"Grasp" is already the sixth demo of the Finnish death metal-band Refusal, whose previous demo "Short On Ammo" I reviewed here.

Not that much has changed since the previous demo. The songs range from thrashing mid-tempo death metal riffs to almost grinding spheres of brutal onslaught. The songs are skilled and varying, and have the trademark sound Refusal is slowly becoming known for. There's aggression and pure lunacy, but the songs are still well-composed and logical. The cake is topped with really gruff growls, but some backing shrieks are also employed to keep the vocal section from sounding boring, numbing or too usual.

Two of the songs are four-minuters, which creates a nice contrast to the band's previous and brief "Short On Ammo"-demo, but also makes these songs feel like they don't have the same amount of intensity. They're skilled and appealing, but at times would need more clarity and force (the latter especially applying to the rhythm-reliant "Grip") to make a greater impact. The Napalm Death-esquely stuffed sound makes the songs sound powerful, but also drowns some of their detail amidst a mass of dense and heavy movement.

The aforementioned song "Grip" proves to be the demo's both boldest and weakest link - not because it'd be a bad song, but because the chosen sounds don't fit it. It has a lot of potential in its mid-paced rhythmic pulsation, but the harsh-edged mass of sound doesn't take its capabilities even near to their full extent and thus "Grip" ends up sounding too flat and dull. It's a shame. Other than that, "Grasp" demonstrates a great dose of grinding Death Metal-violence with skilled musicianship and a professional but still harsh soundscape (with a good bass sound, which is something I can't say often). Even the artwork's really pleasing, for once.

Despite its weaknesses, "Grasp" is again a bold step forward for Refusal. It's just not a big step enough and, despite their differences, the record ends up being pretty much equal to its predecessor "Short On Ammo."

4+ / 5