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Radioskugga - Self Titled Review

by Hobo

Radioskugga are an up and coming Swedish grind band, who after releasing a couple of EPs and 7's, are already beginning to build notoriety in the international grind scene. This is their first full length. I think they are best described as grindcore with a death metal mindset and some punk and crust influence in the mix.

I say a death metal mindset because the song structuring points heavily to brutal death metal - the band isn't willing to jump from one riff to the next in five seconds. They take their time, and pace their songs a little slower than one might expect. Now I don't think that's necessarily a good thing - when I listen to this album, all I can think of is how cool it would sound cranked up another 30 bpm - and sure, if you're drummer can't handle it, then cut back on the f***ing song length man!

That takes us to my issues with the production; 'WHERES THE f***IN' BALLS MAN? The mix is absolutely bass-less - devoid of all bass. On top of that guitars are razor thin and overdriven - not messy or crusty, just really, really weak. They could've quadruple tracked the guitars in my opinion - get that production beefier, emphasizes the attack! You are not a punk band! You music needs f***en impact! You need a big soundscape! The drums are decently mixed, but again they could be bigger. Too much of a punk/crust focus in the production.

The vocals are probably the strongest point of the band - there's just something about Swedes that let them have a real cool and aggressive f***ing vocalists. The drummer just basically keeps score - so don't expect any massive fills or tricky offbeats. It seems like the bloke is content just going blast, punk beat, blast, punk beat and repeat (mind you the drummer doesn't look like the most aggressive or powerful of people). There are some cool riffs on the album, but their impact is lessened by the production and hindered by the mid-tempo speed.

Right now we have twenty tracks at a little over thirty minutes. The thing is, the album would absolutely kill it if it pulled in at twenty, or fifteen! The songs just seem to be slightly lacking that aggressive edge that fuels grindcore. Whether it is the raw crust influence that is to blame for the production or simply recording budget is inconsequential - the result is the same.

I know this seems like a really negative review - and it isn't. Radioskugga are a good band, they're just not utilizing some of the potential they have, and more than anything that pisses me off. The album needs to be punchier, more extreme, more breakneck, more direct, more uncompromising and more aggressive! I'll await further releases before passing judgment on this band, because I really do want to like them, and they deserve praise, but they're just not quite there yet. Do check them out if you are a fan of the Swedish scene of grindier punk/crust bands (not crustier grind bands, because, like me, you'll be dissatisfied).

Genre: Grinding Crust/Punk

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