Saturday, February 16, 2013
This album presents you with approximately 20 minutes of pure insanity. Think Brodequin, if they were getting sodomized by Amputated Genitals, and you've got a good idea of what you're getting here. These guys don't fuck around. Insanely fast blasts are aplenty, complimented by some insane, almost deathgrind riffs. Sprinkle in a bit of technical noodling on the guitar, some massive slams, and what sounds like a bear on the microphone, and you have Scatorgy.
Instrumentally, Scatorgy is pretty much impeccable. Tom Allott, the guitarist, shows some great technical skill, transitioning from some incredibly fast riffs to some heavy as hell slams at the drop of a dime, while throwing in some little technical flourishes that you don't hear too often in brutal death metal. James Shuster does a great job with the vocals, employing a few different styles to keep it from being monotonous. Paul Lead does a good job on bass, but doesn't really stand out. Although I would say that's more of a problem with the mixing than his playing. And then we have the drummer, Tom Walker, who is quite possibly one of the fastest drummers I have ever heard. He blasts like a man possessed, but what's most impressive about his drumming is the subtle little nuances he adds in with his symbol work. That, and the goddamn Short Bus Pile Up styled snare production, which only adds to the sound they're going for.
There are some downsides to this record though. For one, the mixing job, while decent, leaves a little to be desired when it comes to the low end. It's almost impossible to hear the bass, which detracts from the overall heaviness. The biggest problem though is how everything seems to run together. There aren't many memorable moments to be had on this album. Even after listening to it ten, twenty, even thirty times, I'm hard pressed to remember any singular moment. I also would've liked a little bit of breathing room, but seeing how it's only a 20 minute album, it's not that big of an issue.
Overall, this is a pretty damn good record. It's definitely catered towards fans of Brodequin, Liturgy, Orchidectomy, and their ilk. If you're looking for an album to ruthlessly beat you into submission repeatedly, look no further.
Posted by LoganTerriah at 2/16/2013 04:26:00 AM
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
For those who don't know, Goemagot is a three piece Brutal Death Metal / Slam act that hail from Rochester, NY. They released a 3 track demo titled Parasitic Incineration to the acclaim of the underground mid 2012. It's quite a well produced demo that showcased a high quality brutal death metal band with songwriting chops far beyond their age. The subtle nuances in their riffs set them apart from their peers. I'm sure everyone was stoked to hear where they went from there, and if they could keep up that level of quality. Not only have they lived up to their demo, I dare say they've surpassed it.
What you get on Eradication of Insignificant Beings is a 11 track crash course in how to perfectly balance technicality and groove. It really sounds like a mixture of old Abominable Putridity, Colonize The Rotting, and Brain Drill channeled through competent songwriters. Hell, some tracks have moments that remind me of Ropreromp. From the opening tracks subtle change ups in the slams, to the insane grooves, blasts, and an intense little guitar solo (!), you'll be hard pressed to stop from banging your head. Everything is on point. Nothing sounds forced, or just tacked on. The most impressive aspect of this album has to be their sense of melody. Not since Saprogenic have I been so enthralled by their use of odd little guitar melodies. You'll be hearing a lot of tremolo picked melodies, like the intro to the track Let Them Become Soil, or the epic, almost Colombian styled riff near the end of Stump.
The drumming is another high point on this album. Daniel Hemmerich is a name you'll be hearing a lot more in the future. He's just beastly on the kit, throwing everything at you up to and including the kitchen sink. The only nitpick I have though would be the vocals. There's plenty of variation on this album vocally, and that's usually a good thing, but it's not all of equal quality. His gutturals are perfectly fine, and so are his more high pitched vocals, but when he tries to go for some of his ultra low gutturals, it just seems a bit monotonous. Overall though, Cody McConnell does a great job.
I could elaborate more on how much I enjoy Matt Murphy's guitar playing on this album, how I love the little bass noodling that pops up here and there, how I absolutely can't get enough of some of the chaotic gravity blasts that happen, but I think I should end it here. Eradication Of Insignificant Beings is the best debut album I have heard in quite some time. I implore you all to scope out this album when it drops. I know that 2013 has already been way too kind to us brutal death metal aficionados, what with Devourment, Guttural Secrete, Defeated Sanity, and Suffocation releasing albums, but it would be a great injustice to let those high profile releases overshadow such an impressive debut.
Posted by LoganTerriah at 2/13/2013 09:55:00 PM
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Thanks to some recommendations I found a very deserving candidate in Lumpur, who hail from Bandung on the island of Java. After 9 years of silence (including a 6 year hiatus), Lumpur have released a short, but powerful EP entitled Skema Pembalasan Sempurna. I say powerful because Lumpur jam a lot of metal into this EP's 14 minutes. I've heard full lengths with less brutal slamming than Skema Pembalasan Sempurna. Lumpur play an absolutely relentless style that, while not particular fast or harsh, continually flows over you and breaks you down (in a good way). The riffing doesn't stop, it just carries you along with it. Lumpur have definitely taken a more holistic approach to songwriting, which I think works exceptionally well for the EP format. Each individual song works together with the other songs on the album to create a complete work. This really speaks to Lumpur's songwriting skill.
The riffing style here definitely borrows from deathgrind, which I like. There's a backbone of chugging that the bass and drums stick to, while the guitar ventures out using tremolo riffs and pinch harmonics. There's definitely a subtlety here that again speaks to the skill of the band. They keep up a steady beat of destruction whereas a lot of other bands try too many things at once and thereby create a muddled mess. Skema Pembalasan Sempurna is not simple by any means, but Lumpur stick to a particular style, which makes the album a more unified and memorable experience.
I have still just begun exploring the world of Indonesian brutal death metal, but if there are more albums like this, I am sure that I will like what I find.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Also, damn, look at that cover art.
One thing that is cool here that very rarely gets love in slam or brutal death metal in general would be tight vocal phrasing and great, evocative lyrics. Mallika is, of course, an awesome vocalist, but I never noticed that her lyric writing skills are almost on-par with her expressive growling and screaming. Most of the verse lines actually rhyme or come close (though they do use a lot of similar diction at times; not really a big deal and more of a truism than criticism, honestly), and if they don't, they tend towards similar phrasing so that the vocals actually hit cadence during verses. I just love this kind of shit; it isn't typical "bluuurgh" or pig-squeal stuff, there's thought going into vocal patterns and attention to how they fit into the music.
"A Chaos Reserved" also has a pretty nifty solo, and I like the lurching breakdown right after that incorporates phasing on the rhythm guitar... neat and clean effect that makes the track stick out in my mind. "Fabrication of the Enemy" sounds a little bit Colombian, as the blasting is of the gravitational variety and
the riffs are bizarre and squeaky-clean. There's an American-ness to the production, but its glossy sheen doesn't really bury anything, instead opting for fairly loud compression that attempts to give head-space to every instrument. There are times when the kick drum is really much too loud, especially when it is overlapping with the snare during blasts, and I miss a lot of what the cymbals are doing, but the suffocating aura exuded by ten tons of gravity blasts every track quickly remind me that I don't particularly care. This track even has a funeral-ish slam that really comes straight out of nowhere and descends to a semi-old-school death metal with way over-the-top kick and a nice solo. Parts of "Taste of Despair" sound a bit like older Despised Icon, though the way vocal patterns and riffs are formulated remind of Malignancy and Suffocation, respectively. "Schismatic" has a great intro, very moody (acoustic guitar), but it drops that aspect like a cheap whore and goes full-blast until finding a comfortable groove at just about 2 minutes in.
"Shooting the Messenger" has this weird, awesome empty part a little over a minute in which kicks the proceedings up a notch by proceeding to a thrashy riff/drum combo (going double-time compared to normal thrash) before dropping into a nice, thorough slam and back to the previous thrashing. At this point I'm a little tired of the soloing, as it is a bit shreddy, unmemorable and kind of dull, but I really dig the riffs and how they repeat for almost exactly the right amount of time nearly without fail. "Contaminating the Hive Mind" is blustery, a virtual beatdown in audio form... the whole part that ends with the title drop is incredible vocal phrasing and pacing; perfect. A sort-of backwards-sounding breakdown follows that up, and they do repeat the chorus one more time before dropping into an intense slam featuring the indomitable Matti Way doing guest vocals. His performance here does, unfortunately, seem a bit phoned-in, but the music that's backing it up provides the bread-and-butter that I'm looking for in a closing track, so I don't quite mind.
Now, I should definitely get to the critical and possibly scathing segment of my review: part of me finds each of these songs a little too distended; it's almost like they're constantly outliving their given shelf-life, yet at the same time trying to convince you that they're not and that there's more (and interesting) material to come. Only sometimes do they really make good on that promise, though (though the majority of the time, this is quite the brutal, enjoyable romp, don't get me wrong). I found it amusing that it even sounds like the solos are trying to hurry the proceedings up, making everything seem the longer overall. They even show up at essentially the same time during every song in which they appear. I can't really get by that for this album, unfortunately; it is impenetrably, irrevocably brutal but a bit harrowing and haranguing on the whole. It seems weird, then, that I would long for an Abnormality full-length and then trash their desire to write longer (and more) songs, but it really sort of becomes a sticking point when the songs themselves are overbearing to some extent, especially the one-dimensional drum production which goes tickety-tock too much, too often.
This has some awesome chops all over the place, and almost every song is tighter than [insert brutal euphemism for something tight here], Mallika is as usual a wonderful vocalist (and apparently also quite the writer), and everyone in this band clearly knows their way around brutal deathgrind with a keen eye towards lack of relenting, so there sure are a bunch of positives here. But this is a duality, a push-and-pull with the issues that I find so often in debuts, and there are glorious moments when they struggle and succeed to rise above it all. For the next material this band puts out, I hope there will be more than awesome moments, or, hell, even more than awesome songs. I want there to be awesome purpose, an awesome album that defies conventional logic and blows minds, not just eardrums. And if any band can do it, it's our local heroes in brutality, Massachusetts' own Abnormality.
*preferably with a reference to virgins or something... I dunno, whatever you slam kids say these days
Posted by Andy Phelps at 6/21/2012 12:08:00 AM
Sunday, June 17, 2012
It's probably premature to call this a classic just yet, but Post Mortal Coital Fixation is the best album I've heard this year by far. It's a huge step forward for the band and vaults them forward to the top tier of current slam bands.
In the past I've always been fond of Kraanium, if not as big a fan as some. They wrote catchy, compulsively listenable slam with tinges of thrash in their breakdowns. It wasn't the most interesting material, but it got the job done and the band played with a lot of energy and passion. That'll last a band a few albums, but even slam death bands need to evolve (if only slightly) to keep people coming back album after album. That's why so many bands are one and done, or worse, release progressively worse music.
Kraanium avoided that fate here by turning to a more serious and mature (well as mature and serious as this genre gets anyway) approach. Post Mortal Coital Fixation is not as in your face as the past two albums, but that's a good thing. Kraanium attack with an inexorable assault of slow breakdowns, and writhing riffage. The trash stylings remain but are less prominent, in favor of a darker tone to the breakdowns. This reminds me a lot of Infernal Revulsion's Devastate Under Hallucination, which was a classic in its own right. Post Mortal Coital Fixation has a sense of darkness and foreboding, that enhances the crushing nature of the breakdowns.
It is obvious from this album that Kraanium really understand what makes this genre of music so good. Taken as individual parts slam is pretty simple and straightforward and that's fine. But it is incredibly gratifying when a band can take those parts and create something more - a particular feeling. That feeling where you just want to start banging your head. That feeling that only metal fans understand. No particular song or riff stands out above the others, but that's because they all work together to create an incredibly powerful album.
My only worry is that fans who loved Kraanium's previous albums might not be able to get into this one as quickly, due to its higher bar of accessibility. If you are feeling this way I urge you to give it a few more chances. This one is definitely worth it. I fully expect it to be near or at the top of my best of 2012 list.