Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Gurchick Tree - Sadistic Reflections Of Blood (2011; MetamorphiK Records)

From the slummy underbelly of New Jersey that brought us the likes of Dripping and Digested Flesh comes newbies-with-a-weird-name The Gurchick Tree, delivering 6 songs and 2 creepy/fitting intros of extremely well-produced, professional slam with some interesting edges. The album starts with a sample, maybe a gang member/hitman claiming that he would go through Hell to kill those who anger him, leading into an intense slam bookended by blasting riff reverberations on the first track "Incised Cyst Autoerotism" which also features slow breakdowns containing Saprogenic-esque tremolo riffs which carry the song onwards through a very sinister and menacing mid-section. Though a short first track, at a little over a minute-and-a-half, it is a wonderful little glimpse into the disturbing, depraved and utterly sick world TGT unveil to us on this short, quaint demo.

"Realms of Dehumanization" reminds of Butcher the Weak-style Devourment, its charging slams overlapping constantly, building up and breaking down all throughout. An extremely-squealy pinch harmonic introduces a brutal slam with a somewhat chorus-like section, something that I wish was done more often in slam (slam breakdowns used as repeated choruses, that is). It returns again as expected, though in a new form; a trainwreck funeral slam which squarely bludgeons the listener with concussive force and macabre deliberation.

This band excels at writing charging slams that slow down with big drum breaks, which brings me to the drumming. This dude is phenomenal, his ride usage is impeccable and rivals even the bigger bands, pulling off technical drumming and smaller flavorful flourishes with ease. Sometimes this shit feels utterly unstoppable, like a supernatural force of sadistic brutality repeatedly crushing your pathetic, tiny brain in a vice of extremity. "Severed Head Sodomy" has an extremely great breakdown that almost reminds of brutal deathcore but stops short due to its reliance on pure slamming; only the way it is continued to its conclusion is "core"-like, but the band seem to quickly realize this and deviate from it in a way that is actually completely brilliant.

"[..]" is an off-kilter steel-string(?) acoustic track that rivals the best acoustic-creepy-intros in slam (Guttural Secrete and Awaiting the Autopsy have both used such juxtapositions to great effect, for example), its twanging leverage seeming always to border insanity and breakdown, as if the strings themselves will snap. A+ for effort here. The transition to "Inject the Morphine" (my personal favorite song title here, by the way) is less than stellar, but I can quickly look past it as the first 'verse' riff drives into a pseudo-slam-breakdown with excellent ride fills and snare blasts. The longest song by a few seconds, this one goes through some amusing changes, but it ceases entirely to be fun or lighthearted when, halfway through, an extreme slam with open chords left hanging is overlaid by a gruesomely brutal sample of what else but a woman being killed. Classy. The post-breakdown deviation is brilliant as well, quickly changing up into a guttural, slow sway until the abrupt yet satisfactory end.

"Desperately Dismembered" feature some blurry, odd riffs and an early breakdown that pretty much contains the definition of "dead air", its hung chords gasping for space, but it's so dead that it becomes alive and, actually, really incredible. I very rarely hear something so simple (the utter lack of notes; and not in the deathcore breakdown way!) done so well, and it's a very subtle but excellent addition (subtraction? I don't know, fuck it). The song's ending is, once again, too abrupt, seeming like it could easily go for a minute or two longer, perhaps by repeating some of the more piquant sections.

The last song, "Thy Flesh Consumed" pretty much features all the same tricks, though I do love the little tremolo-plus-double-bass flourishes in the first breakdown. I could easily see this band becoming the heir to the unsung Ezophagothomia demo, which, as those who are enlightened among us know, was probably (arguably) the world's first nearly-pure "funeral slam death" album. TGT know how to take a slam, slow it down, break it apart, reconstruct it, build meaningful songs around it, and then deconstruct the meaning just to be (awesome) dicks. It's music about being slam, it's self-aware and it's completely fucking badass. Go get it now and support these guys, because they deserve it and we should all be totally excited to see how they develop from here on out.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Single Song Series Part 1: Perverse Molestation - "Blood Purging Meatgrind Murderer" (Philippines)

Slam-Minded devotee Emmanuele recommended that we check out a specific song by his countrymen Perverse Molestation, so I've got a few quick thoughts to share about this rough-but-rugged, brutal demo track.

After a clicky drum intro, we're subjected to a groovy and fun riff that sounds almost exactly like Soils of Fate or older Vomit Remnants, right down to the vocals of the former and the groovy slamming catchiness of the latter. What begins as one-dimensional vocals becomes a bit more awesome around first main slam breakdown, as the vocals come out a bit more layered, though they default back to the angry primate style by the faster riff transition. Collapsing rather awkwardly into a somewhat poorly placed but epic slam, the band shows their obvious penchant for concentrating on the slow and bludgeoning aspects of the genre, something that the aforementioned SoF never really did. There's even a semi-funeral slam in that breakdown, though it eventually goes hyperspeed and becomes a blast section with very Ruben Rosas-esque vocal elucidations; in fact, the whole section sounds like a best-of from the old Devourment demos, so maybe a bit of Wayne (R.I.P.) is present in the vocals as well. A sick, groovy and entertaining riff similar to the first one pops up and brings the song to an abrupt close soon after. I wish it were a few minutes longer with some returns to the original breakdown punctuated, perhaps, by more clever drumming, as some Filipino bands tend to do at times.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Infernal Revulsion - An Epic Conviction (Sevared Records; 2011)

Today we have a rather unique treat. Infernal Revulsion have released An Epic Conviction, which is a compilation of their two full lengths, plus a new song. Other than Devourment's mighty 1.3.8 and Vomit Remnants' discography, I can't think of any off the top of my head. For those who haven't heard of Infernal Revulsion, they're an ultra-heavy and rifftastic slam band from Japan.

Two questions arise from a release like this. The first is how consistent is the quality? There's material from different times and likely different lineups. It's annoying when half of a compilation sucks and half is good. This was my primary concern going into the album. I loved Infernal Revulsion's first album Devastate Under Hallucination. It was my favorite brutal death album of 2007. It features huge riffs, crushing slams, and violent gutturals. It immerses you into the world of the mass murderer featured in the cover art. It's a very high quality album. Infernal Revulsion's second album, Dead But Breathing, on the other hand, was a let down. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't close to its predecessor. Everything sounded worse. In my review, I wrote that "Infernal Revulsion pretty much wrote the same album as their debut, they just didn't do it as well." That was pretty much the problem with Dead But Breathing.

That brings me to the next question, does this compilation give me anything new? The answer to this is yes. Infernal Revulsion rerecorded (or remixed or reproduced) Dead But Breathing, and it sounds a lot better. In my review, I said that Dead But Breathing had a full and thick production, and it did. But in the new version, Infernal Revulsion made that full and thick production closer and wider sounding. As I mentioned earlier, Infernal Revulsion's strength is writing seriously heavy riffs and slams. The new version of Dead But Breathing greatly accentuates those qualities compared to the original. The difference is not immediately noticeable, but going back to the old one sounds like you are listening to the album from the other side of a wall. I have to commend the band here. Dead But Breathing is still not as good as it's predecessor, but with this rerecord they turned a flawed album into a good one.

The new song "Blemished" is also quite good. It features some slick guitar work, the perfected production and of course Infernal Revulsion's trademark heaviness. Great pit riffs plus a very menacing feeling throughout. There's even a Suffocationesque solo. This gives me hope for their next release.

Should you get this album? I'd say if you haven't listened to Infernal Revulsion before, this is a good place to start. It's their complete discography to date all in one place, and shows them at their best. If you are like me and loved the first album, but wished Dead But Breathing was better, I'd also recommend getting it since that is the main improvement. If you weren't keen on Infernal Revulsion before this, then there's not a lot new here to change your mind.

I have to give a lot of credit to Infernal Revulsion on this one, this is exactly what one would want out of a compilation.