Kouristus - Demo 2022, Demo 2019 & Teurastamo EP

Kouristus are a Grindcore/ Punk band from Finland that are about as ‘underground’ as one can get. With a variety of demos, EPs, and a live album out there, those who like the ferocity and grimness of extremely early Leviathan and the aggressive, yet catchy barbs of earlier Napalm Death and less guttural than Nasum, the result is a TON of short tracks that last less than 2 minutes. While with a lot of Grindcore or Noisecore tracks, these short bursts hit relentlessly and with little mercy. Some Hardcore elements are also mixed in that are a bit grittier than your average Hatebreed or earlier Earth Crisis, but the groove is certainly infectious (such as on ‘Haaveita vakivallasta’ from “Demo 2019). These tracks are rare and few between as many of them barely eclipse the 1 minute mark, and are just short machine guns bursts of aggression that sound like a less bass-y Insect Warfare. Your average Metal fan who even has delved into the short 2 minute hits from the likes of Cannibal Corpse or Superjoint Ritual which sounds like them amped up on rage-roids will find this a bit hard to stomach with the level of aggression that Kouristus delivers.

It should be noted that these guys have been raging since 2013, and don’t have much out there as far as information, so that adds to whole ‘underground’ mystique which makes them all the more intriguing. Their demos are demo quality so expect a rather raw, noisy approach that is just fast, fast, fast with little in between or variety. That’s the double edged sword of Grindcore- you get a lot of fast, same sounding tracks versus longer, more drawn out ones with room for more variety. That’s what makes this a bit of a niche genre, and Kouristus do fall into it quite well and deliver quite well between the albums they have so far. Their “Teurastamo” EP will have the best ‘quality’ sound- especially in the drum department- and less in the groove. The levels of Punk and Hardore bleed through the noise with almost a Speed Thrash approach, but Kouristus aim to the Grindcore standard of making their music abrasive versus pleasant, even with the barking vocals amidst almost pained screams (such as on ‘Sairas unelma’). Still, it isn’t as aggressive or uncomfortable to sit through compared to a band like Nails as this band tries to retain some sort of sensible listening to grab listeners. But these ‘grabs’ tend to be almost too short, so it is kind of like dealing with the claw machine at the mall as one’s ears snatch to try to get that prize of a really good riff or vocal delivery line.

The new tracks from the 2024/ 2022 demo showcase a bit more of a shift in sound for the band as tracks like ‘Perintolahja’ are more bass laden, and while still retain the Grindcore elements of their earlier work, the Punk and Hardcore bits are much clearer, and the overall thicker sound is a better. One could even say they ‘slowed down a bit’ to aim more for groove than annihilating the ear, but it isn’t by much. Kouristus have a lot going for them, and whether or not fans will see a full length album in the near future is hard to say, but these guys have a good mix of Hardcore and Punk mixed with Grindcore. The vocals tend to shy away from the typical guttural growl or grunt of the better known bands out there, so those who are expecting something along the lines of more recent Napalm Death might be disappointed. If one can absorb the short bursts of music without getting frustrated that they aren’t hearing enough, then maybe there just might enough here with Kouristus to give a near 20 minute listen of aggressive, yet head banging fun. This one is a true ‘underground’ gem so expect it to be raw, unapologetic, and avoiding the typical tropes of ‘mainstream’ Metal.

3 / 5 STARS

1. Perintolhja
2. Koston Hekti
3. Eristys Ja Ilmastointi
4. Kuolema Korjaa Kaiken
5. Katkeran Valitus
6. Naula
7. Haaveita Väkivallasta
8. Vuoristorata
9. Yksin Kaikkia Vastaan
10. Sairas Unelma
11. Teurastamo
12. Huonosti Valvottu Yö
13. Pysyviä Jälkiä
14. Juoksuhaudassa
15. Oulu