Nistikko is a Finnish grindcore-band that released its debut album in 2011. "Kehä" is the band's second album, and it's available on tape. You can also stream it for free at Nistikko's bandcamp-page.

Whereas the debut album appealed to me with its youthful energy, very rough musicianship and humour, this album presents a much more matured band. The soundscape is still rough but it's also dynamic and, in the standards of underground grindcore, rather professional and thought-out. The pleasingly audible bass-lines bring out crust punk's effect on the band's music, but an even more evident thing is that Nistikko is now a way more serious band than before. The songs are clearly well-rehearsed and -arranged, and they present much more capable musicianship and more ambition than I would've expected based on the earlier album "Hävitys." The songs are also darker and more (socio)political than before.

After I had recovered from the initial amazement caused by these changes, I could only note that Nistikko is still pretty damn good. The songs range from the traditional and raw grind-blasting with double vocals to more ambitious compositions that employ things learned from the darker breed of crust punk, but the album's hostility and energy doesn't tone down even in the slower moments. Everything sounds very natural and the album has a great flow from sludgy bits to pure grind-blast, and from commanding rhythms to more riff-driven moments. Each instrument and both of the vocalists get to shine in the spotlight, so there's definitely no shortage of variation.

Although the band's expression has changed somewhat, facts are still the same: Nistikko is a great grindcore-band I'd like to hear more music from. It'll be interesting to see how much the band will have evolved and matured by their next album, as they definitely seem to have the skills and the drive to take their music forwards.

8½ / 10