BATHTUB SHITTER (Jap): “Shitter at Salzgitter” live Cd 2008 Power It Up

From my point of view, after years and years passed listening to Metal and Core, the sum of all the live recordings that deserve to be bought easily stays in the finger of a hand. And I am pretty much afraid this live 2004 isn’t in that list. Honestly, I like Bathtub Shitter, I really do… I have bought all their 7″ and listened to all of them a few times, but my narrow Doberman cranial box struggles to understand why I should listen to these songs with a broken sound and crowd shouts in the middle. I am probably the last person in the world to ask about live recordings, and well, I assume for a live it is good quality after all, but I just find live recordings completely useless.

The Cd looks pro, it has a color booklet, lyrics, photos collage and all the routine stuff in its place, but I really find it difficult to recommend something like this. You know Bathtub Shitter, right? Noisy at times, musically proficient at others, with that little touch of Japanese madness. If you’re a record collector and find challenged by this band’s huge list of releases here it is, get in touch with Power It Up.

BLOODRED BACTERIA (Ger): “Kiss the Goat” compilation Cd 2008 Power It Up

Okay, this time I prefer not to read anything about this new release before actually hearing it from start to finish. I remember this is the band who also released a split with Abscess some years ago and according to Power It Up‘s info sheet it’s a collection of Bloodred Bacteria singles. I am not hugely versed on this kind of  new grind core, but it seems to be a genre immensely popular in Germany, eastern European countries and in the far north. I personally never got big into it, and according to the sales of my shop back in the days, it doesn’t seem to stick very much in Italy. Maybe I didn’t push it enough… whatever.

The label is doing a good job with reissues in general, starting from a nice packaging with full lyrics and a couple of meaningless drawings, to a careful re mixing of these old songs for an even, better balanced sound. I lost myself halfway in the lyrics, some sort of generic rant that goes from moaning about how liberalism is bad and generic fun stuff. This definitely not the kind of lyrics that stick in the head like Fugazi‘s or Minor Threat if I must be honest. Also I would consider them a little more if they came from a Chilean band, instead of Germany.

From the musical standpoint, the Cd starts out a bit slow. Mostly that boring brand of run of the mill grind you can find on that big box of 7″ with nonsense covers you always find in average punk gigs. You know, the one sold by that guy with the army cap with Warsore patches, yellowish vegan skin and that brand new Driller Killer shirt. However even with the worst cynicism I admit there is good shit in the remaining half of this collection, though. The band seems to have gained some awareness somewhere in 2003-2004 starting out with the Swarrm split (that one is a great band by the way). The vocals are kinda strange, they are not particularly extreme, but their use of multi-layered recordings make them quite personal. The guitarwork has become more contorted without falling in that mathcore shit, but also not purely derivative of Discharge either. I must say there is some personality in this work. What seems to lack however is a good punch. The chemistry seems to have stalled to good levels, but none of these songs gave me even a fair shake. Mostly fast chugs and repetitive shouting. Could be a good choice for those into generic grind, I personally found it quite avoidable.

GUTTED WITH BROKEN GLASS (USA-Ca): “Beaten to a Bloody Pulp” Ep Cd 2008 Grindhead

Oh my, “original pirate grind”. My senses are already on alert. Let’s start with a superficial exploration. This packaging looks better than anything I have seen so far from Grindhead, even though there is just a meager flyer in place of the booklet. Too bad for the bad Photoshop trick on the logo, but the cover art is nice. Obscure and pretty much gory. The lyric sheet is non-existent but the song titles are already quite bad – “pillage plunder grindcore”. What the fuck. The pirate concept is new in Death Metal afaik (Running Wild is NOT Death Metal ehe) – that is fine – but the really curious thing is this band considers itself grindcore. Cool. This is not grind by any standards.

Digging in the bio, I discovered this band is a kind of side project of Rotting Stiffs, a hopelessly generic brutal death metal band with routine chug riffs and mid slam tempos – from Cali. Ugh. Also, I don’t think it’s listed as a mini but I proudly refuse to call a 14 minute Cd a full length, I hope you’ll forgive me.

That said, I have been spinning this cd twice so far, and I admit this is not too bad. Yesterday I read a review on Teufel’s Tomb about how completely mistaken the band comparisons are in the majority of today’s zines and bios. I hope that guy forgives me if I hold his theory. This band has nothing to do with Dying Fetus, Anal Cunt (What?), Cannibal Corpse (??) or Assuck (Ehhh??????) – as stated on their bio. They have no power chord slams, no crusty grind grooves, or anything else in common with these bands. They basically play honest, down to earth Brutal Death with a decently suffocating, super low, dirty as hell sound. Not stellar, but better than Rotting Stiffs or a lot of the mid tempo slam garbage I hear today. Actually this band is quite intense, even the drum machine doesn’t sound too artificial, kinda Atavism meets Malignancy meets Putrid Pile, for lack of better comparisons. They’re not very advanced but simplicity is power sometimes. Not a must have, but worth some coin if you want a quarter of an hour of fun. Gory and bass-saturated. Nice.

BEYOND TERROR BEYOND GRACE (Aus): “Extinction|Salvation” Lp Cd 2008 Grindhead

The super shitty cover made me fear for the worse since the beginning. Math-Nu-Post kind of shit a la The End, you know, that kind of intellektual wannabe kind of photography full of shades and blur that guys with emo haircuts like so much. All in all the packaging is not bad, but is so desperately clichéd it gave me headaches.

I remembered the name of the band so I dug back into old Nuclear Abominations reviews and picked it up so I could remember what I thought about them. Uhm. I wasn’t exceedingly critic so maybe something good might come out of this one. If you wish have a look at what I thought of their previous Ep, check that old review I just imported into the new website.

I don’t know in what kind of mood I was back then, but surely the fact I just came back from a Revenge/Angelcorpse gig yesterday won0t help them much. When I attend good gigs, my temper for generic bands tends to shorten. I keep this short: this new BTBG album is boring. The vocals are just as generic as you can imagine. Same old formula of the raspy shrieks meet guttural growls, but neither of them sounding special, both basically a single note “baaah baah baah”… there is some good blasting coming from the drummer but these riffs seems just repeated over and over. If I struggle to isolate the instruments I realize what an impressive kind of shit work the singer made to ruin what could have been a decent grindcore album. Put one capable of even minimal modulation and it could have just made this album another story entirely. This is an album that could appeal some grinder that started with Nasum, but I am pretty sure 1st generation ones will be shrugging their shoulders and go after Heresy and the likes.

BLOODY SIGN (Fra): “Explosion of Elements” Lp Cd 2007 Ibex Moon

Wow. This Bloody Sign might not be a band that needs introductions, but it’s surely worth underlining from the beginning how damn mindblowing they are. Kilometers far from today’s opposing standards of “dark old school” and “brutal new school”, this is a band which “didn’t not surprise me to check they released a split on Nihilistic Holocaust“. As you might have guessed, the line follows from where the first album “Vana Vigala Loïts” ended, still knee deep in classic high level Death Metal that oscillates between South American warfare (Imperious Malevolence, Masacre etc) and Morbid Angelesque high-level writing (Ingurgitating Oblivion, Impureza, Act of Gods, Centurian, Serpents’ Aeon etc).

The songwriting is really impeccable, with plenty of that Floridian muscle we have started to forget about. I am not into 100% of the mid tempo bridges (a bit in the vein of old Morgoth maybe, even though the vocals are not that great – heck!), but it’s the the fast parts that are are something really worth hearing – amazing solos and intricate multi layered riffs, throat ripping vocals, granite solid drumming. This is a really impressive work of old fashioned professional level Death Metal like you rarely hear today.

Like I said I am not really 100% into it, mostly because the songs seem a bit lacking of precise personality at times, some riffs could have possibly been dropped (my friends in Kaamos told me they dropped dozens of riffs before getting to studio, and it’s something that generally pays in my opinion), but this is just a cheap comment from a critic that might not be worth considering (didn’t they say the same of Mozart?). The good work on this album however is much, and definitely enough to blast my personal rating quite high. I’m with this band completely, seems like the French scene is really giving birth to new killer bands lately.

Another thing worth saying is that all these songs are 4-5 minutes long. It’s not that common nowadays I think. You finally have the impression of buy a full length Cd, and not a 20 minute demo for the same price. All this to say this is a band that needs careful attention. They’re good musicians, with plenty of taste, dedication and vision. I am loom forward to hear a fast-only album!

I found the original cover artwork on the Internet and I cannot but say I am pretty much disappointed to see how this superb work was butchered by a mediocre Photoshop trick across the logo and a really muddy, dark print. The picture here is not how the real cover looks like, but how it should have. It is so dark you lose much of the detail and shading effect. Too bad really.

MALICIOUS HATE (USA-Mi): “Promo 2007” demo Cd-r 2007 s/p

Malicious Hate is a relatively old band from Michigan (we’re talking about the eighties here). They released a rather interesting album back in 1996 – whose real spotlight was a cover so memorable I cannot resist to repost it below – please notice the subtle use of greens, fuchsias and violets is nothing short of shocking!

The good part in this promo Cd however, is not the cover, but the content! As the Cd-r I got from the band is… blank. I checked it on several players and burning softwares and it confirmed my fears, it is completely virgin. Either this is a really extreme (even though not new at all) form of industrial noise anarchy, or something just fucked up during the preparation of the promotional package. This 2007 promo is not listed anywhere else on the Internet so I wonder exactly what was supposed to be contained here. Maybe advance tracks from a forthcoming album? I guess I’ll never know!

DEFEATED SANITY (Ger): “Psalms of the Moribund” Lp Cd 2007 Grindethic

I am not an incredible fan of cold, mathematical, technical brutal Death Metal – American style. But when it is played properly, it is able to raise so much intensity and thickness you really cannot get with other forms of standard Hard Core and Metal. Defeated Sanity‘s sophomore “Psalms of the Moribund” delivers hard and efficiently, an incredibly thick carpet of frighteningly intricate guitar work, guttural stone-grating vocals and hyperblasting drums. I think I even saw them live once but for some reason I completely overlooked them. It might be since this is not the kind of bands I like to see in an open air gig where the sound is dispersed in the ether.

The sound on “Psalms” is deep, bass heavy and suffocating, the kind of sound that coupled with non stop constant blasting and curving leaves no breathing space whatsoever. The production as said before is rather sludgy and mucky, but to me it fits finely, it almost as you can see the meatcleaver chop and hack and truncate chinks of flesh from a cadaver. Not a total swamp like in Enmity, but almost. The riffing is impressive, you got an half gazillion leaks, harmonics and squeaks in the middle of all this fucking calculated chaos. I cannot but recommend this shit for all those into hyper-intense Brutal Death where skill and musical ability is at the service of intricacy without bending to the necessity of making the sound softer. There are just 3 or 4 wigger slam riffs a la Devourment in the whole Cd, all the rest is non stop barbarity. Very, very good.

The cover artwork looks real good, however I got this promo on a shitty Cd-ROM with xeroxed cover, I cannot give an opinion of the packaging or the lyrics. I hope one day labels will realize having some promotion on a webzine might be worth sending a 2 dollars Cd instead than a 2 dollar Cd-ROM.