DEICIDE (USA-Fl): “The Stench of Redemption” Cd 2006 Earache

If General Surgery‘s debut was an event to ponder, Deicide‘s eigth studio album is such even more. The main thought that fell into me as I was listening to this album, and believe me I have listened to it many times now, is that that this guy with paige cut hair is really getting old. Don’t misunderstand me this album is stuill full of energy and violence, but for a start, it’s becoming always less Deicide and always more traditional Metal plus some Deicide touches. I read an interview with Benton who was talking about how Elvis was cool when he saw him live, and guess whose band is being covered in an alternative edition of this album? Deep Purple!!! Fuck!! Deep Purple!!! The mummies, the walking corpses, who the fuck is caring for that acid trip shit nowadays? When are Deicide going to pay homage to the fucking Beatles? Apart from this, the guy is getting bald and fat, shot a video of him riding a motorcycle (ah ah ah, yeah, just like that Manowar video!), and released an album like this, so chock full of Malmsteen-like solos I was about to vomit. Honestly, were the Hoffman brother THAT important in the making of the songs? I guess we’ll know only when they’ll be forming a new band (and I read they are). Now that I said all the obnoxious things about this album, it’s time for me to tell you that aside for all that bullshit, this album is definitely good. You have to work a bit on CoolEdit or a similar audio editing program to CUT OFF all the solos, because they’re really unbearable, but once you delete them permanently from the mix (please Earache, once it’s time for a re-edition, release an alternative version of this album without that guitar shit), you get solid, powerful and fast rhytmic riffs, with Steve’s trademark super double bass carpeting the whole album. It is always delicious to hear how Deicide still manages to write power riffs that mainitain the crush even when arranged in such fast tempos. Glen’s vocals are still deep and cavernous, avan if without that histerical, possessed timbre of the first two albums. I won’t say again, that they got back the genius of “Legion”, but for sure this is not the ton of smoking shit that was “Once Upon the Cross” either (not to mention the following non-existing albums). We follow the lines of “Scars of the Crucifix” now, as this album is still one hundred percent super tightly fastened Death Metal with Deicide’s trademark backing screams. However I have also to say they lost some of their trademark sound, which has evolved a bit towards more traditional solutions. I was tempted to give this album a 9-score rating, but the solos in here are so horrendous and superfluous that I should give the whole album a five minus (listen that ridicolous wanking in song 4! What’s that , The Toy Dolls?). Whatever the case, I personally suggest to skip the solos manually with the fast forward button and try to savor the rest. There is a lot of solid guitarwork here, without the classic “Legion” overlays but quite interesting nonetheless. And the cover artwork looks superb, especially compred to the cover of “Serpents of the Light” (ah ah what a joke that one!), it reeks of brimstone!

GENERAL SURGERY (Swe): “Left Hand Pathology” Cd 2006 Listenable

Okay, let’s start by taking a deep breath. An album like this is a monumental effort and it deserves strong reactions. First off, the idea for the cover artwork is cool: it is a drawing of a set of surgical instruments from the middle ages in the vein of Necrony and Haemorrhage demos, on a worn paper effect which is effective is fot hugely original. However the font chosen for the title is definitely not the best on earth (but I’ll let it go since it seems the same one used for Necrony’s debut) but, well, that jelly effect on the logo is really bad, especially when so close to a lineart drawing like the one of the tools below. Whatever. Another thing I hated a LOT is that this record oozes tongue-in-cheek humour since the very title (think about Entombed‘s debut album) and more of  it you get from the song titles (haven’t read the lyrics, they’re not present on the cardboard promos grrrr), a song name like  “Ambulance Chaser” sounds more Birdflesh to me than gore, and I’d sriously like to say two words to whomever invented a SHIT title like “The League of Extraordinary Grave Robbers”. For sure there was a lot of  nasty humour in early Carcass as well (“Festerday”, “Rotten to the Gore”, “Malignant Defecation” etc), but this just sounds too cheap to me, I am just a bit bored of bands making fun of splatter, some bands should definitely learn from the Brazilian scene).

However, when we talk about music, this record shredded the fuck out of my brain, this powerhouse has the same bulldozing energy of “A Chapter of Accidents” plus “Gore Metal” plus a lot of extra crusty groove-steeled energy. Really “the festering stench of rotting flesh makes me drool as I consume… ” this album!!! Some faint rock’n’roll swing a la “Necroticism” drops in here and there, but generally speaking, making excessive referencing to Carcass would be unfair. For sure early Carcass songs were the matrix from which this band was spawned in the beginning, but considering how the Carcass songs were structured (and when I talk about Carcass I just consider the recordings up to “Necroticism” and this last one with a snort and a spit and a swear, fuck off mr Amott for destroying a cult band), there is not really much of them except for the sound, lyrical themes and the sick vocal approach. Musically I’d say this General Surgery 2.0 is more oriented towards Swedish grind/crustcore: if we strip the songs to the very core, I bet if you change vocals and guitar distortion you’d get something interesting. Whatever the backbone is however, this new stuff has a frighteningly high energy level, full of thrashing guitar riffs, perfect drum arrangements, and a very mature production that places all of the instruments evenly without sounding artificial at all. This is an album that MUST be bought, because things here are really superior compared to the mumble-jumble of second generation clones! The vocals are manipulated in some heavy way but you can tell the original timbre is deep and powerful so the resulting effect is twice as good. There are a lot of sick tempo structures and guitar interconnections here that give the whole album a complex but studied sound, but it’s great to hear that the accent weights on the fistbanging, mayhemic, old school RIFF!. If there is only one thing I miss on this album which might have made me happy, is the lack of explicit gore and the overabundance of fun, this is luckily not fucking Ghoul, but there is just too much light hearted enjoyment going on for my tastes. I just wish I had seen some viscera on the cover, that would have been original, for once… bah!

AMOK (Che): “Lullabies of Silence” Cd 2006 Fastbeast

After so many years of hearing tons of bands of varying degrees of quality, I can almost instinctively discern bollocks from strawberry cream. Yet at times, my gut instinct and my rationality just kick each other in the groin, like with this Swiss Amok. My rational pro journalist side says this is amazingly intricate, hyperfast Death Metal with all the inbred dissonance and experimental trips of Blood of Christ, Korova, even fucking Cryptopsy and the likes. Super stuff indeed, with a jagged multifaceted sound that displays technical prowess and a sense for the hectic and the irrational. Yet my guts are screaming: “how boring is this stuff???” First BIG flaw is the vocals which, to follow the uneven flow of the music, shift from a deep growl with is just massively weak, to really, really awful, horrendous, intolerable, excruciating to hear shrills. This is the high pitch which disturbs the horses in their stables, think Daffy Duck of the Looney Tunes but even higher. They’re really impossible to stand, recording vocals like this is plain offensive. If you manage to erase them from the mix… man they’re intolerable… you get a technical, highly disharmonic affair which is full of sharp turns and weird arrangements, sometimes at the limit of schizophrenia… man these vocals are impossible to stand… The production is again very sharp… man I give up, let’s turn off the stereo, whew…

I was saying.

The production was very sharp and the package fully professional, with pantone silver and all. I won’ recomenf it for people into more emotional, strong Metal, but for those who are always looking forward to hear good musicians deprived of feeling this might be interesting. Man I’ll dream the vocals of this albums tonight. How absurdly weak are these? I cannot even manage to read the lyrics…

RELLIK (USA-Ny): “Deceive the Deceiving” MCd 2006 Metal War

I don’t know exactly what a rellik is, but this bands plays for sure among the finest examples of Bay Area Thrash Metal I have heard recently. Nothing that hits me like like it did in the ’80s (honestly speaking, I don’t believe that anything recorded today would have the same feel, it might be I am just a different person now), but there is a lot of grrove and intensity going on here. I admit my first interest in hearing this band came from the fact that Craig Smilowski beats the skins here (he played drums with Immolation and Goreaphobia), but there is definitely more to hear: a really impressive, huge guitar sound (a sound that would fit Sick of It All or Blood for Blood), metallic bass lines, hectic and creative drum tempos, and a lot of metal galloping and sane Thrash Metal headbanging. What saves the band is probably the vocals which are not too clean, not too deep, just the right kind of raspy, impish style which reminds maybe a bit of early Kreatoror Razor (but you could name almost any other band here). Compared to other disastrous attempts such as Soulless or Defaced which I heard since the new Thrash explosion hot the new millenium (thank you, Bewitched), this Ep shines silver (gold might be too much). It has force and not a sign of wimpy gay vocals or boring Metal rides. Old school worship done with cognition.