Roughly one year ago, Nasum's singer/guitarist Mieszko Talarczyk died when a tsunami struck Thailand, where he was vacationing to celebrate his 30th birthday. His bandmates immediately decided the world's fastest trio would cease to exist as an active entity. However, Anders Jakobson, who handled bass, drums, vocals and guitar at various times during the Swedish group's 12-year run, dug through the vaults to bring comprehensive closure to this chapter. Perhaps the most efficiently encyclopedic B-sides and rarities compilation ever released, Grind Finale pressure-condenses 152 tracks onto two discs.
The collection's earliest material finds the nascent then-quartet establishing its crusty grind-meets-punk sound and radically compassionate perspective. "When will you act for humanity?," Jakobson asks, funneling the phrase through the low-toned gurgle of original singer Rickard Alriksson. A later line, from when Talarczyk replaced Alriksson on vocals, epitomizes Nasum's increasingly aggressive stance: "Fuck the system like it fucks you every fucking day."
Rarely do groups live to hear their idols not only praise them, but also admit to aping their techniques. (Unless they play alternative rock and said idol is David Bowie.) Napalm Death bassist Shane Embury publicly proclaimed that Nasum influenced his recent songwriting and, appropriately, Nasum's Napalm Death covers on Grind Finale achieve inhuman speed. The set's uniformly impressive covers also include a savagely accelerated Propagandhi number and a Refused remake with air-raid guitars.
Nasum's final unreleased outtakes found it experimenting with grooves without sacrificing intensity, with some song lengths stretching to a relatively epic two minutes. It might be frustrating for fans to ponder what Nasum could have become, and it's safe to say the musicians themselves aren't immune to such thoughts. Jakobson's liner notes end with a bittersweet summation, describing Nasum as "something that never got finished." However, his efforts serve as an enduring eulogy for Nasum's tragically abridged career.
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