Thursday, December 23, 2010

Blasphemer - Devouring Deception (Comatose Music; 2010)

Unfortunately for Blasphemer fans (myself included), Devouring Deception is a not a new full length follow up to their excellent debut On the Inexistence of God. Rather it is an EP consisting of three original songs, one Broken Hope cover, and a remastered version of the song "Cloaca of Iniquity" off their first album. This review will primarily be about the three original songs, although the cover and the remaster are good.

Blasphemer fit in very well with an Italian scene that has emerged as one of, if not the best brutal death metal scene in Europe. Along with Blasphemer there is Putridity, Septycal Gorge, Hour of Penance, Vomit the Soul, and many others. On their first album, Blasphemer took a blasting, technical approach and On the Inexistence of God does what every good tech/brutal album should and completely shreds with a lightning fast assault. They don't forget to slow it down and slam every now and then either. Devouring Deception thankfully does not mess with success too much, and the new songs are definitely within the realm of tech/brutal. If you haven't heard Blasphemer before, I would compare them to Defeated Sanity, or their countrymen Hour of Penance.

There are some changes from On the Inexistence of God. Blasphemer have gone for a more smooth, holistic approach. To use some brootal similes, On the Inexistence of God is like quick, surgical precision strikes. It is fast, and sharp. Devouring Deception is like a mechanical monster. It is crushing and huge. Both are complex and skilled, but Devouring Deception feels bigger.

I can't really say that Devouring Deception is better than On the Inexistence of God because it is only and EP. However, if Blasphemer can write seven more songs like the ones found Devouring Deception, I would love that full length. Blasphemer remain one of the premier Italian brutal bands.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Abominable Putridity announce rather ridiculous new (vocal) lineup

So, apparently Abominable Putridity, everyone's favorite Russian slammers, were either trolling the slam scene or were just confused and seeking direction when they announced that Cameron "Big Chocolate" Argon would be the new vocalist for the band some time last year. This disappointed more people than I can even count at this time, and the rumors kept being confirmed with various pictorial evidence posted by the band themselves on and the official forums. It seemed likely that, indeed, a *gasp* deathcore vocalist masquerading as a "slam/brutal death metal" vocalist by doing boring, one-dimensional exhales, usually unhelpfully backed by a completely equally boring, equally one-dimensional group of other instrument-players, would become the vocalist of the spearheads of Russia's hallowed slam scene. As you can tell, this would rightfully anger quite a few people.

BUT, there has been good news announced quite recently. Here's a quote posted by Sergey of AP on their official forums.

We are going to make 2 song promos when we will have it professionally mixed and mastered in USA...So be patient... i promise that all you guys will like this album, we spend about half of year to record it and make songs powerfull and tight as hell, and this material is waaaayy different from the first one, as for vocals Matti leads on all tracks, other guys making back vocals on 4 tracks (2 songs with Corey, 1 with Aj and 1 with Angel), album will have 8 tracks total..."

Anyway, since you're probably shitting yourself in excitement right now, here's a picture for some more pictorial evidence. This time it's actually exciting, we promise.

From L to R, that's Angel Ochoa (Condemned, Cephalotripsy), Matti Way (of Pathology, Cinerary, Liturgy and Disgorge fame), AJ Magana (Defeated Sanity, ex-Disgorge, Deprecated) and Corey Athos (Flesh Consumed).

holy shitting fuck.

that is all.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Goretrade - Mistaken Conception (Brutalized Records; 2010)

If you hang around metal message boards long enough, you'll probably notice that there is a seeming divide between those who like brutal death metal and those who like old school death metal. Now, I think most of this is overblown for the sake of something to argue about, but nevertheless there are those who say everything brutal is trash, and those who say the old stuff is garbage.

I'd like to think that Goretrade is a band that can bridge the gap between the two camps. On their first two albums (2003's Ritual of Flesh and 2006's Perception of Hate), they successfully fused evil, old-school sounding riffs with crushing slams and the type of raw brutality that can only come from Colombia. If you are are already a fan of Goretrade and their unique style, then you will like Mistaken Conception. It sounds like their first two albums, while taking small steps forward so as not to sound stale.

If you haven't heard Goretrade before then this is probably a good place to start. Mistaken Conception is their most polished work and the riffs are tight and intricate. The same mix of evil, foreboding Colombian melodies and steamrolling slams remains, but there is an extra tinge of complexity that their previous two albums (and especially the very raw Ritual of Flesh) didn't have. There's even a long solo in one song, which I always like.

If you tend to like raw slam from Colombia (Suppuration or Wormeaten for instance) then you might prefer Ritual of Flesh, but I think Mistaken Conception is easily as good if not better. Goretrade have done an excellent job moving their style forward without going so far as to be unrecognizable. In a year that has featured some let downs, I know this album will be high on my top ten list.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Human Rejection Songs

Greek slamgroove stars Human Rejection have put out some new songs. I loved their first album along with most slam fans, and I liked with their second album which seemed to get less of a good reception. There have been some fears raised that Human Rejection are turning their backs on brutal death metal and becoming a deathcore band. Yeah, they have a corey logo, but after listening to their new songs I don't think that is happening. Honestly, the new songs sound like a stompier CADM band. It's more technical and melodic sounding than their past stuff, but it also feels like a logical continuation from Decrepit to Insanity.

The verdict: I liked it overall, but I think their old stuff is stronger. However, I do not think they've gone deathcore, just a little more intricate and less slamming. How you feel about that probably depends on how  you feel about technical/Cali style death metal. I'm going to stick with this band because they're still producing high-quality material, and I don't think they should be punished for trying to change things up on each of their releases.

On an unrelated note: This is the 200th post on Slam-Minded! I never thought it would last this long or that anyone would read it. I can't thank my co-blogger Andy and everyone who reads this enough. Let's hope we have 200 more posts. SLAM TILL U CUM!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cephalic Impurity - Unique Brute Revival (Soulflesh Collector Records; 2010)

Before I start the review I want to complain a little about the lack of variety of names in slam. Does every band name have to  start with either Human, Cephalic or Cerebral? You might say to me: "Nick, this is the only band in your library that starts with Cephalic!" and you would be right. I think I'm just cranky because this band used to be called Infected Guts which I think is a much cooler.

Who are Cephalic Impurity then? They are from the Russian city of Izhevsk which is a couple hundred miles east of Moscow, the home of the famous Russian bands Abominable Putridity and Katalepsy. This is their second full length under this name, although I haven't listened to them since their Infected Guts days. 

During those days they sounded raw, simple, and dirty. I expected that they would coalesce into playing the primitive grooves and achingly deep slams that the Moscow slam scene seemed to produce. But because of geography, member changes, or just a will to be different, Cephalic Impurity have produced something pretty unique and interesting. The band name may be as generic as they come but the album title is accurate. This album is unique and does manage to build the aura of brutality that is so necessary to make this kind of music feel right. It doesn't feel violent or psychotic, it feels like entering a mean, cruel, and harsh world. I also really dig the cover art.

Cephalic Impurity achieve this by juxtaposing intricate (but not tech-death) riffing with grooving slam. You can tell from the grooves that they are Russian and they certainly please the lowbrow slam guy within me. I think it's the riffing though that works the best on this album. It's interesting while avoiding mind-numbing technicality. If you tend to go for good non-slam riffing in brutal death (think Septycal Gorge, Inveracity, or Hour of Penance), then I could see you really liking this.

I have to point out though that the production is awful. It is not awful in the harsh unlistenable/awesome way that Colombian slam production is awful. It just has zero bass. I did an experiment where I played Cephalic Impurity and then I played Abominable Putridity and the difference was obvious. There was even a bass drop (that "WUMP" thing) on this album and it didn't really sound like anything. I may be exaggerating here but that's because I'm disappointed that a good album was turned into an okay album because of the production.

Despite my reservations, I'll recommend this one, if only because a band with such a generic name produced such an interesting and unique work.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Goregiastic Records Acquired by Sevared Records

Goregiastic Records, a small but quality label has been bought by Sevared Records. It's fun to imagine this as two major record labels merging, but it sounds more like Goregiastic's inventory is going to over Sevared. They're both one man operations and it seems like Andres, the owner of Goregiastic, no longer wishes to run a label. I'm just going by what it says online but ff that's the case then I'm glad things have moved to Sevared. Barrett has always been dedicated and professional. Goregiastic released some good stuff (Infernal Revulsion - Devastate Under Hallucination comes to mind) and will be missed, but if you're going to leave the scene, this is the way to do it. Here's the official statement from Goregiastic's website.

We are very excited to announce that Goregiastic Records has been acquired by Sevared Records! Yes, we will be a key part of Sevared Records, spearheading their drive to be the leader in nowadays' extreme death metal scene!.
As most of you have may guessed, there won't be any changes in the Goregiastic Records Online Shopping experience as a result of the acquisition. Customers will still be able to browse our own/distributed titles, get FREE and cheap shipping (US & overseas customers), buy 3 CD's & get 1 FREE, among other great benefits, all directly from the Sevared Records Online Store!. We look forward to seeing all our loyal, long-time customers ordering from the Sevared Records site and enjoying all the great privileges and advantages received from Goregiastic Records during the past 8-9 years!.
Needless to say, we are excited to join a label like Sevared Records that has supported and innovated on behalf of the extreme, brutal death metal scene for over a decade and is a pioneer in the current underground movement. Like Sevared Records, we believe there is a lot of potential ahead for extreme, brutal underground music and we could not think of a better label to be acquired by during this exciting time!.
Here's an official statement by Barrett, current President/Owner of Sevared Records on this exciting acquisition:
"I'm very sad and happy, that I have acquired Goregiastic Records!!  My Metal brother Andres has given this gift to me and all of Goregiastic's customer's have my word that I will do the same if not better customer service (nothing against Andres)!!!   All orders will be shipped out within 24 hours (except on weekends) customer service will be swift, all orders in the USA will still have FREE shipping, and overseas orders will have cheap shipping!  I will do all my new (hopefully) Goregiastic customers the quickness and reliability that Goregiastic Records gave you over the years, and I can't thank Andres enough and Goregiastic Records for being my Brother in Arms, Good luck to you bro, and to all the Goregiastic customers, you will not be disappointed!!!   I'll miss you bro!!  Barrett / Sevared Records!!”.
We encourage our loyal (both new and old) customers to lay their trust in the hands of Sevared Records from now on and be an active part of what will surely become the definitive leader in extreme, brutal death metal for years to come!.
Within the next 24-48 hours, the Goregiastic Records site will be automatically re-directed to Sevared Records' so every time you your browser will automatically re-direct you to so you can start your online shopping experience with no hassles!
Last but not least, we can't thank enough our family, friends, customers and of course Barrett from Sevared Records for the continuous support and friendship throughout these awesome 8-9 years of hard-work, if it wasn't for you, Goregiastic Records would have never been what it is today and what will become from now on. Eternal thanks to you all.
All the best,

Andres Garcia / GOREGIASTIC RECORDS President/General Manager

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gortuary - Awakening Pestilent Beings (Sevared Records; 2010)

If you listen to brutal death metal a lot you know that regional scenes tend to develop a certain style. Bands share members and play shows together and patterns can be seen past individual differences. Gortuary, hailing from Sand Diego, California, are a break from this trend though, as they share more similarities to the stomping, pit-friendly styles of Texan brutal death metal than their California brethren.

Awakening Pestilent Beings is Gortuary's second full length and in many ways is a good continuation of their first album, 2008's Manic Thoughts of Perverse Mutilation. As I mentioned earlier their style is very stompy and at times almost galloping. I'm not much of mosher, but Gortuary's slams were made for the pit. Their slamming isn't particularly unique, but it is well done. Awakening of Pestilent Beings also showcases some slight melodic tinges, along with deep, gurgling vocals, which make the mood of the album pretty dark. In this way it reminded me of the mood evoked by Gorevent. Gortuary's first album had more samples and generally felt goofier, this one feels more evil and foreboding, which I like.

What really stands out on this album though is the inclusion of some absolutely killer guitar solos. These aren't boring Technical DM style shreds. Instead, think harmonized guitar and a melody you can actually follow. Now, you might be thinking this doesn't fit with slam and without hearing it I might agree with you. However, because the musicianship is so good and, crucially, because they are not overused, the solos on this album become highlights of the album. If you like Intestine Baalism I highly recommend you listen to this album.

My one criticism of this album is that it's too short. The running time is 26 minutes and that includes a five minute interlude. The interlude was good and I'm not against its inclusion, but I would've liked to see some more metal on this album. One or two more songs would've really made this album a more satisfying listen.

Awakening Pestilent Beings is really good and features some great slams and cool guitar solos. I just wish Gortuary had given me some more music!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Desvirginizagore (Peruvian brutal death metal sickness)

This band's first music video was just posted by a member of Ultimate Metal's General Metal Discussion forum. It sounds like a combination of Colombian styles (though the band is from Peru), and could be approximated as a sound between Goretrade and Sourpuz, with flashes of Amputated Genitals here and there. With a drum sound rivaling Masturbation and a dual guitar solo that could pretty much give any melo-death band a run for their money, I am predicting this band with an incredibly silly name to get great praise from this blog in the near future.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

God Is Dead

Gore, perversion, and violence may be the usual themes presented by brutal death metal bands, but a little anti-religious hate propaganda is always a welcome sight. That is why I am very happy that both Blasphemer and Destroying Divinity are releasing new material very soon. Blasphemer impressed me and a lot of others with 2008's On the Inexistence of God. They play a blasting, technical style that feels very hateful and powerful. Their new release is an EP called Devouring Deception and it will be released on Comatose Records and is currently available for pre-order.

Blasphemer @ Myspace

Devouring Deception Cover

Destroying Divinity are a less well known band from the Czech Republic, but they've released two decent full lengths and have been signed to a multi-album deal by Brutal Bands. Destroying Divinity play an atmospheric, slightly old-school sounding brutal death metal. The new songs remind me a lot of classic NYDM. The upcoming album is entitled Dark Future and is also availabe for pre-order now.

Destroying Divinity @ Myspace

Dark Future Cover

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Antraks - Spewing Wrath Blood (Pathologically Explicit Recordings; 2010)

Despite this being their second full length, I had only heard Antraks' material off of their split album with fellow Indonesians Septicemia that was released in 2008 (review). On that album I found Antraks to be the tamer of the two bands. I classified them as "standard" and said there was better raw sounding brutal death metal out there. I much prefer to give highly positive reviews on this blog, but Antraks just didn't quite deserve yet. Spewing Wrath Blood, I am happy to report, does deserve it.

The biggest improvement in my mind is in the originality department. I don't think an album needs to be original to be good (see most Devourment clones), but in my experience, especially with Asian bands, it seems to be a positive factor. Antraks pull off a lot of cool stuff on this record. Bizarre pinch harmonics, solos, and even an organ riff can be found melded in with sawing tremolo riffs and infectious, almost goregrindy grooves. In many ways it reminded me of a more energetic, less epic sounding Ancient Necropsy with better vocals. It's enough to keep the listener interested throughout, if only to hear what weird thing will come next. I don't mean to suggest that Antraks are weird for the sake of being weird like Unexpect or other similar bullshit metal bands. Rather, they just tweaked and changed the brutal death formula a little bit. As an avid listener to the genre, it's nice to hear an interesting and well thought out album that goes beyond what you normally hear.

Compared to the top albums of this year, Spewing Wrath Blood does fall a little short. To quote Andy from his review of Cerebral Effusion's recent album, "[it] comes straight out of the gates with brutality, doesn't give a shit about your fucking feelings, and leaves you for dead without any consideration." Spewing Wrath Blood feels more like tagging along with an insane serial killer as he shows you the various ways he kills his victims. Certainly well within brutal death metal's realm of aesthetics, but I prefer to be assaulted by my death metal rather than merely interested by it.

That said, Antraks have created a very interesting and original work. It's worth listening to you if you don't mind something different. If that's what you're looking for there aren't that many albums better than this.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cerebral Effusion - Impulsive Psychopathic Acts (Comatose Music; 2010)

Cerebral Effusion is a new slam band out of Spain, this being their first on Coma--

...wait...wait just a goddamn second...what? Cerebral Effusion aren't a new band? AND they've had 2 albums before this?

Wait, what? I could've SWORN this was a completely new, different, focused band with a completely fresh take on this genre. Bestial, unforgiving and guttural as fuck, this band slams through 7 really brutal songs before this CD is over, and I'm here to let you know (quite late, I'm aware) that this really is essential shit that you need to own and worship, despite the fact that this sounds like a freshman attempt at slam from a new band.

But, that's exactly what I'm praising about it. Honestly, I'm gonna admit it; I don't remember the other two albums by this band before this. I don't think I ever really heard or cared about them. However, upon hearing that Steve of Comatose signed them and also upon hearing the incredible "Last Torture Preferment" on the Comatose site, replete with frog-like vocals, synchronized rhythmic slams and blasting straight out of Colombia, I decided that this was pretty much essential dehumanized slam right off the bat, without hearing the other 6 tracks. When this arrived on my doorstep, I was floored; it was right around the middle of March, and I played the fuck out of it. Well, here I am offering up my opinion, which is that you absolutely require this if you enjoy slam that comes straight out of the gates with brutality, doesn't give a shit about your fucking feelings, and leaves you for dead without any consideration. This is barbaric, brutal and hateful. The lyrics intensify this feeling to a really disturbing degree: "One more and I will finish it. I thought it was enough but this time I was wrong. Nothing can stop me to kill one more gluttonous fat whore."

Now, you're probably wondering "yeah dude we get it it's blasting and slamming but what does it sound like?" Well, imagine Colombian slam but smarter. Imagine that it knows which alley you are going to go down to avoid the police. It knows where your shortcuts are, and it intercepts you. It doesn't care, because it is pure brutality. It wants you dead, it hunts you. That is what it sounds like, the sound of pure fucking perversion and barbarism, coming through your speakers. Those twisting slams snaking around quick double bass-to-snare rhythms, riffs you'll hum for days afterwards but be utterly unable to recall which song they're from; not because it's not memorable but because you're afraid; if you think of it, it will come for you. It will come. You will die. At 32 minutes, this is pretty hefty for slam, and with 7 tracks, it ensures that the songs stick around long enough to plant a seed in your head; a disgusting seed, one that wants to gain control and destroy you by your own hands. Quick blasting digressions turn to slow slamming fugues, mid-paced brutality awaits at every turn, and there's no escape other than to turn it off. But why would you want to do that? You're a masochist; you love this brutality, you love this pain. You're looking forward to the next time you can violate your ears with the sounds of lowbrow thuggery. Right now, you're grinning; you want this.

Get it through your head; this is slam that doesn't give a shit about you. It's heavy, it's full of time changes and breakdowns that will puncture your skull quite handily. Unfortunately for you, with this album, it isn't about how it sounds, it's about how it feels, and it feels like your time is close at hand. Beware...Cerebral Effusion are fueled with new passion, overtaking and crushing all in their path, and their next material will be even more fierce, even more depraved; and you'll love every last second of it, because you love this brutality.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hour of Penance - Paradogma (Unique Leader Records; 2010)

This is an album that came out of nowhere for me. While I had been highly anticipating the new Cenotaph, Defeated Sanity, and Vulvectomy among others this year, Hour of Penance had always been on the fringes of my attention. It's not that I disliked them, it's just that they struck me as a semi-brutal band that was popular among a wider audience because they lessened their brutality and adopted standard modern/tech death metal tropes. I'm not saying that I was correct, or that having appeal beyond our little scene is a bad thing, it's just the impression I got. There's a lot of brutal death metal being released and I have been guilty, for better or worse, of trending towards the underground material at the expense of more widely known bands.

One listen to a Paradogma completely busted my (mostly uninformed) impression to pieces. This is most definitely a brutal death album and if it has a wide appeal it's for no other reason than the fact that it kicks ass. Now, this is a Unique Leader release so there's plenty of ostentatious technicality and a healthy dose of self-seriousness. Hour of Penance, however, manage pull it off a lot better than most of their label-mates. In many ways this reminds me of Inveracity - Extermination of Millions and Septycal Gorge - Erase the Insignificant. Paradogma is big, technical, and epic (well, as epic as you can get for a brutal death metal band), yet they remain effortlessly brutal. By that I mean that every part of the song works together and the riffs feel natural. Lesser bands sometimes write great riffs, but often they just place them next to each other, rather than making them work together.

Hour of Penance keep Paradogma running at a good pace throughout. Things get faster and slower, but not to the extremes of their slammier peers. There's plenty going on at any one time, but the technicality is kept to a reasonable level, and they know when to just go simple and be heavy. I think the clean and thick production that comes with the Unique Leader name really works wonders for that style here. Every technical buildup and every booming chug and every slithering solo is audible and backed up by a thundering rhythm section.

Now for those of you who are looking for slam and only slam, you might not like this album as much as I did. There's a lot of headbanging riffs, but they're not really slammy. If you want some well written, well produced, and dare I say epic brutal death metal, you shouldn't hesitate to pick this up. I may have been a little late to the Hour of Penance party, but Paradogma is well worth the attention.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Katalepsy - Your Fear Is Our Inhabitancy (Soulflesh Collector Records; 2010)

Your Fear Is Our Inhabitancy, a two song promo by Moscow slammers Katalepsy, has left me a little stumped. It's not a bad pair of songs, but Katalepsy raised the bar so high with their previous releases, I can't help but feel let down. On their full length Musick Brings Injuries and their split Triumph of Evilution, Katalepsy were dynamic and effective. They were heavier, more varied, and more interesting than 90% of other brutal death bands. On this release I can't help but feel they've receded into the pack.

Here are my issues with Your Fear Is Our Inhabitancy. The vocals are very one-dimensional. This is not necessarily a horrible thing in this genre, and they definitely don't sound bad, but if you listen to the song "Number Of Death (13)" from Triumph of Evilution, you can easily tell that the newer vocals are a step down. The songwriting is also flawed. Katalepsy appear to have moved in a more atmospheric direction (I have no problem with this). However, instead of using that atmosphere to build up to some excellent slamming sections, they just sort of coast into some guitar chugs and run of the mill slams. I'd say the second song "Gore Conspiracy" works a little better than the first song "Unearthly Urge", but not to a great extent. My biggest problem here is that I know Katalepsy can write some of the best slams in the genre. They just didn't get it done here.

I know this sounds harsh, but fair or not I hold this band to a higher standard than your average slam band. They earned that respect with their previous material. Now I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one for a couple reasons. One, this is just a promo, two, there appears to have been lineup changes, three, it's not bad in any way, it's just not amazing and four, I love Katalepsy and I want them to continue being awesome. From reading Katalepsy's shoutbox on, I can see others reacting in a similar way. Let's all hope Katalepsy can regain their exceptional form on the next full length.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

California Slamming

xciting news from America's most populous state. Both Pathology and Inherit Disease will have released new albums by the end of the month. Pathology's fourth album,  Legacy of the Ancients, is officially available now via Victory Records. We've talked about this album here in the past but this is to let you know it has been officially released. I'm a big fan of Pathology so I will be purchasing this one soon. In my mind there is no other Californian DM band that is as good as Pathology right now. Disgorge (who Pathology clearly love) are still the CADM kings, but Pathology are certainly up there.

Inherit Disease I don't feel as good about. Their debut Procreating an Apocalypse was promising but flawed. However I have been hearing positive things about their new album Visceral Transcendence which will be officially released on July 20th via Unique Leader (it's already leaked if you want to check it out now). It's got killer cover art and given what I've been hearing from brutal death fans who've listened to it, I'll be giving it a shot.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Second Putridity Album

Putridity, the raw, guttural slam death band from Italy, will be releasing their sophomore album Degenerating Anthropophagical Euphoria on Willowtip Records. Willowtip is more known for releasing good tech-death and grindcore, but they're a quality operation and I'm happy to see Putridity getting released. I was a big fan of their first album so I'm hopeful this album will be good. Degenerating Anthropophagical Euphoria has cover art by John Zig which looks pretty good. According to Putridity's myspace, the album will be out in the fall.

(Special thanks to malice13231 at UltimateMetal Forums for alerting me to this)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cenotaph - Putrescent Infectious Rabidity (Sevared Records; 2010)

Good death metal songwriting, for me, is more felt than heard. I don't sit there and think, "that riff really worked there". Rather I get the feeling that the artist is directing me exactly where they want me. I get the feeling that I am being carried by the artist to the place I should go, which for me goes a level beyond mere entertainment. As usual my writing skills and the English language are not quite capable of describing exactly how I feel, and I don't know if anyone experiences music in this way, but it's the best I can do. I mention all this because Cenotaph's new album Putrescent Infectious Rabidity gives me that exact feeling.

A little background first. Cenotaph are a veteran band and undeniably Turkey's premier brutal death metal export. They have been around since 1994 and this is their fifth full length. In all honesty I have only heard the most recent three, and Andy tells me the first two weren't that good. Starting with Pseudo Verminal Cadaverium though, Cenotaph got really good. Their style is atmospheric, slamming, and grindy. Think of an atmospheric Malignancy or a grindier Septycal Gorge.

Putrescent Infectious Rabidity gets everything it possibly can out Cenotaph's unique style. Extremely fast, technically masterful sections effortlessly give way to plodding chugs and deep, slow slams. This band really knows how to make this kind of music work, because everything feels right. The fast, grinding sections are very interesting and they dump you under a slam right before they get boring as those kind of riffs tend to do. Then, when the slam is over, they pick you right back up again. Most of the time I do something else while I listen to music, but this is an album that I can just listen to and enjoy without any distractions. It's that good.

Special mention should be made of the excellent musicianship on this album, especially Defeated Sanity's Lille Gruber, who session-drummed on this record. There are some extremely fast technical sections on this album, and Gruber more than keeps up with them.

After over a decade and half Cenotaph are not declining in any way. This should be a must buy album and will be a contender with the new Defeated Sanity for this year's number one album.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Show Review: Malignancy at the Maryland Deathfest

May 28th-30th the Slam-Minded team attended the eighth annual Maryland Deathfest in Baltimore, Maryland. MDF is the best extreme metal festival in North America bar none, and I hope at last a few of our readers got to attend. There were tons of good bands, but the one most pertinent to this blog was Malignancy, who played Friday evening. Personally I'd prefer a couple more brutal death bands at the fest, but I understand that bands like Autopsy and Pestilence will draw a bigger crowd.

If there could only be one brutal band, Malignancy was not bad choice. They play a very dynamic style with a lot of different elements. If someone described them as slamming brutal technical deathgrind they would not be wrong. They play a very unique style that incorporates slams, but employs only at the perfect time, surrounding them with grinding tech riffs. After some initial banter from the vocalist, the band launched into their brand of fast, technical and brutal death metal. One might expect a band this fast and technical to experience a drop off in live play, but that was definitely not the case here. Everyone sounded really good and, unlike some of the other bands at the fest, all of the instruments were very clear. This was really fun stuff and it was a joy to watch a veteran band pull off some impressive feats of musicianship.

The set list ranged throughout their discography, and due to the short length of most of their songs we got to hear quite a few. I'm most familiar with Malignancy's 2007 full length Inhuman Grotesqueries so I was most excited about those tracks. "Neglected Rejection" sounded amazing live. They also played a couple new tracks off their upcoming album. Not sure when that's coming out, but the tracks sounded excellent. No real change in the formula, but that's fine when the formula is already varied and unique. I will certainly be purchasing the album when it appears.

A special mention also has to be made for Danny's stage banter, which was surprisingly funny. Most metal bands just stay super grim or play up the "woo beer!" angle when they're on stage, so it was enjoyable to see someone with some charisma.

Final thoughts, Malignancy were great, Maryland Deathfest was awesome. Do not miss either if you can help it!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Colonize The Rotting - Composting The Masticated (Sevared Records; 2010)

Colonize The Rotting are a newcomer in the realm of Cali-slam/brutal DM, and thus it is probably very easy to lump them in with the assorted styles of Californian blasting technical weird brutal stuff coming out these days. All the hallmarks of this style are here: really ridiculous chops from every single band member, about half a million bucks spent on the production to get everything perfect and clinical sounding, involved songwriting that seems almost ad-libbed...yet, of course, there are the utter pitfalls of this style which come with the territory which include sounding pretty much soulless, overly wanky and almost entirely uninteresting.

Sound like a brutal review? Well, yeah, so far. But really, I've only described the scene this band fits into, and not necessarily the band themselves. Now, since I haven't heard their previous demo, I can really only judge Colonize The Rotting on this one EP. Barrett told me that this was excellent, and I know some people (whose taste I don't necessarily care for, but still) who like this band. So, I figured, why not drop the money and pick it up, it's the least I can do for one of the best (and most hard-working) labels in slam/brutal DM, and I can even review it. I put it on in the hotel room at MDF VIII last weekend and I immediately knew the band was Californian due to all of the aspects I explained above. Pretty much everything on this EP is a total blur of "death metal" that is nearly entirely featureless, right down to the cookie-cutter gurgling vocals, acrobatic guitar leads and incredibly frantic drumming. Speaking of that, the drummer is also the vocalist, which is sort of cool until you realize that it really isn't, and that this is almost entirely rhythmic music as most slam is, and therefore the vocals follow set patterns defined pretty much wholly by the drums and bass, which, while frantic as I stated before, are very easy to reconcile technically. Anyway, who really cares about the technical part of this? This is Cali slam and I need to discuss other relevant aspects as to why it is not really anything particularly good.

Positive aspects of this include a really, really good slam-into-tremolo-variation-of-same-slam on "Purulent Ejaculation", and quite a few good solos that would sound a lot better if they were fit into the music in a way that doesn't sound like they were thrown in after the fact. The last song is 8 minutes long but it doesn't really go anywhere that is particularly interesting. It sounds like music made by musicians, and not music made by fucked up people who are actually brutal in any way, shape or form. Clinical. Deprived of brutality. And those are the positives, mind you.

Here are some negatives...actually, there's really only ONE that is a major contention, but it's such a commonly-leveled criticism nowadays in the scene that it sticks out like a sore thumb: this band really likes to not write cohesive songs. In fact, they pretty much make it a point to draw out their tracks to lengths that don't make any sense. A track should be an inclusive delineation on a CD onto which a written song is "tracked". This track should evolve within its own margins until it "ends", that is to say, until the song cannot go anywhere any longer and, if pushed further, would cease to be a). good and/or b). the same track. Colonize The Rotting, along with a lot of shit coming from California (aside from Gortuary and I guess Condemned, even though I'm not a fan of them) should probably try understanding this concept. There are 6-8 minute songs on this EP that don't deserve to be extended this much at all. A lot of fat could be hacked, a lot of ideas could be extrapolated into separate songs, but it seems like the boys in this band are content with writing a bunch of disparate sections, copying and pasting them end to end, and calling them "tracks". Nah. Doesn't fly with me. Contrast this with my review earlier today of Short Bus Pile Up. Surprise, they're East Coast. They write songs that are too short, that need some extra fat, something extra in the songwriting department which would allow their songs to challenge the listener while entertaining them. This band? They challenge the listener too much, and in the process, end up haranguing them with endless obtuse sections of gutturalslamguitarsoloblastwank. It isn't the best choice, but California doesn't give a shit. Bands from there will keep writing stuff like this whether I like it or not, obviously.

Does that mean I have to like it, though? Hell no. Do I hate this? No, not at all. It's kind of fun, it has a very Flesh Consumed meets Pathology vibe that I don't think is unlikeable at all. However, it's fucking Cali-slam, and until this state/section of the country stops putting out irritating, over-produced, overwrought music like this, I won't stop complaining about it. I mean, something is fucking wrong when your "EP" is over 35 minutes in a genre where a shitload of excellent bands can write a 25 minute full-length with more content and 10 minutes less running time to irritate the listener with.

However, if you like ANYTHING COMING FROM CALIFORNIA AT ALL, you'll probably fucking dig the shit out of this. It's fun, but it's unfortunate that they had some come at a time when I could make an ultimate example out of them. That being said, Barrett thinks they're one of the best bands he's heard lately, so go ahead and buy this and support Sevared anyway. I did, and I only marginally regret it!

Short Bus Pile Up - Repulsive Display of Human Upholstery (Sevared Records; 2010)

Tyler and co. are no strangers to this blog. I first reviewed their demo in September of last year and they responded favorably to my criticism, which basically ended up being "fuck off with the samples and learn to write more in-depth, extended songs; however, your snare tone and slams are both impeccable". Now that I finally have this album in my hands after last weekend's excellent MDF VIII, I can finally air my new criticisms about SBPU.


Just kidding, I don't have much to complain about. This is fucking badass. They took my advice on the snare tone ("if you guys change the snare tone I'll be really angry with you.") and didn't touch it at all, as Tyler let me in on the fact that drummer Dave Dement's snare tone is his pride and joy. It sounds distinctly Colombian (pingy, steely, and fucking awesome), yet is used in a distinctly TXDM slam way; there isn't much in the way of all out blastbeat sections here but there are plenty of one-handed snare rolls. SBPU doesn't really extend their songwriting prowess beyond a certain level here (that level being "solid"), but what is present is enough to leave the listener begging for more, which is essentially a very good quality of a debut album. What good is it if a band totally kicks your ass with their first album? What do you have to look forward to of theirs in the future? Most likely that's just a setup for the critical failure of the "sophomore album", so I'm glad that they decided to try their hands at slightly longer songs for the full-length, but still left enough grey area to develop on the next one.

Elliott and Ryan both know how to write fucking excellent sections of songs, replete with excellent, charging slams and slower breakdown sections. In this sense, a lot of the songwriting is very Abominable Putridity; there are pretty much zero concessions for anything non-slamming on here, which makes me happy. Tyler also proves that he is a competent guitarist, as he performed extra guitar on every track here. His vocals are guttural yet understandable, and remain as such from their surprisingly-great demo from last year. "Stench of Her Burning Flesh" is a new song that features a very awesome goregrind/pornogrind mid-section which is also mildly present on a few other songs including the first, "Ball-Peen Beating". I greatly welcome this influence and think it's really an interesting one to work with; pornogrind kind of stuff generally operates in its own limited sphere, because it's extremely limited and ridiculous, and it's kind of funny and interesting to see a total Rompeprop section in a slam song. The end of this song includes some screaming which sounds distinctly like The Locust, which sort of sucks and sounds silly in a not-so-good way, but I'm sure some people will appreciate it, and it's kind of an isolated incident, so no big deal.

"Fecal Matters" is once again a great song but way too short, and it feels like they could do a lot more to draw it out with its strong slamming riffs and the excellent production on display here. I suppose that the integrity of the original songs was intended to remain the same, so I can't really fault that, but I hope the next album has more NEW songs, and that said new songs display more thought regarding how to proceed after the lyrics are exhausted or after the one or two slams present in the song are utilized to the fullest extent.

So essentially the biggest criticism I can level against this band is that they need to learn to challenge themselves more in regards to songwriting and not just take the extreme basic way out of ending songs short due to worry that they won't sound good in a longer form. Take some chances and develop your music, guys. It's fucking excellent how it is, regardless. The snare is probably the best in modern slam (not even a little bit joking), the slams are incredibly heavy, groovy and destructive, and the vocals are solid as hell. There just needs to exist some amount of effort put into tying these things together longer for a minute or two. A few songs hint at this but not much really comes of it. The band clearly knows how to kick major ass, but I wish it was a slightly longer, challenging ass-kicking. Perhaps I'm wishing too much out of this band? Who knows. Regardless, if you want a pretty fucking awesome debut by a band that only has potential to get more awesome, get this ASAP.

Oh, and the title track gets kind of disturbing about halfway through. I'm sad that the title of the album has less to do with the entire album than I wish, because it's a cool cover and title which Cephalotripsy once had claim to and lost for a similar reason.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Jasad tracks, a new Inherit Disease track, and also a new Pathology song too!

Jasad, everyone's favorite underachieving Indonesian slam band has two new songs up, neither of which sound particularly underachieving! Which means they've...achieved something good! Pay attention about 1:50 into "Precious Moment to Die"...if you don't immediately headbang to that, you are dead:

Jasad @ Myspace

Really, both prior albums by the band have been underwhelming for various reasons (unmemorable songwriting, really really crap production on Annihilate the Enemy...), but this seems like it'll be really good. Fingers crossed.

Inherit Disease, widely known as being, well, (unfortunately not very good) Cali brutal tech DM have released a new song off their album Visceral's actually pretty good, but I'm sure a whole album of it will get tiring. Hey, at least the vocalist has stepped up his game and doesn't just sound like a really loud frog. Unfortunate that the drums have to be so overbearing while the riffing is nicely angular and logical...judge for yourself here...

...and here is the teaser track off Pathology's debut for Victory, that makes me cringe a bit too. But, fear not, for it actually sounds pretty nice.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Gorevent - Worship Paganism (Macabre Mementos; 2010)

I have mixed feelings about the Japanese brutal/slam death scene. Some of my favorite albums and bands have come out of there, but while the genre on the whole is getting better and better, it seems that the Japanese brutal death metal scene has stagnated or perhaps even gotten worse. That's why I was hopeful that Gorevent's sophomore album, Worship Paganism, would be good.

Gorevent's first album, Abnormal Exaggeration, was above average slam. It relied on simple, pounding riffs and deep guttural vocals. In his review Andy referred to Gorevent as "2nd tier slam" in that they were worse than the best the genre had to offer, but still pretty good. With Worship Paganism, I think Gorevent have improved, but, to continue the metaphor, not enough to crack that 1st tier.

Worship Paganism follows basically the same formula as Abnormal Exaggeration. Slow and mid-paced chugs coexist along with angular slams and the occasional evil sounding tremolo riff. This album reminded me of Human Rejection's album Decrepit to Insanity if that album was about half the speed. If you want anything approaching technicality or anything grindy and blasting, you will be disappointed by this album. It definitely sticks to the slow, plodding side of slam.

Where I think Gorevent did well on this album is bringing out a feeling of bestiality and primitivism on this record. I realize these terms are a little vague (what music descriptor isn't) but those are the two best words I can think of describe the overall feeling of Worship Paganism. Gorevent are able to infuse their music with a feeling of dread and general creepiness. I think evoking these feelings are exactly what Gorevent had to do to keep their slow and simple formula interesting and I'm very glad they did.  This album may not please those of you who are more into tech/brutal or deathgrind stuff, but I really liked it. If other Japanese bands started putting out albums of this quality, I think my concerns for the scene would be put mostly at ease.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Defeated Sanity - Chapters of Repugnance (Willowtip Records; 2010)

So, honestly, I'm not the biggest DS fan. In fact, if you actually care enough about the Internet or the band enough to check the shoutbox of Psalms of the Moribund, you can find a post by me detailing what I find to be problematic with it. It goes as follows, for the lazy:

"songwriting is catastrophically overrated and, frankly, bad. production is messy and dingy with no real clarity EVER, and this kind of production doesn't really suit the abundance of things they're trying to accomplish. vocals are too quiet and indistinct. slams are de-emphasized in favor of fast, blurred riffs with zero direction. bass is sometimes distracting and over-emphasized for no discernible reason. drumming is unfocused and, though precise to a fault, sometimes defaults to fast, blurred snare rolls (in Devourment fashion) with no reason to do so. so, in essence, this falls into a lot of the same pitfalls a bunch of modern tech death falls into, but it hurts my feelings that this is so well rated."

So, yeah. I don't like it. I find it a chore to listen to. I posted that to both stir the pot and to give hope to any fellow haters (as much as I don't find this term to be endearing) of that album...anyway, enough about that, on to this beast of a fucking album.

After Psalms, pretty much everyone was fired from the band or left. Lille Gruber, semi-allstar drummer (bands such as Mucopus and even on some Cenotaph albums I recall), remained, quickly gathering new members such as insane fucking vocalist A.J. Magana (if you remember, he was on Disgorge's Consume the Forsaken, before being replaced by the vastly inferior Levi Fuselier, and on top of that, he followed Matti [fucking] Way after the indomitable She Lay Gutted, so, basically, he kind of got forgotten about by a lot of people from what I understand).

Blasting off without regard to subtlety, "Introitus" leads us into the madness with some Gorguts-esque "weird noodling stuff" until it proceeds to smash your brains and balls (if you have either) with some completely ridiculous slamming bass drops. After all this is over, first "true" song "Consumed By Repugnance" flies into the frame, alternating between frantic and calculated as early Defeated Sanity showed that they could do very well. Gone is the muddy, afterthought production of Psalms, and now we have a strong, sharp, colorful mix which does well to highlight vocals (all too under-represented on the previous outing, though Jens was an average vocalist at his absolute best regardless), interesting drum fills and pummeling slams with equal aplomb...this mixing job is pretty fantastic, and, though the band still has a penchant for going off their collective rockers with improvised syncopated jazz sections bearing only tangential relation to other songwriting aspects, at least the jazz is interesting and amusing this time rather than just stupid.

There are really quite a lot of insane slams on this; I love the renewed sense of focus on this album. Around 25 seconds into the third track, "Carnal Deliverance", there is a sequence of intense slams complemented by splashes of interesting drumming and even some bass highlights. Everything is heavy, brutal and barbaric, but it doesn't sacrifice intelligence for, well...anything. It's like there is 400% brutal death metal here, and there are no concessions given to any one style, songwriting aspect or aesthetic. It's pure fucking heavy, balls-out death metal with interesting songs, well-placed breaks to headbang slowly, and subsequent returns to well-flowing fastness. In other words, it just makes fucking sense; yet, ironically, it is fresh and unique and intelligent enough to be "ahead of the curve" in slam.

Bass takes the forefront instead of guitar in the first minute and a half of "Engulfed In Excruciation", with one riff pushing bass so far to the front that it is playing the rhythmic riff and the guitar is reduced to crumbling noise...inventive and interesting, that's the name of the game on Chapters of absolutely crushing slam follows, with disturbing vocals, all reverbed and layered into a mire of hateful brutality. There is nothing indistinct, nothing muddy, nothing odd or out-of-place...this is DS coming into their own, far better than Psalms showed them to be, fans of that album be damned! (Just kidding, don't kill me.)

The last minute of "Coerced Into Idolatry" has a funeral slam™, which, for those of you who don't follow the blog, is a slam that either begins at the normal, average pace of the song and descends sharply into hanging chords punctuated by equally slow drums; essentially the equivalent of a sonic bludgeoning...or one that comes out of absolutely nowhere in the most ludicrous, whiplash-inducing way possible. This one is of the latter variety, and melds nicely into the equally funereal and cosmic outro sample. A+ for that one. "Blissfully Exsanguinated" features the worst vocal performance so far, but the blasting and fills more than make up for that lacking aspect, along with more bass highlights! The outro sample, however, is a bit overbearing; a sort of suspenseful, fading and dark string-enhanced bit that is kind of unnecessary. The shortest song is up next, "Calculated Barbarity", which features a blurry main riff and some furious drum and vocal delivery, but which doesn't really stand out for any particular reason, other than the total Suffocation + Devourment worship it generally exudes.

"Lurid Assimilation" is, well, fucking huge. I'm pretty sure experiencing this live would kill multiple people, and it irritates me that I saw them when they had Jens on vocals and they weren't this tight and excellent (on stage anyway). I recall being utterly mystified at the sample of "Salacious Affinity", and I am really glad that my high hopes for this album came true. This track features a very, very long breakdown that leads us right to the end of the song in a fashion most similar to Devourment's "Field Of The Impaled"...I love it. It's awesome. It's brutal. It's Defeated fucking Sanity, and they are back with a vengeance. Highly recommended.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Vulvectomy - Post-Abortion Slut Fuck (Sevared Records; 2010)

Everyone's favorite Italian slam gang are back with their sophomore album Post-Abortion Slut Fuck. Vulvectomy's first album Putrescent Clitoral Fermentation, which came out back in 2007, was pretty good so I was excited to listen to this one. Putrescent Clitoral Fermentation is a sentimental favorite of mine because of its almost goofy devotion to slam, both in the music, which was full of stompy, slow riffs, and the aesthetic, which featured over the top gore and the phrase "SLAM TILL U CUM" (I still love saying that).

Post-Abortion Slut Fuck finds the band sticking with a lot of what made me like them including the crazy gore (just look at the title!) and heavy and catchy slams. The first album often had very stark contrasts between different riffs which worked alright, but would've been less forgivable on a second album. This album is a lot groovier instead, as the slams tend to flow into one another more naturally than the first album.  The drum programming is also much improved and does not negatively impact the album in any noticeable way. Post-Abortion Slut Fuck is characterized by a near constant mid-paced groove that should have your head bobbing the whole time. The vocals are also top-notch gutturals and Vulvectomy even throw in a little vocal solo which I always like.

When I was listening to this album I was struck by similarities to Devourment's Unleash the Carnivore. Not necessarily in riffing style, but more in the generally well done songwriting. Both albums sound good when listening intently to individual parts, or just taking in the whole album. I've also found myself enjoying the album more each time I listen to it, another hallmark of good songwriting. Post-Abortion Slut Fuck keeps enough of Vulvectomy's characteristic crazy gore/porn charm (for lack of a better word) but displays an improved talent by the band, leading to a very solid and consistently enjoyable record. If you haven't checked out Vulvectomy this would be a good album to start with (although both are worth it). If you were a fan before then I definitely recommend getting this. It may take a couple listens but I'm confident most fans will come to enjoy it at least as much as their first.

Kudos to Vulvectomy for upping their already formidable game, and SLAM TILL U CUM~!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wormed - Quasineutrality (Pathologically Explicit Recordings; 2010)

They are fucking back, ladies and gents. Wormed are back.

Though it's been around 7 years now since Planisphaerium, I think it's a testament to that album's intensity and thoroughly asskicking nature that people still talk about it to this day, and we, as slam fans, still utterly worship it. Thus, it is with great pleasure that I have received this new single by this reborn, reformatted Spanish technical slam/deathgrind band.

The song "Uncoloured Plasma Orifices Transported" begins with a lurching riff, before blasting into oddly atonal, shifting, looming riff-phrases backed by Phlegeton's always insane vocal spew. It is to be noted that, though Andy is missing on drums (quite obviously, too), Phlegeton also handles skins duty on this recording, and he does an admirable job, as he has done in several black and death metal bands since Wormed's seemingly endless descent into the very black hole their sci-fi concept would be likely to dream up. Phlegz bashes out some good transitions and fills, but the whole thing feels a bit too "calculated" on the rhythm section side; some would say this is for the better while I think I may have to warm up to it a bit. The way the riffs are written, at least, fits well with the way he plays drums, so that is at least a remarkable aspect of the work here. The middle of the song boasts a nearly melodic and hypnotic section that is reminiscent of one of those isolated, beautiful moments on both Planisphaerium and Floating Cadaver in the Monochrome (though nothing, nothing touched "Ectoplasmic Iconosphere [D.1]"'s acoustic section...possible best moment in slam ever).

Track 2, "Undeciphering the Unquantificability" is an exercise in extremity in about the same way the title is an exercise in pronunciation. This is where this single comes into its own and makes me really excited for the future. While the first track is more like Wormed-via-Gorguts, this is like Wormed-via-Wormed, and a perfect foil to the first song in terms of being much more "brutal" and balls-out. An absolutely ridiculous double bass run, with ludicrously low, guttural vocals and a traditional killer slam melds perfectly into the next section of sheer extremity, and Wormed roll with the changes their musical schizophrenia unleashes like absolute champs; and so they should, given the standard most people, including me, hold them up to at this point. If you aren't doing something new in slam, and if you are simultaneously not good at what you are doing, stop doing it. I appreciate some good old slam death here and there but I really think this is next-level stuff for the genre. We'll see if they can keep this up for a whole new album...I think they can. However, if every song on the new album is over 4 minutes, it will be interesting to see if they can keep the momentum going for 8+ full songs. It should be interesting, and it likely will be absolutely mindblowing.

Buy or die. If you like slam, you have no business not supporting this band.

Oh, and Phlegeton is one of the best graphic designers in metal; case-in-point, this cover art and layout.

P.S. RELATED NEWS! Scientists in Geneva, Switzerland just made new headway in their search for the God Particle during a proton collision experiment underground at CERN...they made a high-energy rate record earlier today with the smashing of two proton beams. Wormed's lyrics may not be fiction after all! All joking aside, this is cool news, and I am sure it gave Phlegz something new to write about, or at least some inspiration.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cenotaph Album Coming Out Soon

Veteran Turkish brutal death metal band Cenotaph are releasing a new album called Putrescent Infectious Rabidity. It will be released on Sevared Records and Coyote Records. I love this band so I am very excited. They've  been a band for over ten years and their last album showed no signs of decline so I doubt this one will either. My sources at Ultimate Metal tell me it will be available by the time of Maryland Deathfest (late May).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New Wormed Single Released

This is what we've all been waiting for since the release of Planisphaerium in 2003. Wormed have finally released new material. Right now it's just a two song single called Quasineutrality, but this bodes well for an upcoming full length. I've only listened to the myspace tracks a couple times but it sounds awesome to me. The only thing bad thing about this is that the new Wormed CD and merch are all the way across the Atlantic from me and as such difficult to purchase. I love Wormed more than practically any other band, so this is making me really excited. If you haven't listened to this yet you need to.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Dying Fetus - Descend into Depravity (Relapse Records; 2009)

One of the things we try to do here at Slam-Minded is write about upcoming and unknown slam bands that we like so that hopefully other people will like them as well. I'm going to depart from that goal today however and instead review an album from probably the best known slam band of all time. Whether or not Dying Fetus really fit in the slam genre is a reasonable argument but not one I really want to have. Instead I'll say that I really like Dying Fetus and that they've had a huge influence on my taste in metal and I think on the brutal death metal scene as a whole.

That being said though what have they done for us lately? I think if you ask your average death metal fan they'll tell you their favorite Dying Fetus album is one of their earlier works like Killing on Adrenaline or Infatuation with Malevolence. 2007's War of Attrition was good but in my opinion too opaque and dense to really get into. With this in mind I went into Descend into Depravity with some skepticism. I am very happy to report that my skepticism was unwarranted, this album rules.

This is definitely a throwback to the more groove oriented sound Dying Fetus had in their earlier days. The album I'd compare this most to is Killing on Adrenaline which is my personal favorite. Of course it sounds like it was recorded in the late 00s rather than the mid 90s but the same kind of riffs are there. For those who haven't heard Dying Fetus before what you'll get here is a lot of catchy grooves mixed with lightning fast arpeggios and stomping blasts. I hesitate to say that these grooves are slams because they don't really sound like other slam bands, but they're working off the same idea and they're awesome. Musicianship is top notch as you would expect from this veteran band. It seems like they decided to focus on making the grooves the focus of the songs rather than having-encompassing technicality which weakened their previous album War of Attrition.

Despite all the lineup changes that Dying Fetus has had to endure, they still manage to put out great records and this one is even better than I had a right to expect. I'd put it as the best Dying Fetus album of the 2000s. If you haven't picked this one up yet do so and if you haven't listened to Dying Fetus before this is a good place to start.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sarcolytic - Thee Arcane Progeny (Unique Leader Records; 2010)

First of all, I'm glad this is finally out. I've been awaiting it since Sarcolytic's first material (EP and on a sick TXDM + Godless Truth split). The band has Ricky (fucking) Meyers from Disgorge, Cinerary and Liturgy, too, and his drumming (while not being very well-mixed) is pretty great in all its blasting, triggery glory. The kick drum is mixed a bit too high and sounds a little too clicky for my taste, and the worst part of this is probably the poor production (which is typical Unique Leader, to be honest, despite the fact that the band went to someone in Texas for the mastering) combining compressed production with overloud drumming and a drastic reduction of bass frequencies/heaviness.

That said, this is solid stuff. It isn't as "brutal" as the other Sarcolytic material, but, given the more "mature" looking aesthetic the band seemed to be heading towards, this is not too surprising to me honestly. Guitars play dizzying technical riffs, which often collide with the bass (which is audible, though oddly scooped) and sometimes slow into pseudo-slams which are wholly underwhelming ("Exalted Gift of the Abzu" features the first one on the album; just sounds kind of empty to me). The more mystical sounding, open chord parts with Zig's chant-like, cadenced vocals are pretty great and blend well with the concept, one of deep and involved Sumerian mythology, translations of lost texts, etc. The track "Emissary" is a highlight if I've ever heard one; featuring excellent melodic progressions, sick blasting by Ricky and bass highlights...this is one track where everything really comes together for the band, though I realize probably not everyone agrees. In any case, Jon Zig's verses on this song are perfectly rhythmic and well-delivered.

That brings us to Zig's performance. His vocals are loud, barking out orders not totally unlike something you'd hear in more "popular" metal like Nile, which is actually somewhat of a good reference point for this (though Egyptian and Sumerian mythology differ vastly). As previously mentioned, his precise style and deep lyrics permeate this whole album with an element of pure professionalism, and for this he must be commended. After a dramatic (and kind of unnecessary opening), for instance, "The Seed of All Beginnings" opens with a totally catchy rhythm with the methodical bark of this powerful frontman and figure in the scene, and later on there are even some sick layered (and lone) screams which are brutal and adept. Great stuff, and his performance is delineated from other powerful performances he has given before (Images of Violence's Degrade the Shapeless is pretty awesome overall), given more clarity and style in this band. To say he fits this band like a glove is an understatement. In addition, his new art for previously featured up-and-coming band Short Bus Pile Up is amazing.

Anyway, enough about Zig...this isn't only about him. To be honest, this is a difficult record to get into, and, above all, it is difficult to stomach for a lot of people. I've heard some people get angry because it isn't "brutal" like previous Sarcolytic efforts, nor did they include any of the earlier-produced tracks for this album or even re-record them. It seems like this is an entirely new chapter for a progressing, evolving band, and something evolution intimidates and drives people away. I think this is great stuff, not meant for "slammers" per se because the slamming parts are both few-and-far-between and honestly pretty lame, but it isn't meant to be seen as a part of the TXDM slam scene (or whatever's left of it at this point, I guess), so I think this argument is moot. As with all art, it should be received on its own merits; a solid modern death metal album in the vein of Nile, Internal Suffering and various other chaotic, blasting bands with esoteric lyrics and songwriting styles. In other words, I'd categorize this as "brutal death metal for the traditional modern death metal crowd", which isn't really a bad thing at all. Given the rate this band progresses/changes, I'd expect the next album to be even more different.

P.S. great album cover and layout! Points for aesthetic development and conceptualization are not at all a concept lost on me!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Engaged in Mutilating - Population: Zero (Comatose Music; 2009)

Texas has rightfully earned itself a hallowed place in brutal death metal history. It was pretty much the place for this style of metal in the late 90s/early 00s. So when I came across Engaged in Mutilating, a band made up of TXDM veterans, I was intrigued. Population: Zero is Engaged in Mutilating's first full length but the band includes members of Putrilage and Exulcerate.

On this album Engaged in Mutilating have departed from the typical TXDM chug and slam formula pioneered a decade ago. Instead they have opted for a more melodic, atmospheric, riff filled sound. Brutality is achieved through a constant array of cascading melodies backed up by expert gutturals and pounding drums. This approach reminds me a lot of Inveracity's excellent 2007 album Extermination of Millions. Also like Extermination of Millions is the post-apocalyptic aesthetic which I think fit very well with that more drawn out, atmospheric brutality.

Engaged in Mutilating have a lot of things going for them then, but did they make a good album? My answer is a disappointed "not quite". I really wanted to like this album but it just never got really interesting. Engaged in Mutilating spend a lot of time playing intricate, atmospheric riffs, but I was never drawn in. Nothing grabbed me. Occasionally they would play a cool solo or dive from a fast riff to a good slow chug, but these moments were too few and far between. The songs on this album felt like riffs being played in a row, rather than self contained entities. All the parts were here to make a great album, the songwriting just did not take advantage of this.

I don't want to sound like I'm bashing this album which did have some good moments. It's just a disappointment that it didn't have more of those moments.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Vomit the Soul - Apostles of Inexpression (Unique Leader Records; 2009)

With Apostles of Inexpression Vomit the Soul have released their second full length and first in five years.This album came out last summer but I'm a little behind the times so I only got it towards the end of 2009 and I've procrastinated in reviewing until now. I really should not have waited so long because this is an excellent album and in my view a step up from their previous album.

Apostles of Inexpression at its base is a stompy, bouncy slam album that Vomit the Soul have filled out with impressive technical flourishes. Every song on this album is well written and there's never a dull moment. The songwriting is very fluid and Apostles of Inexpression avoids the common pitfall of dull "riff salad" type songs that so many brutal death bands fall into when they add technicality to their slam. While listening to it I was trying to think of what song to use as an example of what Vomit the Soul have done well here, but I couldn't choose one because they were all consistently good. In terms of band similarities, Apostles of Inexpression reminds me of fellow Italians Putridity with its stomping grooves and throaty vocals and Human Mincer with its technical heaviness and mystical/pseudo-scientific aesthetic. Vomit the Soul succeeded with a lot of what they were trying to do with this album and it deservingly got into my top ten of 2009.

If there can be some criticism, it's towards the production. Andy found it "sterile" and I can see where he's coming from. The production is pretty clean and the bass is twangy rather than deep and rumbling. I think this works fine with the level of technicality Vomit the Soul display on this record, but if you really prefer raw, dirty, thick production you'll probably have some issues with this album. That said I think most slam fans will enjoy this album.