Fading Trail (Finland) - Count The Days (2021)

And they beheld the vicious 
spectacle that loomed before them, 
draped in the finest of carnage, 
twisted in the foulest of horrors. 
Flesh made augur. Atrocities made omen. 
And they knew then that this land 
was barren of all clemencies. 
Another glorious day in God's country. 

    Much like many European cities, Helsinki is a modern capital founded atop the ashes of war, great fires and the bones of over a thousand victims of the Black Death during the plague of 1710 that decimated some two-thirds of the then population. Today the world finds itself weathering its own modern plague and putting life into an eerie parallel. Finnish death-grinders, Fading Trail, have taken it upon themselves to channel those themes of pestilence, death, abhorrence and ruination into their new debut full-length, Count The Days; set to be released on EveryDayHate Records this November.

    In 2019, Fading Trail released a criminally overlooked, absolute scorcher of a demo EP on cassette via Bloody Scythe Records, entitled Ground. The cassette tape consisted of seven minutes of the tried and true Nordic grind traditions: overly ferocious vocals, drilling lead guitars and pummeling fast drum work. A majority of the tracks on that release hovered around the one minute mark and were straight up blasting death-grind lightning; save for the last track, "Chorus Of Vultures." That lengthier song, making up some forty percent of the demo's entirety, had the band slowing things down for a minute and a half outro that incorporated doom drenched riffs as well as the fledglings of experimentation with noise. And it's that song that Fading Trail seems to have extrapolated on when writing Count The Days. 
    In Count The DaysFading Trail's evolution sees not only a healthier internalization of the harsh noise, but also displays more shades of black metal. The chimera of grindcore, death metal, black metal and noise is a trending concoction that seems to be the budding face of grindcore modernity. Think Full Of Hell meets Rotten Sound. But as Full Of Hell's sound seems to have become bogged down in genre bending mystic incantations and ritual experimentation, Fading Trail have opted for violent malevolence. If there has been some kind of extreme metal magic manifested gateway opened, then Fading Trail is the beast that clawed its way out of it. 
    Count The Days has doubled down on everything the band established in Ground. The vocals have intensified from an even-keeled, throaty scraping to now paint peeling shrieks and howls. Lyrically, a little more intelligible than before, the vocals sound more controlled and are wielded with tactics of precision and command as opposed to just the strumming of another instrument. Definitely a mark of the band's more metal leanings this time around. There's an air of ferality, yet a possession of some sinister awareness. 
    Like the vocals, the guitar work evolved into a more formidable force. The riffing is noticeably sped up and has chords changing and shifting as soon as they land. Layer these with the breakneck speed of the blast beat drumming and it's an absolute melee. We hear more depth in tonality and technique from the guitars. The needling, black metal tremolo leads that were the bulk of Ground are still present and are finely sharpened. We're also witness to some of the crunchiest palm muted riffing and trudging distorted doom knells that you're not likely to hear on just any grindcore record. But the most obvious addition to Count The Days are the searingly fast, micro-short guitar solos that appear as if from nowhere. These sudden boiling scales flash up with an intensity that would have Eddie Van Halen spontaneously combust in his grave. 
    The bass is widely utilized in fast asides that snap open and closed in tandem with the guitars to redirect songs from tempo to tempo. Its mean and distorted growls of negative shine can be heard throughout the album with both boom and bite. Not too dissimilar, the drumming is present in impact and weight. The crack of the snare resounds in the protracted metal segments as it does in the unbridled sections of blasting. You can feel the footfalls of the kick drum as well as hear the mechanical contact. 
    The biggest accomplishment I can give to this release is the songwriting itself. Fading Trail knows exactly what they're doing. The hybridisation of so many elements is done flawlessly. The band never over stays their welcome at any point in the structure. Headbanging, mid-tempo trots are used effectively without dragging down the songs. Same with the doom. Same with the intricately haunting moments of guitar that trickle in from time to time. Same with the newly added harsh noise that eventually crescendos the album with transcendent hideous sprawl. But the mainstay principals of grindcore are always priority. Holding back the guitars as they edge to an almost melodic turn, only to instead, hastily draw in the reins and unleash an onslaught of savage movement. 
    Not mincing words, this album sounds so fucking good. Count The Days rides the fine line between death/black metal and grindcore in a way that pays respects to all genres involved. Each instrument is present and accounted for and given their time in the sun. I was pleasantly surprise to find that Rotten Sound's own Keijo Niinimaa mastered this album at Chaotic Doom Cave Studios in Finland. Adding more clarity to the above mentioned comparisons and collations. The results being a crisp, gloom-torn assault of death-grind devastation. If you're not blowing out your speakers while listening to this, then I don't know what the fuck you're doing. 

Count The Days set to be released on November 18th, 2021 on EveryDayHate Records.

FFO: Full Of Hell, Bain De Sang, Saintbreaker, Rotten Sound, WVRM

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[Originally posted on October 12, 2021, Return to the House of Grindcore]

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