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Sunday Old School: Rotten Sound

Photo of Rotten Sound

Band Photo: Rotten Sound (?)

Throughout the history of the Sunday Old School series, our grindcore coverage has focused primarily on the scenes in the United Kingdom, save for looking at a few American bands such Brutal Truth and Anal Cunt. The genre spread worldwide, particularly across Europe and as usual, once the Scandinavians got hold of a new brand of metal, they made significant contributions of their own, one of which we'll be looking at today, who go by the name of Rotten Sound.

Rotten Sound were formed in 1993 in the city of Vaasa, located very close to the border of Sweden, by guitarist Mika Aalto. He was soon joined by vocalist Keijo Niinimaa, bass player Masa Kovero and drummer Ville Väisänen, who would leave the band following their first release, the single, "Sick Bastard" in 1994. He was replaced by Kai Hahto who took part in the recording of the subsequent EPs, "Psychotic Veterinarian" and "Loosin' Face," as well as split releases with Dischord and Control Mechanism. Finally in 1997, the band were able to release their first full length album, "Under Pressure" through Spanish record label, Repulse Records.

After receiving a mixed response, Rotten Sound decided to add a second guitarist, Juha Ylikoski, who made his recording debut with the band on the album, "Drain," which was also released through Repulse in 1999. It was a critical success and attracted the attention of American label, Necropolis, who soon snapped up the group and released their next EP, "Still Psycho," which was notable for including a cover of the Carcass song, "Reek of Putrefaction" and once more earned the band some excellent reviews.

The band kept this momentum going with the release of their third album, "Murderworks" in 2002, which has gone on to become one of the most acclaimed grindcore albums of all time. The promoted the album heavily on the road, headlining a European tour where they were supported by two Czech bands, Fleshless and Lykathea Aflame, before heading out on another European tour with Hateplow and Debauchery and then a trek across the American east coast with Circle of Dead Children, Phobia and Strong Intention.

Rotten Sound then returned to the studio, this time in the Swedish city of Örebro with producer Mieszko Talarczyk, who had also made a name for himself as the frontman of one of Sweden's most popular grindcore bands, Nasum. The result was, "Exit," which was released in January 2005 and became another highly praised and some might say essential grindcore album. They embarked on a co-headlining tour across Scandinavia with another Swedish band, Disfear, before a European tour which was dubbed the "Grind Your Face Off" tour, before releasing a new EP, "Consume to Contaminate" through Spinefarm Records in 2006.

Following a tour supporting Malevolent Creation, the group returned to the studio to record another full length, surfacing in January 2008 under the title, "Cycles." It continued to garner excellent reviews, though not quite as positive as the previous two albums, something which continued after the band signed a new record deal with Relapse Records, perhaps the most prominent grindcore record label in the United States and quickly released a new EP, "Napalm," which lived up to the title, featuring three Napalm Death covers, as well as a DVD, before hitting the road with Aborted and The Red Chord.

Two years later, Rotten Sound released their first full length album through Relapse, entitled, "Cursed," which was promoted first with an EP, "Curses," and then a headlining tour with Trap Them, Gaza, The Kandidate, and Haust. The album itself saw even more highly positive reviews from the metal press, paying attention to the death 'n' roll elements that had become included in certain areas of the record, most notably on the drumming. They supported the album by joining forces with the reunited Exhumed and Washington D.C. based Magrudergrind.

It would be another five years before their next full length was released. In the meantime, they left Relapse Records and signed with French label, Season of Mist, releasing the EP, "Species at War" in 2013. Eventually, in March of this year, Rotten Sound released their seventh studio album, "Abuse to Suffer," which received the by now standard positive reviews, with some describing it as a definitive album for the band. Having recently completed a North American tour, eyes will be on what the band decide to do next, as we all know that whatever their next move is, it will be as explosive and brutal as their catalogue.

Rotten Sound - "Stages"

Rotten Sound - "Super Satan"

Rotten Sound - "IQ"

Rotten Sound - "Exit"

Rotten Sound - "Blind"

Rotten Sound - "Self"

Rotten Sound - "Lazy Asses"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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