Release DetailsLABEL Relapse
RELEASED ON 10/26/2004
posted on 9/2004 By:
Although easily one of the bigger labels around, Relapse consistently releases quality album after quality album. I'd love to talk shit about Relapse, I really would, but I just can't. I don't know why - maybe it's just because they're so successful. Nasum, who've been with Relapse for quite a few albums now, recently made the jump to Sweden's own Burning Heart records. Nasum's latest release, Shift, however, will be released worldwide on Burning Heart, while here in the US, we'll still have Relapse to thank for this incredible album. So even when Nasum leaves Relapse, they still don't really leave, so it looks like I'm still patiently waiting for a reason to snap at the fine folks at Relapse.
So what's the deal with Nasum this time around? Same deal as before, kids, and boy am I fucking glad. No frills grindcore played furiously with a bit of d-beat influence. Did anyone really think that they'd start intertwining traditional folk into their music or writing seven minute tracks? Pfft. Nasum's one of the strongest and most consistent bands we're all fortunate enough to hear. Nasum don't need no keyboards. Nasum don't need no electronic drum loops. Nasum's got low growls and high screams. Nasum don't care 'bout no heartfelt singing. Shift was apparently just going to be a relatively quick release consisting of a few new tracks, some redone tracks, and a few tracks that were cut from their last phenom, Helvete. Thankfully though, it seems once they got in the studio, they just cranked out an entire album.
There isn't that much of a profound change on Shift, namely just that certain parts are accented a little more. Things seem a little darker and more pronounced. You can almost tell what the more recently written tracks are. Whether this is due to the songwriting or the production itself, I'm not sure, but it really shows. Up-tempo and powerful, Nasum manage to make some of the most relentlessly brutal music incredibly memorable. Not through a series of odd leads or mind-boggling technicality - just by writing really fucking good songs. With a new bassist and guitarist aboard, Nasum's done a commendable job in retaining their distinct sound while still remaining fresh and interesting. Songs like "Wrath" start with an uncharacteristic chugging and progress into a two minute stompfest, while tracks like "The Deepest Hole" and "Fury" have a real solid Scandanavian hardcore touch.
To the untrained ear, Nasum's always sounded the same. Just a blast of grind, too abrasive to listen to, but too powerful to really pass over. Perhaps Shift is an album people new to the band should actually start out on. Because of the combination of old songs and unreleased new songs, Shift comes across as extremely well-rounded, giving you a taste of some of the best over the years. It's a "Best Of" album, almost, although you're not hearing any recycled tracks. With a few more hooks than their other releases, those who've found themselves unable to distinguish one song from another might have an easier time. But certainly not much easier. It sounds dumb, but there's a lot of variation within Shift, an album that belongs to a genre of virtually no variation. It definitely takes some talent to stand out in the realm of grindcore and Nasum have proven yet again that they're more than willing to exhibit that talent for the entire world to see. Easily one of my favorite albums of the year.
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