalist Keijo "G" Niinimaa. "Basically, you can see that there’s a quite small change from one release to another, from the first EP to Species At War."
But, Niinimaa says that while each release may not change drastically, over time the band has changed their sound at least a bit.
"If you play [2002's] Murderworks and then Species At War right after it, you’ll notice quite a few changes," he says, before talking about how happy he is with the new EP. "Species At War feels, currently, really good from the recording and also when we play the songs live. People seem to react really well to them, too. Reviews have been much better than we expected, but then again, reviews are pretty hard to predict."
One way in which the new EP has a slightly different edge than the band's previous output is a huge Swedeath/ENTOMBED chainsaw guitar sound, which the band has had in the past, but never this big, bold, and death metal-ish.
"Yeah, maybe there is," says Niinimaa, "mainly because we’re openly influenced by them [Entombed]," adding that the band's last album, 2011's Cursed, also had a lot of that sound in there. But whether or not this signifies a change towards a more death metal sound is in the band's future remains to be seen.
"It’s quite early to say about the amount of 'straight up death metal' on the next album," says Niinimaa, "but I believe that there’s again a small evolution, which means that we’ll keep the old stuff and improve by adding something new."
"There’s quite a few songs already written for it," he continues about the next album, "but we won’t start recording before this tour is over. Everyone can expect us to do a Rotten Sound album: grindcore with mixes of sludge, death metal and something more."
Considering the band has been going at it since 1993, everyone pretty much does know what to expect from a Rotten Sound album. As to what has kept the band going strong after all these years, Niinimaa says that moderation is important.
"Our key has been to be active, but not to over-do that," he says. "Touring two to four months every year instead of six to eight months has kept things fresh for us. Also, creative breaks, like my Nasum tour [Niinimaa sung with the reunited NASUM on that grind band's 2012 20th anniversary tour], have always helped for our songwriting."
Or, to keep it even simpler, Niinimaa has a concise answer for what makes him keep loving grind after all these years.
"Same thing that makes us drink a lot: it’s really fun."