GAF comes from Finland, and this is their debut album. Their label is from Singapore, which strikes me as a bit odd. But hey, this is today.

The album starts with a short intro consisting of screaming people and splatter-sound effects, which sets the mood just right for this half-hour long bloodfest. After a short while of foreplayish riffing, the real deal starts; heavy, even brutal (gore)grindind with a big chunk of groove.

Even though the songs are between a half and two minutes, they are really catchy and stick to your head. I see that as a big difference between GAF and your usual gore-band; the riffs are really good, really well planned and work like gas and fire combined. Sometimes the riffs remind me of rock, sometimes from punk, death metal, grind, even melodic metal..? All in all, there's a big deal of variation. Mix all this with undeniable groove, and there you have it.

There are two vocal styles present; the main vocals are low and gurgling and really inaudible, whereas the other vocals are low, hoarse screams. I have no idea what the singers are shouting about (the release includes no lyrics, but based on the song titles I think that's just good for all of our sakes), but it doesn't really matter either. It's the vocal patterns that keep the music interesting, not the lyrics. Even if there's a really basic riff playing in the background, the vocal pattern on it makes the whole sound awesome. The drums are well played and sound how they're supposed to, blasting away in the fast parts (while maintaining enough variation) and making some interesting beats in the slower ones. The drums don't draw attention to themselves that much, but serve as a really good bedrock for the other instruments.

The album's sounds really bring the best out of the songs; everything is in balance and can be heard clearly (even the bass guitar, for once!), but everything sounds still filthy enough. No matter what instrument you listen to, there is nothing or very little to complain about. Because of the facts that all the musicians do their part, the songs are really well put together, and because of the groove, the album lasts for really many listens while staying interesting and not losing any of it's grip or brutality.

Even though the album is great (especially for a debut), there are still things GAF could do better. The band could use more hooks, which are a bit lacking in some songs. Also a different vocal style than gurgling might cause a greater impact. It seems to me that the band's line between groove, brutality and grinding hasn't really been chosen yet, which causes variation but also a loss of personal identity of the band. It also makes the record a bit confusing at times.

This is GAF, blissfully retarded - but in a good way.

8½ / 10