Rotten Sound + Ramming Speed + Sights Of War @ La Sala Rossa – 1st June 2016

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It’s not always easy to encourage people away from the comfort of their homes midweek, especially when it’s a warm summer’s evening. So it’s somewhat understandable to find only around 50 people in attendance on a Wednesday night at La Sala Rossa to catch Finland’s Rotten Sound deliver their extreme grindcore. Earlier in the evening an elderly couple wander up to the door asking “what music do we have tonight?”, perhaps expecting some relaxing jazz or a few soul numbers. After a quick explanation they opt to head back out in search of something easier on the ear. Shame.

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First up tonight, Sherbrooke’s Sights Of War manage to bring a heads-down mix of thrash, grindcore and the occasional doom-laden sludge riff to kick proceedings off. Frontman J-F Ouimet looks uncomfortable centre stage, hardly ever raising his eyes from the floor, but what they lack in charisma they make up for in musicianship, and their relentless assault gets a respectful response from those in the room.

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No such issues for Bostonians Ramming Speed. Lead vocalist, Peter Gallagher performs like he’s headlining Madison Square Garden and seems intent on having the time of his life despite the sparse crowd. His enthusiasm is infectious too and it’s not long before an admittedly minimal circle pit opens up. Gallagher even opts to join them for a few moments before returning to the safety of the stage. Ramming Speed live up to their name, residing at the crossroads of thrash, death and classic metal. They won a few new fans here this evening that’s for sure.

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Fresh from playing Maryland Deathfest, Rotten Sound take everything up a few notches with their brutal grindcore. The musical equivalent of repeated punches to the forehead, they show no signs of slowing down after 23 years as a band. Vocalist and founding member Keijo Niinimaa has a voice that will make you believe he’s possessed by some sort of demon and Sami Latva lays down the thundering beats at a speed that is almost hypnotising.

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Tracks from their latest album Abuse To Suffer stand up well next to older material and the way they shift from full-on assaults to slower, but just as heavy, grooves means things never feel repetitive. Niinimaa interacts with the crowd well and the band are technically tight and accomplished as musicians.

All in all a solid night of extreme music. Respect to Extensive Enterprise for continuing to bring the best in heavy music to Montreal.

Review and photos – Steve Gerrard

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