Nasum - _Inhale/Exhale_
(Relapse, 1998)
by: Paul Schwarz (8.5 out of 10)
This really is one of the very few grind albums, especially recently, which manages to conform to two criteria which so often seem mutually exclusive: a) more than half as many tracks as minutes; b) excellent music. Nasum are treading the straight-to-the-point path of Napalm Death, Carcass and others of their pioneering ilk trod ten years ago. BUT, and that is a big "but" in more than just the size of the type, Nasum are not a band living in the past. Nasum stand out with respect to both the sound they have captured and the quality of the music they produce. One asset: their production. _Inhale/Exhale_ has a refreshing death metal edge to it, and this edge is somewhat Swedish in its deathliness (unsurprising, considering Nasum come from Sweden), but also possesses that essential hint of rawness which all great grind/crust needs -- can you imagine a "clean" _World Downfall_? Nasum's basic frame is the simple, mostly three chord, guitar and bass progressions, and virtually unrelenting drumming, which is the essence of grindcore. BUT what they have a firm grasp on is the manipulation of other drum beats than the blast snare and more guitar chords than the Sex Pistols could remember. This is still pretty stripped down, it's still the virtual antithesis of Steve Vai or Yngwie Malmsteen (and the vocals are still harsh enough to strip the enamel from your teeth), but it isn't boring, which is exactly what so much grindcore ends up being. Many of these songs nail a catchy groove ("The Masked Face", "I See Lies"), not in the manipulative mosh-core fashion of Machine Head or Biohazard, but simply by putting together rhythms and vocals which I catch myself repeating periodically at various intervals. The other technique which turns up (most notably in "Shaping the End") is the addition of a varying melodic guitar line behind the intense, unrelenting grind-punk sounds, which gives the album a further angle of attack. _Inhale/Exhale_ is excellent, unrelenting and interesting grindcore, an uncommon blend from an uncommonly good band.

(article published 19/11/1998)

5/18/2003 J Smit 9 Nasum - Helvete
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