Friday, June 26, 2009

Slam of the Rising Sun

Inspired by a good friend of mine taking a trip to Tokyo this summer, I've decided to do an in depth look at the Japanese brutal death metal scene. In my opinion Japan has tons of good brutal bands and it's hard to argue that there is a better country for this kind of metal in Asia. If you're at all interested in brutal death metal Japan should not be overlooked. Here are some good ones to start with.

Vomit Remnants: One of the oldest bands on the scene, Vomit Remnants is also one of the best. They describe themselves as "Hyper-Groove" which is actually fairly accurate. Vomit Remnants is all about the groove and remind me a lot of Dying Fetus and Soils of Fate with touches of Suffocation. All of their stuff is great and insanely catchy and most of it is available on their discography CD called Supreme Vehemence. The only thing that bothers me about this band is that they have not released anything in four years.

Infernal Revulsion: This band is relatively new but their debut full length Devastate Under Hallucination shows they know what they are doing. It's incredibly heavy and the slam breakdowns are immense. If you want to be absolutely crushed by a slam death record, check out Infernal Revulsion. It also features a common trait of Japanese bands - great vocals. Not sure what makes the Japanese such good gurglers and growlers, but it's almost a guarantee that a Japanese brutal death band will have awesome vocals. Infernal Revulsion has a second full length on the way called Dead But Breathing.

Infernal Revulsion standing near a scary fence

Gorevent: I can't figure out how to pronounce this band's name (Gore - Vent? Gor - Event?). Either way they rule. They fall on the simpler side of things and don't complicate things with technicality or melodic riffs. They just straight slam. This plus a thick and heavy production on their album Abnormal Exaggeration reminds me of Abominable Putridity. Again great vocals.

Members of Gorevent plus the coolest old dude ever

Disconformity: Another band that needs to release more material, Disconformity have only given us one EP and two demos. Disconformity manage to combine slam's catchiness with a slightly higher than average amount of technicality. Their style is very heavy not unlike countrymen Infernal Revulsion. It's hard to judge this band based on so little material, but what they have put out shows great potential.

Blunt Force Trauma: Despite having some humorous Engrish song titles in their discography (Inconsistency Politics and Vomit Christmas being my favorites), Blunt Force Trauma are emerging as a good band and managed to hold their own on a split with the excellent and relatively more experienced Katalepsy. Blunt Force Trauma favor abrupt, stomping slam as opposed to smooth grooves. They remind me of Vulvectomy in this way. I'm hoping for a full length from these guys sometimes soon.

Blunt Force Trauma slamming in the woods

: Probably the most obscure band I've talked about and sadly the only one that is no longer active, Jenovavirus are also the most unique. They're just weird. They throw in synthesizers, multi-layered vocals and weird atmosphere. If you are a Dripping fan (and you should be) Jenovavirus is definitely worth checking out. Unfortunately for us they only recorded one demo.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Best Live Slam Courtesy of Youtube

Unfortunately it is pretty rare for most people to see slam and brutal death metal live. Most of the bands aren't able to tour extensively and unless you live in a big city you're pretty much out of luck. The brutal death scene is very active and alive right now, and thanks to the internet we can hear and buy studio releases from all around the world. However nothing beats the energy and intensity of live music. Thanks to the magic of youtube though, we can get pretty close. I've picked out a couple videos that I think slams fans will enjoy.

Soils of Fate - Versus ft. Ruben Rosas of Devourment. Recorded at the first Maryland Deathfest in 2003.

Devourment - Choking on Bile ft. Wayne Knupp (RIP)

Human Mastication - Groteque Mastication of Putrid Innards

Katelepsy - Number of Death (13)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

New Sevared Signings/New Insidious Decrepancy Album

A lot of things are going on in the world of brutal death metal this summer. Luckily for you I'm jobless this year and so likely will have plenty of time to meander around the internet and post about new bands and new releases.

I'll start with one that I'm sure many people are aware of and that everyone should be excited about. Insidious Decrepancy, the one man TXDM band created by the prolific Shawn Whitaker, will be releasing its third album Extirpating Omniscient Certitude on July 31st via the excellent label Brutal Bands. I'll admit I haven't Insidious Decrepancy's first album, but the Inerrancy of Profanation is great and I'm looking forward to this release.

Another upcoming release to look forward to is The Void Of Un-Existence by the Portuguese band Decrepidemic. Decrepidemic have recently been signed to Sevared Records. I couldn't find an exact release date but it appears that it's coming out in the next month or so. I'd actually never heard of this band until just recently but according to metal-archives they've been around since 2002. I listened to the songs up on their myspace and they're pretty good. Decrepidemic play fairly standard tech/brutal death metal, but thankfully keep it brutal enough to be enjoyable. I'd like to see how they sound on a full album without myspace destroying the quality, but my initial reaction is positive.

Staying in the same part of the world, Sevared Records have also announced the signing of Spanish slam band Extirpating the Infected. I also listened to these guys on myspace and liked what I heard. They seem to be a new band but they've recorded an mCD called Vaginal Saw Entorturement and have members of the Spanish deathgrind band Kevlar Skin. Extirpating the Infected have a very good slow groove thing happening which sounds very moshable. No word yet on Sevared is putting out Vaginal Saw Entorturement, but on first listen
Extirpating the Infected sounds pretty good.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Awaiting The Autopsy - Couldn't Tell The Bodies Apart (Amputated Vein Records; 2009)

Awaiting the Autopsy is a relatively new 3-piece slam outfit from Germany, which doesn't have very many slam bands to its name (that are notable anyway...this band features a member of Poostew and Corporectomy who we once reviewed here; there's also Despondency who neither Nick or I are really fans of). In any case, I recall reading about their early demo and I think taking a listen to their earlier Myspace stuff and it was way too "deathcore" for me to really get into it, or at least enjoy it enough to review it here. This seems to be a whole new beast, and I'm glad they stepped up their game.

Whether I was just imagining the discrepancy between their old stuff and this or not, this is some fucking killer slam with a patently dark and sinister edge. From the wonderfully evocative album title (and art by none other than Mike at Visual Darkness) to the very well used dissonant chords placed between slams, to the Guttural Secrete-esque creepy non-ironic dark acoustic track near the end of the album, this is one hell of a mature release. Also, Phlegeton of Human Mincer and Wormed does wonders for their credibility by doing awesome guest vocals on "Slowmotion Slide Down the Impalement Stake" (kudos to the gruesome and cool song title too).

The first song actually shows traces of deathcore days past, though, and at first it was almost enough for me to yell at the people who recommended this to me. However, by "Backyard Autopsy" all fears are quelled by a surprisingly creative driving rhythmic slam and perfect drum programming (excellent kick drum fills abound, this is always an awesome way to program). My main gripe with the drum programming Christian utilizes, however, lies in the distinctly flat and lame/powerless snare sound. It could have been much more powerful and resonant so I'm not sure why this sample was opted for. Regardless, the actual technical proficiency of the programming is nothing to scoff at as most of the fills are absolutely great.

"Feet First Woodchopper Suicide" features a very Saprogenic riff at 1:54 (that is to say, it is sinister, dark, tremolo picked and pretty damn awesome) which carries the song a great deal until it is thrown out for somewhat of an old-school death riff played in the rhythmically-metered slam style. Oh, and fear not about pinch harmonic abuse. ATA know how to incorporate them well. They're used pretty tastefully and they almost never sound stupid. This is good as apparently a lot of slam bands nowadays are acting like they just learned what harmonics are. A well done job on the non-slam riffing and harmonic-usage side of this release, I must say. Also, "Wormpaste" has some crazy sweeping right in the beginning and sort of a semi-lead/solo in the middle with the same motif. Kind of fun, I must admit, and a good songwriting step.

The vocals are a layered guttural inhale and there are some very good exhales, even somewhat akin to Majewski on the new Devourment. One of the big selling points here, apparently, is female vocalist Ulrike doing high pitched desparate screams, which are akin to the ones Dripping sometimes used. The one thing that could improve them (and make them even more Dripping-like) is to blend them in more so they aren't just appearing in breakdown holes, etc. Anyway, these vocals set ATA apart from the pack, which is good in a scene where everyone does basically the same thing, vocally.

If you're looking for a pretty "dark" slam album with some experimental tendencies and more brutalizing breakdowns than you can shake a stick at (and if you don't mind a tiny bit of deathcore chugging in your slam), you should absolutely check this out. Will likely make the top 10 of my slam list this year.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Human Rejection - Decrepit to Insanity (Pathologically Explicit Recordings; 2009)

Human Rejection are a band that's amassed a relatively sizable fan base since their debut album Torture of Decimation hit the scene in 2007. I think their success has to do with their ability to write incredibly catchy slams combined with a smooth production which made Torture very easy and fun to listen to. Human Rejection have now released their second album Decrepit to Insanity. This album sees Human Rejection lose some of their accessibility, but they make up for it by increasing the brutality. The Human Rejection that people (including myself) loved is still here, but it has evolved.

Human Rejection play a lot of very groovy and bouncy slams and complement with faster, more melodic riffs. The beginning of Suffocate Castration is an example of a groovy riff that just pulls you in. It's a pretty standard formula for slam, but Human Rejection are very good at making it memorable and engaging. There is a uniqueness and an energy to Human Rejection that is not often found slam and its part of why I like them so much. Decrepit to Insanity is not quite as catchy as its predecessor but sounds more brutal to me. The riffs are a little denser and the vocalist Alex has decided to go with high gutturals as opposed to pig squeals.

Decrepit to Insanity has also added a lot of stop-start riffs to the mix. I think these work really well and fit right in with the rest of Human Rejection's repertoire of riffs. I know there is a lot of skepticism in the scene about the use of stop-start riffs because of their association with hardcore, but the ones on this album are pure slam death. They are basically good slams, just with some open space added into them. In this way I am reminded of Human Mastication's great album Grotesque Mastication Of Putrid Innards (review). What I like about this style is that it allows the other instruments to be showcased. A common motif is for the guitars to play a slam and then stop, have the drums play a fill and then to slam again. The end of the song Infernal Hostility is a great example of this.

I don't know if I can say this is a better album than Torture of Decimation, but I also wouldn't say it's worse. Decrepit to Insanity is not as accessible or initially exciting as Torture of Decimation, but at the same time I think there's a little more to it. If this is your first experience with Human Rejection I would recommend getting both albums as they are both high quality.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Flesh Consumed EP out on Sevared now!

Cali-slammers Flesh Consumed have a new EP out with a really fucking cool cover, on everyone's favorite US brutal label, Sevared Records. The new song available on their Myspace is full of semi-melodic riffs and heavy production, focusing on thick kick drum and good use of cymbals. The verses with chunky riffing and blasts outright slay and the slower parts aren't really "slammy" but they are pretty predatory and lethal sounding in their own right. Flesh Consumed may be going more "tech-death" it sounds like, but it still sounds brutal as fuck and I dig the non-generic gore type aesthetic they're going for. Metal needs more machines; it only makes sense...and if you throw gore in the mix, that works too. Buy or die!!