Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hatestroke – The Schematic Diagram Of Hate Distribution

I can't believe I haven't reviewed these guys yet. Hatestroke hail from Kediri in East Java. They formed in 2005, signed to the legendary Rottrevore Records, and then released their full-length debut The Schematic Diagram Of Hate Distribution in 2009. This album might have a strange name, but the music is awesome.

The production is on the raw end of the spectrum. It's a bit cloudy and the snare has this clanging sound, but the music makes up for it. These guys take the brutal death metal that Indonesia is famous for and they combine it with a bit of grindcore. Drummer Ade Godex (nickname God-X) hits us with a constant violent blast beat onslaught that is sometimes broken up by mid-paced rhythms that feature hyper speed double bass. This album doesn't list a bassist, but I can still hear bass on this album, especially on songs like “Hatred” and “Carnivorous”. It makes the album sound even darker and heavier than it already is.

The vocal duties are handled by a man named Casper. He is not friendly and he is not a ghost, but his performance is fantastic. He hits us with a bunch of deep and hoarse growls that sound like they're being made by a fiery lich filled with hate. Best of all is the guitar work of Yery. Indonesia is renowned for its awesome guitar work, and Hatestroke is no exception. Yery's skill set ranges from sinister chugs that are frequently broken up by pinch harmonics to fiery shredding riffs that transform into slithering tremolo riffs. Topping it all off are the technical riffs. These riffs aren't technical simply for the sake of being technical. These riffs give the album a diabolical atmosphere. Their screeches and howls sound like they're erupting from a realm where hatred reigns supreme. My favorite technical riffs are on “Outro”, which strangely enough is in the middle of the album, not at the end.

Despite the flawed production, The Schematic Diagram Of Hate Distribution is one of the best brutal death metal albums to ever come out of Indonesia. The brutality is unrelenting and the songs are masterfully crafted. Now I'm just wondering if they'll release anything new. Seriously, they recorded this album six years ago and they haven't made anything since.
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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Encabulos – Abandoning The Flesh

Encabulos were a brutal death metal band from Australia. They formed in 1995, released two demos and an EP, then split up in 2002. I was only able to find their EP, Abandoning The Flesh.

These guys play typical New York brutal death metal worship. Drummer Adam Hull plays a lot of rampaging blast beats and mid-paced rhythms that feature super fast double bass. Sure, his performance is great, but he's not really doing anything to set himself apart from the herd. He would rather play it safe and do what was done in the past. The bass is played by Michael Stewart. I can't really hear his performance on this album. It's buried under the rest of the instruments.

Vocalist George Saris performs a standard deep, bellowing growl. He puts on a great performance, but it doesn't really do anything for me. He doesn't have that spark that makes a vocalist truly exceptional. The guitars are played by Steven Hull. I believe he is Adam Hull's brother. As with the rest of the band, his performance is nice, but it's indistinguishable from every other brutal death metal band that existed during that time. He spends the entire album playing rumbling shredding riffs and dark tremolo riffs, and although these riffs sound great, they're unoriginal and get tiresome quickly.

Overall, Encabulos is painfully average. They don't try to stand out, they're content with mindlessly rehashing what was done in the past.
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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Rude – Soul Recall

Rude? What the hell kind of a name for a death metal band is Rude? Well, now that I think of it, I did review a death metal band called The Game Hens, so there are bands out there that have more ridiculous names than Rude. Anyway, Rude formed in Berkeley in 2008. They broke up twice, but eventually achieved stability in 2011. Three years later, they released their debut album Soul Recall. I love the Dan Seagrave cover art, but I love the music even more.

If you've ever listened to early '90s era Morbid Angel then you can already guess what these guys are gonna sound like. The production has that classic old school quality. It's rich and heavy and gritty. The drums are played by Antonio Lopez. This guy essentially pays tribute to Pete Sandoval. His mid-paced rhythms feature a massive amount of rapid double bass. Sure, the double bass sounds like a soft tapping, but Pete Sandoval's double bass was the same way. Aside from mid-paced rhythms, he also hits us with a bunch of elaborate fills as well as some great d-beats and devastating blast beats. The bass is played by a guy named Jason Gluck. His riffs feature a sinister groove and sometimes bubble up to the surface for added impact, such as on “Memorial”.

The vocals are handled by Yusef Wallace. He mainly performs a hoarse growl that sounds similar to bands like Obituary. I wish he performed in a more aggressive style, but they still get the job done. The guitars are played by both Yusef Wallace and David Rodriguez. Their performance is pure old school goodness. They play shredding riffs that sound like boiling lava. They play mid-paced riffs that have a thrashing quality to them. They play violent fast-paced riffs that sound like they were pulled straight from Altars of Madness. Best of all are the solos. They sound like a perfect copy of Trey Azagthoth, back when Trey was more focused on making awesome death metal than watching anime. These solos howl and screech like the wretched spawn of a Lovecraftian god. Their wild structures and piercing sounds bring forth chaos and destruction.

This was an excellent album. I regret not reviewing it sooner. It's a fantastic tribute to the old death metal masters. If you're a fan of Morbid Angel back when they were good, then you might get some enjoyment out of this.

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Touhou Tuesday #185

Do you remember when "WHY SO SERIOUS?" was really popular on the internet? God I feel old.
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Monday, August 31, 2015

Dark Millennium – Ashore the Celestial Burden

Many death metal albums try to sound as evil as possible. Those attempts are laughable failures. However, there are some death metal bands who try to sound graceful and majestic. Most of those attempts don't really work out either. However, there are a few death metal bands who manage to pull off the graceful aspect perfectly. One such band is Dark Millennium. They formed in Germany in 1989 and lasted only four years. They released two full-lengths but so far I've only listened to their debut, Ashore the Celestial Burden. Let's check it out, shall we?
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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Delirium (Ndl) – Zzooouhh

I love the title of this album. Zzooouhh! It sounds like some guy vomiting. Anyway, Delirium was a doom/death band from The Netherlands. I've always wondered why so many doom/death bands came from that country. First there was Sempiternal Deathreign and now we have Delirium. These guys formed in 1988 and released their only full-length album two years later.

The music can best be described as a slowed down version of Celtic Frost. The production is on the soft side. You have to crank it up in order to hear it in full. You know, that made me thought of something: you remember how metal albums encouraged you to crank up the volume? You remember when music wasn't already really loud? You remember when metal had dynamic range? I really need to cut this tangent short and get back to the music. The drums are played by Han Swagerman. He churns out a lot of slow doom beats that feature a fantastic snare. He will still occasionally spice things up with some excellent blast beats. There are also moments when he hits us with some more elaborate patterns, such as on “Bitch”. He even takes the time to play a few thrashing rhythms.

The bass is played by Laura Beringer. She mainly sticks to following the guitars, but her performance still makes the music sound really heavy. Both the vocals and guitars are performed by Mark Honout. His vocal performance consists of a grotesque hoarse growl. It sounds deliciously evil and it sort of sounds like John Tardy of Obituary. However, the vocals are not at the forefront. Mark prefers to let his guitar work do the talking for him. He plays a lot of dark and crunchy Celtic Frost inspired mid-paced riffs. Sometimes he'll pick up the pace and play some dark shredding riffs. The real centerpiece of the album, though, are the slow doom riffs. They're quite dirge-like in structure and they sound evil and crushing, especially on the last song. What I really like is how these slow riffs never get boring. They manage to be fresh and invigorating.

My only problem with this album is the song at the beginning. It's two and a half minutes of nothing. It would have been better if they had just gone straight to the music. Other than that, Zzooouhh was an awesome album. And it has an awesome title. Zzooouhh! If you ever manage to find a physical copy of this album, be sure to pick it up. Zzooouhh!
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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Taking Out The Trash #5

Summer is nearing its end, but my duties have not. No, I'm just getting started. There are still countless shitty metal releases out there in the world, and it's my job to rip them to shreds. It's filthy work, but someone's gotta do it.
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Friday, August 28, 2015

Epitaph – Seeming Salvation

A few months ago I talked about the Epitaph from Florida. Now I'm going to talk about the Epitaph from Sweden. This band was formed by three guys in 1989. They then released a split with Excruciate in 1991, and I've already mentioned just how much I loved that album. Just one year after releasing that split album Epitaph released their first and so far only full-length album Seeming Salvation.

The production has a bit more grit than the music they played on the split with Excruciate. As a result, the music sounds a lot heavier and more aggressive. However, their music is also a lot more mid-paced than it was on the split. Also, whereas Excruciate was a five piece band, Epitaph consists of just three members. On drums is Johan Enochsson. He plays a lot of mid-paced rhythms that feature a really powerful snare and great cymbal work. Some of these mid-paced rhythms can get rather complex. Although he focuses more on the slower end of the spectrum, there are still moments when he plays some excellent d-beats and blast beats.

Johan Enochsson also handles vocal duties. He still performs those grotesque hoarse growls that he performed on the split. And yes, he still includes those moments when his hoarse growls are accompanied by pitch-shifted growls. I really like those parts. The guitarists are Manne Svensson and Nicke Hagan. As with the rest of the music, they go the mid-paced route this time around. They play a lot of steady riffs that kinda remind me of the Floridian scene, especially during the parts where they get a bit technical. However, they still stay true to their earlier work by playing plenty of excellent shredding riffs. And of course, they make sure to play a massive number of wild and fiery solos.

Although this album is slower than the material on their split with Excruciate, it's still really heavy. Personally, I prefer Excruciate's full-length, but Epitaph is still great.
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Trojan – Archaic Dimension

In 2010, the Indonesian brutal death metal band Trojan released their full-length debut, the awkwardly named Metamorphosis As The Phenomenon. It was a great blend of the slamming and the technical. It would take them five whole years before they would release anything else. Their latest album is called Archaic Dimension, which they released back in July on Sepsis Records.

On this album, Trojan essentially take what they recorded in the past and improve upon it. Once again, the production is professional. It's clear yet still heavy. It doesn't sound sterile like so many western technical death metal bands. The drums are played by Guz Cilix. Isn't that just Guzuma under a different name? Anyway, his blast beats are violent and his mid-paced rhythms feature a great deal of rumbling double bass. Not only does he play a lot of elaborate patterns and fills, but he also plays some simple and hard-hitting slam rhythms. A guy named Michael has replaced the former bassist Andhika. His performance is really high in the mix and he plays a massive amount of crunchy riffs that feature a large amount of groove. However, there are a few moments when his performance sounds a bit too much like Meshuggah for me.

The vocals are once again performed by Botax. This time around he's going under the name Gus Botak. He still performs those excellent deep hoarse growls. If you ask me, his performance on this album is a lot better than it was on the first. Guitarist Rio is still a member of the band, and he's still the best part of the music. He spends a large part of the album playing aggressive shredding riffs, but there are also moments when he plays some wild technical riffs, such as on “Blackness Begins”. Luckily, unlike western technical death metal bands, these riffs don't get annoying. Rio also plays plenty of excellent stomping chords during the slam sections. Best of all are the solos. Whereas the rest of the music is brutal, the solos sound rather graceful and melodic. My favorites are the ones on “Cerebral Annihilation” and “Reality In Chaos”.

The only major problem with this album is that it's way too long. It's fifty minutes in length. You rarely ever see brutal death metal albums that long. The album would have been better if it was just thirty minutes. Other than that, Archaic Dimension is fantastic. It's one of the best brutal death metal albums to come out of Indonesia this year.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Excruciate – Passage Of Life

I recently reviewed the split between Swedish death metal bands Excruciate and Epitaph. It was one of the best split albums I've ever heard in my life. This made me even more interested in what they had to offer. I decided to check out Excruciate first. Two years after releasing the split album, they released Passage Of Life, their first (and so far only) full-length album.

The production is a bit cleaner this time around, but other than that, Excruciate plays the same mid-paced death metal they played on the split album. The drums are played by a guy who has the awesome name of Per Ax. Mr. Ax plays a lot of mid-paced rhythms that feature a hard-hitting snare sound as well as plenty of rumbling double bass. He also makes sure to hit us with some furious blast beats, especially on songs like “Anatomical Self-Fertilization”. The bass is played by Fredrik Isaksson. Unfortunately, due to the cleaner production, his performance can't be heard all that well, but he does play a few great riffs such as on “Sabbath In The Mortuary”.

Christian Carlsson was the vocalist on the split album, but here they're performed by Lars Levin. Christian utilized a growl that had an echo effect, but Lars performs a deep, hoarse growl that features no echo. Perhaps he was so confident in his abilities that he felt he didn't need to hide behind vocal effects. Sure enough, his vocal performance is really strong on this album. It's a lot stronger than most other Swedish death metal vocalists. The guitars are performed by Johan Melander and Hempa Brynolfsson. Just like on the split, they play a lot of mid-paced riffs that feature a great deal of dark groove. They constantly switch between these mid-paced riffs and rapid shredding riffs and tremolo riffs. They also make sure to throw in a few of those same Carcass-inspired hooks that they played on the split album.

This album was pretty fucking sweet. I don't really like the clean production, but at the music is still heavy and the instrumental performance and the songwriting are fantastic. By the way, did I mention how the cover art looks cool as fuck? It reminds me of H.R. Giger.
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