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Nausea: Condemned to the System
Death Metal, Grindcore
Willowtip Records
January 7th, 2014
Release length: 29:55

Nausea is a long-standing Death Metal and Grindcore outfit that hails from Los Angeles, California, and are considered one of the more influential groups of the genre for their area. Formed back in 1987, they issued a couple demos before unleashing their debut full-length effort Crime Against Humanity in 1991, all before calling it a day in 1994. In 2001, the band reactivated, issuing a few more demos and a compilation over the years to come. It’s been a good twenty-three years since Nausea‘s first album, but thanks to the actions of Willowtip Records, 2014 starts off with the long overdue follow-up, Condemned to the System. Was it worth the exhaustive wait, or is this an effort locked in the past in all the wrong ways?

Condemned to the System kicks off with the crushing “Freedom of Religion,” which holds a familiar Goregrind touch to the atmosphere, all the while carrying a strong Six Feet Under-esque groove. This is just the beginning as it caves to some catchy riffs against a twangy bass and blistering drums in the background that drip with Grindcore aggression. The pace does change from time to time, such as around the two-and-a-half minute mark where some two-step plays with the mid-tempo authority before finally coming to a halt. “Condemn Big Business” is a deeper tuned track that starts off with a rich ring out on the bass and an ominous build to a dominating and enthusiastic performance that matches the hostility of the earlier offering “Fuck the World” and it’s blunt mixture of Death Metal chugs with Grindcore blast beats.

“World Left in Confinement” is a deep, bludgeoning bout of hostility, hammering away at the listener without the need of constant grinding. Just past the half-way point the song slows down to more groovey Death Metal riffs that shift quite ingeniously back to the faster abuse for a brief closing, as well as an odd chunk of silence. It’s as if to signal the need to change to the other side of a tape, or separate an EP from another on a compilation. This isn’t the only time you’ll find some gaps at the end, though some are a bit shorter.

Interestingly, Condemned to the System may be new album, but in a way is also a compilation. This recording houses fresh compositions, unreleased material, and a few fan favorites, all with a brand new punishing studio lacquer that makes it all sound equally brutal, modern and timeless. “Does God Need Help?” is a good example. The intro lasts a few seconds, but what comes next is textbook Death Metal and Grindcore done right. Explosive fury and mixtures of blistering drums and blast beats offer enough variety to keep the just under two minute track complex and engaging enough to make it well worth your time. The only issue is the razor sharp distortions that are kept more to the background, sadly thinning the performance a bit. This is one of the unreleased tracks, which is as powerful as the recent creation “Hate & Deception” with it’s stand out bass guitar presence against the often simpler sounding riffs and pleasantly restrained drumming.

While Condemned to the System doesn’t introduce anything new to the genre, it definitely shows a band picking up where they left off, only more pissed off than ever. Even the latest inductees, bassist Alejandro CB (Pounder, Chemical Bitches) and guitarist Leon del Muerte (Impaled, Phobia, former Exhumed) perfectly fit the bill and even include touch of their past into the mix to make this album all the more powerful. It may have taken Nausea about twenty-three years to present their second full-length effort, but one spin through will have fans of the Death Metal and Grindcore genre pleased by the outcome, and finding themselves coming back like submissives to their most violent of dominators.

01. Freedom of Religion – 3:21
02. Does God Need Help? – 1:58
03. World Left in Confinement – 2:45
04. Cries of Pain – 2:14
05. Hate & Deception – 2:42
06. Corporation Pull-In – 2:23
07. Fuck the World – 2:46
08. Falsely Accused – 2:25
09. Condemn Big Business – 2:43
10. And We Suffer – 3:59
11. Absence of War – 2:39
Initial Pressing Score: 8.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Willowtip Records.
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