Album: Extreme Conditions
Genre: Powerviolence – Sludge – Death Metal
Release date: 27th of October, 2019
Released via Chaotic Doom Records / Time to Kill Records
Cover artwork © Chaotic Doom Records, 2019
On the 12th of December in 2015, the Paris Agreement was signed by 195 countries that officially engaged in working towards a future that will not recklessly watch while our planet slowly falls into ruin. On the 1st of June, however, president of the United States Donald Trump announced the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement – because of alleged severe damage to the American economy – most obviously only because economy comes before ecology. This is just a very brief look at some aspects that have been happening throughout the recent years concerning climate and the depiction of nations not being interested in improving the situation at all. On the other side of the neglection of man-made climate change, cities such as Venice tend to be permanently overflooded by masses of water because of the rise of the sea level – and the increase of Australian temperatures leads to wild fires wiping out forests all over the continent – only considering calamities of the recent weeks. These natural forces that are currently on the rise also inspired the debut album Extreme Conditions by Finnish Death Metal newcomers Goatburner.
This Finnish duo hailing from Helsinki consists of no strangers at all. Drummer Spider (Jaako Forsman) is already known because of bands such as Ratface or Pikakassa – and guitarist and vocalist Kaos (Keijo Niinimaa) should be a name to anyone interested in Grindcore music as the vocalist of Finnish Grind masters Rotten Sound. The band was formed in 2017 and saw their major influence in the arbitrariness of current dangerous weather conditions – releasing the EP Time to Burn prior to their debut album Extreme Conditions – where we are able to sonically feel weather conditions that shake you off your feet.
A major aspect of natural catastrophes is the fact that most of the calamities are absolutely unpredictable – and this is also what we can feel throughout the entire record. Goatburner describes themselves mainly as Death Metal with Powerviolence and Sludge influences – but the first and most important aspect that depicts the finesse of this album is the inability to fully ascribe it to any of the genres mentioned above. The album kicks off with the first and instrumental track “Dead Alert,” which instantly showcases what we are about to get on this album. While starting off real slow with an absolute Sludgy Death Metal vibe – the song suddenly cuts off the prior sound and rushes into a massive Grind blast – only to set back to the Sludgy intro we heard before. On the second track “Time to Burn,” Goatburner again toss the listener back and forth between Death Metal – Powerviolence and Grindcore sections like madmen – following this recipe almost throughout the entire album.
This aspect perfectly shows how Goatburner try to turn the chaotic forces of nature into their music – the slow and heavy Sludgy riffs transition into thrashing Powerviolence drums – afterwards emerging in a fast and riff-driven Death Metal guitar. Nothing on this album can be predicted. On the other hand, these changes between genre features also offers a wide variety of different sounds on the entire album – which means that we don’t get bored at all from front to back. On every track, heavy Death Metal riffs are combined with groovy 90s Death Metal drums – turning into insane Powerviolence drum patterns – all spiced up by furious Grindcore sections. These guys play with genre boundaries as if they were lego bricks – building up the notion of one genre – mixing it up with another – adding a third and eventually turning out with something entirely different.
At some points, especially when the drums follow a Death Metal pattern and emerging from a Sludge section – this album reminds a lot of Autopsy‘s all-time-classic Mental Funeral. Not only the swampy Sludge section consuming the listener as a whole – but also the mixing of the drums that often reminds of the kettle drum sound on Autopsy‘s seminal work. However, when speaking of drums, Spider absolutely shines when he crashes into the Powerviolence sections by easily showing what goddamn PV drums should sound like – mixing this with perfect Swedish Death Metal melodies on top.
When not furiously oscillating between insane Death Metal riffs and crashing Powerviolence drums, this album shines during its discordant Sludge sections that add the special spices to this release. The heavily groovy yet disconcerting Sludge passages on this album always feel absolutely on point and sometimes fill entire tracks, such as “Get Sick and Die” (until the final third of the track).
Eventually, this album hit me by surprise. I already knew Goatburner from their Dead Kennedys cover of “Hellnation” on the Grindcore Uber Alles sampler by The Hills Are Dead Records. However, I only found out about this album a few days after its release when Arpad hit me up and asked if I wanted to write about it. This album should not be missed in 2019, since it showcases that there still is the possibility of coming up with innovative genre mixtures.
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9 / 10
As usual, we added the favorite track(s) to our Transcended Review Playlist.