Skam

Sounds Of A Disease

Written by: RUB on 04/12/2020 12:38:14

Imagine being so pissed off at 2020, already in the first couple of months of the year, that you decide to launch a solo project, where you have the task of playing every instrument and writing all the music by yourself. This is exactly what Mats ‘M’ Andersson from Sweden has done — and although I don’t know for sure whether it is directly related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (apart from the album’s title, that is), the sheer extremity and aggression oozing from this 30-minute grindcore-barrage is intense and a force to be reckoned with, there can be no doubt.

This is not Andersson’s first band, nor is it his first solo project, as he is part of a few lesser known Swedish death metal acts such as Wretched Fate (who released their latest album in 2019). But my oh my, does Skam just check all the right boxes for me. From the very first track, it’s clear that we’re dealing with grindcore much in the vein of both Rotten Sound and Nasum, but also throwing in some clearer death and black metal elements in the vein of Aborted and even Anaal Nathrakh, producing a tasty mix for an extreme metal fan such as myself. With tracks like “When Liquid Is the New Solid”, “Millstone Gallows” and “Shit out of Luck”, any fan of the genre should feel right at home — and if more people were aware of this outing, I’m sure it would end up on several end of the year lists.

For good measure, Andersson has thrown in some pieces with a slower pace as well (if one can use that adjective in the grindcore context), which ensures that the 30 minutes aren’t just a constant, monotonous bombardment of your ears. Both “Passenger of Decline”, “Echoes and…”, and “Sentencing” start out quietly to give the listener a breather, before the onslaught eventually continues once again — or, in the case of “Sentencing”, eventually ends the album on a pretty high note. The music is grim and nasty and, in my opinion, gives Anaal Nathrakh a run for their money with all the menacing snarls and shrieks Andersson utilises.

For the casual listener – heck, even the casual metal listener — Skam could easily sound messy, stressful and simply too extreme, but as stated on the act’s Facebook page: the music is “produced with the main purpose of releasing stress while lamenting the world’s declining mental health”. Not overly positive, but I do get the part about releasing some stress. Grindcore in its essence is meant to be such an intense listening experience that what might sound like simple noise to a non-connoisseur, has the power to do something else for the brain of the extreme metal listener, obviously in extension of banging and moshing around to it. If you truly can appreciate what’s going on here, you’re without a doubt rewarded with something special.

13 tracks and roughly 30 minutes later, my verdict is clear: not only have Skam managed to release a début album in which everything is done by a single guy, but the project has also released a record that definitely has end of the year list-topping potential. It’s so absurd that it’s created by just one man, and to me this only adds to how impressive the release has turned out to be. It’s nasty to the core, so whether you’re equally pissed off about this lost year or just need to calm down after a stressful week, Skam have got you covered.

Download: Millstone Gallows; When Liquid Is the New Solid; Shit out of Luck; Used, Defiled, Expended; Sentencing
For the fans of: Aborted, Anaal Nathrakh, Brutal Truth, Napalm Death, Nasum, Rotten Sound
Listen: Facebook

Release date 03.04.2020
Redefining Darkness Records

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