Bas Rotten – Surge
Seemingly the best European grindcore record of 2020.
With its violent (and violently painted) artwork and title, Bas Rotten (a pun on the name of the retired MMA fighter Bas Rutten) seemingly prepare, or maybe warn, the listener of the manic sonic energy found on each of the 17 tracks on their debut Surge. But the truth is, nothing, not even looking at the two fighters pummeling each other, can prepare us for the manic speed and energy that pressing play on this 20-minute LP unleashes.
From the get-go, the Portuguese quintet attacks you with aggressive and varied riffs and blastbeats. There’s a lot of thrash-like riffs, some crusty grind, even a bit of melodeath harmonies which add a lot of flair to the entire affair. This variety makes for a constant barrage of catchy riffs that seem to fight for our attention, but also change with such a lightning speed that at some point become almost a blur. In a good way, though. Cause the band zips through melodies, genres, and influences, making for a super interesting listen. Just hear how the kinda slow (for Bas Rotten’s standards, at least), moody, and slightly black metal-like dissonant beginning of “Safe” seamlessly explodes into crossover-like riff and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
There are some danceable mid-tempo tracks like “Primate” or the ending of “Self” which though super short, add a bit of variety to the almost constant manic tempo the quintet excels at. It’s almost as if they are there to give us some time to catch our breaths and almost find our footing in the constant onslaught for manic riffs and wild drumming. The keyword here is “almost” cause none of these mid-tempo “interludes” is long enough to do anything but disorient us even more. They are like the second of peace and quiet before an explosion or a blow to the ears. Incredibly awesome!
But instead of me telling you how Surge feels, better experience it for yourselves. It’s totally worth it!