Nasum - _Helvete_
(Relapse Records, 2003)
by: Jackie Smit (
Consider just about every hype-affirming tagline in existence and chances are that it has already been used to describe Sweden's Nasum at some stage prior to you reading this review. Indeed with a massive underground following, as well as accolades heaped upon them from sources as seemingly outlandish as Amen's Casey Chaos, it is somewhat surprising that their third full-length album is released to relatively little pre-emptive exposure. However, as the first riff of opening track "Violation" literarily scythes through the air, it is pretty much a given that their record label are confident enough in the band's obvious ability to sell themselves based on sheer blunt-force ferocity and talent. This, of course, they succeed in doing with tremendous aplomb. Although sounding slightly slicker and just a tad catchier than either _Inhale/Exhale_ or _Human 2.0_, _Helvete_ is by no means the sound of a band losing steam. In fact, it would be fairly safe to say that their Molotov cocktail of punk, grind and death metal has never sounded angrier or more crushing. The lads even manage to throw in a few surprises along the course of the twenty-two musical beatdowns that comprise the disc's entirety -- witness the ingenious melodic break that drives "Living Next Door to Malice" or the raised-fist anthem that forms the foundation of "I Hate People" for proof. What ultimately makes _Helvete_ such a roaring triumph is that Nasum have managed to avoid the dreaded third album syndrome, which by all accounts would have been very easy for them to fall into, seeing as how their last two albums are widely regarded as classics. There may be a lot of talented bands in the grind scene right now, but this record confirms without a doubt that they are merely the _Pleasure to Kill_ to Nasum's _Reign in Blood_.
(article published 5/18/2003)
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