Sunday, May 22, 2011

Putridity - Degenerating Anthropophagical Euphoria (Willowtip; 2011)

Putridity are an Italian band who are already familiar to quite a few people due to their neckbreaking debut album Mental Prolapse Induces Necrophilism, which, while somewhat shoddy in places (all of the songs are basically the same angular Enmity worship with some Devourment-esque slow slams here and there, all topped off with an overly-long outro), delivered a physically and audibly abusive package of blurring fast slams and crushing nonstop whirlwind drums with enough force to sink several battleships and snap several hundred necks worldwide. Willowtip, who are honestly kind of a weird choice of a label for this kind of self-serving brutality, did a real service to this band and this genre by signing them for this album (and perhaps more, I'm not really sure about the contract, if any exists), so let's get to why this is so mind-blowing.

This new album does nothing particularly different, but Putridity are never going to be known for doing anything different; they are literally non plus ultra blast-slam that intends to suffocate the listener with total strangulating force, and what a force it fucking is; the first track, "Cannibalistic Post Climax Flesh Consumption" storms through the gates with a noise-wash-to-insane-blast introduction that seems to want to go at a somewhat normal pace for a few measures before quickly deciding to fuck all of that and descend into complete, unbridled musical hatred. Chunky slams are blurred by a nondescript but well-rounded production that definitely doesn't attempt to give each slam justice during fast parts, but which highlights bass-driven single note thuds during the mid and slower paced moments (and they really do feel like moments, this band doesn't like to play slow). The various insertions of pinch harmonics on this song seem almost comical, as the band demonstrated they could achieve on the debut as well, sometimes becoming a bit self-parodying; and then, it becomes totally obvious that the band has a sick sense of humor despite the humorless, incredibly serious (and awesomely awkward) song titles when the end of track 1 sample fades into track 2, "Sodomize Epileptic Chunks" with a dude claiming, in full deadpan tone no less, "I am going to fuck you and kill you at the same time." I love this. It's ridiculous.

The second song almost reminds of Amputated Genitals with its intense snare rolls and effortless handling of transitions overloaded with blurring riffs and harmonics. A broken down analysis of this music is both unnecessary and a bit useless, though, as it is intentionally ludicrous and a bit formless. In spite of this, the band knows how to make slam segments work with their brand of overwhelming insanity, leaning towards having undifferentiated slams differentiate themselves by drum patterns that greatly enhance the overall quality of the music. In this way it is a bit unlike AmpGen, who, while excelling at song-writing and epic understated riffing which almost seems to eschew slams entirely at times, have never had subtle rhythmic drumming. Beto is an absolute beast on the kit, for sure, but technique's never really been his game, and that's where Putridity excels above our Colombian pals in this game of calculated barbarity; they know how to add the little things that make them stand out.

"Masturbating the Infibulated" has an absolutely insane breakdown towards the end with a huge bass drop to boot, crushing all who oppose the slam. "Syphilic Menstrual Rejection" is similar to the opening track but has some off-time riffing and drumming, particularly in the cymbals during the early pre-breakdown verses, as well as some amazing vocal ping-pong echo which makes this track easily the deepest and most profound yet. "Wallowing in Aftermaths" is an actually successful attempt at "atmospheric mid-album thing in slam" because it actually features slams and guitar squeals, a bit like Defeated Sanity's "Introitus" off their last incredible album. Now this is where I gain more respect for Putridity's way of doing things. It's almost like they actually care and are actually writing a logical album, but most of it is totally illogical brutality with no rhyme or reason; it's pretty much slam on amphetamines. On slamphetamines.

Having just coined a new word, it's about time to tackle the 'single' of the album, "Innate Butchery Aptitude", which features some truly stupendous time changes (try to describe what the fuck is happening at around 1:55-2:08 without just yelling "holy shit", I dare fact, I triple dog dare you, motherfucker) and the coolest crash-cymbal-to-slam breakdown of the whole album at 2:43...seriously, Jesus fucking Christ that is heavy. And then, they seriously fucking throw it out the window to end the song; Putridity doesn't give a fuck at all. They are literally only here to erect a giant fucking cross, nail you to it in no less then 7 places (all of which are bound to be the most painful) and then tear you straight off without regard to what chunks of flesh remain. You are seriously not worthy of consideration to these Italian psychopaths.

"Draining Necro Anal Disgorgement" is the "Vomiting Molested Decapitation" of this album in terms of title ridiculousness, but "Living Decomposition" is the true heir to that first effort, its wild slams heading off in every direction before converging as separate mini-breakdowns which erupt again into huge blasting sections with excellent, technical drumming all over the place.

You should bow down to this, plain and simple. This is barbaric and truly phenomenal: a band that simultaneously doesn't seem to give two shits yet who seems to actually place a lot of nuanced detail into its meshes of skull-fucking audio-lethality. A new benchmark has been set down in modern ├╝ber-slam. The creepy outro only cements this fact. Now go destroy your fucking neck by headbanging to this, or you have no place on this blog or, really, on this planet.

P.S. If anything this year has better cover art and design than this, I'm probably going to have to find the person who designed the better work and shoot them purely in the service of keeping this as the best. It is phenomenal. NOW go fuck your ears to death, you won't be sorry, and neither are Putridity, bitch.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Slam-Minded on Facebook

The title says it all, Slam-Minded now has a fan page on facebook. I'm still trying to figure out how to automatically link posts from here to facebook, but in the meantime if you have a facebook account you can drop by and "like" us. If you don't have facebook (or don't like us) then don't worry, everything here on blogspot will remain unchanged.

Slam-Minded @ Facebook

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ezophagothomia - Instinct of Inhuman Devourment (Inherited Suffering; 2011)

Quiet...too quiet. Rising to your feet, your eyes clouded but your head growing somewhat clearer every moment, you grasp clumsily at the ground; grabbing a shoddy, splintered wooden plank to your immediate left, you take an impulsive, instinctual defensive stance and begin to wonder why you're here. What happened? Why is everything so dark, ominous...the gloom; it's almost suffocating. From every direction, you hear tortured cries. They seem to yearn for something, most likely your blood. You need to get Which way is out, though?

Dim sirens sound in the distance, their failing horns seeming to twist and degrade before they hit your ears. Fire, everywhere. Intense heat, a disgusting stench and mangled bodies all around your feet, down every street and alley, hanging out every window and fallen to their charred, excoriated knees outside every doorstep, arranged in catatonic patterns, every one bearing marks of brutal defilement. How did you survive? Are you even alive?

Ezophagothomia are a Ukrainian band operating in the field of extreme percussive slam, each slam twisting quickly about a tightly-coiled center, always about to strike forth with deadly precision. Their riff-writing is excessively bludgeoning as evidenced in the very first real song after an atmospheric introduction (which was the inspiration for the above little intro of my own to this very review) which takes a neurotic riff to a straightforward, logical progression with interesting ways of filling in dead drum space. Quickly discarded, the shed corpse of that riff continues on as a shambling zombie in the form of the next slam which quickly reanimates unpredictably and charges the song into a blastbeat-ridden assault.

Ezo aren't content on this album to merely let you suffer, but to drag out the suffering sadistically so that you beg for more. In a sense, it is similar to how Abominable Putridity worked on their debut, but it's a bit more different between tracks. Ezo plans some truly nefarious things on this album; the very first aforementioned track has a descending slam that almost reaches funeral slam levels but which ends abruptly and becomes a Gorevent-esque charge ahead, building and adding on different drum techniques with every iteration of the main slam. Carrying on, it morphs and becomes something worthy of specific examination.

"Petrified in Ancients Megaliths" literally feels like a petrification in progress with its sharply diminishing slams and slow, viscous way of dealing with riff changes. Vocals are a tar-thick growl tinged with a slightly burpy style, but they are somewhat neutral in the sound space and don't really stand out. A simple and effective main riff carries this song between breakdowns with off-time crash cymbal use and a great open-chord blast to round it out each time. This is definitely the soundtrack to an urban zombie apocalypse; each numb, brainless wretch dragging you slowly but surely down, crushing you under the combined weight of each vacant, empty body at once.

Next we deal with a hidden threat, a creature under the disfigured surface whose only desire is bloodshed; specifically, yours. Perhaps under that manhole...or that one, further down the western alley beyond the abandoned, gutted liquor shop. Yes, that one; can't you hear the guttural elucidations of those walking dead under the streets? Lurching, sewage-choked slams around every corner, unfortunately-clicky kick drums arranged in surprisingly interesting patterns, never seeming to use the same strategy twice, and those horrible, horrible sounds from below. "When Earth Will Be Tired of Us", despite the silly name, is a powerful track with its familiar stagger, the way it seems to save energy for that final slam that seems to delay forever, while in the meantime you don't even realize how much you're being brutalized by the sights and sounds before your eyes. Approaching those police cars you heard before, you realize it was not your imagination. Their blue, revolving lights are slowing down, their piercing sounds becoming a distorted, fading whine like some kind of hellish, taunting choir of demons, which are undoubtedly behind you this moment. The slams are catching up to you, picking up pace and alternately slowing down with a definite human instinct. Run. Don't stop; run.

Not fast enough. All hell breaks loose as every sound around you stops and you can hear in your head a somewhat familiar must be imagining it. An acoustic guitar? How can you hear it above the localized apocalypse playing out before your very eyes? As soon as you think about it, it's gone, and so are the sounds of your pursuers and of those below, and of those down every lateral passage, and of the white thunder striking maddeningly over the red sky.

Crevasses are opening up in the ground around you and you fall to your bloodied knees, suffering mentally and physically; parched, starving, tired, perhaps even going insane if that familiar sound was any indication. No, you're not insane. This might also be familiar, though, especially if you're familiar with any underground USDM, a Mortal Decay cover track, which is actually better than the original in several ways; Ezo makes this track their own, from the undoubtedly unique transitions to the way the vocals stay one-dimensional and on-point even during the oncoming breakdown crush. Finally, you've been caught. They've found you; closing in on you, they pin you down.

It seems there's a leader, perhaps of this specific pack; donning a razor blade dipped in what looks to be sulfuric acid and clothed in bloodied hospital scrubs, it calls the others to strap you down. Injecting you with a lethal parasite, the slams coincide with your demise in a horrible symphony of pain and suffering. It feels euphoric, your skin rupturing and spewing out all manner of bodily fluids, finally allowing you to give in to this horrific, grotesque wasteland. Looking to your left, you hear those familiar crashing riffs and drums from all angles, piling up and crashing down on top of you, beating you further and further still into that cold yet burning ground.

Hacked into pieces but kept alive through nefarious, otherworldly technology, you immediately notice you've been reanimated as one of them. Right before you black out again, you get a second wind, about to rise to your feet to seek out're weak now. You have much to learn. Calm down. You have an eternity to hunt them. Slay them. Take back our world. We are allies now.

And then, silence.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cease of Breeding - Sounds of Disembowelment (Amputated Vein; 2010)

One of the better developments in the slam scene over the past few years has been the emergence of Southern Europe as a source for excellent brutal death metal. Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal have all contributed excellent bands and albums. It is no surprise then that fellow Southern Europeans Cease of Breeding's first full length Sounds of Disembowelment is also excellent.

Cease of Breeding hail from Greece and have been around since 2003 and have released a couple demos and EPs before Sounds of Disembowelment. I vaguely remember being unimpressed by their 2008 EP, but they've taken many steps forward here.

Sounds of Disembowelment has a lot of dynamism and variation to sink your teeth into. At its core it features the barreling juggernaut deathgrind style you hear from Decaying Purity or Cerebral Effusion. Around this core are the interesting melodies of Septycal Gorge and the slams and frantic basswork of Vomit the Soul. This is all mixed together in a brutal stew.

It makes sense to me that this band has been around since 2003 because this feels like a mature release. It does not feel rushed or unrefined like some other albums. This band clearly has paid its dues and does all the little things right. This translates into every part of the experience being integrated well. I commend Cease of Breeding for taking their time when creating this album. The effort definitely shows.

Southern Europe may be having financial issues right now, but their brutal death metal sector is doing just fine. Check this album out if you like any of the big bands from Italy, Spain, or Portugal.