Saturday, April 25, 2015

Psycho Bitch – Puking Blood

Psycho Bitch was an extremely short-lived death metal band from Tacoma, Washington. They formed, released a single demo, and broke up in the year of 1993.

Everything is performed by one guy named Dan Englund. Usually, one-man bands suck ass, but this isn't that bad. The music he plays is more of the death/thrash variety. The blast beats are rather simple in structure and he spends most of the album playing a simple rhythm that focuses solely on the bass, snare, and hi-hat. However, there are moments where he throws in some double bass. Honestly, I wish there was more variety.

The bass can barely be heard, but it's there. They mainly play simple riffs that follow the guitars, but they do put on a great performance on the last song. Speaking of guitars, they mainly play a lot of basic thrashing riffs that are broken up by numerous power chords. They're not exactly original but at least they have a crunchy tone. He also plays a lot of frantic solos that make up for the unoriginal riffing.

The vocals are the weakest part of the album. Dan mainly performs a gruff growl that reminds me of early Deicide. They're not bad, but they're not all that interesting. Sometimes these growls are accompanied by impish rasps. Personally, I think these rasps are annoying. What's even more annoying are the audio effects he sometimes applies to his vocals. They can be heard on songs like “Cerberus” and “Judgment Day”. I don't know why he felt the need to use these effects. They don't add anything to the music, they just make the experience more aggravating.

Overall, this demo was really dodgy. It could have been great, but it was hindered by unoriginal, repetitive songwriting and annoying vocals.
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Friday, April 24, 2015

Whore of Bethlehem – Upon Judas' Throne

I reviewed Whore of Bethlehem's first demo way back in November 2012. It was pretty sweet. They sounded like a more brutal version of Behemoth. Two years after they released that demo, they released their full-length debut Upon Judas' Throne. I was planning on reviewing it that year, but I was unable to find a copy. Now I have, and after listening to it, I was blown away.

Many brutal death metal bands try to sound evil. Those attempts range from pathetic to laughably bad. These guys, on the other hand, actually do manage to sound evil. Perhaps this can be attributed to their inclusion of black metal elements. The drums would make Inferno proud. The blast beats are utterly pulverizing. They range in complexity from simple violent d-beats to terrifying Gatling gun blasts. The mid-paced rhythms are filled with fiery double bass. In between all of this, he hits us with a ridiculous number of elaborate fills. I especially love that extravagant performance at the halfway point of the title track.

The band utilizes two vocal styles. The primary vocal style is a deep and hoarse growl that sounds quite similar to Nergal of Behemoth. They sound powerful and commanding. The secondary vocal style is a black metal rasping scream. They sound wicked and spiteful. They compliment each other nicely, and there are moments when they're performed together and create an amazing demonic effect. As for the guitars, they are both chilling and vicious. They combine brutal death metal riffs with a black metal tone to create something that is unique and deadly. The tremolo riffs are ravenous yet have a cold sound that cuts you to the bone. They also play some slow riffs that feature a sinister groove. Some of them remind me of Morbid Angel. They then top things off with some solos that possess a strong old school sound.

This album is a blasphemous marvel to behold. It's an awesome blend of black metal and brutal death metal that sounds incredibly dark and violent. Whore of Bethlehem is composed of musicians from many other bands. Most of the time, supergroups like these suck, but these guys just happen to be an exception.
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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Geggar Otak – Avaricious Creature

I remember talking about Geggar Otak two years ago. They only had a few songs up on their ReverbNation page, so I was unable to give a full review of them. Luckily, I finally managed to obtain their full-length debut Avaricious Creature. Let's listen, shall we?

The drums are played by Avan. He plays a lot of furious blast beats that feature a pulverizing snare. Sure, they sound a bit mechanical, but the performance is still brutal. He also plays a few d-beats on occasion. The mid-paced rhythms feature plenty of double bass and they feel rather upbeat compared to most brutal death metal bands. The vocals are performed by a guy named Yonky. Weird name, I know, but he belts out a lot of vicious growls. They're not quite original, but the performance is still superb.

The guitars are played by Ezza and Dedy. As with most other Indonesian brutal death metal bands, they're the best part of the album. They play a lot of fast-paced riffs that feature a heavy, crunchy sound. Their tremolo riffs are quite technical and even sound somewhat melodic at times. It sort of reminds me of Orestes. They also take the time to play plenty of crushing chugs. They then top things off with some solos that are graceful in both sound and structure.

The album ends with a piano piece that sometimes sounds dark and other times sounds majestic. It's a pretty unique end to a brutal death metal album. The part near the end even reminded me of Gris. Overall, Avaricious Creature was a pretty sweet album. It's brutal but it's still infectious. It may not be the most original music in the world, but the performance is still great.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Nefarious (Swe) – Necrorgasmic Convulsions

Nefarious was a short-lived death/grind band from Sweden. They formed in 1992, released a single demo called Necrorgasmic Convulsions one year later, then disappeared sometime thereafter.

This album is a total fucking mess. The music is made by just two guys. I've listened to one-man bands that were better than this. The drums are played by a guy named Lasse. His skillset is about as small as his brain. All he does is play sloppy, confusing blast beats and dull, uninspired mid-paced rhythms. The snare sounds like a tapping and the cymbals sound annoying as shit. When he switches into blast beat mode, the drums just turn into a featureless pile of shit. I've listened to drum machines that sounded better and were played better than this.

The vocals and guitar are performed by a guy named Henke. The vocals consist of a low, gurgling growl that sounds utterly dreary and boring. The guy sounds like a backed up toilet. As for the guitars, he just plays a bunch of grumbling riffs that all seem to blend in with each other. Perhaps the worst aspect of this demo is the songwriting. All the songs are just short bursts of blast beats and riffs. I'm guessing the reason why the songs are so short is because they didn't have a single creative bone in their bodies. All of the songs sound the same.

This demo is a mere two minutes long, but they're some of the shittiest two minutes ever. The performance is terrible and the songwriting is utterly wretched. I know the simplicity of grindcore attracts a lot of talentless hacks, but how can you fuck up grindcore this bad?
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Exhumation (Idn) – Opus Death

Back in October 2013 I reviewed Exhumation's full-length debut Hymn to your God. I loved it. It was some of the best Behemoth-worship I had ever listened to in my life. Two years after the release of Hymn to your God, Exhumation released their second album Opus Death, but I didn't find out about it until recently.

Whereas Hymn to your God was Behemoth-worship, Opus Death sounds more akin to war metal bands such as Blasphemy and Diocletian. The production is cloudy and foreboding. It makes you feel as if the legions of death are closing in on you. The music itself has an old school sound that still maintains a modern level of violence. The drums are just as furious and rampaging as they were on the first album. The blast beats range from the simplistic Slayer style to unholy cacophonous assaults. They also play some slow and plodding rhythms that help to build anticipation for the next assault. The performance is constantly broken up by powerful fills. There are even a few moments where they play some pounding, almost tribal rhythms, such as on “Upon Our Hordes” and “Ironheart”.

The vocals used to be a gruff growl. Now they sound more like a rasping shout that exhibits a great deal of reverb. They are fill with disgust and sound like a spirit that has undying contempt for humanity. The guitars bring forth utter destruction. They play a shitload of ravenous riffs that exude a powerful old school spirit. They also play some blackened tremolo riffs that spit forth fiery venom. These tremolo riffs sometimes take on a form that is deranged and diabolical. As for the solos, their structures radiate the spirits of the old masters. Their tone sends us back to a time when devilish minds and unholy misanthropy ruled the underground.

As with the first album, these guys include two songs that take you by surprise. First there's “The Sleeping Darkness”, a piano piece that features dark ambient effects. As can be inferred by the title, it makes you feel as though you are walking through a dark realm where malevolent beings sleep. The last song on the album is called “Lullabyss”. It consists solely of acoustic guitars. It's soft and somber, a startling contrast to the fiery rage we heard on the rest of the album.

Exhumation completely reinvented themselves on this album. I'm always worried whenever a band reinvents itself. I'm always afraid their experiment will be an embarrassing disaster (see: St. Anger, The Unspoken King, Illud Divinum Insanus). These guys, on the other hand, pulled off their experiment flawlessly. Their performance is just incredible. Had I known about this album last year, I definitely would have added it to my top ten list. If you want to hear it for yourself, then you can find it at Dunkelheit Produktionen's bandcamp page.

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Touhou Tuesday #166

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Monday, April 20, 2015

S.L.O.D. – Demo 1986

S.L.O.D. was the first death metal band in Slovenia. In fact, they were the first death metal band in all of the former Yugoslavia. They formed in 1985, lasted for only a year (metal bands don't last long in communist dictatorships), released only a single demo in 1986, then split up. This is really obscure and really rare, so I'm intrigued as to what it sounds like.

The music is more akin to grindcore than death metal. The songs are really short and the music itself is incredibly simple. The drums play a shitload of chaotic blast beats that sound like an unholy artillery bombardment. They also play some slow rhythms that build anticipation for the next wave of blast beats. Due to the raw nature of the production, the bass is thrust to the front, and it hits us with a bunch of frantic riffs that possess a sound that gives you a feeling of impending doom.

The vocals are the most interesting part about this demo. The guy sounds like Jeff Walker of Carcass. They are angry, hoarse screams that sound like they're being made by a ravenous and deranged madman who is being haunted by the specters of death. The guitars are the most chaotic part of this demo. They play a bunch of simple and incredibly violent riffs that feature an unbelievable amount of feedback. The primitive production further enhances their volatile nature. The guitars sounded like they were about to rip themselves apart at any moment.

At first I thought this demo was complete shit, but it grew on me after repeated listens, and the repeated listens weren't difficult considering how this demo is only nine minutes long. It's an odd little piece of metal history from an obscure part of the world.
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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Epitaph (US, IL) – These Rotten Remains

Here's another metal band called Epitaph. This Epitaph was a technical thrash metal band from Geneva, Illinois. They formed in the early 90s, shortly after the thrash metal bubble popped. They released only one demo called These Rotten Remains in 1992 before splitting up.

The production is okay. It's a bit muffled, but I can still hear everything just fine. The drums are played by Brian Stream. He plays a lot of mid-paced rhythms that are really complex in nature. They feature odd time signatures, unorthodox patterns, and many short bursts of double bass. The guy also plays a ridiculous number of fills. The drumming is far more complex than most other thrash metal drumming, but to me it just doesn't sound powerful. Sure, the cymbals and snare sound strong, but the drums just don't click with me. I guess this proves that complexity is no substitute for catchiness.

The guitars are played by Garrett Splain and Trom Krohn. Whereas most other thrash metal bands focus on either speed or groove, these guys focused on showing off their technical skills. These guys play lots of mid-paced crunchy riffs that feature strange start-stop time signatures and are elaborate in their structure. One minute they're performing some heavy chugging riffs and the next minute they're performing some complex riffs that rise and fall with seeming ease. They also play some wild and chaotic solos. These riffs sound nice, but as with the drums, they don't really stick with me. I admire their musical skill, but I guess I'm the kind of guy who prefers simple yet memorable riffs more than technically impressive yet forgettable riffs.

The vocals are the weakest part of the music. They're performed by bassist Josh Clalmers. I'll forgive him for having a dumb last name, but I won't forgive him for his annoying vocal performance. He performs these odd clean vocals that try to sound like Joey Belladonna of Anthrax, but end up sounding like a cheap imitation instead. There are also moments where the band performs gang vocals, but they too sound weak. None of the members of this band sounded like they were cut out for vocal work.

Overall, while these guys played some complex thrash metal, it wasn't all that exciting or memorable. This demo goes to show why you should focus more on creating memorable music than on showing off how talented you are.
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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Epitaph (US, FL) – Demo I

There are many metal bands named Epitaph in America. This one in particular was a short-lived death/thrash band from Tampa, Florida. This also happens to be the hometown of several of death metal's greatest bands. This band existed for only two years and released only two short demos before splitting up. I only managed to find their first demo.

This has pretty good production for a demo. I expected it to sound all muffled, but this demo sounds really clear. Perhaps this is because Tom Morris of the legendary Morrisound Studios produced it. As for the music itself, it's really aggressive and sometimes technical. It's obvious that they were heavily influenced by Death. The drums are played by Kevin Astl. His blast beats sound like a more violent Dave Lombardo. They're simple but they hit hard. His mid-paced rhythms feature large amounts of boiling double bass and feature some complex patterns at times. He then sprinkles plenty of elaborate fills throughout. The only downside of the drums is the snare sound. It sounds like the guy is pounding on an empty paint can.

The bass is played by Mark Good. Good's performance is good. I apologize for making such a lame joke, but seriously, he's a great bassist. Tom Morris did a fantastic job making the bass as prominent in the mix as possible. Not only that, but Mark plays some elaborate riffs that sound like creeping slug beasts. I wish modern death metal bands gave as much of a shit about the bass as Epitaph. The vocals are performed by Tony Teegarden, who later went on to perform the growls on Cynic's legendary album Focus. His growls are hoarse and sound a lot like Chuck Schuldiner. They sound tame compared to modern growls, but they're still great. John Tardy of Obituary also performs guest vocals on the song “I Endeavor”. They're sick and gnarly. I expected nothing less.

The guitars are performed by Scott Senokossoff. He plays a lot of aggressive thrashing riffs. They're simple but utterly eviscerating. He then goes from simple thrashing to more elaborate mid-paced death metal riffs. These riffs are heavily influenced by Death with some Atheist and Cynic thrown in for good measure. The riff structures themselves feel like surrealist dreams come to life. They ascend and descend with ease and possess an airy tone. He also makes sure to play some sweet diabolical chugging riffs. He then tops things off with plenty of solos that are sometimes chaotic and other times graceful. They even feature a middle eastern tone on occasion.

Although this demo was fleetingly short, it was an amazing experience. The production is fantastic and the music is both aggressive and complex. These guys are kinda like Eructation. Although they only made a few songs, those songs are awesome. Truly they were too good for this world.
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Friday, April 17, 2015

Suffercation – Day Of Darkness

Suffercation, alongside Rator and Langsuyr, was one of Malaysia's first death metal bands. They formed in 1988 and released their full-length debut Day Of Darkness in 1992. It caused quite a bit of controversy when it was released. The Malaysian government was freaked out by the album cover, so they had it banned and Suffercation had to replace it with a group photo. Despite this setback, the album became popular not only in the Malaysian metal scene but in the entire death metal underground. It was even praised by legendary musicians such as Mike Browning of Nocturnus and Scott Carlson of Repulsion. Eighteen years later, Suffercation re-released the album under the name Day Of Darkness: The Re-Awakening. They did this so that the new generation of metalheads could experience this album for themselves.
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