Nashgul has an old-school approach to writing grindcore. Their songs speak back to a time before death metal was a household name, to when grind was simply a fusion of crust and crossover featuring sporadic moments of unbridled madness. "Been there, done that," you say? That's as maybe. What sets the band apart is how they go about incorporating their thrash bits. One moment you're listening to quality grindcore - the kind of album you'd happily play in the background while doing whatever, video games, Texas Hold 'Em, driving at the speed of blast - and seemingly out of nowhere the band transitions into something catchy. It makes you pause to take notice. This is not to say Nashgul is reinventing thrash. These are not riffs to spark a new wave of retro thrash appreciation. What these riffs have however is a habit of showing up at the right time, elevating good grind to memorable grind. It creates definite "wait for it... go!" moments to look forward to each time you give the disc a spin - and there are plenty to be had on the album.
Book ended by your standard grindcore Intro-Outro, Nashgul proffer 17 songs in a shade over 24 minutes. Most of them are a minute and change, with only two breaking the two minute marker. More importantly the sound guy is an obvious bystander to the ongoing over-mastering wars. Each instrument has it's own space to work with. The bass is audible, even during the most frenetic of blasting bits. It sounds like the drums were sacrificed to make all of this happen (most notably toned down crashes and a hollow kick) but the end result has an organic feel. That and you can crank it up a few extra notches without increasing the risk of hearing damage.
There is a dynamic to the songwriting process on the album that is refreshing. They are not writing a straightforward song to be followed by a bulldozing grinder followed by a blastfest. Basically, just because a tune starts one way does not mean you can predict where it's heading. The only staples are thrash riffs and blast beats. "El Dia Del Los Muertos," "Disintegration in a Flashing Light" and "El Horror Oculto" surreptitiously begin in sludge fashion before unleashing the hounds. "Terrorist Warhead," the shortest tune, starts out in fast-forward before switching into a killer thrash riff over double bass. "La Plaga" plays verse-chorus-verse with two crust-influenced thrash riffs for the first minute a'la Disrupt before introducing blasts - and then devolves back into thrash and crust. And "Cremetorio," one of the better songs, is a one minute 17-second encapsulation of the album. More important than breaking ground, it's well written and executed. Most bands would use more double bass if they wrote these songs. And still others would tune down a step or two. While these would be cool changes all they would really do is ensure the album sounds like everyone else. Nashgul prefer to sound like thrash freaks who fell in love with blast beats. Their attention to old-school grind detail makes "El Dia Despues..." a top-notch album with great continuity and replay value.
It appears you can only buy the album directly from the label via PayPal/Mail Order right now. It's worth it, but they are set to release the Tribute To Nasum 2CD next month (which is a mandatory buy) so you may want to wait and save a little on shipping. In the meantime, check the album out here.