Nasum: Inhale/Exhale (1998)

Inhale/Exhale is the debut studio album by Swedish grindcore band Nasum, released on May 26, 1998, through Relapse Records. The album is renowned for its intense, fast-paced sound and politically charged lyrics, marking a significant revival of the grindcore genre in the late 1990s. Recorded in the unique environment of a basement studio adjacent to a Chinese restaurant, the raw production quality of the album captures the band’s aggressive and chaotic energy. Featuring 38 tracks, “Inhale/Exhale” combines blistering speed with moments of crushing heaviness.

Track Listing

  1. This Is…
  2. The Masked Face
  3. Digging In
  4. Time to Act!
  5. Disdain and Contempt
  6. I See Lies
  7. Inhale/Exhale
  8. Too Naked to Distort
  9. There’s No Escape
  10. The Rest Is Over
  11. Disappointed
  12. Lägg om!
  13. You’re Obsolete
  14. Tested
  15. Shapeshifter
  16. Feed Them, Kill Them, Skin Them
  17. When Science Fails
  18. Closing In
  19. The World That You Made
  20. The System Has Failed Again
  21. For What Cause?
  22. Fullmatad
  23. Screwed
  24. Shaping the End
  25. The New Firing-squad
  26. No Sign of Improvement
  27. My Philosophy
  28. I’m Not Silent
  29. The Breathing Furnace
  30. Information Is Free
  31. Burning Inside
  32. A Request for Guidance
  33. Grey
  34. Worldcraft
  35. It’s Never Too Late
  36. Du är bevakad
  37. Blinded
  38. Can de Lach

Length: 44:50



Release Date

May 26th, 1998

Record Label

Relapse Records

The Lineup for the Album

  • Mieszko Talarczyk: guitars, bass, screaming vocals
  • Anders Jakobson: drums, death growls

Recording Date

December 1997 – January 1998

Recording Studio

Soundlab Studios (Örebro, Sweden)

Produced by

Nasum, Mathias Färm and Per Lindberg

Album Themes/Concept

Corruption: The lyrics condemn the dishonesty and unethical behavior prevalent in various institutions and systems.

Violence: The album addresses the prevalence of violence in society, both on a personal and global level.

Apathy: The lyrics criticize the indifference and lack of concern many people exhibit towards the suffering of others.

Abuse of Power: The songs express outrage at the exploitation and oppression perpetrated by those in positions of authority.

Social Injustice: The album confronts issues of inequality, discrimination, and the unequal distribution of resources.

Album Mood

Aggressive: The music is fast, abrasive, and intense, with relentless drumming, distorted guitars, and guttural vocals.

Chaotic: The songs are often short, abrupt, and unpredictable, with sudden changes in tempo and dynamics.

Angry: The lyrics and vocal delivery convey a sense of rage, frustration, and disgust with the world.

Cathartic: Despite its darkness, the album can be strangely exhilarating and empowering, providing a release for pent-up emotions.

Uncompromising: The music and lyrics are unflinching in their honesty and intensity, refusing to sugarcoat or shy away from difficult topics.

Album Trivia

Recording Environment: The album was recorded in a small basement studio next to a Chinese restaurant, which constantly smelled of old food and garbage. This unusual setting contributed to the unique atmosphere during the recording sessions.

Cover Art History: The iconic gas mask cover was originally intended for a demo tape by a death metal side project of Mieszko Talarczyk and Anders Jakobson. They decided it was a perfect fit for Nasum’s aesthetic instead. Despite initial concerns about the legality of using the image, Relapse Records encouraged its use, and it became a distinctive symbol for the band.

Rehearsal Tapes: During a tape research project in 2021, Anders Jakobson discovered multiple rehearsal sessions for “Inhale/Exhale,” totaling 44 recorded songs. Many of these were different versions or unique tracks that didn’t make it to the final album. Some of these rehearsals were later released, showcasing the band’s creative process and evolution of their songs.

Vocals Intensity: Anders Jakobson once sang so intensely during the recording sessions that he spat blood. This incident highlighted the extreme physical demands of performing grindcore vocals and hinted that vocals might not be his forte​.

Album Title Inspiration: The title “Inhale/Exhale” was inspired by the movie “Waiting to Exhale,” a film Anders Jakobson hadn’t actually seen. He found the word “exhale” intriguing and paired it with “inhale” to create a memorable album title, despite the lack of a conceptual connection to the film​.

Listen or Pass

This album might be for you if you…

  • Enjoy Intense, Fast-Paced Music: If you appreciate high-energy music with rapid tempos and aggressive rhythms, “Inhale/Exhale” delivers the quintessential grindcore experience.
  • Are a Fan of Grindcore: If you already enjoy bands like Napalm Death, Carcass, or Brutal Truth, Nasum’s “Inhale/Exhale” is a must-listen. It’s regarded as a pivotal album that helped revive the grindcore scene in the late ’90s​.
  • Like Social and Political Themes: The album features lyrics that address social and political issues, a common trait in grindcore. If you appreciate music that explores these themes, you’ll find Nasum’s lyrical content engaging and thought-provoking​.
  • Appreciate Raw Production: If you like the raw, unpolished sound typical of underground metal, the album’s production style will appeal to you. The recording environment added a unique character to the sound​.
  • Are Interested in Extreme Metal History: For those interested in the evolution of extreme metal genres, “Inhale/Exhale” is a significant piece of music history that showcases the genre’s progression and its impact on future band.

You might want to pass this one if you…

  • Prefer Mellow or Mainstream Music: If you lean towards softer, more melodic, or mainstream music genres, the intensity and aggression of “Inhale/Exhale” might be overwhelming​​.
  • Dislike Aggressive Vocals: The album features harsh, guttural vocals typical of grindcore. If you prefer clean singing or find extreme vocal styles unappealing, this album might not suit your taste​.
  • Avoid Loud and Chaotic Sounds: If you are sensitive to loud, chaotic, and noisy music, the fast-paced, relentless nature of this album might be too much. Grindcore is known for its intensity, which can be jarring if you’re not accustomed to it​​.
  • Look for Clear Production Quality: If you prefer music with high production values and clear, polished sound, the raw and gritty production of “Inhale/Exhale” might not meet your standards​​.
  • Dislike Short, Abrasive Songs: The album contains numerous short, intense tracks typical of grindcore. If you prefer longer, more developed songs, you might find the structure of the tracks on this album unsatisfying​.

Release Date

May 26, 1998