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Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Spreading the Dis-Ease: Nothing More To Eat, Eat'n, 2010

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 Nothing More To Eat are a 5 piece extreme metal outfit from Helsinki,  their 2010 release EAT''N  is not only album about music, but a reflection on the metal youth, so those of you who were alive when the likes of Scum was around then please go back to your retirement community, or prepare to be baffled and perplexed.
With references to the infamous Crab People and Giant Octopuses and Zombies (and Crackwhore Zombies), this youthful and energetic music is meant for those of us where 6am is still party time. Generally this release has numerous Grindcore qualities, but cemented in are many borrowings from Deathcore and Thrash, so strictly speaking this is not a pure grind release but I cannot deny the elements are all well placed and give the release a nice sound.
Highly Recommended for those of you who wish to hear a fresh well rounded release, but not for those who a confined to musical purity. Even if you are of the latter side of the camp, it doesn't matter it is free right here, right now, who knows you may like it.


Saturday, 26 June 2010

The Half Way Time is Nigh 2010

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It has reached that time of year when most musical blogs release a list of the top x albums of this half of the year. I certainly shall be joining in this biannual phenomenon, not just in order to conform to blogging etiquette, but also to spread the good word of albums that deserve a shot at the spotlight. The albums I will list are not in order of greatness just merely in which order I remember and wish to present them.

Fleshrot - Traumatic Reconfiguration
I must stress there is no local scene or home town bias here with these guys, they just know how to play Brutal Death Metal how I like it. Any of you know the film genre Grindhouse? (just coincide), well in said genre traditional filming elements are replaced with those of violence and sex scenes, well this also true for the Brutal Death Metal. Traditional death metal elements tend to be replaced with all manner of shit to create a more aggressive and tyrannical sound, and generally it has no appeal to me. Luckily Fleshrot in their album Traumatic Reconfiguration go back to the basics of the genre and from there add in levels of blood curdling brutality.  This is the way Brutal Death Metal was meant to be played and I hope more bands see the err of their ways.

Spineless Fuckers - It is Just a Real One
Mental is a good way to describe how these Czech Grinders approach the genre. The alleged saying of the alleged New World Order that "from chaos there is order" holds true in this album, it is just a frantic mess of various instruments and vocals that all come together to make some weird sort of noise we like to call music.Morbid Satire is what the Czechs do best in the world of theatre and this seems to have transposed into this album too alongside Czech excerpts from films and cello based Czech Classical Music. Originality is something these guys do well, prepare to have the rules of music broken.

Abscess - Dawn of Inhumanity
Many critics have a general loathing of this album, well luckily for Abscess I love this release.A predominant feel of Crust Punk in the style of Skaven and strong metal presence come together in a eerie form that give Abscess and unique and creepy sound. Reminds me alot in essence of the song Seasons in the Abyss by Slayer, but with a more dark and atmospheric nature. A nice mix of sections of horror with despair to a section or song of aggression. The aggression lacks the kick that many bands opt for and additionally it lacks a vibrancy of energy , but it is these attributes that make this release fresh and give it this unconventional slayerised crust punk early death metal.

Utopium - Conceptive Prescience
I used to hold the belief that Portugal was one of the countries where Grindcore was a non-entity, luckily for me Utopium have dispelled such a
myth from my mind, they play flawlessly great Grindcore and the best part of it is that you can have it for free here. Featuring a tribute to Nasum, these grinders play a mixture of old and new Grindcore in the vein of Phobia and have a pure refined sound which is played with high precision and professionalism. These guys are certainly should stay on our radars, I am expecting amazing things from them.

Moncho Cabrera - Demo 2010
For a long time it may of seemed that perhaps indeed punk was a rotting corpse, although as Grind fans we must never forget the role of Punk in creating the genre. Of the bands that had a great input is crazy J-Punkers S.O.B.  and this is exact;y what Moncho Cabrera sound like, oddly enough on their myspace they make no mention of S.O.B as an influence. I will be honest this album has nothing special nor is it amazing, it is just nice to hear decent punky thrashy sound again but from the present not 20-30 years old. For fans of S.O.B this is a must have.

Sayyadina - The Great Northern Revisisted
There is an ongoing debate in my head whether Sayyadina are more Crust or more Grind, but one thing there is no debate about is that Sayyadina  are good. These guys take their own stance on Grindcore and Crust drawing from the ethos of Nasum, despite many similarities between Nasum and Sayyadina, Sayyadina do there own thing which give them a nice Independent sound.

Hayaino Daisuki - Invincible Gate Mind Of The Infernal Hell

Jon Chang, need I say more.

Misery Index - Heirs to the Thievery
Misery Index  never cease to impress me and Heirs to the Theivery was no exception. With spectacular drumming, nice riffing and solos, and a vocals hell bent on political criticism. Unlike most bands that focus on Racism, Dictatorships or any other gross exaggeration of their very democratic system, Misery Index focus on economic matters, making a nice break from the over top politic haters. Overall a fabulous release perhaps with a tad of Marxism, which gives it that edge.

Exhale - Blind
Nice raspy Death Grind that is full of energy and aggression. These Swedish grinders play a fast and very heavy sound with all the pros and with non of the cons. They make recognisable distinctions between songs giving each song a feeling of freshness and uniqueness, a brilliant album overall.

Aborted - Coronary Reconstruction
I have loved Aborted for a very long time now, and love their aesthetic Gore-grinding theme but musical brutal death metal approach. Coronary Reconstruction sticks to the formula they do well, with an approach of a more conventional heavy sound  with a few solos and technical moments thrown in, they have decided to bin the approach of Strychine 213 and stick to what was good. Perhaps we can see a reincarnation of Goremageddon soon!

Infanticide - From Our Cold Dead Hands
Well Sweden certainly know how to write good music, this is their 3rd appearance so far in  this list. Infanticide remind a lot of a more modern version of Terrorizer, the 25 minute tornado will keep you bound to your seat not just in awe, but due to a fear that one of those audio waves emanating from your speakers may actually eviscerate you the moment you get up. So remember to take a piss before you put this on.

Agathocles - Peel Sessions 1997
 I don't know how well John Peel's legacy is on the continent or across the Atlantic, but in the U.K he is pretty much a saint among metal heads and Grindcore fanatics across the board. Well the first thing about this release is that it taught me how to actually say the name Agathocles  correctly, I am sure all of you too have been pronouncing it wrong prior to hearing it, and for those of you who haven't heard this will want to get it now just on the strength on finding out what is the correct way to pronounce the name. This compilation is a nice blast from the past and is another brilliant release by these prolific material releasers.

Defeatist - Sixth Extinction
These New Yorkers certainly know how to play a soundtrack to a possible sixth extinction, with a combo of strings, percussion and sickening vocals you can expect all manner of life to wither around your speakers yourself included. For those who wish not to take part in the demise of man, do not play this.

So there we have it my 13 favourite releases of the year so far, there probably is ones I may of preferred more , but I cant judge on what I haven't heard, any recommendations from you guys? 4 bands from the U.S and 3 from Sweden, so congrats to all you who pledge allegiance to the flag.
Grind Out

Monday, 21 June 2010

Ascend into Blogger (Dying Fetus, Descend Into Depravity, 2009)

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My love for the more extreme ends of the metal genre can be traced backed to being a young teenager and discovering a band known as Dying Fetus;  they were much heavier than anything I had ever heard and it was a love at first listen. Since then Dying Fetus have always had a special place for me, and have always impressed me with their music. I find that generally people are divided by Dying Fetus, they play a strong brutal sound, but then go technical and people feel that this has negated the harshness of what they had just player, while other listeners  having a general abhorrence for any form of technical playing. Luckily for me, I quite like the manner that Dying Fetus juxtapose the technical moments with those of pure audio terror, and I think they are one of few bands who have successfully manage to pull it off.

Stop at Nothing, Grotesque Impalment  and most importantly Destroy the Opposition  established Dying Fetus as a top rate band who are more than capable of putting out good music. Sadly War of Attrition  was generally terrible, although I did enjoy it was felt not just by myself but the metal community it was nothing to its predecessors. In a bold move by
Relapse Records, they decided to put their faith once again into Dying Fetus, and put the upcoming release Descend Into Depravity  as their poster boy for the record label for the latter of 2009, a number of music videos were recorded and plenty of money was spent advertising it. So the big question must be asked did it pay off?

Descend Into Depravity  certainly was a come back to form by force to the Destroy the Opposition era, much like after the fall of Rome a period of decline existed only to be swept away by the Renaissance, well this certainly may be seen as Dying Fetus' rebirth. Dying Fetus have gone back to the glory days of Destroy the Opposition but with a twist, they have decided to follow a more traditional metal formula of solos, conventional structure,sweeps and melodic overturns. There is one time when I did question whether this new formula had altered the integrity of a death metal sound, and had created some generic metal sound with heavy elements creating a very undesirable effect,named: Hopeless Insurrection this song is the third on the album and ironically "hopelessly insurrected" from the solid amazing impression from the first two songs. Luckily this song is the only bad apple in the barrel and the rest of the barrel are certainly up to scratch and well beyond the quality of your average song.
 We certainly see that Dying Fetus have been rehearsing religiously, the tightness, precision and speed of what they play  puts the form of most titans of death metal world to shame. As aforementioned Dying Fetus have looked back at the roots of not only their own music, but of the genre, and have also looked to the peers for guidance there exists a faint but strong presence of Decrepit Birth. A constant and well established orthodoxy in Dying Fetus is the vocals of John Gallagher (alongside him being an original member), I cant think of any vocalist who sounds more raw and brutal and this is a strength that Dying Fetus have used on every release and Descend into Depravity is no exception.  The bass and drums have been moved as much into the foreground as the guitars, breaking away from guitar-centric War of Attrition  and into a more coordinated assault. The three work together in synch and compliment each other so well, it begs the question can guitarists, drummers and bassists work together without bickering (those of you in bands know what I am talking about), I shall reserve judgement for now.
Considering Fetus once had one of the worlds greatest drummers, Kevin Talley they have done an excellent job of gaining a replacement who comes near to the break neck speed, ingenuity and flexibility of one of his many predecessors. I never thought I would see the day that I said that the bass is as active,varied and free as the guitar, luckily Sean Beasly  uses this new found freedom to compliment and accompany Gallagher's fine guitar
Your Treachery will die with you and Ethos of Coercion are certainly the best tracks on the album and highlight best everything that this release implements, and would recommend to even the most avid Dying Fetus hater. At times there is a feeling of mediocrity and sluggishness, but such instances are short lived and destroyed by the vocals of Gallagher heralding the oncoming of  a tri-unionised instrument genocide.
Before I end this review, I most reiterate with heavy emphasis how tight the playing is, I am yet to hear a band that can top it.
This release has all the hallmarks and makings of what could of been the best release of their career, sadly there are just those little elements that don't give it that completeness we desire. To me it seems that the experimentation was a good idea, but they need to refine those ideas a bit more. Overall this release is by far much better than most releases out there, and is an amazing album that I think everyone I know should own a copy of. Additionally I would go far to say as the 2nd best release they have put out, so hopefully with a bit more practice and comfort with these "new" elements, Dying Fetus will have in their grasp a strong chance of toppling the legacy of their predecessor and create one of the best albums in all of Deathmetaldom.

And Just for a bit of Nostalgia


Saturday, 19 June 2010

Zaphers First Review (Death, The Sound of Perseverance, 1998)

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As promised long ago I said I would bring in a new author to this Blog, and being a man of my word it has come true. He goes under the name of Zapher and is rooted in his NWOBHM, but has a strong appreciation of some Death Metal and Grind, and luckily for me his critical reportage is en par with his knowledge of Iron Maiden,(which is bordering on the encyclopaedic/stalker phase) so his contributions I am very much grateful for, so lets give him a nice GrindtoDeath welcome!
It is apt that a band named “Death” have become so synonymous with Death Metal and have provided the genre with many of its classic and requisite records. Their basis was laid in place by the Bay Area Thrash Metal Movement, a fast and heavy take of Metal music laden with New Wave of British Heavy Metal influences. The band became a major factor in the Florida Metal Movement, as an answer to the music being provided by the West Coast thrash bands.

The Sound of Perseverance is the last album in a stream of revolutionary Death Metal albums, introducing many genre staples. Containing the usual savage lexicon focused on violence and terror. Only instrumental track “Voice of the Soul” takes a break from murder and atrocities. This voiceless track trades Chuck Schuldiner’s fierce and dominating vocal growls for beautiful guitar harmonies. Amongst tracks of high energy and brutal subject matter the track stands out more, especially as an example of Death’s talent as song writers. But the violence stems not just from the perverse poetry but from the sublime guitar work of Schuldiner and Shannon Hamm. With opener Scavenger of Human Sorrow being a constant barrage of doom bringing riffs that drives the rusty nail right into the skull of another victim.

Deaths malicious musicianship is terrifyingly clear in their cover of Judas Priests Painkiller, its inclusion on the album being a sign of how the band wore their influences on their sleeves. The song is mostly a straight cover with little changes to the structure of the original the song, but the band make it seem like an entire reinvention. The song most importantly seems quicker and heavier, despite being the quickest and heaviest of any Judas Priest song in existence. The clean cut solos of Downing and Tipton are replaced with the wailings of Schuldiner and Hamm. Rob Halford’s powerful shrieks are handled surprisingly by Schuldiner who adopts a vocal style un-similar to any of those he used previously. His Halford borders on impression at times and is a clear illustrator of his powerful voice and range. He gives the “terrifying screams” lyric of the song new meaning and his verse outro screams are no less than outstanding. Painkillers famous drum intro is played fierily by Richard Christie, adapted to Deaths sounds with their shrill crash cymbal sounds making the cover instantly unique.

The albums opening “Scavenger of Human Sorrow” is akin to Painkillers opening, with a fierce drum intro of heavy double bass pounding and multiple cymbal crashing being met with a screeching guitar. Christies drum work is as impressive as the musicianship of every other personnel on the album, working beautifully with bassist Scott Clendenin on an album containing little beauty. Clendenin’s bass work is at its best in “Spirit Crusher”, with his slow bass fills working as great transitions between riffs barbarous enough to signal the apocalypse. The bands strong rhythm section provides the perfect basis for the intense vocals and riffs. The bass is allowed to step forward into being a lead instrument in the epic track “A Moment of Clarity”, at times the bass leads the track with a quick succession of fleeting bass lines. The bass styles of the album are clear and almost clean. A vast contrast to the heavy and dirty sounding guitars and powerful drums accompaniments. The bass is always distinct and penetrating during sections that the guitars blend and mesh together, at times mirroring the guitar work but with an entirely different sound because of its clarity. 

The guitars work as a unit utilising the twin lead guitar style introduced by Wishbone Ash and popularised by artists such as Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy. The unite to play the albums famously ferocious riffs before breaking to play individual solos. As well as harmonising during the albums sparse subdued but sections. The duos trading solos are among the albums highlights. Despite being influenced by the styles put in place by Maiden and many other bands the album is miles away from the stunning guitar harmonies of “Children of the Damned”. However, the emotional impact is just as strong, despite being of a polar opposite spectrum. It is an album that oozes violence as much as the infected wounds that serve as the albums lyrical basis. Unpleasant in everyway but a sheer joy.



Thursday, 17 June 2010

Grindcore 2.0 (Nasum, Human 2.0, 2000)

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Nasum best describes a phenomenon of what happened to Grindcore in the 2000's; the genre was thrown in head first into the depths and heights of the musical world we had no idea existed before hand, it is safe to say that the world of Grindcore; was thought to be flat before these Swedish iconoclasts brought back with them a raw noise from the perceived edge, and forged it to be the music of Nasum.
Mieszko Talarczyk is by far the most important man in the history of Grindcore (Polish Pride!!) and may be mistaken by many as a deity sent by the heavens to put Grindcore back on track to the path of Glory and not the path of a monotonous humdrum, sadly his life was taken in the 2004 tsunami disaster and it was this event that really put his work in the limelight and people en masse recognised his achievements. Among some of his medals lies the album Human 2.0, a testament to his innovative and professional musical nature.
Nasum polarised the grinding massess, in what defines Grindcore. The infamous saying "not loud enough, not heavy enough and not fast enough" had been the Grindcore formula since its inception, over time certain elements had been challenged and altered, but the general paradigm had not, until Nasum came along. Nasum challenged the most importance orthodoxy established in Grindcore; the notion of heaviness or brutality if you prefer. Grindcore prides itself on being able to unleash a tirade of the most heavy music on the planet, over genres sound like a Disney sound track compared to the unconventional and unmatched brutality of Grindcore.Nasum  put this into scrutiny, they opted to replace heaviness with rhythm and more "conventional" structure, almost giving it a more melodic take on the genre. However they did not replace all the heaviness with these elements, only a significant portion and this is what I love about Nasum, they just fluidly shift (pun inteneded) to and fro sections more akin to an amalgamation of metal genres into an explosion of blast beats, fast riffs and a rasping vocals. Human 2.0 is where Nasum decided to say shut the fuck up and listen to this! . They showed that they could still maintain an insane audio assault that was heavy enough to create a black hole, whilst still maintaining these "new" takes on structure and rhythm. 

Generally this album has a lighter approach to music than its predecessors and generally for the whole genre, but maintain that poetic high level of politicisation and criticism in form of lyrics and song title, which early grindcore outfits prided themselves on and perhaps was generally lost in the build up to the the 3rd millennium. There is no time to make a cup of tea or even to pick something off the floor, the songs are short and tight, just how we like em.
All the instruments play a prominent role in Talarczyk's revision of Grindcore, although it is his guitaring that take it off the edge and into the sublime, forming the backbone of the Nasum effect, with the bass and drums building up from it. Expect the vocal pairs of screamy and shouty to make appearances, but perhaps by accident and not design they are more comprehensible than most bands that use this approach. The drumming acts as a doppelgänger to the guitar work and gives it that ferocity and edge to the riffing that will descalp your face. Like the Norse god of thunder and rain, Thor had his hammer, well Nasum have their bassist who harmoniously clashes with the guitars and drums to give a raw depth, to this melodically grinding masterpiece. This album is a puzzle to me; it is soft yet harsh, and constantly changes from an all out musical riot to something systematic and soothing, yet the changes seem natural and not incongrues, clearly the sign of a master of the musical trade.
 Lets put it bluntly, Human 2.0  is a must have album for a grindcore fan, is  la pièce de résistance album of the band that rewrote the Grindcore Constitution by force.


Monday, 7 June 2010

"Mexican" Murder Metal, (Brujeria, Brujerizmo 2000)

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The Shield among other series and films paint a terrifying and savage depiction of Mexican Cartel leaders and Mexican gang land culture, its not even just in fiction, but in the media too, most people probably are unaware that there even is a war over narcotics in Mexico that is still ongoing and very bloody. Despite Grindcore and Death Metals ability to write music on any given topic regarding death, war and injustice among others, this topic is generally neglected. However not so for Brujeria, these guys relish in this theme and pull off an image of actually being Mexican drug lords who believe in Witchcraft(the name Brujeria is Spanish for witchcraft), Satanism and eradication of white peoples. What a horrible band you might be thinking, well to tell you the truth they don't believe in any of this, they are a concept band and play on this fake reputation to garner infamy and a stigma. The line up is quite impressive and may be regarded in the league of the so called "Super bands" as each member is a veteran of the music industry, I wont tell you who the band members are as I think it is half the fun is working out who they are, at least one of them should be a dead give away with the hair and tattoos. As the line up becomes more apparent you realise that you may of been slightly hoodwinked in regards to who the band claim they are, I wont elaborate further as it is your duty to find out so.
The title track which is also the first track starts of with some creepy intro with a child singing in Spanish, then the guitars kick in and you tell this is going to be one heavy release. There are a number of interesting features about this album; no blast beats, no fast guitaring and no demonic vocals or no screams or shrills, this lacks all the building blocks of a grindcore  release! So we have established it isn't grind, but who cares it is en par; its heaviness is just bestial and the music is killer, I think the world is needing some more Mexican Murder Metal. The grindcore formula has been altered and replaced with that of a more progressive metal approach, but doing so has given this album a whole character of seizing all the dark corners and shady characters  of Mexico and bring them all into one place: Brujerizmo the Album.

Guess Who?
The vocals are just amazing, forget any inhumane, pissed off, drugged up or chainsaw rape style vocals we are accustomed to, this is the true voice of some testosterone fuelled, machete wielding Mexican drug dealer who in his spare time kidnaps people more for sport than the money(speaking of which watch Man on Fire). His audio assault is all done in Spanish, which is one of the most fundamental features of this album, his singing if you can call it so, sounds more like some revolutionary who is driven more by blood-lust and vengeance than political ideal.
The guitar work is a impressive achievement and most definitely needs a round of applause, it is hard to right something that is outright amazing, in line with the theme, catchy and ferocious. Well the guitarist does this and does it across all 11 tracks, and perhaps to top it all off everything he plays is neither fast nor difficult to play. The drums as aforementioned contain no blast beats nor any complex drumming explosion, however they serve to drill in the militancy and revolutionary spirit of the songs. Unlike most bands that have one bassist, Brujeria have opted to have 2/3(not sure exactly) and these additional bassists I am sure are what add to that super heavy effect of the songs, perhaps more death metal bands should take no. The composition of putting all these instruments to play cohesively has been pulled of with absolute precision, and there is no moment you feel that one note or a second is out of place. One thing that I have neglected is to mention any similarities between Brujeria and Fear Factory, I have never listened to Fear Factory, so me drawing parallels will not be my opinion but a regurgitation of someone else's.
Brujerizmo has earned itself as a cult classic among the extreme metal music industry, for those of you who are well settled in Grindcore, you may receive a revelation that music can be good and heavy as hell without being Grindcore(shock horror!), this . Brujeria have pulled an amazing feat of musical achievement and mastered the satanic and racially violent art of Mexican Murder Metal.