Nasum - Helvete
Relapse Records
22 songs (35:03)
Release year: 2003
Nasum, Relapse Records
Reviewed by Charles
Archive review
I saw Nasum play at the end of 2004, a couple of months before frontman Mieszko Talarczyk was killed in the Asian Tsunami. Nowadays, it is hard to say the extent of the influence that the band had on the grind scene, without the discussion getting confused by such a tragedy.

It is probably fair to say that, if they didn’t take music to new levels of heaviness (there will always be people who can name someone heavier, of course), they did generate new types of heaviness. Listening to Helvete now, there is a clear likeness to Napalm Death during their more death metal influenced period. The riffs are tightly packed alongside each other within short songs like little headbanging sardines, and the sound is dense and dextrous, leaping around new, brutal riffs energetically. But added to this, Nasum have always seemed to me to have a strongly “mechanised” feel to their sound. Anders Jakobsen’s drums are tight, relentless and rapidfire, making the band sound like a remorseless grind machine, emotionless and unrepentant so as to belie the leftiness of their lyrics. As such, the band seems to me to be less “riff-focussed”, and more “energy focussed”, so to speak. The attraction of it comes from the joy of having the ears beaten to a bloody pulp rather than the songs themselves.

The audial violence on show here reaches pretty staggering proportions. The tracks throw themselves together aggressively, as if the album itself were a circle pit, mocking the idea of stopping for a breather. We do get the occasional respite, for example as the breathless duo of We Curse You All and Doombringer give way to the head-nodding groove that opens Just Another Hog, but it never lasts.

As a slight grind-sceptic, I have often questioned the extent to which in this day and age one band can really be said to be doing something qualitatively different from another, barring a few outliers such as Total Fucking Destruction. But whilst Nasum never really struck me as unique, they carved a distinctive and recogniseable niche for their sound and certainly deserve the reputation they have garnered over time. More importantly, at their best they simultaneously sound almost superhumanly fearsome, and as subhumanly primitive as you could ever wish a band to be.

Killing Songs :
Should be listened to as a whole
Charles quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Nasum that we have reviewed:
Nasum - Grind Finale reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Nasum - Shift reviewed by Aaron and quoted 86 / 100
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