Braced For Mayhem: Rotten Sound And Escuela Grind Devastate Audio

Silence sucks! Glasgow’s eardrums are ready to get annihilated by grind merchants Rotten Sound and hardcore hatebringers Escuela Grind. The Audio is the site for such aural aggression on an otherwise uneventful midweek evening.

Rotten Sound – Escuela Grind

Audio, Glasgow  – 15 May 2024

Words: Elena Francis

Photography: Razorrhead Productions

Formed in 1993 and touring fairly consistently, Finnish grindcore maniacs Rotten Sound are incredibly adept at delivering a violently impressive live performance. They commence obliterating Audio with Self, a short, sharp shock that gets the fan’s adrenaline flowing. 

Rotten Sound - Audio, Glasgow  - 15 May 2024
Rotten Sound – Audio, Glasgow  – 15 May 2024. Photo: Razorrhead Productions/MetalTalk

Anything less than a feral presence would be disappointing, and thankfully, the Finns maintain constant motion while they play. Vocalist Keijo Niinimaa is in his fifties, yet still bellows out blood-curdling rasps and deeper growls with the ferocity and rage of a man half his years. 

The quartet supplies catchy punchy riffs alongside relentless torrents of blastbeats and d-beats. Tempos are faithfully at a breakneck pace, although the occasional slower passage affords some time for the punters to claw their breath back. 

Rotten Sound - Audio, Glasgow  - 15 May 2024
Rotten Sound – Audio, Glasgow  – 15 May 2024. Photo: Razorrhead Productions/MetalTalk

The soundman does a very commendable job ensuring the sound is caustic yet clear, a challenging balance with the grind genre.

Naturally, moshers and stage divers are encouraged by Rotten Sound spewing out such belligerent tunes. Being grindcore, songs rarely last more than two minutes, and it feels akin to being peppered by assault rifle fire. 

Rotten Sound - Audio, Glasgow  - 15 May 2024
Rotten Sound – Audio, Glasgow  – 15 May 2024. Photo: Razorrhead Productions/MetalTalk

There are well over twenty songs on the setlist, including Insects, Void, Lazy Asses, Corponation and Plan. Last year, the Finns unleashed their seventh full-length Apocalypse, yet another scathing paroxysm commentating on the worsening ills that afflict modern society and politics.  

Rotten Sound - Audio, Glasgow  - 15 May 2024
Rotten Sound – Audio, Glasgow  – 15 May 2024. Photo: Razorrhead Productions/MetalTalk

More than half of the twenty-minute release is aired tonight, with Suburban Bliss, Inflation, Renewables, Digital Bliss and Nothingness among the selected. At one point during the set, Niinimaa introduces a song where he references the Ukraine and Palestine conflicts (just after remarking that Hamas are right) and says, “Fuck war.”

Rotten Sound - Audio, Glasgow  - 15 May 2024
Rotten Sound – Audio, Glasgow  – 15 May 2024. Photo: Razorrhead Productions/MetalTalk

Despite having a robust discography that spans more than 30 years, Rotten Sound’s set only lasts for 40 minutes. This puts a real dampener on an otherwise stellar display of power. 

Alas, Blind signifies the night’s end and a shorter-than-average yet high-quality concert experience.

Escuela Grind
Escuela Grind - Audio, Glasgow  - 15 May 2024
Escuela Grind – Audio, Glasgow  – 15 May 2024. Photo: Razorrhead Productions/MetalTalk

Unusually, there’s only one other act on the bill tonight; Escuela Grind from the US weld hardcore, grind and power violence into a salad of all-encompassing heavier music. Very recently, this underground band has courted an astonishing amount of controversy for a fresher collective, which won’t be detailed here. 

Escuela Grind - Audio, Glasgow  - 15 May 2024
Escuela Grind – Audio, Glasgow  – 15 May 2024. Photo: Razorrhead Productions/MetalTalk

Needless to say, they’re a divisive act. Formed in 2016, they were last spotted in Glasgow supporting Napalm Death at a sold-out show two years prior. When they initiate their set, the crowd is stationary, presumably analysing Escuela Grind’s worth. 

Before long, mosh pits, circle pits, and stage diving steal eyeball gazes. 

Escuela Grind - Audio, Glasgow  - 15 May 2024
Escuela Grind – Audio, Glasgow  – 15 May 2024. Photo: Razorrhead Productions/MetalTalk

The music is as chaotic as ricocheting bullets, thick with loathing and firepower. While the songs are nothing revolutionary, the enthusiasm oozes from each members’ orifice. Vocalist Katerina Economou is the polar opposite of most frontmen in this kind of music. She’s warm, personable and very sociable, a far cry from the tough guy persona that goes hand-in-hand with hardcore bands. 

She even encourages the audience to shake their rear ends and leads by example. 

Escuela Grind - Audio, Glasgow  - 15 May 2024
Escuela Grind – Audio, Glasgow  – 15 May 2024. Photo: Razorrhead Productions/MetalTalk

The band wholeheartedly supports feminism, the LGBT+ community and ethnic minorities. Economou catchily phrases it: “We support the shes, the gays and the theys,” and shouts out black and brown people, who she says enabled the band’s existence. All the while, the Glasgow grind crowd cheers supportively. 

Escuela Grind - Audio, Glasgow  - 15 May 2024
Escuela Grind – Audio, Glasgow  – 15 May 2024. Photo: Razorrhead Productions/MetalTalk

The closing number features Economou’s clean singing, and this feels like a particularly jarring facet of the music, distractingly sticking out and breaking immersion. Her voice feels too weak to carry this off and would have sounded better if she maintained her hardcore shouts. 

At the close of their slot, Economou invites people to meet the band by their merch stand. Judging by the collective approval they received, Escuela Grind cemented some new followers into their fanbase. 

Escuela Grind - Audio, Glasgow  - 15 May 2024
Escuela Grind – Audio, Glasgow  – 15 May 2024. Photo: Razorrhead Productions/MetalTalk
Escuela Grind - Audio, Glasgow  - 15 May 2024
Escuela Grind – Audio, Glasgow  – 15 May 2024. Photo: Razorrhead Productions/MetalTalk

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