This compilation by the Finnish grinders Nistikko bundles their first and currently only full-length album "Hävitys" together with the group's three previously released demos. As a result, the album's title changed from Hävitys ("Destruction") to Totaalinen Hävitys ("Total Destruction") for this tape.
I have already reviewed the full-length on the A-side here, and aside of the tape bringing some extra roughness to the sound, I have nothing to add. A splendid piece of underground grindcore. The album-tracks are followed by the bonus songs "Huoraa Turpaan" and "Hätäsanoma" from the same sessions. Aside of the minor complaint given for them having a louder volume level than the actual album, they're as good as the rest of the bunch.
Onto "Mental Crisis" which presents five minutes of rawer and simpler grindcore with heavy crust punk-influences, which brings old Rotten Sound to my mind. The soundscape is harsh and muddy except for the loud vocals, and if the growls didn't sound so ridiculously amateurish, these songs would be really good! Primitive blasting enjoyment and crust-buzz, yum yum. The three-minute "Konevalta"-demo follows with an otherwise clearer sound, but the dominating bass drum sound drowns the rest of the instruments beneath its steady blasting. The band already shows more originality on this recording, but it isn't an enjoyable listening experience due to the constantly "clipping" drum-blast.
"Verta Lumella" is already very close to the Hävitys-album both quality- and style-wise. It focuses more on short grind-bursts instead of longer and more "ambitious" compositions, and the lyrics are mostly about pointless nonsense and violence. It's already good, but not as good as the primitive "Mental Crisis" or the more refined "Hävitys."
After these fourteen minutes of grind-blast, it's time for an unlisted ten-minute bonus track of Sunn O)))-worship. Droning and echoed low vocals pave the way for a mass of slowly growing drone doom with guitars and bass. Later on the ritualistic vocals return and the droning turns stylishly minimalistic. The song is fairly conventional in the field of droning doom, but it's still a nice piece with clear effort and a nicely dark atmosphere. It's also a daring and suitable closer for this already extensive compilation, and shows a different side to the musicians' interests and playing. Thumbs up.
Weirdly enough, the tape doesn't include any lyrics nor even song titles; only the sessions are listed from which they're from. Aside of this clear and odd loss, the minimalistic and home-printed covers look really pleasing. It just makes me wonder how little effort the band's gone through to make this tape; uneven volume levels, not bothering to add song titles nor marking the tape's sides... It seems weird to me, but I guess this tape's originally only meant to be a small pressing for people who already know the band - and it does have a very affordable price. Anyway, if a bigger pressing is to follow, I'd like to see these flaws fixed.
It's nice to get acquainted with Nistikko's roots and to see how they've reached the point where they are now. Warmly recommended to fans of hostile underground grindcore a'la Sakatat, Wormrot... you know the deal. "Totaalinen Hävitys" features a great grind-album with comprehensive bonus material, but the tape heavily suffers from its shitty assembly.