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Sayyadina - "The Great Northern Revisited" (CD)

Sayyadina - "The Great Northern Revisited" CD cover image

"The Great Northern Revisited" track listing:

1. Nothing
2. Prozac Generation
3. The Revenge
4. The Awakening
5. Their Control
6. Min Onda Bän
7. Instrumental 1
8. Instrumental 2
9. Someday I Will Kill
10. Sort Them Out
11. From Ashes
12. När Fag Faller
13. Black Rose
14. Mid Livet Som Insats
15. Swallow
16. All This Fear
17. Downfall
18. Civilized Control
19. Retaliation
20. Civilization
21. Automation
22. Compulsion
23. Stagnation
24. Confrontation
25. Outrage
26. Oppression
27. Future Digits
28. Razor Discipline
29. Solitude
30. Last Days Make The Least

Reviewed by on May 11, 2011

"It's crusty as all sin, and at times slows down to sludge plod, before heading back to temple vein busting shouts and blast and punk four-chord progressions, all of which can be heard on 'The Revenge.'"

One of the unbreakable tenets of crust and grind bands seems to be “Thou shalt release hundreds of hard to find 7 inches and splits on labels founded in former Soviet republics that no longer exist.” So, when a band like Sayyadina, featuring former members of venerable groups such as General Surgery, Victims, and the almighty Nasum, puts all of those songs released on said far-scattered albums on one disc, it makes it that much easier for those of us who don't feel like frittering an afternoon away online tracking them down. Enter “The Great Northern Revisited,” a crusty, lo-fi punk and grind retrospective from these Swedish connoisseurs of the blast.

On this career-spanning offering, Sayyadina spends some of its time off kilter, which is by no means meant as a slight. The band stumbles threateningly like a haphazard punch drunk punk at times, but it's the grind version of the rope-a-dope. Just when you think the pick will miss the strings entirely and the snare will be inadvertently kicked over, the songs regain their senses and bore into full throttle precision. It's crusty as all sin, and at times slows down to sludge plod, before heading back to temple vein busting shouts and blast and punk four-chord progressions, all of which can be heard on “The Revenge.” The band seems to have a lot in common with Japan's Unholy Grave, moving back and forth between straight ahead punk and punishment on songs such as “The Awakening.” The lyrics are of course socially conscious all the way through, delivered via low-slung guitar, shouting upward toward the mic attitude on songs like “Their Control.”

The typical formula for Sayyadina seems to be to slow things down in the middle bars, with a bang of the head toward misdirection, making the listener believe there is only chaos where there is finely tuned order. There are a couple of throw-aways, namely the unimaginatively titled “Instrumental 1” and “Instrumental 2,” which are essentially half a grind idea and two-thirds of a grind idea respectively, each without vocals. There is the expected start/stop blast, the shriek and shout throat shred, all out eye popping delivery, and sweat soaked aggression coming from a place of pure outrage and contempt, such as “From Ashes.” “Nar Fag Faller” brings out the former Nasum in Sayyadina—so much anger bled out of three simple chords. That's what you call economy of sound. The songs are largely in a similar formula, but genuine.

Then there the pure crust and d-beat tracks, such as “Mid Livet Som Insats,” which owes more to bands like Skitliv and Wolfbrigade than Assuck. There's no canned rage or packaged attitude to be heard. To keep things from getting predictable, the odd curve is thrown into what is mostly a level line, such as “Downfall,” which could be called avant garde protest grind and is just one of many deafening statements. The grinding blast almost reaches ungodly gravity blast territory on “Retaliation,” and on “Civilization” there is the prototypical grind dramatic buildup to the blast—heartfelt emotion without one reeking hint of commercial ambition. It's music as a statement with no ambition toward viability. These two tracks seem to be part of the album's grind serial, featuring six tracks following a similar concept on the trappings of technology leading toward atrophy of the senses and relinquishing of control. One of these, “Confrontation,” closes out the serial with some melodic crust work the reminds of Wrathcobra. And on “Stagnation,” the slow palm mute chug is almost pre-djent. The band knows it has to dial it back at times to have staying power.

All the high notes and hallmarks of great grind can be found on “The Great Northern Revisited.” There is menace, speed, melody, and threnody, busy drum work, blast workouts, throat decimation—burst and death within 60 seconds, flame and expiration like cherry blossoms painted on kamikaze planes.

Highs: This album has everything one who has walked the path from punk to grind could want.

Lows: A few forgettable tracks have been tossed in among the gems.

Bottom line: Sayyadina hocks up a disgustingly crusty blend of grind and punk that blends the two together quite effectively.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)