01. Alone
02. Superior
03. Self
04. Choose
05. Hollow
06. Ritual
07. Green
08. Machinery
09. Power
10. Plan
11. Declare
12. Addict
13. Exploit
14. Terrified
15. Scared
16. Doomed

RATING: 8/10

If you've survived the riff swarm, the d-beat attacks, and blast assaults and still pleaded for another round of battery, then at one point or another along the extreme music way you've acquired a taste for the finer things in grindcore. It might have been PHOBIA, it could have been INFANTICIDE or MUMAKIL, and surely NASUM was involved at some point. And if it was NASUM that rung your bell with a deafening clang, then you may have taken the ROTTEN SOUND plunge as well; or perhaps it was the other way around. Whatever the case, it is you that will more than likely appreciate ROTTEN SOUND's "Cursed", provided that you've decided that tempo changes and grooves go just as well with blasting mayhem and speeding exercises in evisceration.

Rather than shock the loyalists with an album that forces the ROTTEN SOUND method into a hard left turn, "Cursed" sees the ferocious Fins cruising in a mixed part of the same neighborhood. It's a win-win for band and fans alike; the former getting to spread musical wings, the latter enjoying a deeper descent into the world of massive head trauma. Crust-flecked grindcore — maybe a tad crustier from the rawer production - continues to abound, but even during the album's most frenzied moments the tweaks and twinges keep "Cursed" from being mistaken for an INSECT WARFARE album.

The more blatant displays of diversity within acceptable genre boundaries are what still make "Cursed" a grand example of grindcore the ROTTEN SOUND way. A few cases make the point "Hollow" launches with a smokin' hot solo, moves into a slow section with a nice little swing, and picks up the pace, stopping just short of blast territory. "Ritual" offers death-tinged crust punk and slams it against NASUM-style grind, yanks it all back, and spices the dish with another fitting guitar solo. The variedness continues with a more measured approach to murder on "Declare", stutter-steps and stabs with "Terrified", and stuns again on "Addict", which comes with some serious soul in the soloing and one hell of a sinister riff. The godly groove that finishes off "Power" is damn near reason enough to check out "Cursed".

Cutting to the chase goes something like this: Finland's finest couldn't suck if they tried. If soul cleansing through sonic mediums of a meditative variety hasn't worked for you, then try the flesh-from-bones method of purification offered on "Cursed".


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