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Monthly Archives: December 2000

Reviews 2000 – in NO particular order other than the one I was playing them in! By Melanie unless otherwise noted.

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In Ruins

European Doomy Black metal/orchestrated – nothing *too* fast. Melodic like At The Gates, and Dissection. My first impression of the band was that they sounded similar to Northern Ohio’s premiere blackened metal band – From The Depths. Some of their passages also reminded me of November’s Doom. They take a lot of pleasure in acoustic intros and technical thrash riffs. Lots of neat experimentation on this CD. At least the vocalist doesn’t sound like a rape victim, like most BM guys tend to nowadays.. The keyboards and orchestration probably “make” this album.. and serve as it’s highlights. A less “hissy” mix would make them a little more accessible to the listener – overall, recommended.

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Disinter – Welcome To Oblivion (Final)
(DeadSun/Morbid Records)

Oh my! I forgot I didn’t review this (even “just for the website”) because I was waiting for the “official release date”. I didn’t want to spoil it, it’s a VERY good surprise. You don’t know how happy I am to be able to write this review! I saved it for last!

One of the first things you’ll notice is the “no waiting” – pauses are under 1 sec. between songs. This was deliberate. It holds you, like when you grab an electric fence and then can’t let go .. The layout & packaging are also really nice. It’s not the booklet that we love, it’s the CD itself. You’ll just have to buy it and see! Ohio “ain’t seen nothin’ like that”, ever. We suck, kill us quickly.

This CD is different from every other CD I listened to tonight. There’s more melody and harmony than most of the black metal; there is no focus on sheer speed like the death metal; the vocals are a clear, intelligible, understandable dual style and not just someone being neutered or someone barfing up seeds .. the lyrical content is worlds away and apart from all of the “let’s pretend we’re hacking up and fucking a dead chick” or “let’s go play werewolves and elves in the cemetary” .. Disinter are a well-rounded, musically-mature outfit, and their compositions and outlook reflect this. The CD not once transgresses into cheezy nor sophmoric territory. The fact that they used movie samples in some places differentiates the CD from every other. Nobody else used them. The samples sound like they came off the master ADAT’s from the movies, which makes them better – it’s not some ‘VCR dub’. Good job Chris!

The entire CD almost reads like a story, yet is not a concept album. It focuses on horror- and evil- related topics. The speed at times is blinding .. and at other times, slow enough to permit whiplash injury (I know – been there, done that, to these songs, several times). Overall, it’s on the “very fast” side, and heavy on the melody and harmony, but bloody death metal, through and through. The medley of riffs in each song melts together in a very natural fashion. Disinter stick to their roots with the death-thrash cropping up in several songs – most notably “Descendents of Darkness” but also small portions in almost every other song. Check out the acoustic “outro” to the epic “Field of Screams”, too. Reminiscent of ‘Storm of the Witch’, yet different. Equally deadly. Disinter don’t need to mess around with keyboards, harmonizers, trollish warriors, obscure Necronomicon figures, blazing hellfire, or any other selling gimmick to put out good music. They just DO. They ‘don’t need no steenkin’ excuse’.

The CD possesses a slightly heavier “mix” than the beta copy I had, but besides that, slays just as much or more than it’s previous version. Suffice to say, it freaking RULES .. and I wish it would get stuck in the CD player so I didn’t have to listen to any more music tonight. If I hadn’t already picked Bloodstorm (thinking I’d already reviewed this CD), I’d call this CD Pick of the Litter.

Peer Review – I have heard many say that Disinter is transformed, like a new band, with the additions of Zion on vocals and Tom on drums. The speed factor about tripled, that’s obvious .. but whether that was a conscious goal or just the offshoot of working with new members, we can only conjecture. Have no doubts though, ‘Welcome To Oblivion’ is different than ‘Desecrated’, and the VAST majority are saying this is good (although most are also saying they really liked ‘Desecrated’..)

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Summon – Baptized By Fire

Summon – AAGH!! The fastest drummer I’ve encountered, a brutal mix of skin flaying intensity, and of course, “hail satan” vocals from The Exorcist. And you have Summon, probably my favorite “American Black Metal” band. They do NOT stop – like Hate Eternal is for death metal, Summon is for black metal. Just a few bands make me hyper, and they are one of them. I mean, even my *mom* likes Summon, which is frightening. (since she hates 99.9% of all metal and says we’re all a bunch of “trailer trash losers”.) I have the “advance” or rough cut or something – but it’s good enough. I am sure the final release, due out on April 11 through Necropolis Records, will sound even more bone-grinding and evil. Every time I want to scare someone, I play Summon… my cats and birds immediately begin playing or singing or something when I play them – it’s just I guess the “house black metal band” here. They are an excellent live band as well – this CD is a MUST acquire for any fan of extreme metal worth their salt.

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Sincronisity – Winters of Despair
Black Sheep Records
Running Time: 60:18

I tread into new waters to review this cd! Admittedly, I love deathmetal, and tend to favor this sound. When I think of the ideal CD to pop into my stereo, bands like Suffocation, Disinter, Immolation and Malevolent Creation come to mind. Sometimes I’ll get in the mood for blackmetal, and listen to that- but never do I get in the mood for anything rap/hip-hop sounding. I am an open minded individual, so I figured this would be a good exercise in seeing just how open minded my musical mind is. Where am I going with this interlude you ask?

This 15 song debut from Sincronisity (who hail from Connecticut) has a very diverse range of sound/musical styles to it. I think the best way I can describe it would be a cross breed of deathmetal, hardcore and hip-hop. If you hate rap or hip-hop, I have to warn you a lot of the songs do have parts in them with that influence. For the open minded metal lover, I recommend these tracks:

“Blood In Blood Out” (track 3) starts out with a slower, mellow guitar lead in which lasts approximately a minute and 30 seconds before a harder more hardcore sounding guitar takes over. The vocals are more deathmetal than hardcore for most of the song, but then take a more hardcore sound towards the end, giving it an interesting sound. There is a brief “getdown interlude” (hip-hop scratching) about halfway through, the song returns to it’s heavier ways. I appreciate the crunchy riff incorporated throughout most of the song.

“The Accumulation” (track 4) has an overall hardcore sound to it. The vocals are more deathmetal. Once again a “getdown interlude” is inserted smack in the middle of the song.

“Phase 1” (track 8) is an instrumental with some nice guitar work in it. No rap here in this track.

“Winters Intro” (track 10) is a very pretty acoustic intro to “Winters of Despair” (track 11), and I have to say as soon as I heard these tracks I loved them. Someone must have had some classical guitar training from the sounds of the intro. The transition from the intro into the heavier deathmetal sound was done nicely – very smooth. Once again heavy guitars are accompanied by more traditional sounding deathmetal vocals with an occasional break with more hardcore style vocals. I like the overall composition of the song. No hip-hop interludes break up the heavy guitars, and there are some very catchy guitar riffs in this song.

So, if you have an open mind, and aren’t afraid to give something new a listen, check this CD out. You never know, maybe it’s diverse sounds will grow on you.                    -Jo

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Aeturnus

First of all, I had to go through a stack of illegible logos. The most legible bands got reviewed first, my belief being that bands should ride on the music, not the logo style.. the *inferno* on the cover of this album caught my eye though. It possesses a nice mix (as usual for the genre).. My impressions of the band ran like: 1st reminded me of Dimmu, 2nd God Dethroned… and then as the album progressed, of Disinter with all the variety of tempo and good use of instruments, and then finally of Immortal. This is very European-flavored. Well-orchestrated introes to several songs are highlights. The NICE mix of tempos and a good vocalist mark this as quite good. 4th track is the best on the CD in my opinion. It’s a CD definitely worth acquiring.

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Cradle of Filth – From the Cradle To Enslave

Ha – I get the last laugh here – all you CoF haters who’ll hate me because I happen to NOT hate them – bite thyselves and open thy mind. Yes, Dani at times stretches into “rape victim” but all the “true underground” bands can learn something from CoF – a little bit of effort at doing press, doing merchandise, and geting the best mix you can possibly get – and having a great PR agent – go a long way with both sales and name recognition. That said – the sheer *involvement* of this CD with it’s own internal mixes, agendas, and arrangements provides for near sensory overload. You’re so busy listening to the guitar line that you’ll miss the 3 other bass lines and the 3 octaves of vocal tracks overlaid upon eachother. Nevermind the “50 gallons of fake blood” from the video.. The album’s good enough in it’s own right to listen to. It’s got something for everyone – doom, death, black metal, technical parts, doomy parts, Queen-ish parts… I’d have to say, if you cannot find something to enjoy in CoF’s musical arrangements (“songs”) then you are far too close-minded for my tastes.

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Dead Silent Slumber (Jens Ryden)

How many more well-done orchestrated keyboard/guitar intros will I have to listen to? Once we get past that (interesting) point, we get to a melodic, slow to mid-tempo “deathy” metal mix with touches of doom. Very European. My impressions ran like this: 1st – Emperor because it’s got a lot of “rockish” and slower, more melodic feel. 2nd : Black Star. Original. Listenable. Not the best in the pile but no slouch either! It’s got a lot of those Lucifer’s Hammer keyboard-over-doom-guitar parts. It’s melodic and guitar-centric like Disincarnate or late Carcass was – but half the speed at fastest.

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Cannibal Corpse – Bloodthirst

What better CD to follow Incinerate with? *hehe*
It’s… Corpse!! Super clean mix with the tempo and arrangements we’ve come to know, love, and expect. It’s not the slow “last album” stuff at all – it’s closer to “Vile” in it’s aggressive pummeling attacks on one’s ears. The fact that I can hear all the bass lines and understand half of what George is saying goes a long way.. I like to be able to “get into” music if I’m going to listen to it. Highlights of the album – ‘Pounded Into Dust’ and ‘Dead Human Collection’, plus all of the bass and false-harmonic-guitar solos and super technical riffing.. The usual Corpse medley of death! Pick it up if you are any way a Corpse or “brutal death” metal fan!!

Ancient

From now on, if I hear an “orchestrated intro” I am going to skip the song. Thus, I skipped the first track of this CD. Ancient remind me of a less well-produced Cradle of Filth without the finer points of orchestration. They have a bass-drum heavy mix which tends to bury the bass guitar completely. Some pretty aggressive thrash/death parts intersperse with technical and melodic riffs. I like the guitar solos – it adds a nice touch to an otherwise fairly “routine” sounding band. (like a routine surgical procedure – something one does a lot of..) Vocals are tolerable. Major minus is the mix. If you’re one of those avid Blackmetallers, this album with it’s touches of doom and female whispers – are for you.

Emperor

This is a multimedia CD I guess, because the first track refused to play. I had to skip the second due to it’s intro. The next song is a live track – obviously recorded off the sound board and not someone’s “bootlegger” – and remastered. I heard CoF before I heard Emperor, so my first impression is CoF without some of the layers. Like a “CoF in lingerie” (stripped down from all the extra layers). It’s melodic fast black metal. The vocalist is more tolerable than Dani.. I really like the “old school styled” guitar solos. I could do without the keyboards. I could do without the “affected male vocals” which in BM circles are called “clean”. It just sounds like he’s taking himself too seriously. The CD overall, is a collector’s item for Emperor fans though, so it’s a must acquire for all y’all.

Deceased

With all this ultra fast aggressive black metal going on, I thought I’d stick in a CD I thought was thrash metal – Deceased – oops! Another black-ish thrash-ish metal album. Modern-sounding but pleasantly rough and thick around the edges like the old masters. Well produced, good mix, some great old school influenced breakdowns.. I am reminded of a band with Maiden, Slayer, Pestilence,  Trouble or Armored Saint and oldschool thrash as influences which arise. At least they’re doing something original – adding in the old “Trouble sounding” riffs, some great retro styled guitar work, lots of melody, and they incorporate movie samples right into the music as overlays. Some killer thrash riffs are buried in this CD – a listener’s delight. Plus, you can *thrash* to most of this – it’s pleasantly mid-tempo. If you are a fan of power metal (which is the upcoming “say you like it or be chided” trend..) you should give Deceased a listen or 10 – they’ve been doing this for well over a decade!

Lordes Werre – Demon Crusades

Ah, good ol’ dirty thrash metal! No power metal, no pretense for black metal, just balls-out, thrashing holocaust. It’s a little on the drum-heavy side of the mix, but the production is clear and you can hear what you need to – all the instruments in a good blend. It’s on the speedier side for thrash and definitely has more than a touch of death metal influence – remember Dark Angel anyone? The off-tempo stuff slays, and of course the thrash grove kills, as do the distinctly-Skolnick guitar solo interludes. It is too bad this is mostly a project band from my understanding, because even a few shows would slay the false masses!! It’s one of RIP’s strongest releases, although I’m sure the label head would disagree… *grin* Well, all of you guys who say you’re “true” – it’s a must acquire and must-assimilate.

Impaled – The Dead Shall Dead Remain

First of all, to clarify – I *like* Impaled. Just thank yourselves that these tracks (‘Bloodbath’ and ‘Gorenography’) didn’t have orchestrated introes! *phew* The mp3 compression on these just *killed* their finer points. It sounds like a guitar driven, aggressive mix of death and black metal. More technical than most. A non-blinding but still fast tempo pounds on and provides no distraction from the music. I like the mid-tempo, technical touch. It vaguely reminds me of Dismember… ‘Indecent and Obscene’ era replete with insaniac vocals. If you think Impaled are or even might be Carcass-like, or you like Entombed, Dismember, or any form of good technical death metal, pick this up from Necropolis at once. It’s 100% gay! (just kidding!)

Usurper – Threshold of the Usurper

Holy shit!!! I’m used to Usurper being this mid-paced, Euro-flavored death-ish, thrash-ish metal band… but I had to double check that this was indeed the correct CD after I put it in and heard those *True Norwegian Black Metal* drums!!! Uh, this doesn’t sound like Celtic Frost.. at all. It sounds like rip-you-apart black metal. (first track – Necrocult). It is *way fast*… faster than Immortal, similar to Marduk or (pick a fast Europ. BM band). Now I see where the cult following is coming from… this was recorded well before black metal became the next best “in thing to do”. Lots of fun, death-and-Satanic lyrical imagery to make your folks and schoolmates mad too! Then of course, we get into the slow doomy Frost stuff.. after kicking your ass they I guess like to make sure the job is done. *grin* True to form, if you like ’em to begin with, or if you’re an old thrash/deathmetal fan, you’ll like this..

Usurper – Skeletal Season

Ah.. another ‘trick ya’ first song. I am wise to the ways of Usurper now with the fast black metal intros *grin*. It’s a complete digression of style from their “other” selves which seem more in the old raw “just before death metal” extreme music became popular. Of course, as soon as the intro fades you get the true, bassy, raw, unadulterated Usurper – mid tempo, thrash/death, styled with their brand upon the mark of extreme metal. They digress into doom, into black metal, and touch on death metal, but for the most part stick to the Frost-old school metal. Don’t expect the usual, its heavier… They retain the “scare your mom and friends” lyrical imagery as well. My closing statement for their other release holds here as well.

Enthroned – Regie Sathanas

To the European tour-mates of Usurper – Enthroned. Nice death dirge at the beginning. I’m just thankful it doesn’t have those annoying 3000 layers of orchestrated keyboards. Eerie I like, and eerie I can live with. Once we get beyond the dirge, we get to the fast black metal stuff. The production is muted.. so I’d be inclined to wonder if they are American – but I know better. I guess they’re going for the “we’re too true for a nice production – our 3 grand was spent OUR way” recording. It’s thick, bassy, aggressive, and *fast*. It is more than vaguely reminiscent of Sarcophagus. If you’re into this type of music it’s probably going to slay you. No melody here – just drag-you-over-hot-coals howling and a whirlwind of blastbeats. They do occasionally venture into slower territory, but never for long, and just to add highlights to their compositions, rather than using the slower parts as building materials.

Deformity

For some reason, every other review I have read of Deformity fails to accurately describe their music at all. So, I will attempt to. Bass heavy, crisp, crushing death metal greets the listener at the outset of the second track. The production’s clean and clear – refreshing after listening to all that “true” black metal. The CD reminds me of Disinter’s CD in many ways. The use of the higher melodies in the tunes makes them gain a blackened edge. They seem to possess a lot of technical skill musically.. And aren’t wasting it sawing on one chord and blasting monotonously. The slower parts are definitely something I’d snap my neck to, at a show. I know this reference is going to be lost on 90% of you but the dual vocal style sounds like Cianide meets Carcass. They are kind of progressive – but mostly it’s straight ahead, mosh, kill your mother music reminiscent of Pestilence meets Pessimist and gets ground up in a blender. HIGHLY recommended!!

Fleshcrawl

No, not the *kickass* FleshGRIND – this is Metal Blade’s Fleshcrawl. Well, they so conveniently have a death dirge at their beginning too, so I skipped the track in fairness. Then, we get to the second track – which is black metal with death metal vocals if that makes any sense – it’s the same “sawing on the chords and blasting away” structure, but with a growler uttering at the mike. I’m loving this Swedish buzzsaw guitar… even if it’s about 200 beats a minute too fast for me to thrash to. It kind of vaguely reminds me of a REALLY fast Grave – like what Ola would have done in 2000 had he stayed in the DM scene. Who said Metal Blade didn’t sign “brutal” bands anymore? Eat thy words! Fleshcrawl rips, surely. I can’t say they’re terribly original at all, which of course the band would dispute with me at length, but it’s better stuff to listen to than most. Recommended. (guys, toss your Deicide CD’s and get some fresh new death..)

Repulsive Assault Vol. II – Repulse Records

It’s a star-studded, well-done compilation well worth the time finding from somewhere, as it is free – so you can’t buy it. Try EBay? Anyway, the highlights of the compilation are tracks from – Incantation, Avulsed, Adramelech, Vader, Haemorrhage, Defiled, and Morpheus Descends. The other stuff is better if you’re into the “brutal death metal” thing in a pretty narrow spectrum. I’m well known for mostly digging the non “brutal death” thing… so every time I get to hear things with originality I more than gladly point them out.

November’s Doom – ‘Of Sculptured Ivy and Stone Flowers’

To switch gears completely, we have a mellow, original, evil, at times crushing and fast, very well-produced album by Chicago’s lords of doom. They don’t waste time on pretentious black metal intros, corpsepaint, or all that other fluff. It’s just very well-played, appealing doom-death. Lush acoustic interludes, and passages with female vocals, grace the CD. Probably the biggest “selling point” of November’s Doom is that they sound almost exactly the same *live* as they do on CD – rare in these days of “live bands” and “studio bands”. The CD is NOT brutal death metal, nor hyperblasting black metal, so if you’re after the goregrind or cuntchrist desultory, and possess a closed mind, look elsewhere. You must be a connoisseur of metal to enjoy November’s Doom – and enjoy the music, I do. Definitely worth acquiring.

Disinter – The Beauty of Suffering
(Desecrated Productions)

Gorgeous, shaped CD. Classy as pearls, a long black dress, and red wine over candlelight dinner. Nothing obscene, gory, or juvenile here. Clean, crisp, deadly. ‘ Nuf said. I don’t know how they did it, but they captured the beauty of suffering in music! Just check out the lilting, beautiful, haunting acoustic intro, and you’ll see what I mean. I wish I was more of a wuss, so I could say “it brought me to tears!” and then shed some tears, but I’m just not wuss enough. I was just enraptured and enthralled. The first time I *really* heard this EP, it was blasting on the way to the airport so we could rid ourselves of the dork from Canada.. and the full depth of the mix, the arrangements, the structures, and all of the thought and emotion which went into the composition “hit” me. I was ruled. I actually shut up for once, to listen. You should too. It’s not all about how fast you can play, it’s about how **well** you can play! Buy the CD – for the killer music. If not for that, for the fact that it’s a true limited edition (and not just because they didn’t have the $ to press 10,000 – they could have) and a shaped CD.

Here’s my old review:

“I was given this cassette at the March Metal Meltdown. Luckily, I wasn’t bloodied with it, hehe!
Just when you expect “oh *another one of these* death metal free tapes, you yawn, stretch, and insert the tape into the player, and
a masterfully-written, eerie *acoustic* piece greets your ears? Whoa, killer! This band never ceases to pleasantly surprise me. The
intro, ‘The Beauty Of Suffering’, seems to capture just that with wailing, spine-chilling, piercing acoustic harmony, and never treads
the realm of cheeze nor derivative works. Original, haunting, chilling, kickass – definetly great.”

Dying Fetus – Grotesque Impalement

Bias alert! I’ve been asking to listen to this in Jo’s car for months now… we made a cassette copy JUST for blasting through parking lots and “on ramps” … anyone who’s heard the mid-tempo “breakdowns” during the first maybe 2-3 minutes of this CD knows JUST how good that stuff is for driving. Anyway, this CD is great. It’s not all “low E and growly”, it has a lot of time and tempo changes, and it’s just throat-slitting “brootal”. It’s not exactly like Old Fetus – it’s a lot more mature and slowed-down. It still has it’s fast moments, and the band has moments of speeding glory – but the strength of this release is in it’s slower parts. Of course, anyone who’s read my reviews more than once knows I am a sucker for those! A bonus track for the hair-metallers at the end .. not only do they do a pretty creepily-accurate portrayal of child abuse, but they have a scorching “power ballad” dedicated to the “black metallers” afterwards! Pure genius. Of course, the 13 year olds aren’t going to get it – they might call Fetus sellouts instead of cynics.. but then again, they have a lot of learning to do. VERY highly recommended.

Behemoth – Satanica

I didn’t think it was going to suck! The cover has a GUY on it (who’d be a lot hotter if he didn’t have that damn horn growing out of his forehead.. hehe), instead of a scantily clad woman… ah, original thinkers. My first impression of the first song is a close cross between Enthroned and Vader. They have that “accent”, the speed, and a vocalist reminiscent of Piotr/Vader, but they have that trebly overtone and just constant blast like Enthroned. There’s not a whole lot of melody in the works, but there *is* a lot of technical riffage involved. Of course, when the band slows down and decides to show that they have skills besides “we can blast and grind a chord”, is when I take interest and note. After they kick your butt with speed on the first couple of songs, they unveil their talent for the listener. My budgies love this CD because it’s got lots of the higher chord-wails and the drums are mixed a little lower – it’s not so “pounding” and it reminds them of their flock. The fourth and fifth tracks are probably the best – intelligible lyrics, slower speeds, creepier sound .. highly recommended for fans of the black/death genre.

Gateway to Hell II – Tribute To Slayer *and* In The Sign of the Horns – Tribute to Venom Dwell Comp. Cover

Angelcorpse (RIP), Incantation, Abigor, The Chasm, Sanctorum (RIP), and Enter Self star-stud this tribute to Slayer. Coffin Texts, Bloodstorm, From The Depths, Diabolic, Noctuary, Acheron (RIP), and Morpheus Descends all pay homage to the founders of Black Metal – Venom. So of course I’m sitting here listening to somewhat-Slayer and somewhat-Venom songs. They’re pretty much uniformly well done. My favorites, of course, are the ones noted (by the bands I said.) I think Darkmoon does a better Black Magic .. but then again, I know them .. and I don’t know these other dudes .. Well anyway, it’s a damn good comp. Recommended. For Slayer and Venom fans, and fans of the involved bands as well.

Vader – Litany

Hmmm… well, it sounds like Vader! Prepare to die! The drums are mixed *way* too high .. but besides that it’s just a great album. Did you expect any different from Vader? It’s like getting a bad Cannibal Corpse record – very rare. If you can put up with the “dance music” pounding double bass drums, you’ll LOVE this Litany.

Nile – Black Seeds of Vengeance

With all the damn hype, this better be GREAT. The layout’s nice at least. Like the Vader and the Corpse .. well, it sounds like Nile! I’ve heard just one too many “hyper-speed double bass” albums in a row I think. Someone told me Derek Roddy did the drums or at least part of them, on the album, so I’m not surprised that it’s ‘just not slowing down’. I dunno, if it took me like a week to write a song with lyrics which are all the same for like 10 verses save one word .. I’d probably start looking for another line of work. Probably the best parts of this album are the chants, interludes – i.e. the “para-Nile” interludes. When they’re NOT playing “metal”. As soon as they go “metal”, they sound like about 10 other bands I just listened to. It’s really good, but Kirisun and Hate Eternal are too…

Cannibal Corpse – Live Cannibalism

It’s Corpse. It’s cool. What did you think, it was going to suck? Corpse never sucks live! Well, at least every time I have seen them, they haven’t sucked live. I’ve seen TONS of bad live bands, too. Corpse always manages to get a decent sound out of whatever PA is thrown at them, and kick the audience’s collective ass. I think the live album did a decent job of capturing that.. but it is NO substitute for SEEING Corpse! Get out of your houses and go to the shows .. don’t just buy the CD and say you did. No loser-ness allowed.

Incantation – The Infernal Storm

It starts out a little fast for the Incantation I’m used to! By a little fast, I mean they come out of the gate grinding your ass off, which is odd for them! (but very common for a black metal band, in comparison..) Incantation delivers evil fast death metal, as usual. I could have bet the head of a 350 pound bi-bitch on that! On par with their last release, of course. The production is very good, and I think they are managing to pull off a “more evil” stance than Immolation.. just because theyre not so singly anti-Catholic. Incantation’s just ‘horns-up death metal’, delivered well, and expect no frigging less. Very intricate guitar leads, a medley of instrument changes with no-one buried, and of course the happy Goat. The addition of their old vocalist back to the fold undoubtedly strengthens them. There is of course the revolving member du jour – new drummer this time – but hey, Incantation’s all about change. Time change, tempo change, signature changes, and member swaps. Recommended, of course.

Mayhem – Grand Declaration of War

Such a pretty pigeon on the cover .. you non-aviculturists may think it’s a dove, but I know it’s Columba livia v. domestica. You can tell by the foreshortened beak. Like the pigeon masquerading as a dove for the media, this CD is very different from what I expected. I expected to hear something like ‘Live in Leipzig’ – bassy, utter chaos, screeching tormented vocals .. etc. This CD starts off like a progressive album though! Spoken word, off tempo, some silly snare drum pseudo-march .. how odd. I kind of wanted to hear the “old Mayhem”, the same band who wrote ‘Freezing Moon’, which I really enjoy (the cover version of). At least it’s “almost like Mayhem” after the first track. Nice and fast. It does get really technical in parts, but instead of staying exciting, it just gets really boring and involved with itself. The spoken word bit is just TOO gay. Hellhammer’s drums are good, but those vocals have to go.

Infamy – The Blood Shall Flow

If it sucks, like most Repulse USA stuff, it’s coming right out. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s that low-E, growly “brootal death metal” crap. So far, it doesn’t sound like it’s going to suck .. it’s got a doomy little intro. I like those. After the intro, Infamy sounds vaguely like Incantation. Which, of course, is a GOOD thing. They’re slower though at points, a mid-tempo “skank beat”, which is cool! The vocals are mixed too high, but the rest of the band, when not drowned out by the vocalist, sounds pretty talented. I like their use of Repulsion-like riffs .. they are not technically arrogant, just shredding cool. Recommended, if you can find it. This is a pretty rare CD. Dedicated to Josh Healey.

The Crown – Deathrace King

It sounds like good ol’ speed  metal .. ah, refreshing. It’s nice and fast though, keeping up with “modern times” and yet staying true to both it’s roots and it’s future. Nice, harsh vocals, good use of leads, and of course, a very cool production. The lead guitarist reminds me of Kirk Hammett back when he was good, young, and honest. A few wings up (my birds sang and flew around during this CD). I can understand the vocalist at times, which is cool. I can really get into the riff work as well… which is very important. “Executioner!!!!” I’m really liking it, especially the really subtle harmonies in the aforementioned song. They touch on death and black metal as well, showing a range of skill and knowledge of the music they play, beyond borders. Since most of this CD is faster, yet melodic, and well-done, I am liking it a lot! Highly recommended if you’re a fan of the genre .. or want to hear some really well “amalgamated” metal – a thorough cross of speed, death, and black metal.

Armored Saint – Revelation

Dedicated to Dave Pritchard .. while your newbie fans may have forgotten or be ignorant of your ex-istence, I have not forgotten. I happen to LIKE Armored Saint .. Besides that, heavy rockish metal. Almost “hair metal”. Not death at all.

Contaminated – Relapse Sampler 2000

Highlights of this comp. are: Origin (wow, they’re a LOT better than I thought they would be! Super fast, low, and off-tempo!), Dying Fetus (of course!), Incantation, Deceased, and Vile. It’s an “okay” comp. because the ratio of suck to non-suck is pretty close to 50/50. The EQ’s are a bit off – I had to crank Fetus to be able to hear them well. Luckily, this comp. is free, so like the Nuclear Blast comp., it’s at least worth a listen or 2.

Nuclear Blast – 2000 Sampler

Highlights of this comp. are: Destruction, Children of Bodom, Kataklysm, Therion, Dismember, Kovenant, Gorgoroth, Satyricon, and Savatage. It’s a good comp because the EQ’s are fine, plus more songs are good than bad. Worth a listen or 3!

Blackend – Volume 4 (2 discs)

I like “official” comps because the EQ’s are always good – no need to crank your volume up and down for every band. Like other official comps – this one does not disappoint in the packaging, production, or EQ dept. This is the first time I’ve ever heard Witchery.. and I like ’em. Even though Sharlee’s about 2 feet taller than I am and possesses an evil stare. *grin* I’m really liking the onslaught-tempo of this song. It just doesn’t stop! It’s rare to have such a consistent, and good song, in death metal. It’s more common in thrash, which Witchery obviously should cite as an influence.. Other cool songs on this disc include Usurper’s ‘Dismal Wings of Terror’, Hecate Enthroned, Thorns, Emperor, Prophanity (who I have liked since I heard the disc the last review session – good very melodic midtempo to fast black/death metal), and Opeth. I’m just saying Opeth to get ratings, by the way .. I’m not really a big fan of theirs. I’m not much of a doom freak. I’m also not in the mood for Disc 2. Disc 1 is good enough to warrant buying both .. I guess .. if you really need a “mix” of blackened metal songs (and don’t already own all the albums – it’s not like there are a bunch of obscure bands on here!).

Morbid Angel – Gateways – Gateways to Annihilation

Hey, it’s Morbid Angel! Sounds like .. Morbid Angel! No wait, “is that a bear?” *hehe* Like usual : tons of the tippity-tappity double bass drum (which is metronome accurate, very rare for a drummer to be able to do!), lots of the minor chords and harmonies .. a range of tempoes from the doom-slow to the faster metal pace .. it’s kind of odd because this was almost all supposedly written by Steve Tucker, who’s “take” on life and music is most likely very different from that of Trey Azagthoth. The solo work is par excellence, the compositions flow together well, and overall, it’s just a unified album. Good stuff. I’m just imagining them recording this in the studio with the fans going, blowing their hair backwards.. *grin* It’s a good release. You’ll like it. Especially if you like the newer, slower MA material.

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Reviews Disclaimer: We here at Necrosis have something rare and valuable, and needing conservation: web space! It’s even more important to conserve paper-print space. Therefore, there are no negative reviews included here or in the print version. Like I said earlier, if you want to read a list of “who sucks”, go elsewhere. I will NOT waste my time, energy, or space on bands that suck. If they suck, we won’t promote them at all. (because bad press is just as good for a band as good press. One of the best things for album sales is banning a band.) So… enjoy reading about all the good qualities of the chosen bands here in Necrosis!
– Melanie

War Dance : A War Music Compilation
War Music; 58:45

Highlights of this “aural terrorism” include Naglfar, Cryptopsy, Arch Enemy, and In Flames. Some of it (i.e. In Flames, Arch Enemy) is hardly that – and just billed as “extreme” because of past associations or past releases. Organizers of the comp. did an excellent job of picking “hard hitting” songs from the various bands represented here. Naglfar sets the mood (fast paced, aggressive, evil) which is to last until the bars of Cryptopsy, the “godz of canadian death metal” kick in. After this band, though, the mood settles into more of a rockish feel, mellowing you out so you don’t go commit any real terrorisms, I suppose. Not disagreeable at all. A decent offering, if you’re into (or a collector of) any of the featured bands.

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Naglfar : ‘Diabolical’
War Music; 45:00

Many moons ago, I was told by a friend in Knoxville, TN that Naglfar were an excellent band and I should definitely be on the lookout for them. Well, he was right! This band is technically proficient, blazing fast, and gnashing “brutal”. They really “ride the line” between death and black metal, possessing key traits of both: the death metal guitar riffs and breaks, the distinct lack of “major harmonies” and “chord sawing” so common in black metal – yet they have a screech vocal, and hyperfast drums like in black metal, along with “satanic” content so commonly found in that realm. A cross between the fastest of Morbid Angel’s work with that of a darker band, such as Dissection, would probably be a reasonable approximation of their sound.  They are however, original, sounding like neither – they are fast, and refreshing. Recommended.

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Compilation: ‘Visionaries of the Macabre, Volume I’
Lost Disciple Records; 72:55

This comp. has a very strong lineup of bands. It includes many bands which became more widely known through their appearance on the comp., such as Aurora Borealis, Avulsion, Dusk, and Somnus. Despite the “printing error”, the CD is of exceptional quality, with a constant EQ so you don’t have to adjust your volume from band to band and song to song. Highlights of this “best comp of 1998” are: – Pessimist ‘Mens Rea’  – Oppressor ‘Valley of Thorns’ – Avulsion ‘Desecrated Ground’  – Somnus ‘Silent Reverence’ – Acheron ‘Ave Satanas’ Overall, an EXCELLENT work, published by Rich and Lost Disciple Records. One of the very few CD’s which made me wish I had a CD player in my car. Get this comp., if you do not already own it, NOW.

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Pessimist : ‘Blood For The Gods’
Lost Disciple Records; 38:30

Everything you’ve come to expect from Baltimore’s death-black metal overlords… and more. Like their previous release ‘Cult of the Initiated’,  there is a sharp, crystal-clear production, an excellent layout, excellent instrumental balance within well-structured songs… the whole works.  Well-delivered music which sports a superb range of vocals, screaming hot lead guitar work, rumbling bass, and tight, accurate drumming make it highly enjoyable. Highlights in the work include the delicate acoustic “outro” on ‘Wretched Of the Earth’, the ever-slaying ‘Mens Rea’, ‘Century of Lies’, and ‘Unspeakable Terror’. A MUST buy for Pessimist fans everywhere, and fans of the genre of music they seem to be spearheading as it’s premier talent: that of black/death metal. If you want your death metal tinged with blood… of the gods… then make sure you acquire this!

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Noctuary : ‘For Salvation’
Lost Disciple Records; 40:26

Originality in black metal today- a possibility? California’s Noctuary have replied with this slab, as “yes”. Slowed tempoes, minor keys, unusual riffs… all pepper the release with originality which overall is emotive, melodic, and although very angry – beautiful. Each song is built upon a strong, timeless melody it seems. I’ve not encountered this much raw melody since Boston’s first release (Noctuary sounds nothing like ’em, just comparing the sheer amount of melody!) .. Don’t let this fool you one bit: the music’s still full of hyperblasting angry black-metal styled drums, screechy raspy vocals, and the usual compliment of Satan-isms. An excellent clear production, and a very nice layout serve to enhance the work further. I’m not much of a black metal fan at all, but Noctuary won me over this time. Yet another very cool, key release from Rich and Lost Disciple Records. A great example of well-done, original black metal any self-respecting, scene supporting fan should have.

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Deaden : ‘Hymns of the Sick’
Independent; 39:02

Modesty prevents me from listing song titles here (hehe), but a neck snapping CD of excellent quality presents itself here. Deaden can go from a slow, crunchy, very heavy section to a choppy section, to a blast of death in the blink of an eye, then right back to where they started equally fast. Keep your ears at attention! Besides the silly porn-gore-grind aspect (not -too- prominent) definitely one of the better “brutal death metal” releases of the year. You’ll surely want to add this to your collection. Highlights of the release include ‘Jonn’s List’ and ‘Sculpted in Flesh’, both of which slay live, too! Watch out for a mosh pit near you… Syncopated and accurate, masterful in leads and rhythms, a dual-vocalled aural hematoma awaits. Enjoy!

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Evilution : ‘Shrine of Desecration’
Self-Financed; 26:10

Before I even put this CD in the player, I noted a duplicate song title. Gutted, as Demigod in 1987 or 1988, penned a song called ‘Nailed To The Cross’, a favorite of mine to this day. It was even released on Red Light Records (in 1995?). Therefore Evilution shows their great originality and research into the scene with the same song title.. *smirk* That out of the way, a good solid “brutal NYDM” release. It contains many of the characteristics of the NYDM style, therefore I draw the comparison. Production is clear if a little quiet, and for some strange reason track # 1 refused to play. Many positive points from ‘The Rebirth of Azazal’ to ‘Extracted From The Womb’ exist: such as the quintessential midtempo shifts, grinding licks, fast-to-blast tempos and shifts, and the rare banshee scream in a sea of low vocals. Recommended if you’re looking for something brutal and a little different – not exactly Cannibal Corpse and not exactly Obituary – but original.

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Fleshgrind : ‘Destined For Defilement’
Pulverizer Records; 28:51

Fast, well-executed, tight, varied, “brutal death metal”, again from IL. The low guttural vocals phrase well with the music, which is equally as frenetically-paced. Interesting breaks in ‘Whacked’ where the bass-work of Ray Vasquez really shines through, make this track a highlight. The rest of the album is pretty much straightforward, ass-beatin’, “brutal death metal” with it’s usual gamut of fast-to-blast tempos and grinding riffs. The bulk of the album’s strength lies in it’s very heavy riffs. Lots of good ol “low E crunch” here, no cheesy Deicide rip off band. Good stuff – acquire asap.
That is, if you enjoy the finer side of “brutal death’..

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Diabolic : ‘Supreme Evil’
Conquest Music; 32:17

Ooh… a spooky intro. Definitely a plus in this day of “let’s start off as fast as we can”. ‘Insacred’ and ‘Ancient Hatred’ both contain deceptively quiet “spooky introes”, leading one to turn up their volume to a level about “eleven”. Get out the earplugs; Diabolic slays, and you’ll be deafened by the clear, sharp production and the intensity of the leads and rhythms Mostly a fast-paced death metal band, very vaguely reminiscent of early Morbid Angel with a dash of Sinister. The flute and eerie chimes on ‘Dwelling Spirits’ seek to invoke them, it seems – a very nice presentation. A little off the beaten path for death metal, especially for a “Florida” band. Nice mix of percussions, leads, rhythms, and vocals makes for an enjoyable package. All-pro layout and artwork as well. Makes for a fine release from Conquest Music – expect no less.

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Disinter
‘Torn From The Grave’; Promo CD 1998
9 tracks, 40+ minutes

One of my favorites of 1998-1999 so far!

This CD is a medley of tracks from their 199? demo “Disinterra et Hominis”, apparently the “Of the Blood” demo, the ‘Desecrated’ CD, and some rabid new material. The CD picks you up from the very beginning, throttles you and refuses to let go. Definitely a neck-breaker.

The packaging which lists the song titles is a photocopy which is very difficult to read; therefore I apologise if I get the song titles wrong or do not list them. Track one is excellent! The first part is notably different from the second.. Track two is similarly good with a nice duality to it.

Hey, call me a sucker for that brutal growly midtempo music. Maybe I am.

The third song, new material called “Descendents of Darkness” is the tune on “loop mode” in my car, on my computer, and stuck in my head. It’s one of those songs that eats into your head and you simply cannot forget, due to it’s brutality. Mid tempo, old classic death metal style, with tons of catchy hooks, excellent lyrical rhythm, creepy lyrics, the whole shebang.  The CD would be worth paying 10$ for this song alone..

The fourth song “Only to Suffer” has a great spoken intro, and a really catchy lead guitar lick over the bridge? of the song. Probably my second favorite tune on the CD. If only for the riffs, or the intro alone.  Unfortunately, on this promo CD they didn’t include the song after it from wherever they got it (it was on a promo cassette Joanne received, and I am totally enamored with that song!! Slays me every time!) .. I actually took a blank cassette to her house, copied just that song onto the tape, and kept playing it while driving home (for over half an hour..).

Tracks 5-8 are the ones that are the old material. The production is -notably- different, as well as the style. Disinter has matured considerably in these few short years, and is definitely one of Pulverizer Records’ heaviest hitters.

Track 9 is material from ‘Desecrated’ I believe. It sounds in the vein of that CD. I do not own that CD though, so I cannot check the track listing and see. If you enjoyed ‘Desecrated’, you’re going to love the tracks included on this CD.

Overall, highly recommended. Beg one from the band.

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Abominant : ‘The Way After’
Wild Rags Records; 46:35

What I expected to be a grindcore (!) album, turned out to be a really good death/black metal album! Out of the package of releases I got from Wild Rags, this one has the superior production, layout, printing, and oh yeah –
music. Really melodic death metal a la early At The Gates, or “unholy black metal tinged with death” would be a reasonable description, upon first listen. Either path you choose, you’ll find that melodies abound, tempoes fly, and lyrics are intelligible and decipherable. Screaming leads are plentiful, prominent, and played accurately. A few of the lead harmonies and melodies remind me of Summon’s older material and the newer material of Disinter – two releases which I ranted and raved about, therefore a high compliment to Abominant. Good stuff – recommended!

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Of The Fallen : Self-Titled
Wild Rags Records; 28:13

Okay, someone tell these guys “don’t send 72 dpi images to a commercial printer and expect them to come out okay.” Besides the printing problems… melodic From The Depths-ish black metal. (who don’t have a printing problem.) The album sounds very keyboard or synth heavy. Holy &^%$ – I just checked the song listing for the first time, and Track #1 – called ‘From The Depths.’ No shit. Can I cal ’em or what? So in fairness, buy both CD’s – that of FTD in Cleveland, and this CD from Of The Fallen. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. Lots of potential. The production, and the songs are just fine. Decent work.

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Vader : ‘Black To The Blind’
System Shock Records (?); 28:49

Super fast, super tight, super clear. oland’s Vader attack with yet another superb release. Among the (many) highlights (do I have to choose?!) of this include:

– ‘Red Passage’         – ‘Foetus God’
– ‘True Names’          -‘Black To The Blind’

The lyrics weave dark, emotional furious tales; the music follows along and is unrelenting. Overall, one of my very few “near flawless” CD’s. I received this CD as a gift, so all of you thinking I’m just saying this to please some label – you’re wrong! Doc sets the standard for death/black metal drumming and accuracy for others to perform up to. The rest of the band have maintained a standard for “brutal death metal” to match. A must-have in your collections.

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Immolation : ‘Failures For Gods’
Metal Blade Records; 40:21

At LONG last! I have been waiting since 1997 for this CD. I was not a bit disappointed – it was worth the wait. It’s fast, it’s supremely evil, it’s pounding, it’s original, it’s “brutal”, and hey – it’s IMMO-*&^%-LATION! The sound is definitely “stamped” – one can tell this is uniquely Immolation from the outset. Fast, tight, wicked… all of Immolation’s trademarks rolled into one convenient CD to slaughter all. If you even think you might enjoy these masters of all tempos, get this CD (and their others) NOW. Highlights include the fast intro song “Once Ordained” and the slower “No Jesus, No Beast”. This new material melts seamlessly into the old. Production is excellent and quite pleasing, with great clarity. Definitely a “must blast to scare people with” CD.

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Prophanity : ‘Stronger Than Steel’
Metal Blade Records; 41:37

Don’t let the ‘power metal’ song titles fool you! It’s not a “Judas Priest take three million” ripoff act here. Deathymetal (to use a term I found in another review! *grin*) with definite influence from the following (off the top of my head..) Iron Maiden, At The Gates, and Dissection. Mid to fast paced, clear, thrashy at times – decent music. A lot of current Cleveland (Ohio) bands seem to sound like this for some reason.. I keep wanting to say “so and so sounds ike prophanity…” but I realize my global readership will have no frame of reference and not be able to relate. Well, Prophanity did it first, did it better, and got signed to Death Records (subsidiary of Metal Blade). Fans of power metal driven, “deathymetal”, tinged with traces of black metal, should definitely acquire this. Nice presentation, production, and superb musicianship make it a worthwhile offering.

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God Dethroned : ‘Bloody Blasphemy’
Metal Blade Records; 39:23

God DethronedWell, a band called God Dethroned, an album title of ‘Bloody Blasphemy’, and a starting tempo of about a bazillion beats a minute pretty much pigeonholed this band into “black metal”. About any time they deviate from their “kiss the goat” approach is when they excel. Highlights include the intro passages to ‘The Execution Protocol’, and the very Slayer-esque ‘Boiling Blood’. Nearly decipherable, raspy screeched out vocals, clear production, and their nuances away from traditional black metal fare make this a worthwhile release. The peaceful, clear, melodic acoustic/electric intro to song # 3 merely hints at what is to come… The crunchy, well-done, ‘thrash riff’ untra heavy ‘Bloody Blasphemy’ is my favorite entire song. for fans of the genre, looking for something with offbeat interludes which pique their interest nicely, this is an excellent choice.

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Criminal : ‘Dead Soul’
Metal Blade Records; 40:11

CriminalChile – land of Slayer’s Tom Araya and the alpaca… has spewed forth another outfit – Criminal. A really hyper-fast Sepultura styled band (circa ‘Beneath The Remains’) in lyrical/musical/political content. Some of the tracks have an almost industrial feel to them. For the most part though, Criminal sticks to what they excel at – the fast “brutal” Sepultura styled thrash/old-school material. There are a lot of really heavy parts interspersed into this CD. I’m sure their live show slays – I can just see the necks snapping, if you happen to be one of the “old school” fans acquainted with the early 90’s thrash/death explosion and Seppy’s old material. Overall, enjoyable.

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Bolt Thrower : ‘Mercenary’
Metal Blade Records; 46:45

Bolt ThrowerLike Immolation’s material, one can tell this is Bolt Thrower almost immediately. This CD has their definitive stamp etched in blood, on it. Somewhat simplistic riffs meld with technical, complex ones to form the base of the bone-crunch Bolt Thrower is so good at. One band I am glad has not changed their style much since ‘Warmaster’.. aeons ago it seems. A well executed rhythm section, a clear production, an older school vocal style… all blended together masterfully to produce a good CD. This is a must-listen for all Bolt Thrower fans. Get your moshing gear and neck braces ready!  Have fun in the mass chaos which ensues…

Adremelech – “Seven”
MCD – 5 tracks; Repulse Records

Finnish melodic, death-covenant “Adremelech” follow-up 1996’s “Pyschostasia” with an MCD of new and re-released material that is their best to date. “Seven” contains two new songs (“Seven” and “The Sleep of Ishtar”), two live tracks from the Repulsive tour ’97 recorded in Hengelo, Holland (“As the Gods Succumbed” and “Across the Gray Waters”) and a new version of ‘Ancestral Souls’ (from their debut 1991 demo.) entitled ‘Captured in Eternal Lost.’ After many hardships and lineup changes it would appear that “Adremelech” are at last in their element. With mythological guise Jarkko Rantanen and company deliver the melodic plundering that followers of this project have come to expect since their 1991 “Human Extermination” demo.

Lyrically, Turkka Rantanen articulates some viciously original blank verse of mythological battle that suit the music well and add a brutally tribal mood to the entire release. Musically the band is stronger than ever and the surging, drum majesty and vocal groans Jarkko Rantanen continue to humble drummers the world over.  Appreciates European war, black and/or death metal (especially drummers) who are looking for extreme metal with some original content should check out “Seven.”

-Scot
Besieged – AkeldamA
JBird Records, 55+ minutes, released 1997

Click here to order AkeldamANow, this is a worthy album to review. I can see why they got signed…  this material is quite good. Death metal in the vein of early Suffocation, and Cannibal Corpse in the era of Barnes. (Tomb of the Mutilated comes to mind.) Equal in skill, talent and execution, (to said bands) with a drug-free, accommodating, nice attitude to boot! Guess what? They have more than a shred of originality and what seems to be a large dose of talent to go along with that!

Hallmarks of the release: First rate, introspective, truly malevolent lyrics at points. Growled out with unrelenting ferocity by Jason French (backing vocals by Scot Dunlap) that grips one by the intestines and refuses to let go. Intelligence is a virtue and I continue to count bands that can actually write lyrics I can read in public without embarrassment, as to be highly regarded. No harmonizers were used – they can actually play anything on the CD, live. The instrumental balance is a little off, but that is due to label incompetence (the label lost the masters!) and this should not even be a factor when listening to the CD.

If one listens for more than five seconds, the intricacy of the string – work, and the precision which the drum parts are executed (by maestro Gabe Passmore), becomes readily apparent. Musicianship is first rate. Highlights within the release would be the new songs – “Intercessor” and “Misanthrope God”.

The music is unrelenting, pounding, and aggressive The vocals are low and true to the deathmetal stylings. There are a variety of tempoes but the band seems comfortable in both the superfast range as well as the groove/midtempo range, which is refreshing. A lot of originality in approach as well as actual structure and composition, is present.

I have no “bones to pick” with this churning release. Very highly recommended as one of the “best death metal need-to-be-better-known-acts” releases of the year. I put it in the CD player, cranked the volume, and was aurally assaulted through the release, unable to leave the room for even a minute to get a coke – my attention was fully on this one! I immediately decided this album had to get about a hundred repeat-listens…

– Melanie

Cannibal Corpse – Gallery of Suicide
Metal Blade Records, 1998
Runtime: about an hour… (unlisted)

The best way to be an excellent “gory/gore” band and provoke the censors simultaneously is: writeUncensored Cannibal Corpse cover lyrics true to form, put out a provocative sickening album cover, emblazon said cover with the words “Gallery of Suicide” in a large font, and best yet – have the album released by a large label with widespread name recognition and distribution! Cannibal Corpse have perfected this equation and made it into an art form. (even the “advance promo” copies of the album were “censored version!”)

To the music: It’s Cannibal Corpse, true to form. Sounds similar to “The Bleeding”, with one exception: George “Corpsegrinder” ‘s vocals. These are less deep but more effective as they are more raspy and intelligible.  Tempos are mostly faster, riffing is fast and clean, and the band is tight.  Corpse delivers once again. There are 2 tracks on the album I disliked: the slow, dragging instrumental” thing (that doesn’t have an AMS break after it so you fast forward interminably through it…) and the “Gallery of Suicide” machinery-instrumental-industrial thing. To an average listener, the interpretation of this composition as the embodiment of the “Gallery” (society = suicide) might be more difficult, but I found it transparent. It took me like zero thought, though, being a classically- trained artist and musician, to see that this piece was meant to represent the gallery. I like challenges!

Bottom line: if you like Cannibal Corpse even one iota, buy this. It is not a letdown. I liked it.

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Gates of Ishtar – Dawn of Flames
Death Records (subsidiary of Metal Blade)
Runtime – 42:07
Gates of Ishtar Album Cover ArtI wasn’t sure what to expect when I first received this cd to review.  The cover led  me to believe that it was going to be some run of the mill black metal CD, and not being a huge black metal fan I was skeptical I’d like it. However, when I put it in, I was pleasantly surprised! The production of the CD is excellent. The sound is not muddied at all- crystal clear with a good solid mix. The vocals are raspy, but well suited for the music. There isn’t much variation in his range, or from song to song, but this is not to a fault. The guitar and drum work is good- very consistent and unfaltering throughout.

One of the highlights-I love the first song! Anyone whose tastes are not geared toward extremely fast tempoed songs all the way through will like this. It starts out with a melodic intro, and the same melody carries throughout. The guitar work is good, tight and fast- but not too fast. It sounds like Goth, Black Metal and some Doom thrown in to make a good solid mix of the styles. Dawn Of Flames has a good catchy riff with an interesting vocal and piano interlude in the middle. It is clear why this is the title track- very impressive! The guitar work is tight throughout, and the song rages from slow melodic riffs to grinding ‘ludicrous speed’ (for all you Space Balls fans) drums! Don’t turn this off halfway through, or skip to the last song if you must because it’s a good one! Again, a good ear catching tune that made me fight the urge to thrash, and my sleeping roommates prevented me from cranking it!

I found my head bobbing and foot tapping almost the whole time! With a clean production and good tight catchy guitar work, I was happy to put off my reading for marketing seminar to do this review!

-Jo
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Gutted – Self-Titled Release, 1998
Epitaph / LNL Records
Runtime: unlisted (about 40 min?)

I heard the preview of this CD while going to the “Three Days of Madness” Michigan and Gutted Album CoverToledo festivals. It was excellent!! A little clearer and cleaner than “Bleed For Us To Live” (which I liked a wee bit better due to it’s totally Swedish mid-tempo sound – one of the most enjoyable CD’s I have heard in a LONG time… Unfortunately, the release is no longer available! Doh!) but the guitars are more “up” in the mix, and there is a very slight stray – progression from the Swedish death-metal chunky guitar style. It’s still mostly very riffy, mid-tempo, tight, well-done death metal by the Ditch brothers three. Just thank yourselves that Gutted has not put out a Cannibal – Corpse – clone – album full of garbage like half of the “death metal” bands I happen to cross paths with! It’s a little more “American” now I’d say. (good – they are from Toledo, Ohio.) There are no weak songs on this release. There’s even a bonus track – “Manitou”. An old demo “Disease” is also included on the CD as the second half. (tracks 6 – 9) This is collectable stuff, Gutted fans! They had well over 300 people at the CD release party Jan. 23 (?) for a reason! Buy the CD. Get your paws on it. Your neck will NOT thank you for it! <evil grin>

– Melanie

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Incantation: The Forsaken Mourning of Angelic Anguish
Relapse Records, 1997
CD Review by Melanie  Gone are the days of unintelligible lyrics and muddy production. If that’s what you expected on this release, and therefore did not purchase it, you are sadly mistaken, and missing one of this band’s finest efforts to date in your collection. This said, onto the review.

I think this will impact the review: I did it listening to the CD on the house Bose Surround theater system. I cranked the volume (I was mad because the humans tried to tape over one of my videos) and this definitely impressed both me (such clarity!) and the pets. (they were singing along a full floor away!) I normally do reviews on my teeny little computer CD-Rom and speaker setup.

To the ALBUM! This release contains many Incantation old standby tried-and-true success tricks. There is liberal use of false harmonic in the guitar parts (both solos and as little “accent pieces”), and the trademark tuning, riff arrangement, and creepy “atmosphere” they create. The album contains a variety of tempos (and it should, for Kyle Severn is one of the best drummers around, he should be able to “showcase” his talents with a competent rhythm section as such) and they are used judiciously. It’s not all blastbeats and “chchchchcchc” like they sometimes come across live.

They actually did a cover song! Death’s “Scream Bloody Gore”. Well done. Doesn’t have the same grating thick guitar tone as Chuck and co. had, but it is more evil and bassy, definitely a well-done “deathed out” track. The replication of the riffs, key, tempos, and general delivery is excellent. They do it justice.

There is one boring part, unless of course you happen to be watching a creepy movie on “mute”…the “instrumental”. It sounds like music you hear in a movie when someone enters a dark, dimly lit house with a few zombies inside waiting to chew their head off…but it’s not good death metal. Nice and creepy, but…it was pretty boring, and of course I couldn’t figure out how to “skip” that track. So…for like 4 minutes, I listened to the same droning stuff, wishing that I wasn’t watching an Exodus video but the creepy movie the “music” was obviously intended for. It’s Track 7 I believe. Hit “skip”.

Then, of course directly following this boring track is one of the most startling drum intros…(I was next to the speakers hitting “8” and it came on blasting…NICE impact guys!) The song is quite well-put together, and makes a great pick-you-up-after-being-bored number.

Recommended for any Incantation fan, and most death metal listeners as well. Anyone who wants nice, evil, satanic stuff to leave around the house or in the CD player to make others a) mad, b) question their faith in whatever deity, c) question their sanity should also purchase it. The CD art itself (the label on the CD) is good enough. Kiss the Goat! Nice work guys.

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In Ruins

European Doomy Black metal/orchestrated – nothing *too* fast. Melodic like At The Gates, and Dissection. My first impression of the band was that they sounded similar to Northern Ohio’s premiere blackened metal band – From The Depths. Some of their passages also reminded me of November’s Doom. They take a lot of pleasure in acoustic intros and technical thrash riffs. Lots of neat experimentation on this CD. At least the vocalist doesn’t sound like a rape victim, like most BM guys tend to nowadays.. The keyboards and orchestration probably “make” this album.. and serve as it’s highlights. A less “hissy” mix would make them a little more accessible to the listener – overall, recommended.

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Sincronisity – Winters of Despair
Black Sheep Records
Running Time: 60:18

I tread into new waters to review this CD! Admittedly, I love deathmetal, and tend to favor this sound. When I think of the ideal CD to pop into my stereo, bands like Suffocation, Disinter, Immolation and Malevolent Creation come to mind. Sometimes I’ll get in the mood for blackmetal, and listen to that- but never do I get in the mood for anything rap/hip-hop sounding. I am an open minded individual, so I figured this would be a good exercise in seeing just how open minded my musical mind is. Where am I going with this interlude you ask?

This 15 song debut from Sincronisity (who hail from Connecticut) has a very diverse range of sound/musical styles to it. I think the best way I can describe it would be a cross breed of deathmetal, hardcore and hip-hop. If you hate rap or hip-hop, I have to warn you a lot of the songs do have parts in them with that influence. For the open minded metal lover, I recommend these tracks:

“Blood In Blood Out” (track 3) starts out with a slower, mellow guitar lead in which lasts approximately a minute and 30 seconds before a harder more hardcore sounding guitar takes over. The vocals are more deathmetal than hardcore for most of the song, but then take a more hardcore sound towards the end, giving it an interesting sound. There is a brief “getdown interlude” (hip-hop scratching) about halfway through, the song returns to it’s heavier ways. I appreciate the crunchy riff incorporated throughout most of the song.

“The Accumulation” (track 4) has an overall hardcore sound to it. The vocals are more deathmetal. Once again a “getdown interlude” is inserted smack in the middle of the song.

“Phase 1” (track 8) is an instrumental with some nice guitar work in it. No rap here in this track.

“Winters Intro” (track 10) is a very pretty acoustic intro to “Winters of Despair” (track 11), and I have to say as soon as I heard these tracks I loved them. Someone must have had some classical guitar training from the sounds of the intro. The transition from the intro into the heavier deathmetal sound was done nicely – very smooth. Once again heavy guitars are accompanied by more traditional sounding deathmetal vocals with an occasional break with more hardcore style vocals. I like the overall composition of the song. No hip-hop interludes break up the heavy guitars, and there are some very catchy guitar riffs in this song.

So, if you have an open mind, and aren’t afraid to give something new a listen, check this CD out. You never know, maybe it’s diverse sounds will grow on you.                    -Jo

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Lordes Werre – Demon Crusades

Ah, good ol’ dirty thrash metal! No power metal, no pretense for black metal, just balls-out, thrashing holocaust. It’s a little on the drum-heavy side of the mix, but the production is clear and you can hear what you need to – all the instruments in a good blend. It’s on the speedier side for thrash and definitely has more than a touch of death metal influence – remember Dark Angel anyone? The off-tempo stuff slays, and of course the thrash grove kills, as do the distinctly-Skolnick guitar solo interludes. It is too bad this is mostly a project band from my understanding, because even a few shows would slay the false masses!! It’s one of RIP’s strongest releases, although I’m sure the label head would disagree… *grin* Well, all of you guys who say you’re “true” – it’s a must acquire and must-assimilate.

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Usurper – Threshold of the Usurper Usurper – Thumbnail

Holy shit!!! I’m used to Usurper being this mid-paced, Euro-flavored death-ish, thrash-ish metal band… but I had to double check that this was indeed the correct CD after I put it in and heard those *True Norwegian Black Metal* drums!!! Uh, this doesn’t sound like Celtic Frost.. at all. It sounds like rip-you-apart black metal. (first track – Necrocult). It is *way fast*… faster than Immortal, similar to Marduk or (pick a fast Europ. BM band). Now I see where the cult following is coming from… this was recorded well before black metal became the next best “in thing to do”. Lots of fun, death-and-Satanic lyrical imagery to make your folks and schoolmates mad too! Then of course, we get into the slow doomy Frost stuff.. after kicking your ass they I guess like to make sure the job is done. *grin* True to form, if you like ’em to begin with, or if you’re an old thrash/deathmetal fan, you’ll like this..

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November’s Doom – ‘Of Sculptured Ivy and Stone Flowers’

To switch gears completely, we have a mellow, original, evil, at times crushing and fast, very well-produced album by Chicago’s lords of doom. They don’t waste time on pretentious black metal intros, corpsepaint, or all that other fluff. It’s just very well-played, appealing doom-death. Lush acoustic interludes, and passages with female vocals, grace the CD Probably the biggest “selling point” of November’s Doom is that they sound almost exactly the same *live* as they do on CD – rare in these days of “live bands” and “studio bands”. The CD is NOT brutal death metal, nor hyperblasting black metal, so if you’re after the goregrind or cuntchrist desultory, and possess a closed mind, look elsewhere. You must be a connoisseur of metal to enjoy November’s Doom – and enjoy the music, I do. Definitely worth acquiring.

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Dying Fetus – Grotesque Impalement

Buffoon alert! I originally wrote my review without doing one important thing: reading the song credits on the inner sleeve. I did look at the titles and wondered why a couple of the tunes sounded vaguely familiar. Well, duh Melanie, it’s because three of the songs are cover songs! The “hair metallers’ song” is a cover; the intro is original. The “midtempo, not so much like Old Fetus..” song is a Baphomet cover [Streaks of Blood] – and it was genius of Fetus to cover Baphomet, one of the most seminal and influential “forever underground” death metal bands of the early 90’s. The material on the EP besides the covers, is older stuff carved from flesh in 1992-ish by John, the resident “riff machine” of Fetus. So anyway, the EP is killer, and all I rescind is my lack of intelligence [for not reading the credits], not my praise for the album! VERY highly recommended.

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Incantation – The Infernal Storm

It starts out a little fast for the Incantation I’m used to! By a little fast, I mean they come out of the gate grinding your ass off, which is odd for them! (but very common for a black metal band, in comparison..) Incantation delivers evil fast death metal, as usual. The production is very good, and I think they are managing to pull off a “more evil” stance than Immolation.. just because theyre not so singly anti-Catholic. Incantation’s just ‘horns-up death metal’, delivered well, and expect no frigging less. Very intricate guitar leads, a medley of instrument changes with no-one buried, and of course the happy Goat. The addition of their old vocalist back to the fold undoubtedly strengthens them. There is of course the revolving member du jour – new drummer this time – but hey, Incantation’s all about change. Time change, tempo change, signature changes, and member swaps. Recommended, of course.

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Infamy – The Blood Shall Flow

If it sucks, like most Repulse USA stuff, it’s coming right out. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s that low-E, growly “brootal death metal” crap. So far, it doesn’t sound like it’s going to suck .. it’s got a doomy little intro. I like those. After the intro, Infamy sounds vaguely like Incantation. Which, of course, is a GOOD thing. They’re slower though at points, a mid-tempo “skank beat”, which is cool! The vocals are mixed too high, but the rest of the band, when not drowned out by the vocalist, sounds pretty talented. I like their use of Repulsion-like riffs .. they are not technically arrogant, just shredding cool. Recommended, if you can find it. This is a pretty rare CD. Dedicated to Josh Healey.

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Pessimist: Cult of The Initiated
Lost Disciple Records, 1997
Cover artWow! Killer album. I didn’t expect it to be a death metal album (the word cult in the title, the band name…I thought I was going to be dealing with another trendy black metal band for sure. NOPE!) but it is. The sound is crisp, clean, complex, and very catchy. Let me enlighten you as to what this means…to the listener and the buyer.
Here are what some fans have said from hearing the audio samples on the web page:
“hey, this is killer. Thanks for telling me about this.” “man, this is sick shit!” (and, the quintessential) “brutal!”
I got those quotes off IRC chat so I can’t give you the names for 100% believability, but I can send the entire buffer file to anyone who questions the validity of the statements. :> (I shit you not, Pessimist is good.)

Besides a few men between the ages of 17-25, here’s what I, as the chief reviewer, have to say: listen for the following in the songs: complexity, structure, thick and crisp guitar tone, tempo and syncopation (one of the best features of the entire album), the delivery (very tight, very convincing), vocal styles and range (four; from spoken word to lowest grows and an abrasive screaming…), and overall quality. The band doesn’t have to prattle on a mile a minute with gutter-bowl vocals; their instrumental mastery speaks for them. (The album is not “lyric or vocal heavy”.)

The sound reminded me of a hybrid between Deicide (if they played at about three times the speed and more tightly), Morbid Angel (check out the false harmonics and arrangement), Dismember, Disincarnate, and a great local band called Descendent. Most of the album is a mid-tempo, well-delivered, neck-snapping, unrelenting grind. There are blasts, and there are acoustics, and all the stuff in between. They’re not the run of the mill crappy high school band that has been practicing for three months; this band opened for Deicide (and a bunch of other nationals) and I am sure upstaged them. (go Kell!) I wish I could have been there.

Seven songs. One half hour. You only have one neck, so why not break it to Pessimist?

– Melanie

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REINCARNATION – VOID
Repulse Records (1997)
Review By Eric “Teufel” Crookes

Just when you think that brutal death metal in Europe has died, another beastly band appears and the corpse rolls over in it’s grave. Spain’s Reincarnation smash, bash, growl, snarl and shred there way through nine tracks of raw, brutal death metal.

The opening track Jodida Raza is just one of those tunes that once you have the volume turned up, just kicks into high gear. It is followed by Anthems Of Hatred, which gets annoying rather quickly, but the vocals are killer. The title track is by far my favorite track on the entire album, extremely brutal.  I very rarely put any songs on auto-repeat, but this one has been in my CD player on auto-repeat for several weeks now!

Subhuman Level is a rather sub-par song, nothing overly impressive about it, or the following track Drowned In Blood. Weed For Everybody is another one of the good cuts on this release, can’t help but nod my head rhythmically with the music. The final three tracks The Horror Within, Anger and Diabolic Marijuana I listen to the least, I really did not like the sound of those three tracks, I just found the songs to be monotonous and annoying.

The music of Reincarnation isn’t your typical death metal sound, the double vocal act combines speed with slow moments, but has a killer groove throughout. Unfortunately, many of the slower moments are incredibly boring and extremely irritating. The production is far from the best, but it’s decent enough for the music they recorded. This band has it’s high’s (no pun intended) and it’s lows, so death metal fans should be wary about buying this one.

3 out of 5 Tombstones – Strange Death Metal With A Killer Groove.  Has A Few Good Tracks, But Also Has A Few Bad Ones.

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The Everdawn – “Poems-Burn the Past”
CD – 8 tracks
Invasion Records

The quintet formerly known as “Decortication,” wielding former members Gates of Ishtar, have spawned their second and most definitive installment of black-trash, melodicism with “Poems-Burn the Past.” The CD contains 7 new tracks and a re-release of “Opera of the Damned.”

Musically much in the vein of 1996’s “Opera of the Damned” but the band seemThe Everdawn Album Cover to have honed their distinctive style.. The old-school string work of guitarist Patrik Törnkvis rips through the mix as the dismal lyrics and vocal howls of Pierre Törnkvis avow mankind’s demise. Tracks such as “Needlework” (my personal favorite) give bassist Mats Granström a (well deserved) bigger piece of the mix and establish moments of intermittent  “groove” which seems increasingly absent for the genre. The Everdawn have succeeded in establishing their own strain of elegiac, thrash oriented, black metal without resorting to the derived common ground occupied by so many other melodic, black metal acts.

-Scot

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Brutal Truth: Sounds of the Animal Kingdom
Relapse Records (relapse@relapse.com); 22 tracks – 74:16
Cover artStill hearing microscopic hints of the Nuclear Assaulty grind from Extreme Conditions… (Earache), Brutal Truth’s new offering is wonderfully experimental deathly grind executed with talent and conviction. Sounds… gives the listener a beautiful mix of Need to Control’s (Earache) speculative grind and Kill Trend Suicide’s (Relapse) unbridled fury.

Stylistically integrating barren soundscapes and hardcore punk, Sounds… remains a grinding metal album. The electronic samples/soundscapes are limited to intros and background noise and the simple chord progressions of hardcore punk fuse remarkably well within the few songs that they appear.

The production for this slab is not crystal clear, but I believe the slight muddiness was intentional as it yields a raw, unrehearsed feel. It also gives the quartet a more saturated sound, leaving no one missing a second guitarist or other additional musicians. The guitars are thick and gritty but clear and Sharp’s fierce grind vocals are imposing and unmonotonous.

Highlights: “Dementia.” An awesome opening track for an awesome disc. Bursting grind to grab your attention

“Jemenez Cricket.” A finely crafted tune that reminded me of Morbid Angel. I know that might sound odd, but you’ll have to hear it yourself to get what I mean.

Detractions: Being a grind/Brutal Truth album, some of the songs are quite short, but then again there are twenty-two tracks. If you are into epic songs then some of the tunes may be quite useless to you. But then again, it is nice to get away from the formula. So, the shortness of the songs may diminish some folks enjoyment, but not others.

“Prey.” This “song” is a single verse sampled and repeated over and over again for about ten minutes. Quite hilarious for the first few minutes, but it does get on the nerves after a while.

If you are new to Brutal Truth, this is a fine introduction. If you are fan, this is an excellent addition to the Brutal Truth discography.

Jim says, “Go get it.”

Michigan International Metalfest Compilation promo CD – various artists Abolisher, Clean Flesh, Darkmoon, Deathkids, Deeds of Flesh, Disfigyerd, Disinter, Enter Self, Lucifer’s Hammer, Master, Noctophilia, Production Grey, Sabbatic Feast, Skull Buzz, Somnus, and (last but not least!) Summon.

All tracks included were previously unreleased. (but I am cool and heard the Clean Flesh and Somnus songs live well before this compilation!)

Overview: Some of the tracks were recorded live and sound so…but the remastering on them is superb so they are not too muddy and unintelligible. The tracks tend to be a teeny bit bass-heavy but this accentuates the “raw”/live feel to most. The CD’s problem is: sit by your volume control, the bands were not set to a standard master volume so some songs are loud and some quiet… The CD itself is quite well done (it was done in alphabetical order so as not to put the best or worst bands first… very fair.) and even has good printing. Definitely worth trying to get your hands on a copy!! (check with Metal Mom or Epitaph Magazine for details, I borrowed the CD from a bandmember who had acquired it by virtue of his band being on it!)

Track by track (not necessarily a “whole band” judgment being passed if I love or hate the song) review:

Abolisher: nice intricate intro… and a Testamenty-type solo thing… very good and tight. Different vocal style and a nice mix of synth/keyboards (not overdone…) Nice mid-tempo groove. Sounds like earlier metal (Sacred Reich/Slayer but more technical, like Annihilator?) Pretty cool.

Clean Flesh: bassy as expected (drop-B tuning), sounds a lot quieter than the first song because of this. Sounds a LOT better on the comp than live. (live it’s “chchchchchcgrrrrrchchchchchch”, you know the feeling.) Death/grind. OK. (wow, you can hear the solo!)

Darkmoon: Much louder than the CF song previous… Well-produced. Sounds like From the Depths (or does FTD sound like them?) which is meant as a compliment… must be the vocalist. Black metal. Long song. Heavy on the guitar synth. Very hyper-speed picking. Decently good. (Do I hear Quorthon vocals? Or is that Sodom? Cool!)

Deathkids (and dad!): Mid-tempo, quieter due to more low E (D?)… simpler riffs but better execution (it’s harder to play good crunch than just speed pick!). Hey, they are young. This is good stuff to make a fan base on. It’s not new but it’s moshable. Thus good. Needs a little work. Confidence will make them better. (‘Human Target’ riff near the end! <snicker>!)

Deeds of Flesh: Heavy on the vocals (mixed badly?) You can barely hear the promised intricacy with the vocals so high. Buried drums… Needs production. Sounds like a good band, but definitely better to go get their tape! Oh, it is grind/death metal. Two vocal styles as well. Thankfully short (the mix is so bad! The poor guys!)

Disfigured: quite good, very good mid-tempo stuff!!! Well-mixed, thick, some insanely angry vocalist going on and on in the growly tone… Definitely worth checking out if all their stuff is remotely similar! Kind of a cross between Dismember and Immolation, throw in a dash of Corpse and some of the dual-vocals stuff so well done by Blood Coven…and you have this band. Melikes!!! (sounds like early Deicide in parts, the chugging low E…) Fine death metal.

Disinter: Sounds just like the previous song! (except the vocalist is quieter) Wow, I could understand the lyrics in one place “desecrated corpse…”!! Intelligible vocals, good guitar and bass work, etc… Nice range of tempos and none of that infernal blast beat stuff. Not bad. Death metal. Cool!

Enter Self: Fast, high-chorded, speed picking, nice false harmonics!! Some angry Bentonesque vocalist. Nice thrashy parts…(mid-tempo is best for moshing, showing off your crunch, and of course thrashing onstage…) Good change in tempo. I suppose bands do this to a) slow the pit down and b) show off their musical “prowess” or “versatility”. It’s cool. Death metal…

Lucifer’s Hammer: Slower, more intelligible vocals, different intro…death metal…Bass is recorded a little low so they lose a lot of their crunch. (it sounds like they have a LOT of crunch, but they are hiding it) Sounds like a short song, but that’s just a pause! Then… Birdsong!!! That rules!! Then… an acoustic guitar solo thing tracked along with it. (ah, charming: the death metal dudes communing with nature.) Slow, some synth stuff… (I am feeling a Somnus buzz coming on, but this is not them!)

Master: Live. “about people that suck”… Very good because Master has been around an aeon… Muddy and vocal heavy. (Good powerful vocals though, like Malevolent…) Drums sound like Tupperware but that is to be expected from a live recording… Nice mid-tempo music. Too bad you can’t hear it in it’s full incarnated glory! Crowd is insane!! Recommended.

Noctophilia: Nice fast drumming without blasting, and then some cool riffs… good death metal (sounds VERY Swedish, thus very good!) I think they recorded this with their original bassist Lloyd (who did not play at Michigan; got into a bad car accident… we wish him the best (get well soon!…) Dual vocal styles and some cool false harmonics…(check them out live: great Renaissance costumes and NO corpsepaint, thankfully…)

Production Grey: Not bad… Totally intelligible lyrics! Very nice change and of course a good mix of tempos, very smooth transitions… and an underlying heaviness throughout. Creepily good!! Recommended death metal of a different sort. Most is mid-tempo, very good for thrashing and actually listening to their talent!! Perfectly mixed, too. Very tight. I hope they are this good live/on other tapes…

Sabbatic Feast: Death metal, somewhat slow…great vocal tradeoffs but what is the *sample stuff* in the middle? Ugh! Love the Bill Steerism vocals! Vocals are WAY too “up” in the mix. Wow, a band who does the dual vocals well… they just need to learn to put their bassist and guitarist “up” in the mix. (And the drummer. It is all pretty buried.) After the tenth “eeeevvviilll” shriek it gets old, guys… OK. Not bad.

Skull Buzz: Slow Testamenty solo and some “rockish” stuff… oh yeah. This is the Queensryche band. Bad. Icky!!!!! Nevermind, plus the next track is great, so… (I just pressed the *skip* button!)

Somnus: um… It sucks. Just kidding!! It is wonderful! Makes them sound quite heavy. They said it is bass-heavy but it sounds quite well-balanced. Some extras are in this song you can barely hear live because the PA at local clubs is less than perfect. Creepy stuff, abrasive (male) vocals, very unique style (not like the umpteen death metal bands on this comp) Female vocals, harmonies, richly tracked sound, and they use the keyboard to it’s potential… imagine that! A must-hear. Hope it’s on the next album… Can’t classify it as DM, BM, ambient, etc…but a great mix of all of them.

Summon: putting them after Somnus was a move done by their name spelling but makes them sound like they copied (the keyboard stuff…) Oh well. Very well done, put together… Rain, harmonies and fifths, rolling thunder… nice!! Like the minor key guys! (then, some really fast blasting metal… and Quorthon makes another appearance!) This sounds like Possessed, but that is good. (Possessed rules!) I don’t know if this is black metal because of the keyboard thing, or death metal because of the speed… enjoyable nonetheless.

– Melanie
Ouija: Riding Into the Funeral Paths
Repulse Records 1997
8-tracks – runtime (43:13)

From (self-proclaimed) unknown origins, Ouija churns forth with a debut of shriek-laden, European style black metal with some apparent thrash influences. The faster pieces on this CD (such as “Crossing The Seventh Gate” and “In the Witching Midnight”) display some real melodic unity and are by far this quintet’s strong suit.

The string-work is a mixture of the common, black metal surging, chorded riffsOuija Album Cover combined with some original and somewhat abstract, triad syncopations. Bass is unusually well defined in the mix, swaying away from the typical guitar-heavy black metal sound and creating a more ‘ballsy’ feel.. Drums are lower in the mix but still blasting away throughout the CD. Occasional straying from shrieks and into spoken and chanted phrases and guttural technique keep the vocals both dynamic and interesting.

Compositions such as “Unbridled Transylvanian Passion” and “Hear The Call of the Wolves” (Fullmoonlight Lovers) contribute a dismal, almost romantic antiquity with slower, more consonant melodies and spoken interludes..

The cover art of underground melancholia lord Joe Petagno (Motörhead, Avulsed, Incantation…) gives the CD a doleful ambience that would enthrall any extreme metal appreciator at first site. As always Pentagno’s art work captures not only the essence of the CDs title but the overall ferocity, licention and ambience of the music itself.

Much in the vein of their predecessors (Cradle of Filth, Satyricon and Dark Funeral) Ouija combines the relentless indifference of black metal with a stark ambience and and even occasional romanticism, which is by far their most original attributes. No ground-breaking compositions on this disk, but Ouija has strong potential in their writing abilities which places them above the masses.

-Scot

Purged – Form of Release
Runtime – 52:45
Metal Blade Records, 1997
If someone asked me to guess who these guys pulled their influences from, I’d have to say Pantera and Corrosion of Conformity. Not that this is a bad thing, I love an angry guitar and a moshing beat as much as the next person.  Hell, Vulgar Display of Power was one of my most played cds of my junior year in high school, and to this day I love to crank CoC while cruising down the highway to go and visit Melanie…so if you’re looking for a bad review, don’t look here!

The cover- hmmm, I’m not crazy about it, but that’s just me…It’s the earth, with some kind of green radioactive looking cloud surrounding it? To many graphics courses giving me an overly critical eye. So, I’ll try to post it for everyone to see next to this review.You jump to your own conclusions about it. Afterall, it’s only my opinion, and I’ve been wrong before! (One person’s art is another person’s trash)

Musically, the only thing I’m not particularly partial to are the vocals- I feel they’re almost generic in a way to this style of music. The angry, borderline yelling/ yellingPurged : Album Cover Art vocals…I wonder who did it first? Little did they know they were onto a new craze (at the risk of sounding like a smartass). However, they work, and like they say, ‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it’ , right?  Anyway, onto the production. It’s mixed well, the guitar quality is clear. But this is a professional album, so I wouldn’t expect any less! Good job guys! ‘Nuff said…What about the music you ask? Guitars, bass, drums! Patience! I’m getting there…(Sorry, I’m kind of new with this review thing if you can’t already tell! ::grin::)  I like the starting and stopping riffs they incorporate in many of their songs. Tried and true…It makes me want to mosh, except there’s no pit for me to jump into, so I’ll settle for simply sitting here in front of my computer and bobbing my head in time with the music.

On with the review- The average length of each song is approximately 5 minutes. I hate extremely short songs, and nothing irritates me more than when I can barely get through one song when driving 15 minutes to the supermarket. I’d say this is about the perfect length! Some of the highlights…The first song, Cold’ grabs me right away. You can never take back a first impression, so it’s a good thing they put a good representation of what they had to offer to me right from the start! A chugging guitar lets me know  they mean business…I’m also kind of fond of the song Reckoning’. I’m not sure why, I like the guitar, the riff is interesting and ear catching. It definitely stands apart from the songs previous to it. Halfway through the album, so far so good!  I like the way ‘Opinionized’ starts with the drums and bass, and a good guitar solo leads in the rest of the song. Makes for variety…Speaking of variety in sound, the beginning of  ‘Revelation’ sounds like Fade to Black! (Not exactly though-we’re not talking copyright infringement here guys!) But, it doesn’t last for long- the song soon takes on the anger of the rest of the album.

So, my parting words of review wisdom (or non wisdom) are, if you like CoC and Pantera, or are just in the mood to listen to some thrashy moshing music from a newer band, get  out there and pick this one up! Next time I’m angry at the drunk, loud rugby players who live next store to me, I’ll turn this up and vent some anger! Too bad my roomies don’t mosh! Wait, they’re being loud and obnoxious now! Gotta go… Anyone got a super loud stereo system they want to loan me?

– Jo
Today is the Day: Temple Of The Morning Star
Relapse Records (relapse@relapse.com); 17 tracks
Cover artNot really my cup of tea. A mix of some metal, industrial noises and rhythmic ideas, punk, sludge core – like Eyehategod, and stuff like Neurosis and Helmet.

The production is absolutely fabulous, everything is clear and mixed well.

Highlights:

“Temple of the Morning Star.” This is the intro, and I wish they had expanded it into an actual song… it has a cool My Dying Bridish feel to it.

Cool samples… if you’re into that sort of thing.

TITD has some OK ideas, but they try so hard to be different that they… don’t pull it off. This gives them a mainstream feel like Korn or the dreaded Mansonites. It’s not bad, but it’s not something most extreme metal fans reading this e-zine would find enjoyable.

“Skip it”, Jim said to the metal fans. “Dub it from someone before you buy it”, he said to the more mainstream minded “metal/hardcore” consumers.

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