Yakisoba (Ita): “Mandatory Amputation” tape/CD

2018 Deaf Death Husky Records / Eyes Of The Dead

Italy’s most recent goregrind band I know of (together with the newborn Golem Of Gore), this 2018 7-track tape is a small jewel to look at, neat and classy in its simplicity, I kinda really dig the oriental minimalistic approach to the design the band adopted in both version of this release. Yakisoba’s approach to goregrind on the contrary do actually work for the opposite reason – its efficacy is in being analogue and messy as fuck. It might not be blistering fast but it’s raw and has all the proper garage reverb that is mandatory in this music. The line between sloppy and unrefined might be slippery for the uninitiated but it’s really the difference between a good punk album and a high school jam. This is a band for those into noisegore which is actually played, every hiss and pop and imprecision add to its value. The rest? Gargling roars, samples, Dead Infection-like 2-chord riffs and all the good fun this genres still offers.

Subduer (Ger): “Death Monolith” EP

2018 Dunkelheit Produktionen

Dunkelheit from Germany is probably one of my favorite labels around today. In 11 or so years of activity they keep up a great job at releasing great bands like Tetragrammacide, Blood, Goat Semen, Abatuar etc. for about one hundred releases, all of which caring, just like I do, more for music that pushes boundaries of noise and sickness than mere “genres” alone. They also maintain this tradition of sober, symbolic (or apparently so) layouts, which over time have managed to contribute to the label’s branding identity. Subduer are an interesting new project from Germany that mix elements of power electronics with the chaotic J-Readesque disharmony of extreme Death/Black, some sort of Terror Organ meets Conqueror kind of dry brew.  4 tracks could be not enough to completely savor and dissect the potential of this band but there is enough hisses, samples, drone hammering and manic screams to fulfill a trip to the gym late in the evening. Good stuff as usual, worth checking out.

On why Autopsy is the greatest band that ever existed

I have been chewing at the new EP “Puncturing the Grotesque” for a few days now and there’s this song “Gas Mask Lust” that just creeps within the folds of your brain. I was stuck in the traffic this morning and just put it on loop, over and over. I started to think about all the “Autopsy – inspired bands” we have in today’s scene and how they just seem to catch just a facet of the multi tentacled and multi eyed beast that is Autopsy. How is that that they always manage to stand head and shoulder above all the rest of the Death Metal underworld, every single time they release a new album?

That made me think a little, and the usual answers started to shower in.

Listening to an Autopsy song is like being in the perfect storm. How is that that their backbone is punk as fuck, the single chords so raw, the vocals messy and out of place, but at the same time you understand that if these guys were not musicians with 40 years of experience they could just not play this shit? The orchestral taste in which screams and solos are arranged are a bit like having GG Allin and the London Symphony Orchestra at the same time in some sort of deranged jigsaw that, ultimately and bafflingly, makes sense in the most disturbing way.

From the underground Death Metal perspective, these guys have been in there forever. They never had the big hype of Death or the worldwide recognition of Morbid Angel, but yet they are one of the proto-everything bands that just started the whole Death Metal concept (and in my opinion they’re still the band that better embodies it). They are the prototypical antonym of “derivative”. They took the ugliest parts of rock, metal and punk and sewed the rotting chunks with images of utter horror and sleaziness without just focusing on literature and movies, but digging deeper into the most nightmarish essence of humankind from the broadest spectrum. They had this vision in a time of primordial chaos when there was none. Autopsy is relentless, untainted and untamed horror in its purest form, that is, in other words, DEATH METAL.

That is basically what makes them so special: Autopsy is the alpha and omega of Death Metal, complete upon itself. They sum up EVERYTHING conceived in this corner of music. It’s like putting your whole collection in a slow juicer to remove all the fluff. I still believe you could have their records and nothing else on your shelf, and that still would be a respectable, flawless DM collection. 

Long Death the Kings.

Hateful Lyrics Dissected

Hateful seed inside me
Scald my mind of all but truth

So here is the first installment of a new category of posts called “lyrics dissected”. Most bands nowadays in the Death Metal world (more so on the Grindier side, less so in the Blackest side) barely write lyrics. Some however take their time to communicate something.

Hateful from Modena, Italy is one such band. Here is a long chat I had with Daniele and the lyrics of their latest full length album “Epilogue of Masquerade” (2013).

So let’s start from the conceptualization of the lyrics. Are the ones on the latest albums somehow connected? Is there a common thread?
No common threads, I touched many different themes and I think I’ll continue to write in this way… Each song has its topic. Inthe first album there were some tracks that were linked together but in “Epilogue of Masquerade” I had so many different things I wanted to write about that a concept album would have been a limitation, so to say.

The lyrics on the first song refers to the cover art? “The blackened blood flows into turbulent oceans” looks like it refers to the black liquid spilling from that circular dimensional gate. Did you get inspiration from some Dan Seagraveish illustrated nightmare and built lyrics upon that or on the contrary you first envisioned the lyrics and subsequently engineered the cover art? Abstracting the concepts to the limits, would it be possible to define all the lyrics of the album combined with just a couple of words? What does “Epilogue of Masquerade” refers to? Revelation? Of what?

You are right, but to be precise I wrote the lyrics first. Artifacts of the Damned is about the essence of the artistic creation in general, at least from my point of view. Visual arts are definitely a source of inspiration for the lyrics, as well as many other concepts more related to society or personal experience. I think I use a very “visual” style even when I thalk about society or more mundane things, the atmospheres are very important in our lyrics

Memory is mostly visual after all even if perception is a mixture of all senses, and then some more.

The title “Epilogue of Masquerade” does not refer to any of the songs in particular, It is a sort of “sum” of the overall atmosphere and the sense of “unveiling thruts and exposing inner deformities” that permeates the whole record

What’s the masquerade? Some sort of self-inflicted blindness humanity needs to safeguard its sanity?

Yes, the lies that keep us away from insanity probably.

Maybe a sort of “yang” that permits the existence of luciferian creativity? That brings us to the second track “Corrupting the Veils That Keeps the Mind Sane”

Yeah, the hidden side… Society uses the lies to mantain a sort of difficult order. I tried to dismantle this construct in our lyrics.

What if we needed these lies? Do you believe we can face a world of complete freedom
would that be auspicable?

What you find beyond the veil is not necessarily good or illuminating it could be scary and disturbing.

What moves you towards it then? Is it some spark of creation and divine consciousness?
Isn’t ignorance bliss?

This concept has been inspired by Mondrian‘s painting research… He gradually dissolved the veil and reached a world of primary colors, a totally abstract dimension.It leads you to a place of no emotions apparently. The lyrics arre the opposite.

Or maybe the apex of emotion is emotionlessness like the combination of colors is white.

He reached a place of violent colors and rumors…that’s probably because I did not go so far. It is possible I went deeper

Sounds like a circular reasoning, an endless struggle for higher conscience that peaks into non existence.

Yeah, that song is probably the faster and more aggressive of the album, I think the lyrics were appropriate

Is this higher search for the founding blocks of reality one way to be “Craving for dead ideals” (referring to track 3)?

“A despicable Harvest” is a more motionless track everything is static the ideals are futile, humanity is a solrt of product of an entity that feeds them to absorb its energy

God? As in the God of Jews.

I think it is a more “earthly” entity, the song has nohing sacred, it is a grey picture of reiterated gestures, hopeless stuff.

The fourth track “And there was light brought my attention to the fact that you use terms like obscure, glowing, light and dark several times in the lyrics. Maybe the album is a journey through an oscillating waveform of light and its absence?

Yes, the lyrics here are like paintings, very figurative…your interpretation is very interesting….there are songs that deal with daily stuff but it is the way they are written that makes them very “pictorial” and sometime inscrutable the fact you are giving interpretations that are very close to what I wanted to talk about is reassuring ehehehe
It once was light is about paranoid and the disgusting felings you experience after a traumatic experience. The loss, the sense of guilt and stuff like that.

Indeed every single lyric could potentially be illustrated.

True, It would be a very interesting project!

So absence of light leads to disgust and exhaustion. Light is therefore the light of the flame of creativity.

We could say that the light is the vitality, the will to expand yourself and create… the quest for immortality through art. As you said before it is closer to the luciferian concept of light.

Not just light but also sound and smell and every sense. Perception and experience as light. The promethean flame. On track five you mention “An unheard sound – Buried by the blanket that covers the mind”, another take on the lack of perception or it’s something else?

Breathing the Whirlwind is inspired by the cataclysms that led the life on earth close to the total extinction so many times in history….once again I used this figure of speech to reflect on all the the energies we spend on futile things on a daily basis

Hard to tell what is futile though.

Futile compared to the immense power of the universe of course.

Unless we can define futile as anything that sways ourselves from higher conscience.

Yes this is acceptable. The message once again is “create and leave a trace before it’s too late” ha ha ha.

You imply search for higher conscience is somehow nobler that experiencing and just taking maximum pleasure from every moment of our life, can’t I just sit and watch the universe unravel?

Of course these traces could be cancelled by events like that but you have to try. It is not my lifestyle, I never enjoyed being inactive and waiting to see what happens but I respect people that are calmer and take life easier It is not myself, and this is reflected on our music

Mammals’ vestibular system regulates balance through impulses sent to the spine, that brings us to other senses with “Instinct of the Carnivorous Mass”. When you mention vertigo.

IIt is a very “organic” text.

The space between senses as perception and sensations as feelings blurs
The lyrics on this one feel like a carnal urge to expand

I remember being inspired by John Carpenter’s “The Thing”. Yeah I’ve always been fascinated but the way those alien cells were able to mute form when needed in order to survive.

Some Yuzna and Cronenberg as well apparently.

It’s about the struggle to survive, the organisms on this planet are not here to give up without fighting. It is what we are forced to do all the day but there is also a negative and egoistic side.

Who is reawakened at the end of “Stillbirth”? Seems like the main subject is fading to nothingness and cold, but in the end he reawakens.

It is about the trauma of the birth.I remember reading something where they explained this incredibly brutal experience leaves unforgettable traces forever in our subconscious. A lot of nightmares and paranoids (as well as sexual deviations) we experience during our life could be linked to it

Let’s talk about Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. Apparently it’s about concealing rage and hatred. Is it referred to a specific category of people?
You also mention revenants, is that hatred somehow justified revenge?

It is more about how negative feelings and hatred in particular changes the human habits and shape. This hate could come from the inside or could have been instilled by outer “forces”, like organized religions, groups of power. I Imagined a sort of architecture based on this…The “Ivory Tower” that appears in the end is the place from where this tentacular system irradiates its power. The revenants are this malicious energy’s servants.

Hatred could also be good fuel that can be channeled into positive acts however
It pushes you into action

Of course! It gives you a purpose and sometimes makes your mind sharper…Because it drives you to analyze things, the reasons why you hate that certain things and defines yourself.

Celestial Purification looks more visual. Do you think it will ever happen? Maybe it is the true purpose of Death?

I’ve always been intrigued by the geological time scale…the eons, the eras, the extinctions…I had this colored and pictorial image of a giant comet arriving and tearing the world apart. It is atrocious but also fascinating. The snow-white trail with ten thousand harpoons is a Moby Dick tribute. Him and the comet have something in common. They are so huge and relentless that their strength seems to be of a divine nature, every rational construct crumble under their impact.

Ravenous seems to alternate between a first person and third person approach. Is it about mutation and the loss of individuality in a process of externalizing one’s pain? Catharsis through torture?

Yes it partially deal with that. The individuality is lost because the protagonist was searching for answers, thirsty of knowledge, tormented by the aims. In this case the search drove him to a state of pure pain and the negativity rose to a level impossible to contain. Thus he became a sort of “evil generator” leaving to the reader the speculations about how many victims suffered from it.

A bit like the experience of Frank from Hellraiser: “explorers from the further regions of experience, angels to some, demons to others”. But where pleasure and experience is circular, instead of libertine lust, it’s about the impossibility to properly express one’s feelings.

Yeah, this frustration stagnates and creates demons…

Walking into a Nightmare envisions a desolate place crystallized in time where the fire of creation finally arrives. Is it the same driving force that the protagonist of Ravenous experiences?

Maybe a similar force but the scenario is different. Here we have a motionless, oppressive and reiterated reality that is suddenly overcome buy a crazy nightmare or daydream. It is not a totally negative development because at least a more colored world substituted the grey reality, even if it’s apparitions are scary and uncontrollable. The lyrics contains some images inspired by the Selby Jr‘ “Last exit to Brooklyn“, a true inspiration back in the days.

Regarding the last one, Bloodline
Is this line some sort of alien construct? Or it comes from the recesses of humanity?
And who’s this slumbering tyrant?

Ironically, I think your interpretation is correct…the “line” is a metaphore to describe oneself strong will to live following its own ideals and passions, no matter what. Doing that we become “aliens”, because society probably has other plans for us. The tyrant is the superstructure that you have to tear down (at least in your own mind) to avoid a passive enslavement. I was strongly inspired by my father’s life while writing this song, I hope I assimilated some of his precepts. The song is also one of the hardest to play in the entire record, I think It suits the lyrics very well.

Ω

Some bands I forgot on the last post aka “Somethings still festering in Italy”

Talking about OSITDM (eh) I forgot a few in the previous post. Here are some Italian bands worth checking in my humble opinion. Most of these have very recently released something, often a full length album so you can still get most of these for quite cheap.

Necromutilator

Necromutilator from Mantua just recently released a new EP on Terror From Hell, same label wo did their debut album in 2014. Mixing elements of very raw, crusty thrash/black and Death Metal in the larger than life way as Throneum or Bestial Mockery with a retro-metallic Hellhammerish sound. Good solid vocals safeguards the band from being strictly compared to the aforementioned bands.

Mindful of Pripyat

This is a sort of super-band that features members of Corporal Raid, Antropofagus and Bowel Stew. They have a powerful, solid punch sound which to be entirely honest doesn’t really fit with my own personal idea of Grindcore – too neatly packed, slick and too precise to be the Terrorizer kinda tribute thing I read in the earlier reviews they were supposed to be, if you know what I mean. But if you are into modern Relapse/Willowtip style ultrafast Death Metal with drum blasts “somewhat akin to grindcore”, the band delivers on all aspects. They have this shitloads of riffs and tempo changes as tight as a straightjacket.

Ekpyrosis

This band recently came out with a full-length on Memento Mori, completely streamed on the label’s YT page.  A very young band with double vocals and clear OSDM references that range from early Grave and Therion to Imprecation just to throw in a few random names. Mostly mid to slow tempo with that grindy, sick, festering sound we all like. Considering their constant progression from earlier works I believe the next album could be something really interesting.

Daemoniac

Pure swedish Death Metal sound here, from ex Horrid frontman Max. Toi be completely honest when I started writing this article I only heard their first EP on Xtreem from 2015 and I was completely underwhelmed. While I still think the bands lacks in really memorable, powerful riffing the overall work on their recent debut is really excellent with a rather peculiar dynamic drum work. Superfluous to add musical references here, just get Ekeroth’s book on Swedish Death Metal and pick a random band, you will hear some of it here. Pure Swedish worship.

Fuoco Fatuo

Another Italian band with a full length released this year, this time on Profound Lore. I still haven’t listen to that album named “Backwater” but I have most of their past discography and I can tell you they’re really good shit. Slow, crushing, hypnotic Death/Doom with an ultra slow pace and a deep, swampy sound to drown in, without any superfluous melodies. They have that finnish, heartbroken, inescapable touch that is just a blessing in this sludgier corner of Death Metal music.

Blasphemous Noise Torment

This is a small jewel of a band that doesn’t have, as far as I know, proper and deserved recognition. I really cannot count that many bands from this country that so vigorously grab from the abrasive, unpredictable structures of Revenge or Diocletian, that noisy, anti-harmonic buzzsaw sound that Voivod proposed for the first time in the mid ’80s and mutated into disharmonic Death Black Metal. They have a new album out in 2015, worth buying 100% from german label Amor Fati (soon on vinyl too, limited to 150 copies).

Demonomancy

Demonomancy have a long run of releases on Nuclear War Now at their backs and this year Terror From Hell released a complete discography on a nice tape boxed set that includes all recorings including both demos. They play Beherit/Naked Whipper/Proclamation influenced Black/Death with added variety but that same evocative, abyssal sound and caprine reverb. Think of the aforementioned bands meet SVEST or some other Noevdia band.

Mefitic

One of my favorite bands from my country right now. More brutal and Archgoatesque is Mefitic’s approach to the Blasphemy centered sound, with breathless songs and hammering, south American drumming. Not as primitive as Blasphemous Noise Torment neither as evolved as Demonomancy. Mefitic is reverb and necromancy at its best, a killer band with a full length album on (unsurprisingly) NWN released in 2015.

 

Lurking Terror

This band from Rome released a demo last year. Despite the seemingly crustie logo they play very downtuned, guttural Death Metal with some vocal reminiscences of Baphomet or Putrilage. Old school in a strict sense, completely devoid of “slam” if the demo had a shittier sound I would have thought they were from the mid-90s. I like their dark sound and shit, they have solos, something I haven’t heard in a while. Classic Death Metal worth giving a listen.

Corporal Raid

One of the earliest Goregrind bands from Italy Corporal Raid is apparently back with their interesting mixture of cricket/bullfrog brutal Death (think Sikfuck or Enmity) and more straightforward goregrind. Thick and blistering fast and not an inch less powerful than 10 years ago. They released a full length album last year on Pathologically Explicit.

Necromorbid

Savage and punkish Black/Death from Florence, Iron Tyrant records just recently rereleased their tape from last year on Cd format. They’re worth listening if you like bestial black/death with an added layer of savagery like Impaled Nazarene or Sadistik Exekution.

Perfidious

Another album released this year comes from Perfidious, antichristian Death Metal from members of Onirik. The abum was released by the hyper-active and very young label Death Metal Insustry. They have a few too many whistles and leaks for my tastes but they are certainly doing a good job. Guttural vocals, Unique Leader tempo changes, crisp production and massive drumming. For lovers of more modern style Brutal Death.

Macabro Genocidio

Playing wild and frantic Black Metal, Macabro Genocidio have just two tapes out so far in their recording history but they’re certainly worth listening if you like weird chaotic South American inspired stuff like Morbosidad. Not entirely in my chords basically because of too high pitched vocals and the sound is a bit too thin but can certainly “improve” with time.

Restos Humanos

Guess what? Another Italian full length album was released this year by englishmen Grindfather Producitons. This time is from Colombian/Italian mongrels Restos Humanos, which I already reviewed not long ago (by my standards that is) regarding a split on Eyes Of The Dead. The band plays honest, loose, vaguely crusty Horror Death Metal with a lot of samples in between the Impetigo way. The Spanish vocals obviously call back memories of Machetazo and Gruesome Stuff Relish but musicwise they’re a bit simpler in their approach. Nice but not a must hear to be honest.

Riexhumation

Riexhumation have their new full EP available in digital format on bandcamp (and YouTube as well, obviously). They play ordinary Death Metal with traditional growls and traditional structures including solos, double vocals and some keyboards as well. I am not too impressed but they have some good arrangements, a listen won’t disappoint anyone, and it’s free too, you lucky millennials.


Here I have my favorites from the list. Check these out at all costs.

Slowly Suffering

Now this is a jewel for you. An interesting, obscure band that is already ten years old but is keeping a somewhat low profile all the way. Their latest release was pressed in 150 copies. They play very old, raw Death Metal that sometimes remind me of a streamlined version of Crematory and other demo-quality unrefined Swedish Death. If I had to pick one from this list I’d go with these.

Necroprofanator

If I dubbed their songs on a blank tape and told you it was a rehearsal from Bolivia you’d believe it. Ultra basic, shittily recorded Thrash/Death the third world way and I completely adore it. If you too have a fascination for tropical, numb, raw music a la Necrofago they are definitely worth checking.

The harder they fall (WTF albums by great bands)

I am not the greatest expert on things Death Metal in the world as my interest in music waxed and waned over the years but I was certainly very much into it in 1990 when this music was at its creative apex. Shortly after that however, but massively just from 1993-1994 onward, basically all of the greatest bands decided to move on and sound different: sometimes with disastrous results nobody could redeem, other times with results I found myself devastatingly terrible but somehow met general acceptance, yet other times they just changed style to play something substantially different but basically almost as good as the older material. Some of these fall in the “only the first album was good” stereotype so many mongos take fun at which is however tragically true, get over it, sometimes creativity is one-shot.

Here are a mix of albums that I consider stylistic turns, plain no-nos or just more or less acceptable breaks.

Dismember – Massive Killing Capacity

A completely shitty album with overload of Maidenesque melodies and riffs. I don’t like Maiden so you can imagine how much I could appreciate this one. I tried to get over it over and over but I just could not force myself into liking it. A plain 4 here to an album which luckily was the worst spot in their career. Their following album and EPs despite the production I am not entirely satisfied with, are excellent albums so let’s consider this one just a mid career fumble.

Deicide – Once upon the Cross

I already talked about this one, after “Legion” I could see the armies of Hell invading the Earth dimension, and instead we got this tarantella meets Death Metal bag of shit. Static, banal, powerless. 3/10.

Grave – Hating Life

Huge “What the Fuck” when this album was released. I don’t think I have ever found anybody into it and rightly so. “Soulless” was an album I took some time to appreciate and even that one I can’t really compare to “Into the Grave”. Yes, the first album was best, PERIOD. But hey, “Hating Life” is soooo bad ahahah. 2/10.

Morgoth – Feel Sorry for the Fanatics

Sometimes if it looks like shit and sounds like shit, it’s just shit. This album is one of the greatest failures in the genre. Grewe’s vocals are among the best in Death Metal, just have a listen at “The Eternal Fall” to get a sample of what demonic suffering sounds like and yet here they sound like some hippie is singing a grunge radio hit. Everything is bad here, from riffs to artwork. 1/10 is a generous vote.

Afflicted – Dawn of Glory

I read some Power Metal webzine recently re-evaluated this album which was a fist in my guts when I listened to it for the first time. From the sick Afflicted Convulsions demo to this album stands a whole galaxy. I can concede the fact that is not even a Death Metal album anymore. Clean vocals, pompous riffing and all the stuff that made epic power metal a genre on its own is here. Not my cup of tea at all. 4/10.

Disharmonic Orchestra – Pleasuredome

DH is a wild beast to tame and identify. They have one of the greatest grindcore albums of all times in their discography and yet even that one was a strange mix of dissonance and post-pop melodies. While their second album was weird, Pleasuredome completely leaves the punk/grind elements behind and shows up an unadulterated Rock version of the band.  I will be a bit blasphemous here but I don’t dislike Pleasuredome, as I don’t dislike any of the albums they released post 2002, starting with “Ahead”. Just consider this is not a Death or Grind album at all.

Xysma – Deluxe

Some kind of parasite infested a lot of the earlier Finnish bands turning their sound into something different with loads of classic 70’s RnR in it. Xysma’s First and Magical was the transition album but still had some elements I could save from the garbage grinder. Deluxe with the best of my intentions has none.

Gorefest – Erase

At first I thought it was a joke. Gorefest sick, grimy sound changed a bit on “False” but that one is still a solid album in my world. “Erase” somehow has a distinct barking going on that someone told me is the singer that changed style. If I want to hear vocals like these my neighborhood has a lot of dogs of different sizes I can ask for a sample, thank you.

Entombed – Woverine Blues

If this one isn’t the greatest musical disappointment of my life it certainly stands in the top 3 podium. I sold it a couple of HOURS after buying it. My friends liked it and I still wonder what they could save in this shitty album. Again, try to convince me the first album was not the best. Every aspect of this album sucks, but the vocals are definitely the absolute worst. It’s like LG is recording his wailing after kicking the corner of a wardrobe with a naked foot. The band never recovered, apparently.

Pestilence – Spheres

So bad, so bad. Death Metal trying to be something it’s not and it’s not supposed to be. I am not a fan of the latest Death but at least those guys definitely knew how to play under the screening of a broader audience. “Spheres” is just pretentious and plainly sounds like shit. I tried to “get it” over and over util I recognized there was nothing to get. Thankfully the band disbanded soon thereafter. I haven’t heard anything of their reunion stuff with proper attention but form what I remember it sounds better than this.

Massacre – Promise

This album just doesn’t work. The problem is structural. Bad riffs put together by the will to make something that sounds modern. Utter failure, not much to add, have a listen to a song on YouTube to save yourself the pain of spending money on the Cd.

Cannibal Corpse – The Bleeding

Thanks Satan Barnes left the band because his vocal style on this album was already borderline. In general this is not a bad album but it has several flaws. First, it comes after “Tomb of the Mutilated” which is the band’s masterpiece. Second, Barnes vocals here are trying to sound clear and that’s a first step in what became Six Feet Under which might be one of the worst Death Metal band that ever existed. I own this album and I’ll keep it but I consider it a black sheep in the cannibals discography. If you want to read more I wrote an article on all the albums not too long ago.

Benediction – The Dreams You Dread

Never been a fan of the band but “Transcend the Rubicon” was a good one as well as all the previous ones. Following a rather insipid Ep this album just crushed all hopes I had. This is Gorefest barking taken to another level. Bau bau bau sings Ingram here for a whole hour. Avoid.

Bathory – Octagon

Bathory is a religion and nobody is supposed to criticize anything Quorthon recorded but come on Octagon is just plain horrible. I can understand completists but keep this album on the shelf. There is some reminiscence of industrial metal chugging here which still baffles me. The guy was a genius and certainly did whatever he wanted but this one was a false step.

Sepultura – Chaos AD

I know I am banal when I say I like the first incarnation of Sepultura, the evil south American reverb monster Sepultura, but I also liked their turn into US Thrash Metal and their swansong that is “Arise” which is a mix of everything they did before. Chaos AD however symbolizes a moment of my life when everybody suddenly begun to listen to Metal, people that basically were into radio music all in a sudden were into Pantera, grunge music and this shitty album. The album is catchy and simple enough that anybody can get into it, as the larger masses of brainless teens did. It’s however not just a matter of turning commercial, it’s the whole album that just doesn’t click. It lacks rage and speed and replaced all that with MTV family friendly alternative appeal. This is one of the albums that gave us NU Metal and Deathcore, remember.

Obituary – World Demise

Not a terrible album, but certainly uninspired. Gone are the skulls and cobwebs and lyrics about blood and Death to be replaced with factories and polluted waters. Meh. I am not sure if it was me that was beginning to get bored but this album sounds terribly watered down. Haven’t heard their reunion stuff yet, except for the ludicrous cartoon. Again it’s not a bad album, you can even buy it but in the 2nd hand bin, but when undecided put “Cause of Death” instead on the player.

Celtic Frost – Cold Lake

There is no point in writing much here. Everybody has heard this one and all mentally sane persons I know still wonder what the fuck happened.

Brutal Truth – Need to Control

Need to Control is a good album I still spin sometimes. I even bought the deluxe version with multiple small vinyl records and the Pink Floyd cover. And yet I had to list it here because it sounds nowhere close to “Extreme Conditions”, which is one of the greatest albums of all times. All of their subsequent releases are in line with “Need to Control” so “Extreme Conditions” remains a single black jewel in their discography, much like “Legion” for Deicide. To be honest, it was impossible to do something as brutal and heavy as their debut so this album is probably the best we could hope for anyway.

Morbid Angel – Domination and Illud Divinum Insanus

Illud Divinum Insanus is probably the worst Death Metal album of 2011 so much so one can barely call it Death Metal even among the countless mediocre recordings we’re surrounded by lately. I won’t even spend words talking about it. But if Illud didn’t exist I would say the weakest link in Morbid Angel discography was “Domination”, I have listened to that album for years trying to get any of the magic of their previous 3 (4?) works and still can’t find any. It’s cold and plain and worse of all there is too much of David Vincent bullshit in the lyrics. Some songs like “Eyes to See” have vocals so bad I could barely recognize the band. I was glad when Vincent was kicked out to be replaced by Tucker as the following album was a good one. Me, I have sold Domination long ago and don’t miss it, it’s the only Morbid Angel album I don’t own (except for the latest but that is not even MA).

Carcass – Heartwork

I am losing friends here but I never completely got into the “new” Carcass even if I recognize a common line in every album except for “Swansong”. It has probably a lot to do more with age records matters than real music criticism but my youth was heavily branded by Carcass and their splatter-gore sound and imagery. I was quite cold when I listened to “Necroticism” but the first solo on “Heartwork” had the sound of betrayal. I am not throwing the Cd out of the window if someone wants to listen to it but Carcass to me is and forever will be shitty sound, gore lyrics and hideous collages made of pathological close ups.

Amorphis – Elegy

Their second album was mellow and bombastic like few others but still Death Metal in some heavily adulterated way. From this point onward I wonder how much pussy and money they have made with their shitty music.

Hypocrisy – Abducted

I think the band was good even if not exceptional, up and to the “Inferior Devoties” Ep. “Fourth Dimension” sounded like Tagtren’s attempt at getting some fat gothic chicks but I think the end result was not too bad. Everything he recorded thereafter is. How mediocre can a Death Metal band sound? Get anything from Elegy onward and you’ll get an answer.

Death – Individual Thought Patterns

I can see the reflection of a huge wooden cross burning just out there in my yard as I write this because people just go nuts when one talks about Death. And yet I have to say I was never impressed by the “new” Death sound that the band developed after “Human”. “Human” is in my opinion the perfect balance of taste, skill, music writing all the while keeping the sound ultra tight and heavy, it’s the ultimate swansong of a band which should have stopped there. The following three albums are just too thin, too scholastic, too perfect and basically just plain. You love them? Fine, but I’ll just stick to the first four (and honestly speaking I am not entirely sold to “Spiritual Healing” either).


There are certainly other bands like Samael, Rotting Chirst, Therion, Terrorizer whose early albums I worshipped that also turned slowly to shit but these are just a couple of ideas to start a new flame ahahah.

Have a happy new year.

Something’s rotten (and festering) in Italy

I can’t certainly be identified as someone who blindly followed and supported bands from my country over the years, and I might say it with pride. On the contrary I have been often accused of hating Italian bands by default which might be not entirely incorrect. I do believe Italian bands on the average sucked amazingly during the nineties with just a short lived moment across the millennium when we had some interesting things going on. 90% of what I heard however in about 30 years is pure garbage, mostly composed of bands obsessed with technical Death-like riffing, usually self described as Thrash/Death but actually being just sloppy second rate, unimaginative thrash metal with stellar overproduction and a lot of ego. The last 10 years or so, however, basically the decade after I closed my old shop and drifted away from everything related to music, things got REALLY interesting. Possibly lead by a couple of dedicated individuals a whole layer of rot started to fester over the plastic post-Meshuggah shit mountain that the Italian “scene” had become. Is it just a new trend? Yes, probably. For some of these these might prove that to be true. Do I care? Hell no. Let this shit come over since it really looks like a new Renaissance to me. No, not exactly a Renaissance, that would imply a glorious past, which my country NEVER had except for VERY few bands. No this is really the real shit we were supposed to play in the early 90’s, we’re just 20 years late.

I will certainly forget about a lot of bands, some on purpose. I won’t list “Brutal Death” or Black Metal or Grind/Death, but just the sickest, darker more traditional sounding Death Metal shit I have been enjoying and discovering lately.

Funest

Funest

Funest is a relatively new band which recently had their 2014 Memento Mori album on vinyl repressed on Morbid Generation (boy what a horrible name is that for a label, right short of Brutal Bands). Their sound is massively Swedish, kinda old Grave with a crisper production and reminds me VERY much of the first Bloodbath EP in more than one aspect. Great vocals, great riffs, great sounds. Their album is just a must have.

Into Darkness

Into Darkness

Into Darkness is not just the title of one of the greatest Death Doom recordings ever, but also a relatively new Death Metal band from Como with a rather sparse discography. Their sound is definitely less Swedish and has strong references to Asphyx and has that kind of half-desperate, half-agonizing, half-hateful (yep that makes 150%) vocal style which is typical of Asphyx/Pestilence and Morgoth. I like their more minimalistic approach to Death Metal, just grab take some good riffs and start munching, no fillers. Like said before their releases are few and sparse, but I think everything is easily available.

Gravesite

Gravesite

Gravesite’s an highly interesting and also rather new band from my city and neighbors that inherited a great part of its sound and members from the troubled yet decently successful Undead Creep. Gravesite also rests in the moldy chamber of older-sounding Death Metal with a mix of sonorities closer to the American southern coasts ranging from earlier Death to Massacre with some faint reminiscences of crust in between. They released a full length on Xtreem last year but I feel like recommending their previous demo tape as well, where the double vocals were ever more distinct and the sound a bit darker. Good stuff.

Assumption

Assumption

They might be catalogued as Death/Doom but I would just say Assumption is really just straight backed Death Metal at its best and probably in my top 5 list bands from Italy today. They’re not more Death/Doom than Incantation, so to speak. Apparition’s only EP is just four tracks (still runs longer than Reign in Blood) but it’s just flawless. Minimalist structures, no filler riffs, Mortician-like zombie vocals, and that tiny pinch of harmonies that is just like that white pepper in the batter for fried chicken, or the stem of vanilla in whipped cream. This is for lovers of the Finnish darker side of Death Metal. Top quality here too.

Profanal

Profanal

Remember when the most Swedish-sounding band around was Fleshcrawl which was not even a Swedish band? Profanal discovered the same fountain of youth rot that defies borders with the dedication of a Syrian immigrant. They manage to sound just like a band from Nicola Costantini’s fetish books and, while in the past the similarities with early Dismember sometimes just overlapped a bit too much, their upcoming “Supreme Fire” really sounds like all weak spots have been addressed. Contaminations from all the cult classics are here, including some early Necrophobic, but the mix is just evenly balanced. It is really one of the best albums I have heard in 2016 even though lampredotto is still nowhere to be seen, mister.

Morbus Grave

Morbus Grave

Formed this very year Morbus Grave is probably the youngest band of this report, but features members of Sepulcral, Funest and Into Darkness. Still another nail haling from the land of fog and panetùn ready for the vacant coffin of OSDM. To be completely honest the band still sounds a bit unripe to me, I like them in general but they just don’t have anything that clicks incompletely yet. No killer riff, dark but not too much and so on, you get it. Possibly the most interesting element in the demo are Erman’s vocals, eerie and malignant and with a barely perceivable accent just like Angelripper on “In The Sign Of Evil”.

As far as I know the band only released one demo so far and moreover that one is also limited to only 200 copies on our inexorable and inoxidizable Unholy Domain recordings so it might not be so easy to obtain in the future BUT we shall take into account that they have a track on Youtube for listening and the fact that people just don’t buy anything anymore (me included sadly but I have already done my homeworks in the past so fuck off that’s another story) so 200 might as well be the right number.

Voids Of Vomit

Voids of Vomit

The band might not have an impressive array of releases despite being over a decade old now, yet they might be considered one of the cornerstones in the new renaissance of our beloved Metal of Death in this shitty peninsula. Necrovore and Sadistic Intent aptly demonstrated in the past how releasing one full-length a year doesn’t necessarily means quality – just saying. Truth be told, all Voids releases have a slightly different feel, from the messy 2006 debut to the latest 2016 promo on Unholy Domain, even though there are at least two common recurring elements: a massive, ultra-down tuned sound (which might be the reason Asphyx come up so often in their reviews) and the eerie feel of the lyrics, which are generally made of short one liners and deal about things dark and creepy hidden beyond our veil of conscience. Things might have changed a bit on the last tape however as I think* the theme shifted a bit on the topics of ancestry and blood valor. Nevertheless the sound is till there: massive vocals, massive riffs and that general feel of decrepitude.

*haven’t read them, just judging by the titles.

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Hateful

Hateful might be the only band in this list together with Valgrind that has roots back in the nineties. They are also the less “plain old school tribute” of them all as well so it barely fits this list. We all love the sound of the early 90’s when the genre was fresh but Hateful just don’t grab full hands and build their sound upon influences, preferring to go entirely personal, a choice which definitely doesn’t follow the market, preferring to create a corner of its own. We can certainly grab a couple of technical Death Metal bands from Florida and make some comparisons now but I think the elements that make Hateful what it is cannot be easily identified. The songs are pure Death Metal, crisp and technical without sounding scholastic, chock full of tempo changes and variations without being another brick in the Unique Leader pyramid. If I had to choose three words to describe the band those would be drive, honesty and inspiration. Their second full length was released in 2013.

Valgrind

Valgrind

Earlier this year Valgrind released their second full length album, and boy it’s a devastating piece of Morbid Angel-influenced traditional Death Metal with paired guitars that contort and twist like snakes. Not so many bands use this many solos and riffs in their songs without sounding one of those Willowtip shitty bands with sideburns. Valgrind plays neat, quintessential Death Metal with some serious guitarwork, Another hit from Lord of the Flies that seems unstoppable. Go for it believe me.
Morbo

Morbo

Hailing from Rome Morbo is a tribute to the old school, putrid sound of Autopsy performed by musicians already active on other bands like notably Corpsefucking Art. They recently released a split Ep with Bunker 66 (which I haven’t heard) and yes, they’re actually quite good. They have all the good elements of the more punkish, rawer part of Autopsy including the classic tremolos, phlegmy vocals, mid tempo accelerations and so on. Being a huge fan of the band myself I can’t but recommend to hear this. The vocalist does a particularly good job in my opinion.

Hellish God

Hellish God

Another extremely recent band formed this year that offers a brand of Death Metal that you just don’t hear so often: kinda Deicide meets South American brutality. Think of bands like Throneaeon and Centurian and mix the sound with Ophiolatry and Fornication. The satanic aspect is exploited in full including the double vocals that recreate the feeling of being present at an exorcism. Needless to say, once more Lord Of The Flies is the way to go. To be honest I am not 100% into it all of the time, but we have a solid ground to work on. We wll see.Presumed Dead

Presumed Dead

I’ll make a bold statement here but I believe this is potentially the most interesting band in Italy right now. Presumed Dead from Treviso might be young, might be somehow untight, hell they might even lose control sometimes, but they have IT, which is something I seldom say anymore. They don’t have IT all the time, but when they do, they hit the G spot hard. I heard once them saying they sounded a bit like Grotesque and well. It’s true, they do. Add Kaamos, Pentagram, Revenant and something else in that vein in the mix and you might get an idea of their guitarcentric approach to Death Metal. I really feel like we haven’t seen anything yet, which is confirmed by the fact they have released just two split EPs so far, a total of 8 songs in 3 years.

Necro

Necro

I can’t forget to mention Necro even though I admit I bought their full length from 2012 (their last release) and I wasn’t particularly blown away. Maybe the expectations were too high according to the promotion that mentioned Impetigo, Repulsion, Autopsy and so on. Certainly the band from Como plays some decrepit sounding mid tempo Death Metal, but just lacks entirely of the sickness and nauseating feel of the band mentioned before. I think the band was trying to do what Cadaveric Incubator from Finland is doing brilliantly, but just ends up sounding a bit dull and boring in the long run.

SepolcroSepolcro 

Verona based Sepolcro is an interesting band. In their innocent simplicity they might be the most genuinely 90’s sounding of the whole lot I listed so far. I particularly dig the vocal style, which has that feeling of coming from beyond the grave which is often absent these days, in particular when paired with that marked Italian accent. They play some very simple, mid tempo Death Metal that just feels like some demo tape I could have found my mailbox when Death Metal was fresh and vibrant. Nothing incredibly innovative again but definitely 100% authentic which is a big thumb up coming from the Crypt of Pus and Gore that is Nuclear Abominations. Great sound too on their split with Presumed Dead.

Cimitero

Cimitero

Another band from Como Cimitero is maybe a name that doesn’t come up as often but they’re not terrible at all. They sound sometimes a bit uneven, like a patchwork of different styles but often you actually hear something good in the mix. Full albums are free to hear on streaming (last one from 2012).

Haemophagus

Haemophagus

Another cornerstone of the NRoITDM (New Renaissance of Italian Death Metal) is obviously Haemophagus, a voracious, hyperactive and hyper-productive band with a long list of releases that include two full-length albums and a big compilation released earlier this year on Despise The Sun. After 12 years of intense activity Haemophagus are so well ingrained that their sound is solidly defined and doesn’t just sound like a mix of other band material blended together, it’s just Haemophagus with all its twists. I personally dislike the 70’s guitar leaks that sometimes head into the songs, but generally speaking every release they ever made is good. Even the lyrics are great stuff, all of them based on gore topics in pure Autopsy style. These guys are pros and you can’t really go wrong with them.