Friday, April 18, 2014

Slaughterday – Nightmare Vortex

There are two bands named Slaughterday. One is from Greece, but the one we're talking about today is from Germany. They formed in 2010 and released their full-length debut, Nightmare Vortex, last year. Funny thing is, even though these guys are from Germany, their sound is distinctly Swedish. I don't have a problem with that, because this album is awesome.

The production features a mixture old school Swedish and modern death metal aesthetics. It sounds clean but it also has a rather crunchy sound to it. As for the music itself, it's pure old school Swedish death metal worship. No frills, no extravagance, no unnecessary bullshit. Just pure violence. The drums play an equal mix of slow doom/death rhythms and vicious blast beats. The snare strikes are powerful and the cymbals sound really dissonant.

The vocals consist of a hoarse yet bellowing growl. The guy sounds angry and ferocious. He sounds like the feral spawn of an elder god. Best of all are the guitars. The tremolo riffs sound like slithering snakes, the crunchy riffs sound like stomping mutants, the grooves sound delightfully sick, and the slow riffs sound like dripping ooze. As for the solos, they're utterly killer. They sound vicious but they also have a great sense of melody to them. The band also takes the time to slow things down and play some solemn clean guitars and whatnot.

This album maybe simple, but it's still excellent. Personally, I wish the music was faster and more crunchy, but it still sounds great regardless. I hope they release more killer Swedish death metal worship in the future.
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Antithesis – Subjugator of Machine

Sometimes you just have trouble finding good Indonesian brutal death metal. Most of the stuff I've sampled recently featured either boring music or bad production. Luckily, I managed to find a band that didn't have either of those problems. Their name is Antithesis, and they hail from Banten. They formed in 2010 and released their debut album, Subjugator of Machine, on Breeding Records last year. Though they're young, their music is as powerful as a rampaging robot army.

These guys essentially pay homage to Origin. Though they're not as flamboyant as their primary influence, their music is still just as strong. The production quality is a lot better than their peers. It doesn't have that horrible muffled quality, the bass is quite thick, and I can hear all the instruments quite clearly. The drummer, Andy Bayau, can easily be described as the Indonesian John Longstreth. His blast beats are almost constant and sound like the rumbling of an infernal engine of war. His fills are incredibly complex, once again paying tribute to Origin, and I also like how the snare doesn't have that hollow thudding sound that seems to plague so many other Indonesian brutal death metal bands. I like how they took the time to make the production sound nice.

The vocals are performed by bassist Ieckhmal Toge and consist of a deep, hoarse growl. Although they're not as mighty as James Lee, they still put on a great performance. The best part of this album are the guitars. The riffs are technical, but they're not so technical that they end up becoming ridiculous and impossible to take seriously. In other words, they don't fall into the Brain Drill trap. Instead, the guitar duo of Satrio Kura and Randi Pakonk use these technical riffs to unleash a torrent of utter brutality. Their technical riffs are dark and crushing, and some of them, such as those on the title track and “Different Rassial Wars”, are direct tributes to Origin. As for the solos, they sweep across the fretboard at a frightening pace, producing a torrent of rage that sounds like a billion death lasers that annihilate all those unfortunate to cross their path.

Antithesis is awesome. The drums are powerful, the vocals are sweet, and the guitars are utterly amazing. Their music is a perfect tribute to Origin. Don't you just love that feeling you get when you find something good after spending so much time digging through shit?

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Scythe (US, CA) – Undead Infantry

There are many, many bands named Scythe, and most of them are located in America. This Scythe in particular was a short-lived death metal band from California. They formed in 1997, released only one full-length called Undead Infantry in 1999, then broke up shortly thereafter. It's a shame they broke up so soon, because this album is awesome.

The music is a diabolical tornado of razor fury and death. The drums are performed by Brad Palmer, who performed on the legendary Deeds of Flesh album Inbreeding the Anthropophagi one year prior to this. The guy's a total beast on this album. His performance features a shitload of rampaging blast beats and double bass as well as plenty of mid-paced rhythms that feature lots of rattling cymbals and powerful snare strikes. The snare has this odd popping sound that reminds me of Flo Mounier on None So Vile. Unlike Flo Mounier, Brad Palmer is less focused on showing off how talented he is and more focused on crushing your skull.

The vocalist sounds like a young Chris Barnes. His growls are deep and grisly. They are death incarnate. Best of all are the guitars. They play a lot of savage death metal riffs that also possess this black metal tone. This creates an experience that is crushing and cold. The riffs themselves show a great deal of complexity. Sometimes they play menacing tremolo riffs, other times they play stomping chugs. They also take the time to play straight-up black metal riffs. Not only is the offering diverse, it's also played extremely well.

As with the Kansas Scythe, the Californian Scythe is a buried treasure. It's a wonderfully dark combination of black metal and death metal that features rampaging drums, grisly growls, and powerful riffs. If you're a fan of ridiculously obscure death metal, then I'm sure you'll love this.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Anbruch – Sulle Isole Beate

I was a huge fan of Nietzsche back in high school. I found a book containing a collection of his work and I ate it up. I loved the concept of the will to power and since I was a rather militant atheist back then, I loved his anti-christian views. Since I've gotten older, my philosophical views have changed dramatically, but I still respect his work. This brings us to Anbruch, a band from Italy whose first release, Sulle Isole Beate, prominently features Nietzsche on the cover. I decided to listen to it out of curiosity, and I was pleased with what I heard.

Anbruch plays raw and primitive blackened crust. The production is handled really well. I can hear all the instruments quite well, but it has just enough distortion to make things sound nasty. Speaking of which, the music sounds deliciously violent and repulsive. The drums release a relentless onslaught of simple blast beats and hard-hitting rhythms. The performance almost borders on grindcore. Unsurprising when you realize that crust was the precursor to grindcore.

The vocals consist of a wicked scream that sounds like the perfect embodiment of madness. Although there is no reverb, the vocals sound just fine without it. The guitars are the best part of the experience, though. They combine the harsh and simplistic riff structures of crust with the cold and dark sounds of black metal. The performance features a great deal of feedback and is chaotic all around, but despite this, they still exhibit a bit of melody.

Although this release is extremely short – a mere seven minutes long – it's still an amazing experience. It's fast, it's harsh, it's violent, it's an amazing combination of black metal and crust. It's as crazy as Nietzsche was during the last years of his life.

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Touhou Tuesday #114

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Scythe (US, KS) – Poetry in Torture

I've said this many times in the past, but Kansas is a wasteland when it comes to metal. People here simply don't have the time to make metal. Very few bands exist here, and most of them broke up years ago. However, if you're like me and you take the time to dig through the corpses, then you're bound to find some ancient treasures. Case in point, Scythe. There are many bands named Scythe, but this one in particular came from Wichita and was led by a young man named Jason Banks. They formed in 1992, released a 12-song demo called Poetry in Torture in 1996, then broke up a year later. In 2006, Jason reformed the band and recorded another demo called Rebirth all by himself. No one has heard from the band since, so it's safe to say that Scythe has broken up once again. I have only been able to find Poetry in Torture so far, and let me tell you that I love it.

Scythe is a big mixture of black metal, death metal, and thrash metal that radiates a great deal of energy. The production is kinda fuzzy, but this just makes the music sound darker and more menacing. In fact, the production quality sort of reminds me of Angel Dissection. Speaking of which, I seriously need to review Angel Dissection sometime soon. As for the music itself, it's pretty excellent. The drums put on a solid display, ranging from slow and sinister rhythms to rapid blast beats. There are even times when they play more groovy beats such as on “Sabbath Goat”. The bass mainly sticks to following the guitar, but they're just prominent enough to make the music sound really thick. However, there is that moment on “Whore” where they really stand out and sound almost punkish.

The vocals mainly consist of a deep, bellowing growl that just sounds fantastic. They're a perfect reflection of the undead. You'd be surprised at how hard it is to find growls this good. The band also performs some ghoulish screams on occasion that sound deliciously sick. There are even excellent moments where the growls and screams are performed at the same time. Best of all are the guitars. They play a wide array of riffs ranging from vicious black metal tremolo riffs to fiery death metal shredding to invigorating thrash metal rhythm sections. They also play some powerful echoing guitars that howl to the heavens.

Scythe also has a bit of an unorthodox side. This is first seen in songs like “Trip to Insanity” and “Tears of a Dragon”. It is here that the band plays some really emotional clean guitars that are a wonderful homage to Metallica. The other big curve ball comes in the form of “For the Love of Music”. It is on this song that the band plays some groovy hardcore featuring angry shouted vocals, hard-hitting drums, and lots of screeching guitars. I admit that I'm not really a fan of hardcore, but I really like what Scythe has recorded here.

Poetry in Torture is an amazing obscure treasure. The production is thick and dark and the music is vicious and evil. Stuff like this is why I spend so much time digging through the underground. I may come across a lot of shit, but bands like Scythe make my endeavors worth it.
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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dark Oasis – Lurking in the Darkness

The death metal scene was well-established by 1997. The genre's biggest names had already released their greatest albums and the characteristics that define the music had already been set in stone. If you really wanted to make an impression on the scene then, you either had to make really good music or do something new and different. Did Dark Oasis do any of this? No. They just decided to play some stale and boring music that had been played to death by that point.

Sure, these guys know how to play their instruments and they play them well, but their performance is boring and unoriginal. The drums play a lot of blast beats and death/thrash rhythms that feature lots of cymbal work as well as plenty of fills. The drum performance might sound impressive at first, but then you remember that Pete Sandoval was performing stuff more complicated and violent than this back in 1989.

The vocals consist of a death/thrash shout. This vocal style had fallen out of style by that time, so I don't know why he thought it would be a good idea to perform them. As for the guitars, they just spend all their time playing dull and dreary death/thrash riffs, some of which sound reminiscent of Metallica and Slayer. There's nothing original or interesting about them. I might have liked stuff like this back when I was a teenager, but I'm a bitter old man now, so I expect more from the metal I listen to. The only parts of the performance that actually show a bit of thought and effort are the solos. They totally tear shit up. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the rest of the performance.

Dark Oasis is proof that the 90s didn't exactly produce the best music. For every Morbid Angel, Deicide, or Cannibal Corpse, there are a thousand boring and mediocre bands like Dark Oasis. If you want excitement, don't look for it here.
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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Necrosis (Can) – Demo 1992

My friend and fellow metal blogger Flemming Gabin asked me if I could review the work of the Canadian Necrosis. I agreed. I then spent some time looking for material from these guys to review. This demo from 1992 was the only thing I could find. Some of you might be wondering what's so significant about the Canadian Necrosis. Well, this band eventually evolved into the colossally overrated death metal band turned shitty deathcore band Cryptopsy. That's really all there is to this Necrosis. Let's listen to this, shall we?

First of all, the production sounds like ass. It's muffled and it's hard to make out anything. Pretty typical for obscure death metal back in those days. At least the bass is rather prominent. It's played by some guy named John Todd and there are times on this demo where he's given the spotlight and he plays some great bass riffs. By the way, John Todd only ever played on Necrosis's four demos. He never went on to play in Cryptopsy. When it comes to drumming, Flo Mounier spends all his time being as brutal as possible instead of trying to prove that he's better at the kit than anyone else. He mainly sticks to playing blast beats, fast rhythms featuring lots of double bass, and some interesting fills. In other words, he wasn't as big of an asshole back then as he is now. He's still an asshole, though.

The vocals provided by Lord Worm sound fucking hilarious. His phlegm-filled growls make him sound like the Tazmanian Devil. I can't enjoy his performance on None So Vile because of how annoying he sounds, but I am able to enjoy him here because of how silly he sounds. As for the guitars, they're okay. They're played by Steve Thibault and Dave Galea and they spend all their time playing your standard shredding riffs as well as a few slow groovy riffs. They play a few solos too. They sound decent, but there are a few times where it seems like they tried to play them while drunk. Dave Galea left after Cryptopsy's Ungentle Exhumation demo and Steve Thibault left after the recording of Blasphemy Made Flesh. I'm guessing they left because Flo Mounier is an insufferable asshole and no one wants to be around him. He's just like my older brother.

Overall, this demo isn't bad, but it's not stellar either. It's pretty typical for its time period. The drums just play a bunch of brutal beats and the guitars just play a bunch of shredding riffs. If you had listened to these guys back in 1992, you would have no idea that they would eventually transform into one of the most overrated death metal bands ever.
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Danger Drive – Darkness Comes...

Danger Drive was an early yet short-lived death metal band from Poland. They formed in 1988, shortly before the fall of communism. They released a demo called Mother of Hate in 1990 and a single full-length called Darkness Comes... in 1992. I've listened to their demo, and to make things quick, even though it features some great thrashing riffs, the production was terrible and the vocals were annoying. Will the full-length be better? Let's find out.

Well, the production isn't as bad as it was on the demo. There's still a bit of cloudiness to it, but at least it's not a horribly muffled mess. The vocals have been improved as well. On the demo, they consisted of an annoying impish growl, but on this album, they sound deeper and more menacing.

Unfortunately, that's where the good stuff ends. Don't get me wrong, the album isn't terrible by any means. These guys still put on a great performance. My problem is that the performance is boring. The drums play lots of rapid blast beats, but they're nothing special. They don't do anything special that makes them stand out from all the other death metal bands that existed during the early 90s. The guitars are the same way. Sure, they sound vicious, but the riffs feel rather bland. They sound exactly the same as their peers. The only parts of their performance that doesn't sound insufferably dull and unoriginal are the guitar solos. At least they try to show a bit of flair.

Overall, while the performance might be great, it's just terribly boring, and the boredom is made even worse by the fact that the album is almost fifty minutes long. If you're going to make an album that long, it better be damn exciting. Danger Drive has failed to do so. I know I've said this many times in the past but I'll say it again. I can do bad, but I can't do boring.
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Necrosis (US, NJ) & Crematorian – The Prophet of Carnage

There once was a death metal band from New Jersey named Necrosis. They formed in 1988 and released two demos. Their first demo was released in 1991 and their last was released a year later. In 1993, they realized that there were countless other bands named Necrosis, some of which were merely a state away, so in an attempt to stand out from the death metal crowd, they changed their name to Crematorian. Under this new name, they released only one demo, Tearing of the Perineum, in 1995. They broke up sometime thereafter. Like most other death metal bands during the 90s, they died because they were unable to score a record deal.

Eleven years after this event, Conqueror of Thorns Records, in a desperate attempt to avoid the grim specter of bankruptcy, compiled the output of these two bands and released them as a split called The Prophet of Carnage, which also shares the name of the last demo the band released under the name Necrosis. Then, in 2014, a fat autistic asshole named BreadGod pirated it and reviewed it. He loved it. He loved it almost as much as he loves masturbating to the Touhou Race Queen Collection by Mayo Riyo.
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