There’s something I never quite understood, or better yet, something that has been pissing me off for some time in the past until my nihilistic point of view justly settled in and told me not to care. I am talking about people vigorously debating about so called “Death Metal ” vocals techniques. Endless argling-bargling on whether to exhale or inhale when making growls or how to keep your throat when screaming. All of this is, in my humble opinion (and as a short-time singer myself 20-something years ago already) utter bullshit. There is no proper singing technique in Death Metal, at least not in Death Metal as it was in the beginning, at least not any technique specific for Death Metal. I guess general singing techniques on how to use your diaphragm and stuff like that possibly works on DM as well, but Death Metal, per se, is not something you should easily describe or catalogue in a class.
Death Metal vocals only need to be scary, period. You just do it using whatever you have according to the shape of your body and lungs.
Just grab any old DM albums from early ’90 or so: Malevolent Creation, Death, Autopsy, Vader, Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Dismember, Morgoth, Disharmonic Orchestra, Carcass, all of these had their own specific, readily identifiable characteristic way of singing. None of these bands had probably any real guidelines besides maybe oldies like Massacre, Repulsion or Deathstrike (for some), but what I want to stress out is that you cannot just pick up a mic and decide if you want to scream or growl. Dismember had neither kind of vocals and yet I dare someone tell you they’re not properly Death Metal. Moreover, part of what makes this music so unique is that it’s* spontaneous, holistic if you wish.
You just put things together and see if they work.
This obsession of classifying and cataloguing everything came with the swelling and inflation of the genre in that huge, universal pout-pourri of the “underground for everyone” that the ’90 brought us.
Day one in the Lands of Nether. Since the show starts at 4 PM (and that’s Teethgrinder on the secondary stage, guess my excitement) I decide to oversleep a bit before plunging to the gym, have a shower and a solid healthy breakfast ready for the show to start.
At 11.00 AM I am ready to go and already enjoying some great landscapes and monuments of Northern Europe before immersing myself in the trippy Museum of Modern Art De Pont .
Look at that shit Dolly, Mondrian meets Newman, but round!
As a quick lunch I get a piece of their Broodje Jantje cake and get a bottle of Schrobbeler to chug during the concert, one should never be caught unprepared, you know. Once at the liquor shop, I just slip some Hullie Gullie as well in the bag.
Se prima eravamo in tre a ballare l’Alligalli…
While i sip some of the chocolate flavored liquor on a bench among the fine company of pigeons, I have a look at the bill. The whole Festival is going to be split between two venues, the scarily named Poppodium 013 and the even scarier Patronaat (which sounds a bit like a place where they help you compile your taxes).
Anyway: Day one, or “the Grind Day”, is about to start, let’s split the shows between stages. Unluckily my astral form doesn’t allow me to bring a camera so I am not able to take pictures. Sorry. However moving at the speed of thought has a couple of advantages, one of which is I am able to see all the bands playing even if they are playing at the same time, talk about efficiency!
THE 013 POPPODIUM (AKA THE TENERONIUM)
You can run but you cannot hide. They’re destined to be there forever: they are the filler bands. They all sound a little bit like a pretending to be grindcore version of Neurosis, with zero-energy screams, neat and well-educated sound, lots of dissonance and so on. As useful as a plaster on a pegleg. Luckily this stuff generally doesn’t live for long, unlike the brigthly colored tattoos these guys are generally covered with, I hope their emploeyrs at McDonald’s won’t mind 10 years from now. Just 10 years ago they would have had sideburns, funny fringe haircuts and a contract on Willowtip/Relapse (or both).
Visceral Disgorge (5)
While I found Kraanium enjoyable (yes I went forward in time and reviewed that first – this shape allows me to do a lot of things), I found this band as boring as it can get. Too much slam, endless tempos, flat vocal line and so on. BDM might a complex beast to tame so even if you do all your homeworks properly the results aren’t assured. This stuff is too long, not enough compressed, not enough varied, at least for me.
I didn’t know this band at all, that basically says much about my knowledge of Brutal Death Metal dopst 2005, when they told me a Kraanium was playing I thought they meant that shitty speed metal band on Necropolis. I have a complex relationship of love and hate with BDM, some days I find it incredibly boring and unispired, some oother days I can spin it for hours. It is a great genre to play full volume on a very loud set, and I generally do enjoy it at a fastival in particular after a show. Karrnium are fast, complex and as heavy as it can get, and you know what, today for me they were a yes. Not so many bands from Norway play this shit as far as I know, that I know of.
Didn’t know this band either, I thought they played classic “traditional” Death Metal until I saw the logo, which looks exactly like a million others (I suspect it’s that Asian guy who draws all brutal-slam bands, sort of a yellow Christophe Szpajdel of Brutal Death). Disentomb play some sort of ultra-tigh version of American Death Metal that grabs from Guttural Secrete and Disgorge as well as hyper-chaotic messies like Enmity. Not my favorite style in itself but these guys pummel the stage hard, swaying from the usual boring breakdowns choosing a more violent, crushing path. flawless shit.
As a rule of thumb, if a band released albums on both Willowtip AND Relapse, I am almost certainly going to hate it, and well, my predictions were quite accurate. This shit is even worse than Teethgrinder. Modern stuff that pretends to sound like grindcore or powerviolence, mediocre songwriting and tracks that sound like they’ve been assembled using riffs discarded from *name-one-of-the-gazillion-dissonant-grindcore-bands-from-US* around. This is a band that manage to be equally mediocre in both blasting and slow chugging, the whole crowned with among the shitties vocals ever heard. And they managed to release like 6 albums. Meh.
Cripple Bastards (6)
I don’t really like the grindcore/HC/Hatecore (can’t remember the correct definition now) this band plays, but no one can deny a couple of things when talking about CB – they’re absolutely original in mixing elements of horror and social topics. All the songs are well written, every liyrics worth reading. They’re a paramount of integrity, completely laid back and deeply passionate about their works. I wish I could dig them more than I do, actually. Anyway I saw them like 20 times, and all of their shows were fine.
I might not have a perfect pitch, but every single song from Wolfpack/Wolfbrigade sounds exactly the same to me, ahah. You could record a whole album with the same song on loop 10 times and I won’t notice. But know what: I like it. The swing and groove of good crusty grind is strong in these guys. This is good music to listen to when you’re getting drunk, they just reveberate on the same chords as a good hangover.
Blockhead is the title of an old Brutal Truth song, no idea if the band took the name from that. In any case it’s a band that know how to kick ass then speeding up. They play good grindcore, not as dirty and ugly as I would like it, but decent enough I guess. I don’t really like it when they slow down but in general the show was ok. Not much to say, rather routine stuff.
Sorry, I was laughing at their name. This band plays some decent Hard Core, outstandingly out of place here. But hey, in a venue where there’s people that are more interested in removing anti-antifa stickers than watching bands play who am I to judge? There’s people paying for having their nuts squeezed after all.
I prefer the namesake Siege album but Dropdead isn’t bad either. Their vocals honestly suck the hugest dicks but the songs are great examples of great skull-crushing grindcore, the simple straight in your face shite to be played full volume. I generally have little patience for the typical brainwashed fan who goes crazy for this stuff but the music itself is more than good to me, I also have their old album and play it sometimes.
Even if they’re probably part of the fag barricade that boycotted Disma at the show, I still like Doom as I always did. I grew up with this shit and bought “Police Bastard” right out of the factory, so what else can I say, they might not have the same pissed off fury of their young beginnings but I still like the gruff, ugly vocals and primitive Dischargesque sound of this band.
Agoraphobic Nosebleed (3)
Ranking among the top bands I don’t live a fuck about since Relapse started to replace Mortician, Incantation or Goreaphobia with this new brand of shitty protogrind, I could sum up this microreview with just one sentence: Agoraphobic Nosebleed SUCKS.
I like to consider this band as a kick ass Hard Core one and not a mediocre Grind Core one. In any case Infest created their own style, and you can just tell an Infest song from any other from that million xeroxed cover 7″s with some war photo on you can find on crust stands. They’re like holy cows many have been trying to imitate but like it often turns out, the original one is still the best.
You can say what you want about this band, but they’re definitely fast. A bit messy but nonetheless suprisingly good. They tend to lose it when they slow down but they definitely know how to blast properly.
Primitive Man (2)
Totally shitty raw stoner/drone stuff, you know I wasn’t lookin at the stage but I am ready to bet 10 euros that someone had a shirt from one of these bands, roll 1d4:
Man is The Bastard
I was saddened by the demise of one of the best band ever from The Netherlands some eyars ago as Inhume were in my opinion fucking punishers and among my favorite spins. Their Death/Grind was CRUSHING like nobody else. Truth is maybe they never disbanded for real, I just lost track of them after their latest album on Osmose a couple of years ago. Seeing them on the bill was great in any case I really can’t think of many bands as brutal as Inhume, they just have IT.
Saw them once with Anatomia a couple of years ago, this band has all the elements I like in Death Metal, Dark, sewage, filthy, sick and swampy sound, lyrics and artwork. Totally devoted to the “old school” way. So what could be wrong? Undergand are the paladins of rot and they just deserve all proper respect.
That closes the first day of shows. Lots of patches and military jackets around here make me unconfortable. I prefer to go to the hotel. Luckily I saved Bobbi Eden‘s phone number.