Sunday, January 2, 2011

Top Ten Brutal/Slam Death Albums: 2010

I may be mildly inebriated right now (in fact, I just spelled that "inebirated") but here's a quick rundown of my top ten in slam/brutal death for this past year. Overall, it was a mildly disappointing year in terms of follow-up albums for bands whose debuts were released fairly recently (last few years, I'd reckon), but several bands surprised with excellent new material, several new bands absolutely rocked the house with their sickening tones, and overall, I'd say there was a fair bit of choosing going on here; always a signal that the scene is alive and well.

As such, I look forward to 2011 as a harbinger of excellent slamming sickness. Slam 'til you cum, indeed.

1. Defeated Sanity - Chapters of Repugnance
DS ups the ante with some absolutely balls-out, ridiculously powerful slam on this one. An excellent show of strength compared to Psalms, which, in my opinion, was made ineffectual and somewhat listless by Jens' poor vocals, some horrid production choices and only decent-to-good songwriting; this is an entirely different beast. Every song offers up new ways to bludgeon your skull in, snaking around transitions and riff-changes with the greatest of ease. I don't really need to tell you why this rules, it's on the top of this list for a reason, so read my review of it if you need convincing, which you shouldn't. This speaks for itself. It quite literally skullfucks everything else "slam" from this year by a fair margin, and fuck you if you don't think so.

2. Goretrade - Mistaken Conception
This band really knows how to kick major ass, and surprisingly, they follow through on their ass-kicking stature throughout every single song, with no doubts about their awesomeness. This is literally an improvement on the Goretrade sound in every way. They've got two albums before this and if you listen to them in order you can quite honestly hear the progression. This is a band evolving outside of itself; Colombian sound? Fuck that, this is the Goretrade sound. Dominates. Worship or die.

3. Cephalic Impurity - Unique Brute Revival
Surprise! I fell in love with this album after about 10 listens; its grooves opened up more, lots of faster, double-time slam breakdowns amidst the controlled chaos. By paying attention to how the riffs flow, you can make out many interesting transitions; these nuances coupled with the grooves and overall (incredible) songwriting improvements from their last very average album leave me extremely satisfied. Sleeper hit of 2010, haters be damned.

Cerebral Effusion - Impulsive Psychopathic Acts
Another one I reviewed, this is a raucous display of absolutely dehumanized Spanish slam sickness. Uncaring, violent and very dangerous, this band barrels through 7 hymns of depravity in over 30 minutes(!) of their absolute best, most mature material yet. Think Colombia or the Philippines make the best inhuman, fucked up slam? Think again. Spain just schooled them in that regard; fucking ugly and repulsive shit...I love it.

5. Wormed - Quasineutrality
7 years after Planisphaerium, Wormed casually drops a new 2-track demo on the slam world; we all collectively shit ourselves because of what's in store. Though Phlegeton drums (admirably), and the excellent Andy C. is missing on the kit (though he has since been replaced by an excellent dude I posted a video of), these two songs are some serious shit full of complete next-level, logically progressive shit for the band. Gorguts influence? Check. Some seriously sick songwriting skills? Check. Slams galore? We're still kinda waiting on those, but there's enough brutality here to fill at least ten shitty slam bands' albums full of absolute insanity, so we'll take it. It's fucking Wormed, and they're back with an astrophysical vengeance.

6. Cenotaph - Putrescent Infectious Rabidity
Reincarnation In Gorextasy was alright, but this is the true return-to-form for these Turkish maniacs, led by the inimitable Batu Cetin. This time, they hired Defeated Sanity skinsman Lille Gruber and proceeded to bang out 9 songs of incredibly explicit perversion. Batu's brother Basar no longer performing with the band (for this album anyway), Cihar performed both the guitar and bass, making this the first slam power-trio in recent memory. This shit is intense, a hearkening back to the times of Pseudo Verminal Cadaverium in all of its fucked-up glory. Check out the last song; completely disturbing, amazing shit. I expect more of this from these masters of Turkish technical insanity.

Short Bus Pile Up - Repulsive Display Of Human Upholstery
SBPU are a fairly new slamming brutal band from Virginia of all places. I've been championing Tyler and the boys since the demo they solicited to me in '09, which had some minor problems, most of which were touched upon and made at least somewhat better on this, their first full-length offering. Barrett saw something in them just like I did, and put this out on his Sevared Records, and all went happily ever after. I even threatened the band that if they changed the snare sound, I'd disown them forever. They didn't change it. It's excellent, and so is this band. I sense a bright, slamming, guttural future for them. Catchy, somewhat serious and always the life of the party, SBPU will (hopefully!) continue to bludgeon the false with their trademark catchy palm-muting madness. Rage on, brothers.

8. Aborted Fetus - Fatal Dogmatic Damage
Yet another Russian sleeper hit. What's up with that? Oh, I don't know, other than the fact that this fucking rocks. A little Devourment worship here, some typical Russian breakdown-slam there, and we're off to the races; a fun little album chock full of surprises. So many snare fills that I dare you to try to keep track and count them before giving up and just headbanging until your neck is sore. Oh, and it's pretty atmospheric to boot. If this were the new sound of Russian slam, I wouldn't even be the slightest bit disappointed. High marks in almost every department; just wish it drew itself out a little more...same complaint on the SBPU, for the record.

9. Hour Of Penance - Paradogma
With every album, it feels like these guys slightly distance themselves from the "Italian brutal death metal" scene, but, regardless, this still feels somewhat entrenched in that aesthetic despite it being pretty much a very anti-religious Nile on Italian amphetamines. Perfectly written, perfectly orchestrated and immaculately played technical brutal deathgrind insanity of the highest and most rigorous order, you'd be hard-pressed to find something as professional coming out of any country currently operating under the banner of brutality. Every song is full of such seething hatred and detestation that it's almost palpable, and almost always very intimidating. As usual, I look forward to how this band pushes itself further. Every album has gone even further into realms of brutality not quite fully explored by any other similar band, and it will be exciting to follow the progress here. Buono, indeed.

10. Gorevent - Worship Paganism
Though I regard it as a mild sophomore slump for this off-kilter yet, ironically, completely orthodox Japanese band, this album still manages to hit me hard every time I listen to it. Something about it feels off; perhaps it is the not-quite-there-yet "darker" atmosphere that was attempted, perhaps it's the "sameness" to the previous album...maybe the atmosphere has been dimmed by the attempt to cement it firmly in a specific place? Not sure, but there's something barely-tangible that harms this album as a "full album" listen for me. Every song is completely trudging yet slightly faster (than the debut, anyway) slam with a bit of extra pep in the step, and an evil aesthetic/very nice artwork and layout (appreciated!!), but something about it holds it back from being as utterly devastating and ruthless as Abnormal Exaggeration. Maybe it's the lack of 40 second mid-album intro tracks...macabre shit, I want to see it reintroduced. Make it so, slamming samurai!

Have an excellent 2011; may the slam be with you...



Anonymous said...

Awesome list. I would've put Gorevent a bit higher and of course added the new Blasphemer EP to the list but damn, it's a solid top 10. Hopefully 2011 will bring more great brutality our way!

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of your choices.

btw I love this place. Keep it up dudes!!

Brian said...

Disappointed Extermination Dismemberment was not on this list as well as Pathology. But otherwise a solid list.