There’s something to be said about a nice, clean production, where every note and lyric can be heard with clarity and precision. There’s also something to be said for the kind of production where everything is a bit of a blur, all the different elements blending in to one another in a demo-level buzz. Suffer by Chicago crust/grind band Euthanized is definitely an example of the later. The raw, basement quality production works in the favour of the band, giving the music that extra DIY underground edge that can really matter in music like this. That the music itself is pretty decent helps, too. Unsubtle, yet also fairly unorthodox at points, Suffer is quite diverse for such a short crust record, taking in different styles without sacrificing any power or conviction over it’s sixteen minutes.
The first half of the record is the most aggressive, with short, raging tracks like ‘Euthanasia’ and ‘Shit World’ stomping around in a belligerent manner. The strong bass lines and air of protest reminds me of older US crust, and there’s a strong punk flavour to the songs too, with riffs kept simple and powerful. Sally’s vocals are more important for the feeling they convey than the actual lyrics – whatever it is she’s screaming, it’s obviously not happy stuff. There’s contrast within the tracks too that gives them extra power, such as the melancholic guitar opening of ‘Blue Line’ that contrasts so well with the more intense bass riff that soon follows.
The last two ‘proper’ tracks (closer ‘Sally’s Revenge’ is a 5 second false-intro) are slower and longer than anything that goes before them. The title track opens with a feedback-drenched dirge before moving in to the main body of the song, which is as slow and heavy as a lost Grief track, yet still has a crust feel to it. Instrumental ‘Time’s Effect’ opens with that “now I am become death…” sample over feedback and bass, which then lurches in to the kind of heavy, stomping crust riff that Skaven were masters of. It’s an unusual way to close out a record, but it works.
What makes Suffer feel notable though is the air of ambition it carries. The way it incorporates so many different styles of crust and grind in to its relatively short duration suggests that Euthanized are a band who are unlikely to settle for releasing something derivative or ordinary, and who instead prefer to push at the boundaries of their chosen style. It may not reinvent grind or crust, but it does show that there’s still room for innovation even whilst playing by the genre’s guidelines. Love the artwork, too!