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Rotten Mind – Unflavored
Unflavored - Lövely Records
Prolific is a bit of an understatement when describing the output of Sweden’s Rotten Mind, Unflavoured being their fifth album in just seven years and their follow up to 2020’s Rat City Dog Boy. Amongst all that was going on in the world 2021 also saw singer Jakob Arvidsson, under the pseudonym Jakob Mind, release a solo album that was to become a favourite here at The Punk Site. Unflavored is unmistakeably Rotten Mind, exploding as it does with punchy, punk rock guitars, pounding drums and pulsing bass riffs all overlaid with Arvidsson’s immediately recognisable vocals. And whilst you’ll hear snippets and influences from a lot of sources – The Cure, Killing Joke, Joy Division and plenty of other bands from the darker end of the spectrum – Rotten Mind are unique in their sound.
Unflavored has taken them one step further in their development of that perfect blend of lightning fast, catchy punk rock that one moment can lift you on an exquisite high then punch you hard with lyrics dealing with some of life’s darkest moments. From the opening notes of ‘Inflammable’ you understand in an instant that this album is just going to be of those you’ll play and play, regardless of your frame of mind. Despite it’s pace and vocals that scream feelings of passion and anger, it’s packed full of melody that steers it well clear of hardcore shouty punk. Single ‘Serpent Eyes’ slows things just a little. Musically one that would have fitted perfectly on Arvidsson’s solo album, it tells the story of feeling out of step with what’s going on around you and trying to get by in your own way. This rolls straight into most recent single (the third to be taken from Unflavored) – ‘Die Young’, this track is a prime example of just how good this band are at combining deep, gloomy topics – the song is about eternal youth and friends who have passed away at far to young an age, “This city makes us all die young” – with a background noise that, did you not know what the song was about, would have you leaping around with a huge grin on your face.
‘I Ain’t One To Talk To’ brings rolling drums and subtle tones of Joy Division before the chorus erupts into a cacophony of slashing guitars and explosive drums. The pace really doesn’t let up at all throughout ‘Unflavored’. What changes in occasionally subtle and sometimes obvious ways is the tone. The irresistible soundscape during the first minute of chugging drum and bass riffs of ‘No Dedication’, the doom laden, Banshee(esque) gothic sounds that bring in the title track, the early New Order feel to the first few seconds of ‘Empty Generation’. But these fragments of sounds from a previous generation of post punks are just that, fragments. Splinters that have embedded themselves but then give way to the frenetic energy of today’s Rotten Mind. The penultimate track ‘Degenerates’, contains coarse, prickly guitars and huge, melodic punk sounds as it yells “Run away…… let’s be degenerates today.”
2022 has already delivered some fantastic albums but it’s fair to say that from the first seconds of ‘Inflammable’ to the closing notes of ‘Filled With Poison’ Rotten Mind have presented us with an album that will not only be a favourite of the year but one that will stand the test of time way into the future. This is a band that continues to move forward, producing better and better albums whilst maintaining a sound that is uniquely theirs.