Friday, January 30, 2009

New Abysmal Torment Tracks

A brief perusal of myspace led me to Abysmal Torment's page where they have just recently uploaded two new tracks from their soon to be released full length Omnicide. For those of you who are unaware of this band, they are probably the premier brutal death band from the Mediterranean island nation of Malta. They play a furious brand of fastslam and their first album Epoch of Methodical Carnage is pretty much the epitome of an above average, solid album. From the sounds of these new tracks Omnicide will be at least as good if not better. The same quick, chugging grooves are there along with a couple new flares like more guitar harmonics and a couple of quick little leads. Definitely sounds good to me.

Check the new tracks out for yourself:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gorevent - Abnormal Exaggeration (Macabre Mementos; 2008)

I first heard Gorevent on the Internet when their demo was shared on Soulseek, so I warmed up to this heavy Japanese slam band with that material. As I recall, it was pretty good, straightforward grinding slam/brutal death with nothing particularly outstanding. Well, aside from their odd moniker of choice. Regardless, I was familiar with the final track on their new album, "World Septic", before I heard this. However, due to previewing the new songs they had on Myspace, I was pretty blown away by how much better the production and writing got between the demo and this album. Now, forcefully pushing ahead with the power of a steam engine driven by breakdowns and rhythmic brutality, Gorevent takes the world by storm with their incredibly well-written, produced and realized debut.

The name of the game here is total Devourment worship. In fact, it actually sounds like Abominable Putridity worship to a major extent, so I'm going to refer to this as 2nd generation Devourment worship, and this places the band probably right on the "2nd tier" of slam, below bands like Wormed but above a lot of American crap and especially above horrible stuff. So, it's good, in other words. Every song transitions between sections very fluidly and the sound is thick and full of beatdown slams at every corner. Besides that, you'll even get the odd mid-tempo-blasting section like in "Flesh of the Dead". I like the atmosphere here, Gorevent don't overdo it with dumb song titles or attempts at violence, we just have simple, aesthetically vague but worthy song titles like "Bleeding" and "Insanity" which just add to an aura of mystery.

There are no lyrics that I know of, none are in the booklet, so there's another point of obscurity here. There's even an atmospheric, 40-second track called simply "Gate of Hell" that is pretty similar to what Wormed did with "Fragments" on their album, but longer. "Bleeding" showcases a similarly ambient, creepy breakdown with hard-panned guitar and vocals before launching a stereo-slam attack. Well done for sure. In addition, the songs are all a good length, usually 3-4.5 minutes and full of changing structures. The one pitfall is a big lack of memorability here, but it's not really necessary to make memorable sections when every song is brutal and full of expletive-inducing breakdown sections. It's also short enough at 26 minutes to keep you satisfied the whole time. If this was a candy bar, it'd be like the Snickers made by some random seedy company trying to compete with Mars Inc., working out of a factory in Japan, its workers facing brutal conditions that make them want to lay down the brutality when they escape its clutches. Satisfying. And isn't that something you want? Looking forward to new material!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Human Mastication - Grotesque Mastication Of Putrid Innards (Sevared; 2008)

Well, it's about time I get around to this review.  Gee and co. really deserve praise for this one, a ludicrously heavy slab of slam from the old Philippines, trusty new source for all your brutal needs.  With the obligatory serial killing sample opening the album, we're treated to a familiar sound.  It works in this case, as with Gortuary's album earlier this year.  Off-time slamming and frantically-paced drumming mark the band's first song.  One very good aspect of this album is the amazing drum production which highlights the flavorful cymbal usage and also highlights the snare's distinctly pinging tone (not quite "Colombian" but almost).  Gee's vocals are another point of distinction; they're dry yet oddly guttural, they don't sound wet like Ruben Rosas...instead they opt for a "vacuum-sealed" struggling sound, like someone quickly losing their last supply of air before death.  The atmosphere is greatly enhanced by these vocals, and it's cool that someone has finally innovated on the traditional brutal pig-vocals or guttural burps.

The slam sections are held together by shambles of verse-riffs which also act as slam riffs with less emphasis.  The breakdowns are meaty and full of catchy chugging, as well as the aforementioned GREAT drumming.  Some parts remind of fellow Filipinos Down From The Wound (a favorite among Nick and I) especially in the beginning of the second track, which opens up with angular atonal riffing and casual drumblasting.  The one fault here is that the production, while highlighting certain things very well, is pretty weak and not quite Abominable Putridity level, which can sometimes hurt the music.  It's not much of a complaint though, as the songwriting side of things offers up surprises despite the formulaic style of slam death.  If you're a fan of slam, it's going to be hard to dislike this, pretty much.  It does many more things right than it does wrong. 

The length is even just right; just over 30 minutes.  To slam bands writing 20 minute albums with the same amount of tracks (eight), Human Mastication laughs at you with superior song structuring and a more drawn-out approach!  It works very well, too, and the songs themselves never get tiring, nor does listening to the album ever become a "chore".  Human Mastication have really got talent, poise and professionalism despite their incredibly "cult" status in slam apparently (more fans needed!).  Now that Barrett at the helm of Sevared Records is bringing HM and DFTW + more Filipino slam sickness to the masses though, there should be NO reason not to listen to this stuff.  You've been warned!

Banishment - Cleansing the Infirm (Lacerated Enemy; 2008)

The California death metal scene is an interesting one. It has some of the best of the genre (Deeds of Flesh), some of the most original (Intestinal Strangulation), but also some of the worst bands (Artery Eruption). Banishment, located in Los Angeles, have every part of this dichotomy present on their debut album Cleansing the Infirm.

I'll start with the good. Banishment do a really good job of mixing their melodic, evil sounding riffs with slamming rhythm parts which is where many CADM bands fail. This creates a lot of really good headbanging moments as the album goes from epic highs to crushing lows. The songwriting is very good here and you can tell Banishment know what they're doing here. The individual riffs are also very good and show a good degree of originality. Some bands you could compare it to would be Deeds of Flesh, Inveracity, and Disgorge (US).

Cleansing the Infirm has one fatal flaw though - its production. The production job on this album is one of the worst I have ever heard. It's not "bad" as in early Devourment demos (which I like), it's just annoying. For some reason they took the treble and fret noise and put it all in the left ear. So the entire time you are listening to the album it sounds like someone is rubbing sandpaper next to your head. The bottom end is also lacking. I don't know what the band/producer were thinking, but one listen is enough to hear how annoying it is. I was wondering if it was just me who was bothered by the production so I checked on and everyone there was saying the same thing.

I'm very disappointed in this because other than the production this album is very high quality. However at this time it's pretty hard to listen to it all the way through. If I were Banishment, I would definitely consider looking for a rerecord/rerelease or just make another album and not make the same mistake. If I were a slam fan considering whether to buy this, I would listen to some samples and if the production doesn't bother you as much as it did me, pick it up. Musically it's very good.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Top Brutal Death Metal Albums of 2008: Our Picks

1. Human Mincer - Degradation Paradox
2. Abominable Putridity - In The End of Human Existence
3. Human Mastication - Grotesque Mastication of Putrid Innards
4. Gorevent - Abnormal Exaggeration
5. Blaze Inside - Pure Potenciality
6. Gortuary - Manic Thoughts of Perverse Mutilation
7. Decaying Purity - Phases of Dimensional Torture
8. Orchidectomy - A Prelate's Attrition
9. Poppy Seed Grinder - Humanophobia
10. Sufferatory - Pseudophilosophic

1. Abominable Putridity - In The End of Human Existence
2. Human Mincer - Degradation Paradox
3. Human Mastication - Grotesque Mastication of Putrid Innards
4. Blaze Inside - Pure Potenciality
5. Gorevent - Abnormal Exaggeration
6. Orchidectomy - A Prelate's Attrition
7. Gortuary - Manic Thoughts of Perverse Mutilation
8. Decaying Purity - Phases of Dimensional Torture
9. Poppy Seed Grinder - Humanophobia
10. Blasphemer - On the Inexistence of God

I think it's safe to say we have pretty damn similar taste...

'til next time!

Edit: As an aside, Abominable Putridity may have released the album in 2007, but it was about 3 days before the year ended, making it pretty much impossible for ANYONE to have heard it before the year end.  Seeing this as unfair, as it wouldn't be able to make anyone's 2007 list except in retrospect, which I have deemed silly, it appears here.  Don't like our reasoning?  You don't have to read S-M!