Where they from?
Portugal. Back in the Before Times of 2019 I was actually toying with the idea of flying out to Portugal to see Agathocles. I’m not even that big a fan of Agathocles, I just really wanted to a good excuse to go to Portugal. While researching my would-be trip I found out that Portugal is surprisingly a big surf destination. Does this shock anyone else? I thought surfing was a cool, laidback type thing they do in California and Australia. I always assumed mainland Europe was too stiff for that kind of thing. Oh well, the more you know.
Why the hype?
Let’s talk about…THRASH! Specifically, CROSSOVER THRASH! It’s funny, a lot of people lump grindcore in with death metal but I always found grind to be the spiritual successor of thrash because they both put such heavy emphasis on SPEED! (and yeah, I know there’s a heavy crust punk influence, too, but I’m trying to have a civil conversation here among the well-showered). Death metal, for all its supposed heaviness, is entirely too lumbering of a genre to really be compared to grindcore, whereas thrash is all about the rushing speed and velocity that grind would try to push to thee logical extreme. The average grind album has much more in common with the likes of Morbid Saint than anything Suffocation has put out in the past 20 years.
Which makes it so surprising that so few bands have gone the route of combining thrash and grindcore. Enter Portugal’s Bas Rotten, who hail themselves as “Blast beat crossover.” And oh lord, do they deliver. This is one of the few bands that will get covered in this column that I feel would legitimately appeal to fans outside of the booger-eating realm of underground goregrind bands from Texas. At their best, Bas Rotten can seamlessly switch from high-intensity Captain Cleanoff-esque blast beats to ass-pummeling Iron Reagan style two-steps within the same song without blinking. A truly potent formula.
Surge. I’m honestly so pissed I’m only discovering this album now because I sure as shit would have included “Yellow” on my Top 20 Grindcore Songs of 2020. It shows what the band is capable of in under two minutes: a whirlwind of blasts, ferocious circle pit fight riffs, and some of the most anthemic chanting this side of Sacred Reich’s Surf Nicaragua? Nah, Surf Portugal.