Somehow Coldworker's previous albums have flown right past me, despite the fact that I'm a huge fan of drummer Anders Jakobson's previous band Nasum and generally love modern Scandanavian grindcore. Better late than never in this case, though. The band's third album The Doomsayer's Call is a tasty morsel of ripping death-ish grind that lives up to the standard set by their better-known compatriots in the region.
Coldworker lacks the innovative, genre-smashing elements that endeared Nasum to so many people, but everything they attempt is executed extremely proficiently. This music is tight and vicious; the blastbeats convey the sense of speed very well; and the ferocity of the guitar tone gives the riffs the weight and clarity that such tightly-wound music needs to be effective. The riffs can be surprisingly inventive, with some frantic dissonant lines mixed in with the expected repertoire of power chords and quick tremolo runs. The songs are equally reliant on creative arrangements as they are on the riffs themselves -- the band frequently inserts a quick blast at the end of a thrash rhythm, for example, or abruptly transitions from a doomy slowdown to a punkish d-beat with little warning or buildup. There's also a good effort to mix things up from track to track and even within each song; slow rumbling riffs and mid-tempo grooves frequently converse with the grinding center.
This is still primarily grind-based music at heart, but Coldworker never relies on pure velocity to cover up any undercooked songwriting -- each and every second of this album is carefully composed and constructed. WIth that said, there are times when it almost feels too calculated, and as a result some of the manic intensity I enjoy in grind is lost in translation. The sheer amount of riffs present can make listening more exhausting than exhilarating, and despite the high level of execution, I didn't find much of the material terribly memorable. I also grew tired of the one-dimensional delivery of the vocals. They remain in the same exact mid-range bark for the album's entire duration, and considering the generous space they occupy in the songs, some variation would have been more than welcome.
Still, I really enjoyed my time with this album, and it's enticed me enough to anticipate future efforts from the band. Coldworker isn't doing anything particularly new, but they do what they do with a great deal of enthusiasm and professionalism, and the middle-road they strike between grindcore, death metal, and punk is still one that I find hard to resist when it's executed with this degree of panache. For anyone looking for some digestible modern grind with a healthy dose of muscle, The Doomsayer's Call is a worthy purchase.