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Rough Grind - Hardened Award winner

Rough Grind
by Sarah Tijan at 29 April 2022, 3:49 PM

In January ROUGH GRIND released their second full length album. Heavy metal is alive and well in Finland and ROUGH GRIND is not about to let us forget. Since forming in 2011 they have released three EPs and two albums, the latest being Hardened. In the years that they have been releasing music, has it hardened them? Is that the meaning behind the album. I don’t hear that, but what I do hear on the album is growth and honesty, remaining true to their sound and world that easily could have hardened them, instead they choose to fight back and give us their version of heavy metal, without hesitation They dish out the rock.

The album starts out like a smack to the face, its guitar driven heavy metal at its finest, “Dreamchaser” is filled with riffs and strong bass lines, that all complement the vocal work of Sami. Forceful yet not overpowering, this track definitely pulls at their heavy metal influences of days past while adding their own flair to the song.

“Allies/Enemies” has a true classic metal sound, where the vocalist takes front and centre, its rough and tough, take no punches rock, with a feel and sound much like the late MOTORHEAD vocalist Lemmy, who had lived a tough life, and you could feel that in his music, you can feel that same emotion with ROUGH GRIND throughout their latest release Hardened.

The mid track on the album “Flags Fly Free” goes down another rabbit hole of sound, bringing you more progressive sound, much like that of theatrical rock legends IRON MAIDEN, with a story to be told, giving warning of what could or couldn’t be depending on the choices you choose. Keeping the track and album on course to remain contemporary yet taking those boundaries and pushing them to where you barely realize that you past them.

ROUGH GRIND throw another wrench in the musical arena with this album, with “Signs of Life” hard hitting riffs from the guitar duo of Villie and Arg and more soulful vocals from Sami, this easily could be a track you’d hear on any progressive era rock album. It doesn’t qualify as a ballad, at least to my ears, but does classify as a song that is totally unexpected and one, I can appreciate.

Overall, ROUGH GRIND brings us a hard-hitting heavy metal album, filled with raw power, surprises and so much guitar and bass, your ears may bleed if you are not ready. Be ready for Hardened to bust your speakers, and let their take on metal protect you from the hardened world. ROUGH GRIND takes you on a musical journey, a mirror ball of metal and rock, hidden gems and familiar sounds rolled up on the seven-track album leaving no stone unturned and everything on the album for you to hear and enjoy.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Dreamchaser
2. The Road Song
3. Allies/Enemies
4. Flags Fly Free
5. One By One
6. Signs Of Life
7. Last Thing You’ll Ever Hear
Sami - Vocals, Bass, Keyboards, Guitar
Ville - Guitar
Arg - Guitar
Killi - Drums
Record Label: Inverse Records


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