Monday, July 27, 2009

Dormant Carnivore - Promo 2008 (From Russia With Gore)

Dormant Carnivore are a Russian slam band with clear similarities to the extremely heavy side of brutality, similar to a combination of motherland brothers such as Abominable Putridity and Katalepsy. The first song, "Defile the Temple of Thy Womb (Born by Blood)" is almost entirely carried by brutal breakdowns with very little to distinguish them, and is probably my least favorite track. It's too short to really give the listener a feeling for the band. The next track, "Stillborn Ptomaine Extraction", is definitely my favorite though, with a ridiculous punch-in-the-face slamming breakdown right after some frantic drumming and classic style riffs. The next section has a dance-like shuffling drum beat (really unique in slam, actually, and it somehow works well here) which changes quickly to a section including a new breakdown with heavy riffs and time changes galore. The slam section in the middle with the layered vocals on top is one of my favorite sections on the demo; it sounds so perverted and dense that I can't help but smile when they drive right into it.

I'm glad Guttural Man (best name ever; no fucking around!) got a full-lineup for this demo, as they all sound really tight and can write brilliant slam-oriented death metal just like their other Russian brothers. The third track has a Devourment-esque bulldozing slam section; the Texans would be proud of their influence. The slowest slam breakdown on the album can be found in this track which is titled "Female Torso Snuff Relations" (kudos on the titles guys; awesome stuff...I also love the Myspace track, "Viagra Doping Control"...brilliant!), but yet another Devourment-worthy part can be found closing the track, and thus the demo in all its three-track glory, with frantic snare-pounding and pinch harmonic laden, equally-frantic riffs.

I'd say this is probably second-tier to the above named bands, but it is perhaps one step above a band like Cephalic Impurity, whose demo was impressive to me but whose album failed to really be too interesting (though CI should improve on subsequent releases, I think); this has all the heavy-handed slams you could want, combined with shades of influence from TXDM and the current Russian elite, with just enough of its own style to give it the rights to such a cool name and aesthetic. From Russia with love (gore, I mean) comes Dormant!

Dormant Carnivore @ Myspace

Regurgitate Life - Demo 2008

Starting with a very Defeated Sanity-esque riff/drum section, this band barrels quickly into a slam breakdown which managed to impress me right off the bat with its well placed pinch harmonics and generally satisfying groove. The vocals are slightly similar to a more understandable Wayne Knupp (RIP), maybe similar to his more cohesive moments in the past. The riffing when the band is playing normally is, again, very Defeated Sanity; chaotic, confusing and overall quite well done. The next slam breakdown is similar in structure but features pinching at the end of every bar, which works incredibly well and draws the avid slam listener in to want more. And more is definitely what I want when I hear stuff like this. The big breakdown in "Unprovoked Violence/Decaying Humanity" is absolutely enormous with a huge vocal buildup enshrouded by looming silence otherwise; very tense and powerful.

Just like that it stops, leading into the next track, "Biodegradation of Living Anatomies." This track begins with kind of a groovy yet non-slammy breakdown that pushes onwards before very catchy riffs take the reigns for the next blasting sections. The whole song is enjoyable and works quite well with pretty much nothing bad going on. If you like to be satisfied by perfectly written slam with some elements of "normal" death metal and some tech-death flair, you have to check this band out. Hell, the third track, the ubiquitously titled "Regurgitate Life" begins with a Goretrade sounding section of blasting and quick-paced, epic riffing. The strangely placed slam breakdown is indeed surprising, but given how it doesn't work in the context, it's still quite good sounding and translates back into the song flawlessly. The song abruptly ends and continues into an ambient and fairly creepy acoustic section replete with guttural vocals and a perverted sense of "beauty", before crushing the listener with possibly the best breakdown on the demo; absolutely pummeling.

I have to congratulate this band on their production (and writing, of course) for this demo; it still sounds a bit rough, mixing-wise, but the guitar and bass are prominent and have very nice tones overall. With slightly better production values, this band could easily be a force to be reckoned with in slam and have a shot to be signed by the best labels in the business. We don't see this very much from UKDM these days; usually, in both Nick's opinion and in mine, UKDM falls short of most contemporary slam scenes with consistently average or below-average projects that just don't quite deserve their popularity (controversial, I know, but compared to ITDM, the Filipino scene, Colombia, Japan, etc. it tends to be resoundingly accurate usually). The major exceptions to this rule right now are but two bands; the ever-powerful Embryonic Depravity, and Regurgitate Life, the creators of this demo. Bravo, brothers...if we were in the UK, we'd buy some brews for you.

Regurgitate Life @ Myspace

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Septicemia/Antraks - Split (Sevared Records; 2009)

Septicemia and Antraks are two bands that I first heard about through a Sevared Records sampler CD (review). Both coming out of Indonesia they are now together on a split CD. I always like supporting upcoming slam and I remember their tracks on the sampler were good, so I couldn't help but pick this up.

Septicemia go first on the disc and I have to admit it took me some time to get a handle on this band. They certainly don't sound like your average slam band. The closest approximation I can come up with is Dying Fetus grooves, TXDM chugs and Colombian blasts. On top of this is a lot of weird guitar noodling. Septicemia feel full of energy and have a lot going on. This is both a strength and a weakness. It's a strength because their songs never get boring and they jam in a lot of good riffs, solos and slams. It's a weakness because sometimes Septicemia end up sounding disjointed and inconsistent. They have a lot of good riffs but they're arranged haphazardly which lessened their impact.

There's a lot to like from this band but they've made it more difficult than they had to to see that. I am hopeful that this band could get better because I think songwriting is a little easier to improve on when you already have great riffwriting capabilities and a unique sound as
Septicemia do.

Filling out the second half of this split
Antraks have achieved a more cohesive sound than their splitmates and because of that I think they're the more enjoyable band. Listening to this reminded me a lot of the raw and catchy sound of Filipino slam bands Human Mastication and Down From the Wound. There's also some Dying Fetus influence. As with Septicemia it feels like Antraks have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for their music which helps liven it up. There's a lot of really good moshable slam on here that I can imagine would sound great live.

aren't quite as inventive as Septicemia but theirs songs are a little more satisfying. That's not to say that Antraks sound unoriginal it's just that their approach to writing brutal death metal is a little more standard. There's better raw sounding slam stewing in the underground, but you could also do a lot worse than Antraks.

Taken together I enjoyed this split. It had a lot of music on it (over 50 minutes) and featured both some innovation and some tradition. It's also great to see how far brutal death and slam have spread throughout the world. If you're interested in the deep underground of slam or like a raw sound then this split is recommended.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Alienation Mental - Four Years... ...Time Full of Brutality (Burning Dogma Records; 2004)

Although the Czech Republic has given the metal world outstanding bands in all of metal's various subgenres, it is probably best known for its grindcore. I'm only a casual fan of grindcore and this blog doesn't cover it, but from what I can tell Czech grind is a powerful force within the scene. Besides all the internationally famous bands there is the amazing Obscene Extreme Fest which features primarily grind.

The Czech band Alienation Mental are firmly entrenched in their homeland's tradition of excellent grindcore but cross over enough into brutal death that it should pique the interest of many of the readers here. As the title suggests, Four Years... ...Time Full of Brutality is a compilation of Alienation Mental's material from the four year period of 1999 to 2003. This consists of their sides of three split CDs and some live tracks.

This first and most important thing to know about Alienation Mental is that they are incredibly heavy. Their sound is viscerally satisfying. Deep bass, loud drums, and extreme guttural vocals all combine to give their studio material a huge, thick sound. Unfortunately their live material doesn't reflect this much, but a good live recording is a lot to expect from an underground deathgrind band.

Riffwise Alienation Mental reminds me a lot of a faster Poppy Seed Grinder. This makes sense considering that both bands come from the same scene and share members. Alienation Mental basically play fast, grinding blasts most of the time with catchy grooves added in every once in a while to keep things interesting. These grooves aren't your typical slam grooves and I wouldn't call Alienation Mental a slam band, but it's the same idea and I think that if you are a fan of breakdowns and groove in your death metal you will like this. Highlights include "Abnormal Idea Get Off Myself" and a cover of Carcass' song "Corporeal Jigsore Quandary".

Four Years... ...Time Full of Brutality is occasionally inconsistent and disjointed, which is often a problem of compilations, but overall this is a really heavy and enjoyable album. If you are a fan of deathgrind or grindcore or don't mind a lot of grind influence in your brutal death metal I think Alienation Mental is a worth checking out.

Note: Although I have not listened to it, my sources tell me that Alienation Mental's most recent full length Psychopathicolorspectrum is a style shift towards nu-metal. Probably not the best place to start with them.