Friday, February 22, 2008

Clitoridus Invaginatus - Putrid Pussy Warehouse - 2008 - Pathologically Explicit Records

Clitoridus Invaginatus is a band I had never heard of until a few weeks ago until I stumbled upon them during my routine tours of myspace. I was so impressed with their songs that I quickly ordered their CD. As for background info, CI hail from Italy and have released one demo before this, their debut full length which just came out this year.

This record is full to the brim with ultra groove. By that I mean the slowest, stop-startiest riffs from Soils of Fate and Vomit Remnants and just playing them nearly continuously. There are also shades from last year's Torture of Decimation by Human Rejection, especially in the vocal department. This is seriously groovy. If you don't get the urge to bang your head when you listen to this you have something wrong with you. I like to think of this burgeoning style as "bouncy slam" (a term I would also ascribe to Human Rejection). There are blasting riffs scattered about to change things up here and there and they actually are well written and audible, which is not something you always find in slam. To add to the death metal mix, CI also add a few well placed pinch harmonics, which seems to be something of an Italian trademark (see Putridity's album).

What makes this record unique though is the addition of some melodic lines and rock riffs. The best example of the melodic aspect is at the end of "Menstrual Problems" when the slams cut out and you get this nice little melodic riff... and then BAM! the slams come back in. "I Will Rape You on a Pallet" showcases a catchy rock riff amidst the heavy grooves found throughout the rest of the album. There is also a great solo in the middle of "Scat Force". What I really like about these things is that they create memorability and make the slams seem that much more heavy when places next to nonmetal riffs. Thankfully CI know how to keep these things to an appropriate minimum. A slam album with some well-written, interesting nonmetal parts like this one is cool and unique. A half-slam, half-rock album would suck.

If you want something cool and different, while still being sick and brutal, check this out. It will be worth your money.

Abominable Putridity - In The End Of Human Existence - 2008 - Lacerated Enemy Records

Well, here we have the first big slam album to come out in 2008 (there is some controversy as to whether it is '07 or '08 but whatever)! Russia is really the last place you'd expect to find good slam, right? Wrong, because we wrote an article a while back about the Russian slam scene and it's pretty much alive and kicking in various corners including Moscow (where AP are from) and St. Petersburg.

Kicking off with an ambient and freaky sample which definitely brings the imagery of the cover art to life (creaking doors, quiet industrial rattling, pneumatic drill sounds, etc.), the music abruptly cuts in with a mid-paced slam the likes of which everyone in this scene has heard before. However, the immediate thing to notice is the FANTASTIC heavy, living and well-mixed production value. Somewhere between a Deeds of Flesh guitar-wash assault and a Devourment muffled bass slam style sound, this production really works well and lets the music breathe.

...and we really do want stuff like this to breathe. Absolutely epic slam breakdowns turn into shifting drum fills with enough references to NYDM and TXDM brutality to keep you banging your head...but there's also a playful almost technical groovy side which shows its head in the beginning of the second track "Entrails Full of Vermin". Though everyone's heard this track already because it was on their demo a year ago, the really warm, vibrant mixing aspect brings out the grooving bass drops and great kick drum work. Some of the slams are written in kind of a weird way which breaks from the typical chun-chun breakdown riff, but a lot of the time we're stuck with the really obvious Devourment clone-yet-not-quite sound that we know and love. Halfway through "Blindfold Surgery" there's a section destined to become one of my favorite rhythmic parts in death metal this year, utilizing almost melodically-arranged chords in a sustained manner instead of muting them. There's an overall really tasteful use of subtle interesting parts which make it very different from the typical Inhuman Dissiliency or Cephalotripsy uber-slow-mo slam death (no slight to that style because it's also very good!). Overall, I'm very impressed with the songwriting here; these guys can steal grooves like the best of 'em, but they also know how to do their own thing when it's called for, and I can really respect that!

Right in the middle of the album is a minute-long sample track called "Dissected From Within" which is pretty disturbing in all its squishy-squirmy glory, with aforementioned echoing creaky door sounds in abundance. I really like the placement of this on the album...and have you ever heard Devourment put something atmospheric and smartly placed on one of their discs? Yeah, didn't think so. Next up is the best title ever, "Throat Fisting Abortion" with a simplistic groove that really hits home with me, but around half a minute in is a super-trudging 60 BPM funeral slam...fucking awesome. Then they pick up the pace again and barrel through another few minutes of great stuff before hitting "Victims Stuffed With Nails" which assaults the listener with tempo breaks galore, never really going to fast mode (though there are blasts, they are pretty restrained, only a few seconds of gravity blast-type stuff), but not really staying at the same mid-pace either.

No song here breaks the 3 minute mark (the first song is 3:10 but has that ambient passage in the beginning so the music doesn't start until like a minute in), but I wouldn't have it any other way. AP knows how to write a song and stop it when the idea's getting tiring, opening the next one with an equally heavy-handed groove or excellent drum fill. I really got into this album when I first heard it; so much that I listened around 10 times in a row. At 26 minutes, I felt like I really could just sit with it on repeat to get fully into all of the corners of the rhythms. Maybe I'm insane, but I'm sure that's fine with most people reading this. I look forward to amazing things from this band, and from all of Mother Russia!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Inhuman Dissiliency/Vomitous - Supreme Engorgement of Exquisite Disembowelment - 2007 - Sevared Records

Here's a nice little split that came out last year showcasing two up and coming young slam bands. I'll start with Inhuman Dissiliency's side. ID is a band I wish I could like more than I do. They play slam the way it's meant to be played: heavy, deep and guttural. In fact this three-piece from Harrisburg, PA have three vocalists doing pretty much every brutal style there is. As a huge fan of guttural vocals I was very pleased with this. It's very clear that the members of this band like their slam death, especially Devourment, as pretty much every slam element is present somewhere in their half of the split. The riffs are crunchy and groovy, and along with the aforementioned vocals, quite a disgustingly brutal atmosphere is created.

Despite all this there are problems. The most obvious is the drum machine, and although I can't blame the band for this, it does hurt the music. ID definitely have a more organic sound with their tri-vocals and guitar tone, and the drums do not really mesh with this. Also it's hard to put my finger on it but for some reason the songs feel disjointed. All the riffs are good but nothing really ends up flowing together. Whereas the best slam death leads you on a natural progression through the different riffs, this is just more like a bunch of riffs placed next to each other without that connection. I really hope Inhuman Dissiliency can fix their problems and release something that really wows me, because I like these guys and think they have the talent to do it.

Vomitous (Swe) is next on the split and they also play your typical Devourment inspired slam. The guitar tone sounds a lot like Molesting the Decapitated and the vocals are very gurgly, just like the great Devourment that every slam band takes influence from. I wouldn't say Vomitous is a Devourment clone (and I love me some Devourment clones), but they're close. There music is pretty lively and catchy, and I like their use of pinch harmonics quite a bit. The drumming is programmed but impressive, and I know it will continue to be because Vomitous have since added young Swedish phenom Fredrik Widigs (Soils of Fate, MP5k among others) behind the kit. Not many surprises, but good for a first release. I can't really say anything negative here. Maybe in the future Vomitous will develop more originality and carve out their own little niche in the brutal scene or they'll continue on their way paying homage to their idols. Either way is okay with me.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: I have recently learned that Fredrik Widigs did not play on this release. The drums are programmed. Well they did a good job because they fooled me. I look forward to hearing Mr. Widig's talents on future Vomitous releases.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Slam-Minded Blog partners with Self-Digested Records!

Our blog has recently begun formal cooperation with new label Self-Digested Records. The label, operating out of Pennsylvania, is a rather new one started by two guys who love slam. Sound familiar?! Of course it does, because that was S-M's start too. We are happy to announce that we'll be working with the label to promote their releases, and in turn we will assist them in finding new underground slam bands to procure and release the material of.

However, it doesn't seem like they even fucking need our assistance considering their upcoming schedule which includes a new full-length by Texas slammers Glossectomy (yeah, NOT the Japanese...though they're apparently still alive...somewhere), a three-way Filipino slam split(!) from three raw and low-fi brutal bands (I hear that the S-D guys are remastering the material though): Disastrous, Tortured Maternity, and Last Vigil. The label will also be releasing a Human Mastication 7" later this year. We'll be repping these guys a lot since they are a good upcoming label with some great shit on the menu! Long live brutality!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Interview with Chris of DEVOURMENT!

Here it is...the moment we've all been waiting for. We asked Chris about various things and got even more various answers in return! What a good sport.

Greetings Chris. Nick and I are huge Devourment fans so it's an absolute honor to speak with a member of the mightiest!

I’m going by “Captain Piss” now. I’m like Sean “Puffy” “Puff Daddy” “Diddy” Combs, only not rich or powerful.

How was the European tour last Summer? Highlights, lowlights, best party spots? How were crowds?

The tour of Europe was one of the best experiences of my life. Lowlights included losing a job because of the required time off, and finding out that the United Kingdom is a cunt of a nation by flying there, being detained, harassed, and interrogated like terrorists, and then being denied access to the country (a.k.a. forced onto the next flight out to the tune of thousands of dollars, jeopardizing the entire tour and almost making it not happen). I cannot explain the feeling of being a civilized human being flying into an allied nation and getting fucked over beyond all expectation or belief, but I can say that, seeing as my entire view of England is now the inside of the London Heathrow holding/investigation facility, I will never take the Union Jack off the bottom of my shoe. But I must add a short disclaimer that my actual hatred lies with the government, and it’s in no way meant to be against individuals (aside from the customs officials in question and the Queen), so when I say “Fuck Britain” I’m not trying to slag British people, because there are quite a few outstanding people and organizations who happen to have survived being brought up in that cesspool.

Highlights, however, included the feeling of arriving in Frankfurt, Deutschland with no hassle whatsoever and knowing the tour was .. all the doubt rising out of the Britain situation; playing our first cluster-fucked show on a BOAT in Paris, France; drinking delicious Euro beer non-stop like it was Natural Light; meeting the NRW and witnessing how they tear shit up; playing the largest venue I’ve ever played (Fuck the Commerce); hanging out with Shawn Whittaker, James King, Zdenek, and Despise; seeing all these amazing countries (retrospectively, I even have good memories of being perpetually cooped up in a van where you either sleep sitting straight up or get a turn on the makeshift bunk of potential death); finding a GYM in Barcelona, Spain and then partying with Terrence Hobbs and sharing the stage with Suffocation; an even better Suffo/Devourment show in Madrid, Spain; having the venue we played in Bilbao, Spain turn into a dance club with an 80/20 ratio of young girls to guys and acting like kings with James King, Zdenek, and Mike from Despise; Ruben and I taking our munchies out on a lovely tray of homemade Italian snacks; jumping off a two-story balcony in Switzerland and getting caught and crowd surfed… I’m getting tired of listing, but needless to say, it was something that I’d like to do on a regular basis.

You're the newest addition to the Devourment roster; can you explain to us in detail about your work with the band? How do you fit in to recording/writing/playing?

Butcher the Weak was in the can before I joined, so the only songs I’ve worked on fabricating from the ground up with the band have been Deflesh the Abducted and the Cannibal Corpse cover. I handled most of the transcription work for the latter, and came up with a half of a riff for the former. I mainly try and stay somewhat in the background when it comes to creating the material for this band because I think ultimately the executive powers have got to lie with Ruben and Mike, but I try to add stuff, and I certainly want to contribute both lyrically and musically to this new record. I’m very volatile creatively, kind of a tyrant, so it’s best for me to be humble and not get too caught up in writing or else I’d probably end up going to that place where someone points out to me “Dude, back off… of all of us, you’re the LEAST original member. Veto.”

How did it feel being the "new guy"? Was it awkward or confusing at first to learn all the bass sections and breakdowns, or was it comfortable and easy?

I’m no Jason Newstead, I was incorporated into the band very naturally. I learned things very quickly and was up and ready for battle within a few weeks. My personality was a natural fit as well. I think we’re all easy-going with a slight proclivity for violent insanity, but the conflicts we have had go to show that we get along well in the grand scheme of things.

So, of course everyone is awaiting news on the 2008 Devourment album since you guys signed to Brutal Bands...tell us what you know!

I know the artwork is more developed than the music at this point. We’re just now starting to hunker down and write, but that’s a very kinetic process so I don’t think it’ll take too long now that we’re in that stage. We get tight very quickly, so once the tunes are arranged, it’ll just be a matter of post-production delays.

How long does it take Devourment to write new songs? Have the songs on the upcoming CD been in the works for a long time?

Usually Mike and Ruben get together and, Voila, it’s mostly done. Then Eric makes his drums and we practice until it sounds good. I have a foggy concept of time, but it seems like it really just takes a few sessions to get a song completed. As far as I know, we’re starting from scratch on all this new material, but you’d have to ask Mike and Ruben how long they’ve been bedroom jamming on a riff by riff basis. Apparently the riff at the end of “Deflesh the Abducted” was over 10 years old.

I read recently that you guys got invited to open up for Black Dahlia Murder on their tour through Texas. How do you feel about this?

I personally wanted to do this because I’m an energy junkie and with a “Bigger is better” mentality… bigger crowds filled with un-jaded kids raise the intensity, and a band with that kind of exposure draws, no doubt about it. We ended up declining because of work obligations, but I think it would have been a good experience. We did play the Dallas show of the tour, and it was a good time despite our actual set being a complete cluster-fuck. I know BDM has a reputation amongst underground completists for being “untrue” or whatever, and some people think it would be ridiculous for Devourment to open for them, but you can take “true” to your sausage festival party at your ghetto apartment, make it into a paper airplane, and see if it flies… it won’t. Fuck it.

How does it feel to be a member of the band everyone pretends to be? No slight to anyone, of course, because all slam is excellent!

It’s awesome, because I’m pretending to be Mike, and he’s pretending to be Ruben, and Ruben is pretending to be two guitar players at once. Sometimes I do get that feeling of “How am I standing onstage playing ‘Postmortal Coprophagia’ in between a Devourment banner and a rabid mosh pit?” but then I think about how many hours I spent being socially dead playing metal in my bedroom and how utterly fucked I am in other areas and I rationalize deserving it. In terms of the copycat thing, I personally get tired of that… not just slam, but Carcass clones, Morbid Angel clones, etc. But good bands do arise out of those circumstances, so it’s not like you can make a law stating you must be so original or else you’ll be banned from recording.

Who/what influences you as a bassist? How do you think bass fits into the Devourment sound (should be pretty obvious but we'll bring it up anyway)?

Tone has always influenced me more than technique for bass. Dan Lilker and Peter Steele are two big influences in that way, even though they play with a plectrum and I use my fingers because I like to punch the strings. I think of bass more as a component in a machine than as an instrument to show off on. Honestly, when I hear wanky bass, I think it sucks, and it usually gets punished by being that plunky little thing at the back of the mix trying to force it’s way into the listener’s consciousness with varying levels of success. I like Alex Webster, Tony Choy, the guy from Cryptopsy, and Cynic (even though that’s kind of on a different plane of existence). I used to like Les Claypool, but I haven’t really listened to that in quite some time. For Devourment, I approach my playing from more of a philosophical level than from an instrument-specific technical level – our underlying goal as musicians in this band is to create the thickest sound possible, so I use a heavy distortion and play a lot of chords to make the sound waves look like your shit after an all-you-can-eat buffet and 4 cups of coffee.

You're from the grind band Kill The Client. How was the transition from grind to slam, or did you have experience with both anyway?

I’m well versed in all of the extreme metal arts. The only things I can’t do are play melodic guitar solos, sing power metal or gurgle, or play music that’s going to get me laid. My style of playing is basically the same even though I switched instruments… I have to put myself in pain. My right fingers are always fucked up because I simply cannot play in practice like I do on stage, so I always get these blood blisters, or, like the last show we played, tear the blood blisters open and bleed all over my bass.

You guys should definitely visit the Northeast USA. Just saying.

We have. We played a couple of shows in New York in 2006. I’d like to tour all over the place way more often than we do, but Mike and Ruben have good full time jobs that require them to be there more often than not. Brutal death can’t feed your family.

What bands are you really digging in the brutal scene right now? Care to give us a recent playlist or two?

I’m very thin on the music consumption front these days. For various reasons, I basically just stick to what I’ve already got until something gets shoved in my face and it happens to be fresh, so my playlist is basically three mp3 CDs of stuff I’ve had for years that sits in my gym bag, which is kind of pathetic. I have to say, though, the most brutal work of art I’ve experienced in quite some time is motherfucking RAMBO – I think some death metal festival ought to screen a print of Rambo as a headliner this year.

How did the re-recording of Butcher The Weak go? Both Nick and I see it as a huge improvement over the original.

It went very smoothly. Braxton puts a lot of work into recording to make sure our plumber’s cracks aren’t showing, and he really makes sure you’re laying down something that’s worthy of being copied and distributed for as long as there’s a demand.

You guys looking forward to TDF and CIM? Those should be awesome shows!

No, we’re not looking forward to traveling to Japan for the first time and headlining both days of Tokyo Death Fest. We’d rather be fishing in East Texas, but they asked us, and we felt like it would be rude to say no…

I’m kind of worried about CIM, though. Last year was quite the ordeal and I almost didn’t even play, so hopefully our brains work more efficiently this time and we don’t miss flights or leave basses at the airport while running around downtown Chicago trying to make the last Greyhound to Urbana.

Is there one place in the US that you guys always like to play around because of the crowd?

No place really sticks out above and beyond any others… The crowds in Germany and Switzerland have so far been the most maniacal, but that’s not the US, so it’s not really answering your question. Las Vegas is fun because you can stay out and drink all night and Matt from Guttural Secrete and I have exploding glass thumbtack matches on the roof tops of casinos. Really any place where people are going to party and not just go to sleep when the music is over is good. I think most of my criteria have to do with elements outside of the actual show, because as long as the people don’t stand there looking at you like it’s open mic poetry night, or walk out on you, then it’s good.

Thanks for the interview man! Anything you would like to ask us? Take care and we hope for the new Devourment to be brutal and awesome as usual! Stay sick.

What makes a man? Is it the power in his hands? Is it his quest for glory?

Andy: Personally, I think you have to give it all you got to fight for the top. You know, just so you can know my story (because I'm a real man). Titties are good too, though. However, they are no substitute for balls (obviously).

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Putrefukation - Vortex of Zombified Mortuary Procedures vs. Atrocious Abnormality - Echoes of the Rotting

Here we have a battle between two relatively unknown American Brutal Death bands from California and North Carolina respectively.

Putrefukation starts off with fairly standard deathgrind. I decided to buy this because I really liked the band name and Andy had told me good things about them. Most of the songs are under 3 minutes and you get blasts and gurgles to your heart's content. Every once in a while a nice slam sneaks in there to switch things up. I especially like the vocals witch are often dual tracked. I have always liked it when you can hear the vocalist breathe when doing death vocals (seems more real and fierce to me) and that is what you get here. Reminds me of if Ruben from Devourment did the "ree"ing style of vocals. What makes Putrefukation at all notable however is that they add some unexpected things to the deathgrind formula like a few rather impressive solos as well as some old school sound riffs. This makes the album a little more memorable than your average blast-and-gurgle. This does come at a price though as the album sounds a little disjointed and unfocused at times. All in all a solid, albeit uneven, album.

Atrocious Abnormality is a fairly new band that I mentioned late last year as an underground album that deserved a little more attention. Well I finally got it myself and it's definitely a worthwhile album. Containing members of Lust of Decay, including Steve Green who also runs Comatose Music, this band can certainly play their instruments well and let it show with tight riffs and well-written songs. Fans of Lust of Decay will recognize Steve's riffing style but with Atrocious Abnormality he also taken over vocal duties. AA is also more brutal in my opinion. Basically what you get here is technical, well-played riffs interspersed with some solos and some fun groovy sections. Nothing really stood out on this album as fantastic, but there was nothing bad either. They also included a cover of The Misfits' "Mommy Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?", which actually sounds pretty good. Again, although nothing outstanding, Echoes of the Rotting is sure to please all the brutal death fans out there.

Verdict: This was a close one, but I think Atrocious Abnormality wins. If Putrefukation can focus their sound they might be able to take it to the next level, but until I'll stick with the proven veterans.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Exulcerate - Remnants Of A Cannibalistic Debauchery - 2005 - Comatose Music

Exulcerate's solitary full-length thus far is really a pretty exemplary cut of brutal death metal with varying degrees of old-school death metal influence. In some of the riffs, I can hear nice tones akin to Entombed, Morgoth and other European stalwarts, as well as of course the Cannibal Corpse influence! The riff writing is really solid and could even please some old-school metalheads who haven't been able to understand "slam" in any real capacity. The vocals aren't SUPER guttural, but they are deep vociferations of hatred and brutality. Oh, and I can't neglect to mention that BRILLIANTLY over the top cover art...goddamn! The spine of the disc claims that the band plays "alcohol driven cannibalistic death metal" and I can see it to an extent. There are plenty of whiskey-soaked riffs and breaks here, and the vocals I can definitely see being uttered after a few bottles of Jack!

However, I HAVE to hand it to these guys because despite claiming to be "alcohol driven," they certainly seem like they have their shit together. Tight slam rhythms and fast blasty breaks really make this long (47 minutes!! Holy fuck!) album seem more compact and powerful with great variety. Some excellent soloing really peeks out during songs like "Feed Us, Kill Her", "Post Mortem Disfigurement"(which even features an early-Amorphis-esque dark verse riff after said lead section...awesome!) and "Terminated Foetal Debris", making me wonder "why don't they do this more?" but I guess these guys understand the saying "too much of a good thing makes said good thing sound like absolute shit" so I'll forgive them and hope they fix this on the next LP.

As I just stated up there, this is a long-playing brutal death album with a variety of different styles. It's not just "Texas slam death" and it's not just "modern death metal with old-school influences," it's definitely a beast all its own. I definitely look forward to hearing more by these guys. A welcome surprise from a band I honestly didn't expect to sound "different"!