Out of Portugal come the hard-hitting Bas Rotten. Three years after their initial demo debut, this haymaker lands with 17 tracks, none breaking the 1:50 mark.
Swift, demonic energy cauterize this young band’s ferocity. Surge begins with an ominous quote: “These conquests do not necessarily come with bombs, explosions, and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, only to be found in the minds of men.”
Bas Rotten latch onto the best elements of crossover, grindcore, and power violence, hammering out razor-sharp tempo changes, crisp drums, chugging riffs, thick production, thrash adoration, thunderous low end, and stomping breakdowns.
Add in growling vocals (without those annoying, high-pitched screeches), and Bas Rotten nail each category perfectly. Surge’s fast parts and blast beats concoct a whirlwind pace. Additionally, Bas Rotten pepper witty samples in between most tracks, which keeps the album moving at an intense tempo.
Surge is down and dirty, grimy and gritty. The listener will become mesmerized by stand-out parts like the guitar line in “Violence,” the breakdown stomp of “Follow,” which leads into another thrashy banger, in the furious, 16-second “Primate”—the momentum of this bastard is unrelenting.
“Burnout” punches quickly (15 seconds) but sacrifices nothing. Get ensnared by the metallic charge of “Self,” which has the two being bridged by a jangly, anxious bass line. “Yellow” will incite vicious pits. The slow, churning vignettes are equally satisfying to the blistering head-pounding of the barrage of 16th notes.
The painting on the cover art adds an element that, while recognizable as two boxers engaged, the visceral oil strokes evoke a kinetic, abstract feel. This helps to visualize the sweat and urgency, elements that are essential to Surge’s intensity.