Album Review: LIVET SOM INSATS Check Your Grind
Like the boys in Livet Som Insats said in their Decibel interview, there's not a whole lot of Swedish grindcore currently out there (the mighty, mighty Nasum aside). Gadget, Sayyadina and Birdflesh are all great bands* but the land is teeming with black metal and doom bands. And Livet Som Insats has enough oomph in them to keep grindcore feeling fresh, fun and destructive.
Check Your Grind is the second full length by the crusty grinders. Formed in Falun, Sweden, in 2009, Livet Som Insats thrives on keeping things simple and…well, fucking insane in the same sense that The Kill's entire discography might actually be one progressive blast beat, and Livet Som Insats is also kinda like that. And with only one other full length to their name, the band comes out swinging again with Check Your Grind.
Blasts. Lots of blasts. Blasts everywhere. A blast for you and you and you and you and you and fuckin' everyone. Check Your Grind is already in the running for the blastiest album of the year (and so far winning from what I've heard). It only takes a thirty seconds into the first song to blow things up to level eleven. And, well, let's face it, if you don't like blasts, this one is already lost on you.
The constant difficulty of constructing songs and albums around so much raw energy is how quick it can be to wear out the listener. Sure a ton of bands can blast left and right but it's not too often that many of them can hold the listener for twenty or thirty minutes. Check Your Grind is one of those albums that clicks song after song. The band never feels too repetitive, even for the first few listens. It's easy to feel lost in the fray song to song, but it's never boring.
There are moments where the band, well, “cools” it for a grind band. Eight tracks in and Livet Som Insats takes it down a few notches to focus on a heavier sound for parts of of “Ord Som Vapen.” The heavy beast takes things down a crustier, d-beat path before speeding up and going full demolition and shows that the band isn't just a one blast** pony. “Instadeth” also showcases a heavier side with a stop/go breakdown at the end that feels like it grabs your face and shakes it viciously.
Where this album really manages to shine is that despite how heavy it sounds and how bass-y it is, the album is still punk as hell (see: Song of Oblivion”). Songs are short and simple in the sense of Wormrot and The Kill, keeping them quick brutal slices. The occasional gang vocals and hardcore/punk punch that kick up the energy are prevalent throughout.
Check Your Grind gets better with each subsequent listen. It's a short twenty-three minutes spread throughout twenty-four tracks. And title/cover art aside, it's got little to do with Beastie Boys besides how goddamn fun the album is. For grind-freaks, this is a no brainer. It's got blast, crust and d-beat to spare, and sometimes it feels like it's in endless supply. It is surprisingly varied throughout. But you might not notice it if you're not giving it your full attention. If Livet Som Insats manages to top the unhinged energy and nonstop madness I'll be both surprised and delighted.
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*I'm sure one of you is going to get all “Uh, but [band] is from Sweden and they're excellent. I can't believe you missed that!” Yep. I get it. Point still stands. This isn't the fuckin' States, kids.
**At this point attempting to set a world record for the amount of times the word “blast” is used in a single 600+ word review.