Saturday, May 30, 2009

Abacinate - A King's Thirst For The Frosty Brew (Epitomite Productions; 2009)

Thanks to Barrett of Sevared Records for giving us this promo along with many others

A few years ago the big trend in metal was Gothenburg style melodeath mixed with hardcore. Today that trend seems to have shifted slightly to just pure death metal mixed with hardcore. Whatever your opinion on deathcore is, there is a lot of it coming out right now. Abacinate, from the great state of New Jersey, is definitely part of this movement.

A King's Thirst For The Frosty Brew is a promo released by the band for an apparent upcoming full length. The first three songs on this promo are new original songs. The last song is a cover of Sepultura's Nomad. There is also an acoustic part and a pretty bad rap song included in that last song. Abacinate have a couple other releases under their belt including a 2008 full length entitled Ruination.

Abacinate basically play standard brutal death metal mixed with hardcore breakdowns. A few years ago this might've been cool, but now it seems overdone. I don't mind deathcore and I'm a pretty big fan of hardcore in general, but I tend to view deathcore (and most fusion genres for that matter) as a watered down version of two genres that I like. To Abacinate's credit they're good musicians and the riffs they've written are pretty good. The brutal death parts are interesting and the hardcore parts are heavy and moshworthy. They even added a gang shout which I thought was cool.

However, just like I feel about most deathcore, I can't really get into this. Although the various parts of the music are good, I find myself wanting to listen to other bands when listening to this. I'd rather just listen to a brutal death metal band or a hardcore band, not one that only gives me half of each.

If you like deathcore give Abacinate a try. They're definitely good at what they do and have some cool ideas. If you hate the deathcore trend stay away.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Amputated Genitals + Vulvectomy updates

Dan (and the rest of AmpGen) attended Maryland Deathfest this year...Nick and I quickly spoke to him about the upcoming album by the band (and he gave us free AmpGen keychains!) and he informed us that the album should be out in 3 weeks time. So that's a mid-June release, hopefully. He also informed us that, indeed, his label (Gore and Blood Prod.) is putting it out, and Barrett/Sevared will be distributing it in the US. Support Colombian sickness and buy this when it comes out!

As for Vulvectomy, we talked to Barrett about them...he informed us that there are 3 more songs the guys have to record, then they'll be finalizing the whole package. The album should be out later this year, perhaps Fall or early Winter (November?). This is likely to be a mindblowingly great album, as Italo-slam has been upping the ante lately with a lot of great bands...stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Devourment - Unleash the Carnivore (Brutal Bands; 2009)

Well, well, well...look who's finally back! The finest (and arguably the first "real" progenitors) of slam death metal bands is back with a new album, long overdue since Butcher the Weak back in 2005. I, along with Nick, picked this album up straight from Ruben and Eric at Maryland Deathfest this past weekend, and it's been on heavy rotation since, from the car ride back to on my headphones in my CD drive as I write this.

"Unleash the Carnivores" begins with some quick drum fills before launching into pure slam mode, as Devourment tends to do very often. One thing I liked less about BTW was the impression I got that the spazzy/blasting sections were more numerous and not enough of the slams were catchy to me. Another big point of contention I had with BTW was the stupidly loud production, which was too clippy and "extreme" but really just sounded muddy (not to mention the drums were way too dominating; a lot of the blast sections just sound like pure drums) more thing; BTW has pinch harmonics...this doesn't. I think harmonics are way overused in slam, and it's good to see the main dudes leave this lame trend behind at least for a while. Due to these things, I think I can safely say that this new album is better, to me, than BTW was. The chorus in "Unleash the Carnivores" features some of Majewski's best vocals lines ever, and the second instance of it leads into yet another unparalleled slam section by the true masters. What's strange is, Captain Piss (aka Chris Andrews, who was interviewed for this very blog) wrote this track and "Incitement to Mass Murder". This proves that Chris has a ton of talent, as these songs are excellently done and fit well with the stuff written by Ruben and Mike. "Abomination Unseen" features a bridge section with an atonal open-chord guitar part, which is somewhat of a new thing, and makes the song feel a bit more open and, dare I say it, "epic." More on this feeling later, though.

One weird thing here is that it sounds like Captain Piss is a little buried or under-represented in the mix. I can hear his bass motoring along, but it lacks punch and sounds a little quiet. Chris sounds great in the live venue, though, as this past weekend's MDF performance for Devourment can attest. The slam around 3:20 into this second track has a very awesome triplet double bass pattern, which is really effective and something else I don't really recall Devourment ever doing. Eric's drumming overall is completely awesome, even though his toms sound a bit odd (kind of cool, though, if you ask me; very flavorful and tastefully done); he's tight as hell and his fills in various tracks are really just beyond what should be expected from drumming in slam.

"Fed to the Pigs" is regarded as somewhat of the "single" off the new album; it was released prior to the rest of the album to fans for a taster of what the album is like, they made shirts (which I have one of, thanks to MDF being well stocked in this department) with the title as text, and they've played it live both times I've seen them. The first section of the song is a bit awkward, with kind of a shuffling drum/riff combo, but once it gets going, you see where this section was heading; Devourment gets a little more "driving" and aims for a traditional death metal groove during the first verse, which really gets the blood pumping and works surprisingly well. The bass/drums only next section leading into the big first slam (though not the biggest or slowest in the song, of course; this happens around 1:35 and has an absolutely awesome riff where the last couple notes sort of "hang", which makes it feel more powerful and rhythmic) is ingenious, I wish Devourment did this in a slower fashion sometimes. The next few slams don't particularly stand out, but the structure of the song is always very strong and there are more surprises to come.

"Incitement to Mass Murder" is the second and final song on the album written by Captain Piss, and it's really strong. It features some of the most prominent blast beats and snare-rolls Devourment is known for, and Majewski's lyrics are actually rather mature and don't sound as silly as usual (we of course still love the silly stuff, and there are some tracks that had lyrics that literally made me crack up; well done Mike!). The most memorable part is of course the insanely heavy slam section with the "SOUUUUUUUL" refrain...I'm telling you, Chris is a great writer. If he wrote that part into the song, he's really bringing a lot to the band and pushing them forwards, which is impressive as hell. The following slam section verges on "funeral slam" territory but never quite reaches it, featuring more excellent triplets and snare rolls by Park, who, by now, has proven his immense talent and worth as a drummer for this band.

"Crucify the Impure" has more prominent blastbeats and some more driving ones with interesting cymbal use, especially the ride...the first minute of this shows Park using his kit to some of the best potential he has yet. Mike's first vocal lines are driving, like we saw in "Fed to the Pigs", and this song will likely become a live staple, with lots of people shouting or growling along to the first verse and chorus. This song lacks memorable slams, I feel, (even though the main breakdown is stupidly heavy; it does kind of have zero transition and feels forced) but it's still an excellent example of how Devourment's songwriting prowess is somehow becoming a bit more expansive and "progressive" which I absolutely cannot fault. They have to stay ahead of the curve, after all...can't have newer bands outdoing the masters. Regardless, this is probably my candidate for "weakest" song but...Devourment don't really have anything totally weak, just less good than usual. Typical from a blog focusing on the music scene that is following what these guys created, but I'm being serious.

We've all heard "Deflesh the Abducted" least those among us who got the excellent 4-way "Limb Splitter" split (which also showed the incredible potential of Sarcolytic, by the way), and it's a bit upgraded with production to fit this album. It was good when we heard it on that split, and it's still good now, with awesomely dumb lyrics and the signature big groove that makes Devourment so lovable. It even has one of those spazzy blast parts where no one knows what the fuck is going on, just that it kicks ass (credit to Noah/Noktorn for this phrase, I love it). The section with the hi-hat rolls in the breakdown is just incredible, and the re-appearance of a new breakdown after a previous one, with kind of an awesome straight up death metal riff (done Devourment style) is phenomenal. Many, many broken necks will accompany this song live.

By this point, your neck is likely already broken, to be fair, but "Over Her Dead Body" continues the mayhem with another signature growling groove, with an interesting rhythmic break at around 40 seconds in which might make you wonder who you're listening to. In fact, this song probably has the most absurd and screwy structure of them all. The breakdown has almost no transition yet feels totally natural, the spastic parts are weirdly effective despite seeming random, and Eric's splash cymbal mashing sounds completely effective. Brain damage from headbanging so much? Possibly, but I can't get enough of this.

"Field of the Impaled" it is...the most epic Devourment song ever. You thought "Postmortal Coprophagia" had an insane structure full of slams beyond imagination? Well...yeah, it does. It is still my favorite single Devourment song, but this really takes their new "direction" to the next level. You want slams? You've got them, and you've got a lot. The pacing is really excellent, it never quite sounds too forced or rushed, as was the case with the also-longer-than-usual "Postmortal"...the slow swaying part with bass and drums is exactly what I want from a transition, and the schizophrenic blasting brings this to a place Devourment needs to go more often, Mike bellowing guttural spew above the whirlwind of snare. The completely abrupt "BLAM" chord at 3:45 is probably the coolest fucking thing ever, and totally hits the spot this late in the album. Continuing on, we have an absolutely excellent rhythm that confuses and satisfies with an odd time signature and a solid groove. You wanted an epic fucking ending? You're getting it, and you're getting it good. The same slam repeated for a good minute and a half with awesome fills from Park the whole way out...what a great farewell.

When this comes out, you buy or fucking die. If you don't own this by June 26th or a few weeks after (I'll allow a small buffer zone), you are dead to me.

Pathology - Age of Onset (Comatose Music; 2009)

Pathology is a band that I've known about for a while but never really bothered to check out. Originating in San Diego in 2006, they've quietly released two full lengths before Age of Onset, yet for a band that contained members of the legendary Disgorge I never heard much about them. I was a little skeptical about this album before I heard it because of all the American brutal death scenes California has been in my opinion the most inconsistent. There's some great music coming from there but some really weak material as well.

I'm glad I got over these worries and bought this album however. Age of Onset is basically a return of early Disgorge, right down to the still great Matti Way on vocals, only with better production. If you are a fan of the Californian style of brutal death metal then you will love this. Fast, semi-melodic riffs are contrasted to galloping, pounding grooves. The song structures are such that a large amount of brutality is compressed into a small space. Unlike the TXDM style of blast-slam contrast employed by Devourment and others, Pathology just pack brutal riff after brutal riff. It's not the most memorable, but just like Disgorge's classic debut Cranial Impalement it is very enjoyable while you listen.

Also like Cranial Impalement, the vocals are handled by Matti Way. This is the first Pathology to have Way on it, with the previous albums employing another former Disgorge vocalist Levi Fuselier. Way is one of my favorite vocalists and he is in top form here. His sound is one of the most instantly recognizable and sickest in death metal. His vocal rhythms also complement the style of groove employed by Pathology very well.

This album is not a complete Disgorge clone however, as there are a couple well done melodic sections (the song Gestation Begins is a good example). These are nice breaks from the dense nature of the rest of the album but thankfully are kept to reasonable minimum.

Disgorge and CADM lovers take note, this is probably one of the better albums to come out of the scene in recent memory. For those of you like me who have mixed feelings about the scene pick this up. It's basically a reimagining of California's best material from the late 1990s/early 2000s with one or two unique twists.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Slam-Minded Returns From MDF

Sadly Maryland Death Fest is over now and Andy and I have been forced back to the real world. We did not come away from MDF empty handed though. Not only did each of us buy a ton of CDs but thanks to Barrett of Sevared Records we also have a ton of demos/promos to review as well. We each also obtained Devourment's new album Unleash the Carnivore direct from the band. There should be a ton of new content up on S-M in the coming weeks so keep reading.

I'll leave you with some pictures from the fest.


The Slam-Minded writers

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vomepotro - Liturgy of Dissection (Sevared; 2009)

Thanks to Cristiano of the band for sending me a free burn of this to review!

Right off the bat we're hit with a sample claiming "It's beautiful..." and a man presumably seeing the same scene states "Ugliest thing I ever seen." Then you're hit with exactly what he's talking slamming with sick vocals and a slight old-school flair, totally dirty production job (though it has a loud and clear, precise way of working despite being noisy and blasted-out) and killer solo cuts. The vocals are very American sounding, a one-dimensional guttural croak that sounds just evil enough and not distracting; it gets the job done.

The first track, Incorruption, closes out with some frantic riffing which is really a good idea for this band; they tend to combine the pulse-pounding blast-death of countrymen Krisiun (whose riffs tend to be really incomprehensible; the only thing you know is it sounds badass and is shredding your face off, most of the time) with the slamming of a typical Sevared release. I can't see many problems with this concoction; it's not totally original (the crazy soloing is sometimes akin to something Necrotic Disgorgement would do, but then there are some thrashy sections and parts that ND and co. definitely wouldn't do) but I don't believe you have to be in today's metal climate, esp. on a small brutal death metal label. Passion and dedication to your craft tend to be enough, and they does get noticed.

Bands like Vomepotro exude style and flair along with their aura of dedication to bands past and current in the scene, and their sincerity shines through most of the playing time of this release. The third track, Defaced by Pestilence, runs forward with sharp riffing and transforms into a blasting death assault intermingling groovy, Cannibal Corpse-esque sections and BTW-style Devourment frantic slamming/blasting, and it works fine to these ears. The abrupt change in song direction near the end is amusing, also. The first riff in Buried in Collective Grave is really kind of creepy and tomb-like, cool atmosphere, and they continue this feeling with slower slamming and subtle interesting riffing similar to later Inveracity or Deeds of Flesh, which is a nice change of pace. The beginning of Horror Humanufactore is really great; good sweeping with a cool, well-produced sound, and it's not over the top. The song has sort of a Vomit the Soul-esque sound with some dual style vocals and frantic brutality/blasting.

Overall, this is really nothing new; it's a competent release and a good addition to Sevared's catalog, and Vomepotro are a good addition to Barrett's roster. It's not totally memorable or anything, but it is vicious and executed with passion, so I can't fault these Brazilian slammers for their attempt.  Solos in brutal death are rare enough, though, so if you're a fan of those, you'll be a fan of Vomepotro. There are a lot of other reasons to like them too. Check this out if you're a fan of any of the bolded bands, and thanks once again to Cristiano for sending me a copy of this to listen to!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Amputated Genitals new album announced

Those crazy Colombians in one of our favorite slam bands, Amputated Genitals, have recently announced a new album, entitled Family Bloodbath.  No other news that we can see yet, but it should be out this month on Daniel Paz's (bass/guitar) own Gore and Blood Productions.  Really looking forward to this as their debut is a ridiculously heavy and brutal slab of slam.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Invocate - Dwellers of the Shade (self-released; 2006)

Random review time, but at least this band deserves actual attention and features members of lots of cool bands! Unfortunately they are also split up now, after just one demo. Anyway, this one is a groovy, hyperfast slam demo (2 songs and an intro) by a Stoke-on-Trent, UK area band called Invocate, though its members are from both the UK and Sweden. This demo was released 3 years ago and absolutely kicks ass if you can stand really hyper drum programming such as later Vomit Remnants or Retch. The slams are catchy and vary from faster slam breakdowns to slower ones with really abrupt yet endearing transitions between them. The vocals are a guttural croak (sometimes a drier inhale sound) with a bit of pig-squeal to them, which is essentially how Uffe functions in his other bands, too. The final breakdown in the first real track merges some dark old-school death metal sounding leadwork and crawling drumming before blasting the crap out of the last 20 seconds, and when they do stuff like this (they also do it on the second track), the instrumentation works a lot and the band is at their most heartfelt, even though their slams are nothing to scoff at either.

The band is kind of an "all-star" project, though none of the bands the guys are from are all that well-known. Members of Crepitation, Stabwound (the mighty Uffe on vocals), and Sarpanitum (among others) participated here, and the sound is strong and brutal. The guitars are a little muted, and the programming is a little too loud and overbearing, but the breakdowns and general songwriting are enough to look past that. Since this is probably very hard to find, I'd recommend finding a copy to download...unless you can find a copy for sale somewhere.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Abysmal Torment - Omnicide (Brutal Bands; 2009)

There's been a lot of posts about news and not about many reviews here at Slam-Minded recently. Part of this is my fault as I haven't bought any new CDs since February in anticipation of spending too much money at Maryland Deathfest. To rectify this situation and hold me over until I can buy it at MDF I downloaded Abysmal Torment's new album Omnicide.

Abysmal Torment play what I like to call "fast slam" and come from the small Mediterranean island nation of Malta. Omnicide is their second album. They have also released an EP called Incised Wound Suicide in 2004 and a full length called called Epoch of Methodical Carnage in 2006.

From my talks with other brutal death fans it seems Omnicide is getting mixed reviews. Some people like it but a lot of people seem disappointed. To be honest this surprised me because I think Omnicide sounds really good. It sounds a little different than Epoch of Methodical Carnage, but keeps the fast slams that made that album good.

By fast slam I mean bands that use lots of time changes, breakdowns and grooves but are faster than your average slam band. Besides Abysmal Torment I'd say bands like Decaying Purity and Cenotaph count as fast slam. Omnicide has a lot of these fast slams although not as many as the last album. Instead Abysmal Torment have moved in a slightly more melodic direction (in the Inveracity/Deeds of Flesh sense). I think this is a good move as it makes their sound bigger and more varied. There are also a lot of good stop-start slams in this album which kind of remind me of Poppy Seed Grinder although Abysmal Torment never reaches the level of extreme groove that PSG does. Nick Farrugia's vocals are above average and remind me of Phlegeton (Wormed, Human Mincer). Another positive is that this album is 45 minutes long, which makes me happy considering the average slam album often struggles to reach 30 minutes.

A problem I have with Omnicide is the production. It is a little punchless and I feel it takes away from the large feeling that the riffs create. The mixing is also a little weird. The bass guitar is pretty hard to hear at times while the bass drums are a bit too high in the mix. These problems don't really affect the album that much, but I think I would've enjoyed it a little more had it had a really thick, bassy production.

Despite the negative opinions that are floating around about it I'd recommend Omnicide. It's a very solid effort from a veteran band.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

MDF Running Order Announced

Greetings slam fans. Just a quick update on Maryland Deathfest, the premier North American extreme metal/grind festival. The running order of the bands has been announced. Obviously the biggest band at the fest in regards to this blog is Devourment, but I expect there are a lot of bands that S-M readers would like. If you haven't bought tickets yet I suspect you're too late, but if you have here is a complete of the bands you will see and the time they will play. This gives you the ability to plan ahead what bands you want to see and what bands you will skip in order to ask Andy and I for autographs. It's going to be an awesome time.

Friday May 22nd
Doors at 3:00 PM

Main room stage
Hero Destroyed – 3:30 – 3:50
Triac – 4:05 – 4:25
Jig-Ai - 4:40 – 5:10
Sayyadina – 5:25– 5:55
Gnostic – 6:10 – 6:45
Pigsty – 8:00 – 8:30
Venomous Concept – 11:05 – 11:40
Victims – 11:55 – 12:25
Cephalic Carnage – 12:40 – 1:25

Outside stage
Cattle Decapitation – 6:35 - 7:10
Marduk – 7:25 - 8:10
Mayhem – 8:30 – 9:30
Asphyx – 9:45 – 11:00

Saturday May 23rd
Doors at 11:30 AM

Main room stage
Drugs of Faith – 11:45 – 12:05
Maruta – 12:20 – 12:40
Pretty Little Flower – 12:55 – 1:15
Unearthly Trance – 1:30 – 1:55
Crowpath – 2:10 – 2:40
Flesh Parade – 2:55 – 3:25
Weekend Nachos – 3:40 – 4:00
Rotten Sound – 4:15 – 4:50
Misery Index – 6:15 – 6:50
Birdflesh – 7:05 – 7:40
Pig Destroyer – 8:10 – 8:40
Phobia – 11:00 – 11:30
General Surgery - 11:45 – 12:25
Wolves in the Throne Room – 12:40 – end of night

Outside stage
Hail of Bullets – 4:45 – 5:30
Brutal Truth – 5:45 – 6:25
Immolation – 6:40 – 7:25
Atheist – 7:40 – 8:25
Napalm Death – 8:40 - 9:25
Bolt Thrower – 9:40 – 11:00

Sunday May 24th
Doors at 11:30 AM

Main room stage
Complete Failure – 11:45 – 12:05
Agenda of Swine – 12:20 – 12:40
The Endless Blockade – 12:55 – 1:15
Lair of the Minotaur – 1:30 – 1:55
Magrudergrind – 2:10 – 2:40
Kill the Client – 2:55 – 3:25
Splitter – 3:40 – 4:10
Despise You – 4:25 – 4:55
Yakuza – 5:10 – 5:40
Catheter – 6:10 – 6:40
Krallice – 7:10 – 7:40
Antigama – 8:10 – 8:40
Trap Them – 9:15 – 9:45
Devourment – 11:00 – 11:35
Sigh - 11:50 – 12:35

Outside stage
The Red Chord – 5:00 – 5:30
Absu – 5:45 – 6:25
Abscess – 6:40 – 7:25
Aura Noir – 7:40 – 8:25
Destroyer 666 – 8:40 - 9:25
Pestilence – 9:45 – 11:00

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Upcoming Vomitous mCD

Thanks to a message from Vomitous vocalist, it has come to my attention that Vomitous are planning to release a new mCD on Sevared Records this year. For those of you who haven't heard of Vomitous, they are a multinational slam band based in Sweden and New York. They've released one split with Inhuman Dissiliency which was pretty good. Personally I'm a fan of Vomitous and I'm happy that they are releasing new material. I'll keep you updated on this release as I learn more but in the meantime check out their unmixed teaser track on myspace: