Random Records with Steve O- Nasum's Helvete

Steve O - February 14, 2014

So we’re gonna try something a little different for Random Records this time. Five records that sound nothing alike, but there’s something connecting all of them. See if you can figure out what it is.

In 2012, during the same weekend NATO was in Chicago, so was Nasum. One of those things is awesome, the other… well, not so much. Quite obviously, Nasum is the one that falls into the awesome category. They also fall into the list of bands I never thought I would get to see live, with founding member Mieszko Talarczyk passing away in the tsunami of 2004. But 2012 brought them on a short tour with Rotten Sound’s Keijo Niinimaa handling vocals.

Blazing through 22 songs in 35 minutes, 2003’s Helvete is like Nasum’s three other releases: fucking amazing, blasting grindcore. Songs like “Drop Dead,” “We Curse You All,” and “I Hate People” (my personal favorite Nasum song), have a rage within their lyrics that matches the music. Yet songs like “Stormshield” and “Relics” have a bit of melody not common in grindcore records. What’s missing from this record though is a song in their native Swedish. It’s always a nice touch to hear bands sing in their native languages, and this is the only Nasum record that doesn’t feature that. In English then, you get Nasum’s anger with society and their radical politics. Helvete might be my favorite Nasum record, though Shift, released the following year, is equally great, and depending on which day you ask me is my favorite. They only released four records in their time, but are one of the first bands that come to mind when thinking of the best grindcore.


So did you catch the link? Obviously, none of the records sound a thing alike. Two are live (Pete Seeger and Mayhem), two are from Americans (Pete Seeger and Dio), and two are from Scandinavians (Norway’s Mayhem and Sweden’s Nasum). So no link there. If you were paying attention, you might have noticed that each record was released in a year ending with a 3, and was more recent as the list moved along (from 1963 to 2003). But the other connection between all of them? The voice of each has passed away, as all five singers are dead (well, one was Dead even while alive, but you know what I mean). Pete Seeger died just the other week. Freddie Mercury died back in 1991, with complications brought on by AIDS. Dio passed away from stomach cancer in 2010. Dead famously shot himself, leaving the “excuse all the blood” suicide note, back in 1991. And Mieszko Talarczyk was in Thailand when the tsunami struck in 2004. So all five records are linked together by their highly influential, though unfortunately deceased, vocalists.