Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Blasphemer - On the Inexistence of God (Comatose Music; 2008)

At long last the first full length from Italian brutal death metallers Blasphemer is here. I have been anticipating this one for a while. At MDF this year I asked Steve why it was taking so long (I believe the original release date was summer 07) and he told me something about drummer problems. I'm just glad they finally got things squared away because On the Inexistence of God is a pretty damn good album.

The two bands that immediately come to mind when I listen to Blasphemer are Deeds of Flesh and Defeated Sanity. They take the interesting tremelo and melodic riffing and fast "junjuns" from Deeds and furious and pounding riffs from Defeated Sanity. This album is full of whirlwind riffs and fast groovy parts. Adding to the mix is the occasional slow breakdown which is sure to please the slammers among us. It's a very enjoyable mixture that in pieces should be familiar to the brutal death fan, but together should sound fresh.

On the Inexistence of God is also enlivened by a very spirited performance from all involved. Every band member sounds really into it which makes it a fun listen. This is brought out by a clear production that emphasizes the guitars, but gives nice space for the drums, vocals, and bass to play their supporting roles. There's even a couple acoustic interludes (including the Godfather theme!) that give a nice breather between songs.

Bottom line this a very solid and enjoyable listen and was worth the wait. Certainly one of the more professional sounding releases of late. I'm guessing this'll sneak onto my top ten of 2008 (stay tuned) towards the end of the list.

Friday, December 19, 2008

"One-Man Bands To Watch" Double Review: Infinite Defilement + Human Effluence

Quick, name two acts that are on other sides of the globe (but closer than you'd think), both use a drum machine, both play brutal slam, and are both run by one man. And both sent us promo CDs to review. Stumped? Check the subject line; Infinite Defilement is a single-person venture from Australia, and Human Effluence is a new TXDM project from, well, America's Heartland. In this issue of S-M, I'll be letting our readers, and the guys in these projects, know what I think of these discs. Onwards!
Jacob of Melbourne, Australia's Infinite Defilement is a new project playing Insidious Decrepancy-sounding brutal death metal with steadily written, partially-melodic tremolo riffs in an NYDM/TXDM hybrid style. The vocals are a semi-standard guttural expulsion, and a tad loud. In fact, I'd say they drown out the excellently written music a bit of the time. Regardless, the first track begins with a developing intro riff leading into a very Morpheus Descends style tremolo pattern, with straightforward drumming. As the aforementioned Insidious Decrepancy sounds like a major influence on Jacob, the music develops in a linear yet parallel fashion; there are obvious continuations of riffs, and then beside them, new sections will develop with blasting, shifting rhythms. I have to compliment the drum programming here, as it is pretty solid. The cymbals aren't as good as Shawn/Insidious Decrepancy's samples, but still, this is a commendable job. The dark, brooding breakdown riff in the first track highlights a major positive about Infinite Defilement; his riffcraft is pretty spectacular, as the slam breakdown also attests to. Sadly, I'm not hearing much of an interesting bass presence, and I think this could be fixed by adding cooler basslines on new releases by Infinite Defilement (he'll have a new full-length out at the beginning of the coming year, apparently!). The second song is more of the same, as is the rest of this 4-track, 17 minute slaughterfest, but it's GOOD. The songs are all around 4 minutes; they all develop in a similar way, with themes being created, disintegrated, and returned to eventually, culminating in big meaty slam breakdowns with the rhythm and groove you love, and the sophistication you may or may not desire. This is very high quality stuff, and it's just going further to show that one-man brutal death bands aren't jokes...they're a powerful force to be reckoned with. Keep your eyes on Jacob; he's creating a monster.

This brings us to Human Effluence, a project by one Chris Dearing of Texas. His project may be similar in composure (one guy, drum programming, brutal death) to ID, but it's a whole other beast. Noisy and chaotic as all get-out, blasting straight through the gates after a hideously generic zombie sample (I can forgive this here and there, whatever). Sometimes, this can get a bit goregrind-y with really guttural vocals (NO EFFECTS, as his Myspace states!) and blasting, nonsensical riff structures, but when he decides to elucidate and develop riffs, the quality is obvious. There's a bit of wanky tech flourishing, which is fine in the context here, as it is rather buried and not as showy, making it not annoying but rather fluid; A+ on incorporation of that style here for sure. The third song is pretty ridiculous, it starts with good slams, and becomes a noisy mess with some over-the-top drum programming, but slows down to a good groove eventually, getting fans of Devourment and Cannibal Corpse alike moshing and headbanging. A bludgeoning slam riff breakdown lodges itself firmly in the brain of the listener, perhaps a bit too much as it's repeated a little long, but the songs keep charging forwards after this, with Atrocious Abnormality and Aversion to Life-style aplomb, all riffing and blasting and gurgling, with varied changeups and headache-inducing rampage sections. I gotta hand it to Chris, he is talented at creating oppressive brutal death metal in a more-calculated Disgorge (Mex) style, but there's very little memorability to be found. Despite this, if you like your brutal death metal LOUD, boisterous and chaotic, I'm going to wholeheartedly recommend this one.

Check the links here for these guys' Myspaces...buy their stuff and support the scene. And of course, watch out for their new releases; one-man bands aren't just for crazy guys with accordions and knee-cymbals and shit anymore.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Orchidectomy - A Prelate's Attrition (Unmatched Brutality Records; 2008)

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing a band from my current city of residence, Toronto. I'm originally from Boston but since coming to Toronto for college I've become very fond of the city so I always like to hear that there are good bands coming from the area. I've actually known about Orchidectomy for a while and their demo stirred up a lot of positive buzz in the scene. Since then though they have had all sorts of problems with their label and it seemed like this album would never come out. Well it's out now and it was worth the wait.

On Orchidectomy's last.fm page, they are described as "similar to Wormed and Brodequin with more variation than the latter." This is a pretty good description to start with. A Prelate's Attrition is filled with Wormed like slow, pounding slams and Brodequin's noisy blasts. There's more to it though. I can hear influence from Stabwound with pinch harmonics and groovy sections. I can hear similarities to fast-slam bands like Abysmal Torment. This album is like a sampler of the best bands of the genre. Sometimes if a band tries to do too much, they end up sucking at everything and being really flat. This is definitely not the case with Orchidectomy. Rather they create great riffs with influences from all around the slam world. I really can't see someone disliking this album, as there is so much to love.

The production on A Prelate's Attrition is on the rawer end which I like, but I know some people prefer cleaner production. Either way the production doesn't really obscure any riffs so I doubt anyone will have a huge problem with it.

The biggest problem I can see is that this album doesn't have any completely amazing moments. However few bands do, and even fewer bands are as consistently great as Orchidectomy. A Prelate's Attrition is just a shade below being a fabulous album and as is it one of the better albums to come out this year. I definitely recommend getting this.

Note: I think there is still some drama between the band and the label. I think the band may or may not have gotten their CDs to sell yet. I don't really know what's going on but whatever it is I'd avoid UBR if you are ordering this. There are faster and cheaper labels to order from.

Also if you are downloading this beware of downloading the unmixed version. Apparently it sounds much worse than the finished album.