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.