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~!