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 Lo├»ts” 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.

ANGELCORPSE (USA-Fl): “Of Lucifer and Lightning” Lp Cd 2007 Osmose

Angelcorpse has come out from of the tomb of ice they fell encased in some years ago. I got this album with some advance in respect to the official release date from Osmose, but I decided to hold it until now because this is not an album I wanted to take lightly. I found much difference from “The Inexorable” and I was not sure I liked everything about it. Before giving an immature comment I wanted to give it a few more listens. The problem is that, even if I am a freak for shit productions, the recording here is a bit flat and murky and really didn’t seem to give the band justice. So I went on and on and listened to it over and over. With some extra thought, I have nothing much to add more than “another fucking masterpiece of Death Metal”. I have come to a point I await for the new Angelcorpse with more trepidation that the new Morbid Angel.

It is worth saying that mostly everyone I talked about this band with in 1997-2000 was throwing shit onto it. All I heard over and over is “they’re just Morbid Angel clones”. Same words came from people in the “metal industry”. Seems like someone finally gives them the rightful respect becouse this IS one of the top Death Metal bands of all times. And I am not exaggerating it, all of Angelcorpse albums can stand with “Legion”, “Altars of Madness”, “Metal Funeral” and other classics.

This one is not far from it. I still haven’t digested the production which seems definitely fuzzy, but the riffing here is still supreme. Malevolence here is the leitmotif of Helmkamp vocals. They hiss with serpentine evilness words written with his usual class and proficiency. The lyrics are as usual so elegantly written they could be sold as a stand alone book. The drumming is flawless, the solos vibrate with imperial pride, and the guitarwork – well – is still the best you can get in the extreme metal industry. Every one of these riffs are masterpieces on their own. I am not afraid to tell Gene Palubicki is, together with Danny Coralles, Piotr Wiowrzarek, John Christ and John McEntee, the best guitarist in Metal I know today (in my own top 5 at least).

Everything in this album is proud, arrogant and imperious. Even the Petagno cover is brilliant, vaguely reminiscent of early Slayer works. Slick packaging and flawless music. One of the top albums of 2007. Period.

ANIMA DAMNATA (Pol): “Promo 2007” demo Cd-r 2007 s/p

Holy fuck, this Cd hit me as a great surprise. I had this name Anima Damnata floating in my head several times during the last few years but I never really cared to check the band out. I am not a huge fan of Poland when it comes to Black Metal: they all have either those lyrics about trolls or about the glorious new wave of thrash metal. And the sound is usually so thin, and the vocals like hysterical mothers-in-law. Nah, not for me. Me stupid once more, I shall inject me with AIDS one of these days for my usual narrow mindedness.

Anima Damnata is a superb band indeed, a band that plays a fine brand of heavily distorted, dark and brutal kind of Satanic Death/Black Metal. Their sound is a balanced mix of 1990’s Floridian Death Metal and bestial Black Metal a la Belphegor, a mix which is definitely worth checking out. There is a really solid song writing here, with a use of double bass and guitar solos which is really unheard of today – just to shoot a few names which are completely out of place but might get an idea I would say Horror of Horrors, Betrayer, Disincarnate, Centurian, Ingurgitating Oblivion, Manifest (as said take these comparisons with a pinch of salt). They have the fine elements of old school Death Metal but also the good feral arrogance of more recent bestial War/Black Metal, this stuff really not just relentlessly brutal, it is catchy in a way I was not really used to anymore, these guys PLAY their instruments instead of challenging for the most complex and skillful performance. It is probably one of the best bands I have heard this decade.

One thing I am really not good at criticizing (since I am no musician I guess) is the recording of an album. Well, even in my ignorance I liked the recording of this promo – it is absolutely clear but doesn’t stink of laundry detergent like modern “Abyss Studios” shit, it has that analogic, warm sound of albums like Deicide‘s debut. I am definitely in love with this shit, I will absolutely catch up with all their past releases. KILLER.

This band can0t be from Poland. Tell me they’re from some fucking Brazilian ghetto!

I know I shouldn’t but here is an Mp4 for your listening. I’ll delete it in a few weeks or upon request of the band: anima-damnata-4