Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top 10 of 2009

Here's my list for the best brutal/slam death albums of 2009. Happy new year and stay brutal and sick~!


1. Devourment - Unleash the Carnivore
2. Pathology - Age of Onset
3. Gorepoflesh - Gore Fucking Corpses
4. Awaiting the Autopsy - Couldn't Tell the Bodies Apart
5. Human Rejection - Decrepit to Insanity
6. Septycal Gorge - Erase the Insignificant
7. Amputated Gentials - Family Bloodbath
8. Vomit the Soul - Apostles of Inexpression
9. Decrepidemic - The Void of Un-Existence
10. Pus Vomit - Degrade the Worthless

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Year of Slam...Top Ten Lists Abound!


1. Devourment - Unleash the Carnivore
2. Pus Vomit - Degrade the Worthless
3. Gorepoflesh - Gore Fucking Corpses
4. Amputated Genitals - Family Bloodbath
5. Pathology - Age of Onset
6. Embryonic Depravity - Constrained by the Miscarriage of Conquest
7. Awaiting the Autopsy - Couldn't Tell the Bodies Apart
8. Septycal Gorge - Erase the Insignificant
9. Suppuration - A River of Corpses
10. Insidious Decrepancy - Extirpating Omniscient Certitude

Expect an update by Nick soon. Until then, stay slamming!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Embryonic Depravity - Constrained by the Miscarriage of Conquest (Permeated Records; 2009)

One of the better bands from the small but growing UK scene, Embryonic Depravity have really made a name for themselves this year. Earlier in the year they shared a split with Gorevent and they have now released their debut full length. While the split was good and showed a lot of potential, Constrained by the Miscarriage of Conquest is an excellent, well written, and well played debut.

This album is brutal death metal for brutal death metal fans. By that I mean, while it does not have the instant appeal of bands like Abominable Putridity or the memorability of label-mates Septycal Gorge, if you are a fan and you know how to listen to this type of music there is a lot to like. Similar to Decrepidemic's debut (review) Constrained by the Miscarriage of Conquest  feels like it's a third or fourth album by a veteran band. Embryonic Depravity know what they want to do and do it well. It seems like 90% of the albums that are released these days are debut albums, so it's nice to hear one that fits together so nicely.

The music on here reminds me a lot Defeated Sanity (especially their first album) because of how well Embryonic Depravity marry brutality and technicality. It's technical enough to be interesting but brutal enough that the technicality does not overwhelm the senses and become dull. Other than Defeated Sanity I can hear some CADM influences. There is also a dark, foreboding atmosphere that pervades the album which I liked a lot. Having listened to it a couple times no particular song or moment sticks out to me, but I think this is because of how well the album as a whole works as a unit. It really feels like these guys have listened to a lot of brutal death metal understand what makes it good and they have the skills to put that understanding into their music.

Constrained by the Miscarriage of Conquest is a very well done and rewarding album. It does not have the immediate visceral appeal of ultra slamming stuff but if you're a veteran of this genre there is a lot here to like. Fans of CADM or European brutal/tech stuff should especially appreciate what Embryonic Depravity have done with this album.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Murder Intentions - A Prelude to Total Decay (Soulflesh Collector; 2009)

Let me just get this out of the way at the beginning of the review: this is a deathcore album.

However before you dismiss them as another melodeath band playing boring breakdowns, it should be noted that Murder Intentions fuse slam death with beatdown hardcore. These two genres fit together much better than what the sideways haircut, "irony" filled bands that are so popular today play. For those who don't know what beatdown hardcore is, it's a subgenre of hardcore that emphasizes heavy grooves and breakdowns (or "beatdowns"). Roughly it is to hardcore as slam is to death metal, so you can see how these two genres go well together. Personally I'm a fan of this style of hardcore so it was a pleasant surprise to hear this album from the relatively unknown Belgian band Murder Intentions.

So what does this sound like exactly? There's your death metal blasts and typical slams backed up by some gutturals. Nothing really out of the ordinary but nothing bad either. Added to this are some shouty yet distorted hardcore vocals and hardcore beatdowns. The beatdowns are more abrupt and staccato than slams but generally have the same goal. Both are headbanging and moshable. I have hard to time seeing someone who likes slam a lot really disliking these breakdowns.

Other than a somewhat unique fusion, one which I anticipate we will see more in the future, Murder Intentions are a solid but unremarkable band. A Prelude to Total Decay is good and has a couple great moments (I really liked the song "Failed Humanity"), but unless you really like beatdown hardcore I doubt you'll get too excited. It's a good album to play when you just want something simple and moshable. Kudos to the band for fusing two genres well.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gorepoflesh - Gore Fucking Corpses (Self-Released; 2009)

WARNING: This review may offend people who dislike this album. However, it may also allow you to see it in a new light! Read on if you dare.

First of all (and this is again referenced later in the review to get the point across), if you hate this, I hate you.

Barbarity. Inhumanity. Perversion. Terror. An atmosphere of all of these is rife on the new disc by Nicaraguan slammers Gorepoflesh, who, despite their awkward name, churn out an amazing, terrifying debut of slam replete with slow, thick breakdowns, amazing guttural vocals and some of the best blasting on a recent slam album.

We originally covered the Nicaraguan scene about a year and a half ago and, despite its smallness, it packs a surprising punch when it comes to slamming sickness. Gorepoflesh are certainly among the high ranks, and here's why: this album sounds truly brutal, inhuman and disturbing. A lot of people are finding fault with this album for its awkward production (imagine a production value about as awkward as the band's name and you're probably close to approximating it without hearing it). The general guitar tone reminds greatly of Dripping in terms of gain levels and feedback (remember Dripping's feedback-laden riffs that sound truly weird? Yeah, you get some of that here sometimes) and sometimes even drumming (slightly jazz-influenced fills here and there, plus the snare sound is really similar). It's impressive that anyone can actually get such a dissociated tone from guitar as this, and I laud this as one of the first innovations Gorepoflesh are really working with; when I say this sounds perverted, I mean that it honestly sounds disgusting and disturbing, like something not even made by human beings some of the time. It has a rawness to it that makes it hard to get into but intensely rewarding.

Yes, some riffs are hard to pick out because the mids are scooped and the bass drops are just immense by contrast, but really...the songwriting is fantastic and bizarre. They cleanly transition between slam breakdowns of various tempos, the second track, "Carnivoure Vaginal Torn" has a really intense middle breakdown section that has a weird, old-school death-y structured section in the middle, just adding to the respect I have for these guys. They play with conviction, passion and determination and though I realize this album seems to be intensely dividing even fans of this kind of music into little factions, I believe the best art does challenge people's notions of quality. This is one of those albums: revolutionary, terrifying...every single minute, it's hitting you in the face with more slams you can't even digest, more snaking, unheard of songwriting transitions and more of this insane production that threatens to both bludgeon and stab you at the same time. This is perversion. Slam needed this album. I like the really clinical sounding stuff coming out on high-brow labels as much as the next reader, but I feel like this needs to be championed. It's incredible. Yes, I really believe that.

"Devouring Through Fornication" begins with a beatdown reminding mildly of older Goretrade circa the debut, then transitions into a mindblowing guttural breakdown, flailing wildly into blasting madness with undeniably heavy, unknowable riffs with no tone and no obvious groove. Lovecraft would be proud of this, it's surreal, it's frightening, none of it makes any sense, you can't relate to anything on it in a human way, it's beyond the human level of listening and going "yeah, that was cool they did a little slam breakdown and then there was a faster part". It's all awkward, bizarre and wrong. Like Nick has also said, it's the perfect combination of raw and audible. Wrong and right. And it's consistently bashed into your brain so you get it.

I implore everyone to get this at the nearest opportunity, and if you hate it, fucking good. I hope you hate it. I'll know who not to trust, who doesn't understand this kind of music and doesn't appreciate it on any deeper level than "that was a sick slam, bro." Yes, I am being inflammatory. This deserves strong opinions, in my case, strong positive opinions and defense against harsh criticisms coming from people who hear this and think lack of talent, lack of coordination, lack of focus. You're wrong; this band knows exactly what they're doing, and they're doing it in a way that is intent on dividing criticism and drawing out the people who dislike what they do. There's no reason to pick out songs here, every single song is filled with shit you'll either love or hate; songwriting choices straight from Slam Hell, waved in your face to embarrass you with their pummeling brutality and intensity. If you hate revolutions and progression and challenging art and are satisfied when shitty, overhyped bands like Ingested put out new albums, this isn't for you. Move along.

Fuck everyone who dislikes this, you're all dead to me. Get off my lawn. Gorepoflesh are my new gods. Nicaraguan slam supremacy. This, the Philippines and Colombia. Fuck the rest of the world.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Septycal Gorge - Erase the Insignificant (Permeated Records; 2009)

Ever since Septycal Gorge's first album Growing Seeds of Decay I have been a big proponent of this interesting and talented band. They gained some praise but I never felt they got the recognition they deserved  within the scene. I really hope that changes now because Erase the Insignificant keeps everything I loved about Septycal Gorge while seeing the band improve markedly overall.

Septycal Gorge work by writing big, memorable tremolo riffs contrasted to weird and at times dissonant heavy slams. The best comparison I can come up with is a bizarre, widely spaced Disgorge (US) but that doesn't quite capture everything. Septycal Gorge just have their own sound. It is simultaneously brutal and memorable, something which so few bands can do well. In the relatively small genre confines of brutal death metal, good originality is hard to come by but Septycal Gorge have plenty. The vocals are decent wet sounding inhales again reminiscent of Disgorge.

Where Erase the Insignificant particular succeeds is in the slam parts. The big, memorable tremolo riffs are excellent, but the slams make or break this kind of music and Septycal Gorge obviously put a lot of effort into making them sound amazing. One listen to the song "Lobotomia" should convince everyone of this. If you've heard Growing Seeds of Decay and are wondering how Erase the Insignificant compares, I think this area is the biggest improvement.

This album is definitely one of the year's best and I think all brutal death fans should be able to appreciate Septycal Gorge's original yet still brutal sound.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Suppuration - A River of Corpses (Brutalized Records; 2009)

One of the best parts about Colombian death metal is that it feels very natural. It is always thick and fuzzy production and all the bands have their own unique sound within the general framework of the scene. On Suppuration's first album Pain and Suffering this idea was taken almost too far. The production was raw to the point of being annoying and while there was a wealth of good musical ideas, they were not integrated into the deathgrind structure that Suppuration was going for.

All of these problems were addressed it seems in the four years since Pain and Suffering's release with Suppuration's new album A River of Corpses. Whereas Pain and Suffering was a problematic album with potential A River of Corpses is a fully realized and fully enjoyable Colombian deathgrind album. The songs are fast and groovy and very catchy. There are the requisite gory samples and the requisite blasts and slams. The musicianship is pretty good as is the production which is a big step up from their previous album.

The faster parts of the album sounded very Colombian with pseudo-epic riffing in the style of Ancient Necropsy and Blaze Inside. The melodies seemed to slither throughout the songs giving making them very foreboding and evil sounding. A good example is on the song "Slut Decapitator" which starts with a couple cool and memorable melodies before descending into deathgrind grooves. The grooves and slams reminded more of TXDM than the band's fellow Colombians which worked well because the chugging style of the Texans contrasted nicely with the melodic parts. It's nice when deathgrind has cool melodic parts but it is absolutely essential that it has catchy grooves and Suppuration delivers.

It's also worth remarking on the vocals which are often a weak point on otherwise excellent Colombian death metal records (see Goretrade). The vocals on this album are actually quite good and Suppuration uses the contrast between low gutturals and high screams well.

I'm not sure if this album is quite good enough to make it onto our best of the year lists (coming soon!) but Suppuration have to be commended for making a very good record and improving so markedly from their last effort.

Also "Drugs, Sex, and Grindcore" is a great song title.