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Thursday, 17 June 2010

Grindcore 2.0 (Nasum, Human 2.0, 2000)

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Nasum best describes a phenomenon of what happened to Grindcore in the 2000's; the genre was thrown in head first into the depths and heights of the musical world we had no idea existed before hand, it is safe to say that the world of Grindcore; was thought to be flat before these Swedish iconoclasts brought back with them a raw noise from the perceived edge, and forged it to be the music of Nasum.
Mieszko Talarczyk is by far the most important man in the history of Grindcore (Polish Pride!!) and may be mistaken by many as a deity sent by the heavens to put Grindcore back on track to the path of Glory and not the path of a monotonous humdrum, sadly his life was taken in the 2004 tsunami disaster and it was this event that really put his work in the limelight and people en masse recognised his achievements. Among some of his medals lies the album Human 2.0, a testament to his innovative and professional musical nature.
Nasum polarised the grinding massess, in what defines Grindcore. The infamous saying "not loud enough, not heavy enough and not fast enough" had been the Grindcore formula since its inception, over time certain elements had been challenged and altered, but the general paradigm had not, until Nasum came along. Nasum challenged the most importance orthodoxy established in Grindcore; the notion of heaviness or brutality if you prefer. Grindcore prides itself on being able to unleash a tirade of the most heavy music on the planet, over genres sound like a Disney sound track compared to the unconventional and unmatched brutality of Grindcore.Nasum  put this into scrutiny, they opted to replace heaviness with rhythm and more "conventional" structure, almost giving it a more melodic take on the genre. However they did not replace all the heaviness with these elements, only a significant portion and this is what I love about Nasum, they just fluidly shift (pun inteneded) to and fro sections more akin to an amalgamation of metal genres into an explosion of blast beats, fast riffs and a rasping vocals. Human 2.0 is where Nasum decided to say shut the fuck up and listen to this! . They showed that they could still maintain an insane audio assault that was heavy enough to create a black hole, whilst still maintaining these "new" takes on structure and rhythm. 

Generally this album has a lighter approach to music than its predecessors and generally for the whole genre, but maintain that poetic high level of politicisation and criticism in form of lyrics and song title, which early grindcore outfits prided themselves on and perhaps was generally lost in the build up to the the 3rd millennium. There is no time to make a cup of tea or even to pick something off the floor, the songs are short and tight, just how we like em.
All the instruments play a prominent role in Talarczyk's revision of Grindcore, although it is his guitaring that take it off the edge and into the sublime, forming the backbone of the Nasum effect, with the bass and drums building up from it. Expect the vocal pairs of screamy and shouty to make appearances, but perhaps by accident and not design they are more comprehensible than most bands that use this approach. The drumming acts as a doppelgänger to the guitar work and gives it that ferocity and edge to the riffing that will descalp your face. Like the Norse god of thunder and rain, Thor had his hammer, well Nasum have their bassist who harmoniously clashes with the guitars and drums to give a raw depth, to this melodically grinding masterpiece. This album is a puzzle to me; it is soft yet harsh, and constantly changes from an all out musical riot to something systematic and soothing, yet the changes seem natural and not incongrues, clearly the sign of a master of the musical trade.
 Lets put it bluntly, Human 2.0  is a must have album for a grindcore fan, is  la pièce de résistance album of the band that rewrote the Grindcore Constitution by force.