Nasum - Human 2.0 (Cover Artwork)
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Nasum

Nasum: Human 2.0

Human 2.0 (2000)

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4
I, Goldilocks, curiously crept into the house of grindcore several months ago, lured by the thought of short, politically-charged extreme music adapted from hardcore and crust punk. The first bite I tried was originators Napalm Death, and it was too belchy. Despite all attempts to accept it as is, t...

I, Goldilocks, curiously crept into the house of grindcore several months ago, lured by the thought of short, politically-charged extreme music adapted from hardcore and crust punk. The first bite I tried was originators Napalm Death, and it was too belchy. Despite all attempts to accept it as is, the Cookie Monster vocals made me a bit sick. Next I tried Pig Destroyer, knowing they began as Cop Destroyer, and it was too long. Grindcore is usually fun for a minute or two, but Pig Destroyer's three minutes of morbidly poetic grind was a little much for a novice. Then I tried Head Hits Concrete after learning of their posthumous deal with G7 Welcoming Committee, but it was too spastic. It sounded like Dillinger Escape Plan, only even harder to listen to. Finally, after nearly giving up, I found Nasum. And it was just right.

Hailing from Sweden and equipped with four already accomplished members, Nasum played brutally fast and heavy grindcore directly influenced by Napalm Death. Unlike Napalm Death, however, the vocals of lead frontman Mieszko Talarczyk were more influenced by hardcore than heavy metal, and unlike most other grindcore bands, Talarczyk played guitar as well as singing.

With a total of 25 songs in just over 38 minutes, the average song on Human 2.0 is 1:31 in length. That's 1:31 of some of the most intense music possible, with neck-breaking blast beats, grating guitarwork, and overdriven hardcore vocals. If you're not strapped in when you hit play, there's a good chance you'll get knocked on your ass.

A quick glance at the song titles is fairly indicative of what to expect lyrically. "Multinational Murderers Network" starts off with a damn-near hip-hop beat, building slowly before erupting into a wall of chaos as Talarczyk yells, "A profit made from death / These huge organizations built on lies / The Multinational, The Unstoppable, Unscrupulous Dead / A broken promise / Unmeasurable strength / Those feeble lies / Spread an awful stench / A juicy profit / And millions are lying dead." "The Idiot Parade" combines a myriad of blast beats, hardcore punk rhythms, and D-beat while containing one of the album's best messages: "Your senseless thoughts of racial pride / Have infested your weak mind / Will you ever realise? / It's not 'you' or 'them' -- it's 'us'!." The terrifying noise of "Riot" clocks in at only 40 seconds and wastes no time declaring war on the status quo: "We are on are march to reconstruct society / We are here to show you our side of reality / RIOT -- burn the streets! / Feel our purifying napalm!." While it's hard to call a standout track on an album like Human 2.0, the hardcore/D-beat "Detonation" is probably the most memorable (though also the least grindcore) with alternating vocals and extreme crust feel.

Sadly, Nasum's existence came to a heartbreaking end when Talarczyk died in the Indian Ocean tsunami, the day after Christmas of 2004. The band rightfully decided to end what was known as Nasum, leaving a parting gift of Grind Finale, a 2-disc set of 152 grindcore classics for anyone who is up to the challenge.

As for Human 2.0, I cannot recommend a better place to start for punkers interested in getting into grindcore. The songs are brutal and intense, but they are short, stomachable, and can soon be found enjoyable.