Sonic Poison seems like an appropriate name for a band that’s trying to hit listeners with as much noise, grime, and speed as they can, and that’s exactly what makes their debut full-length Eruption so appealing throughout its brief twenty-to minute run time. Despite this being the first long play from this Finnish band they’ve been around for just over a decade now, and Eruption pulls a few songs from their earlier demo and EP alongside plenty of new ones. Taking influence from late 80s/early 90s grindcore and death metal/thrash from that time when the two genres were still very intertwined, Sonic Poison’s material often flies by in a blur but will still have listeners wanting to come back for more.
What separates Sonic Poison from some of the other bands of this type is their ability to move seamlessly between straight up grindcore and death/thrash. Some songs fly by with razor sharp riffs and punk edges that feel very close to the classic Earache grind bands, while others come in closer to straight up death metal and death/thrash. At times it reminds me of something like Deathhammer but with much more of an affinity for punk and grind, and Eruption is arguably just as blistering and in your face as anything from that band. Only the closing track makes it past the two-minute mark, but Sonic Poison crams a lot of variation into that period of time while never deviating from the noise and grime. The appropriately named “No Time” crams a whirlwind of riffs into sixteen seconds, paying tribute to bands like Napalm Death and their extremely short songs, and you’ll find other instances throughout Eruption where the song title gives you a hint as to whether the riffs are about to head into a more death metal or grind direction. Admittedly for as many riffs stand out upon repeat listens there are just as many that blur into similar mix of fast tempos and gnarly tonality, but the short length makes it easy to just hit the repeat button and get blasted in the face all over again. It also helps that the production values make everything sound huge and in your face while providing just a bit of additional clarity and space for each instrument compared to Sonic Poison’s previous efforts.
The vocals cover nearly as much ground as the instrumentals, offering up everything from low growls to shrieks that are consistently raw and in your face. With the production tweaks the vocals stand slightly above the rest of the band but don’t overpower them, giving Sonic Poison as much intensity as possible while also offering just a bit more clarity than some of their peers. You never know exactly what you’re going to get from one song to the next, as sometimes you get some raspy screams and growls that feel a bit more punk and grind while other moments go full-on death metal. It’s downright fun in how over the top the performance is at times, and that makes Eruption stand out just a bit more.
Sonic Poison captures the same rabid spirit of death, thrash, and grind during their formative years while shaking things up enough to have a feel of their own. A few more new tracks might have been nice to see how the band has evolved from the earliest days, but it is nice to hear the likes of “Carbonized” and “Grinding Fear” with better sound quality. It may run together at points, but if you like your metal fast and furious with that raw and over the top edge, this is exactly what the doctor ordered. Eruption is available from Me Saco un Ojo Records, Pulverised Records, and Caligari Records.
-Review by Chris Dahlberg