Mustasuo – Katharsis (Off Records)

2020 may be the year the world went to hell, but at least it has brought us some incendiary grind and crust. Bands like WVRM, Henry Kane, Skam and ACxDC have all done some serious damage in the last six months… and Finland’s Mustasuo have now joined the party.

It would be lazy to compare the trio to fellow Finns Rotten Sound – but there is something of that legendary act’s heavyweight assault in Katharsis.

And that’s no bad thing.

However, Mustasuo’s debut album is the work of a band who’ve quickly forged their own path.

And while they may take inspiration from the likes of Nasum, or Finnish d-beaters Unkind, the Mustasuo’s combo of rabid blasting, anarcho-crust and bleak doom dirges is as original as it is frightening.

Yes, they’re certainly capable of hyper-intense, face in the furnace grindcore – the title track and Tapahtumahorisontti – are prime examples, but concentrate too much on those little ragers, and you’ll miss the charred melodies, rhythmic acrobatics and blackened atmospherics found elsewhere.

The tense, jagged Tuhoaja is electrifying, Tuomitulle has the density and melancholic heft of Cult Of Luna, and album closer Noitaympyrä, is an exercise in sinewy Scandicore, before descending, screaming and wailing into the abyss.

And even at its most crust caked (Turhuuksia, for instance), there’s some remarkably deft songcraft at work here.

Looking for cheap, grind thrills? Then Katharsis isn’t really the place. But Mustasuo’s debut is intelligent, intriguing and full of vim and vigour. And it hits home hard.