DAWN OF DEMISE (Dnk): “…and Blood Will Flow” demo Cd 2006 s/p

dawnofdemise-andthebloodwillflow

Uhuh! So Jacob Hansen owns a recording studio now? Is it the same guy behind Invocator and Maceration? if we’re talking about the same guy, he did a pretty decent job with this band at the recording console.

From a broad perspective there is nothing wrong with Dawn of Demise. The band plays solid, chunky brutal Death Metal with very deep vocals and an american imprint. Even when the songs speed up there is a sense of intrinsic staticness which the band probably looked after to make the whole sound even more granitic, think of a moderate version of late Deranged or mid Meshuggah (death metal version). My point however is that once you want to make everything as solid and as compressed as possible with constant palm muting chugs and so on, you could as well push through it to the end as Deranged does. Danish bands historically lacked “it” even when the crunch was pretty decent (except maybe, Infernal Torment?) and I am afraid we’re not far from that situation with this 3-track as well. Don’t misunderstand me – this is honest, well written stuff with a great emphasis on the groove, and it might be good stuff to hear at 4pm in some late night after show in any Germanic country, yet I believe the music fits the crispy recording and the heavily CGI-elaborated cover art: they’re neat but a little bit lacking of “sickness”. I can’t say I don’t like deep growls, power chords, or bloodstained knives, but all of this sounds a little bit polished for my tastes, and I just can’t force myself to like the mosh-pit grooves, although I know somebody else is looking for exactly this stuff.

Bear with me now: my number one rule for great Death Metal, is “if you can dance at it, it can’t be good”.

ASCENDED (Fin): “The Art Of Necromancy” demo Cd-r 2008 s/p

Ascended - The Art Of Necromancy

There was a time, in the first part of the nineties, when I was totally obsessed with Finnish Death + Black Metal. Of course Sweden had THE scene, but bands like Purtenance, Archgoat, Demilich, Xysma or Depravity (and I can go on forever) had that special, unearthly feel that just took the most extreme genres and made each one of them even colder and darker. Finland just meant “sickness” in its most undiluted form, blacker Black Metal and darker Death Metal. Time went on and basically every one of these bands either disbanded or turned into some shitty rockn’roll a la Lubricant. Time to forget about Finland for a while… but like the Swedish scene has been resurrected, so seem the Finnish one has its good share of new talent to exhume, and this Ascended is really among the best ones I heard in a long, long time. Like for other old demos on the blogzine, Ascended actually recorded more stuff after this demo, but having been mostly an inactive couch potato for more than 5 years it was a great surprise for me to hear we have still great death/doom being concocted among the cold swamps of Fennoscandia. This excellent demo Cd-r was handnumbered to 100 copies but mine has no number so I guess is part of a second batch. The packaging is bare as it should be with classical lineart on the cover and very simple inlay (lyrics, general infos and so on).

The thing I love more about this demo is the sound of the drums. They reverberates like a gong, filling the whole soundwave with a distant, omnipresent, evocative vibe. Every beat seems to raise the atmosphere to the next level of dismal oblivion. The band is VERY different, but I can find some common feel with, early Eucharist or Necros Christos on the slower, more abstract, detached  moments.  Ascended is however not an entirely Death Metal band and there are no melodies of sort in their sound. I think they can arguably be defined as Death Metal with some good Doom/Death influences, but I don’t think they can be rated as a strictly Death/Doom band either. They are grinding slow at times, and almost obsessive in dragging riffs forever in an hypnotic way, but I will not use any other term but good, solid Death Metal. The vocals are deep and monumental, just like the music. This demo is a cathedral of sound, with an obscure halo hovering over it.

Thanks Finland for still being present.

NAUSEANT (Swe): “ILN” demo Cd-r 2009 s/p

Nauseant ILN

Now this is finally something really interesting. There’s this dissonant, progressive-schizoid aspect in Stockholm’s Nauseant that is really something we don’t hear every day. We’re not talking about some shredding guitar display or some crossover incursion into Jazz or some other irrelevant genre, but about really atonal Death Metal in the vein of Demilich, Carbonized or the more recent Diskord. I really do like when a band has the courage to attempt a trip into these indistinct lands of intricate melodies, always turning and weaving and morphing into another identity. And I like it even more when the sound remains strongly rooted in dismal Death Metal – for being indistinct and avant-garde doesn’t necessarily mean sewing together a million different genres. Nauseant is ever-changing, ever reshaping, but still maintain identity in its sound and feel, with hyper-guttural vocals as a static basement over which the song is shaped. I cannot tell much about the lyrics since they’re not included here (but hey, it was cool to read my copy is one of 30 hand-numbered Cd-rs!). The packaging is bare and essential, just a warped abstract column of flesh with a logo close to it, the kind of bare necessary I appreciate in a demo tape Cd-r. I cannot recommend this one enough, I would like to hear more bands like this.

ABHORROT (Aut): “Death In Blasphemy” demo Cd-r 2008 s/p

Abhorrot - Death In BlasphemyI just wanted to skip on the countless useless promos and dug up the ones I enjoyed the most. Abhorrot is a band that just did it right (according to my own vision of this stuff that is) on this demo. Basically EVERYTHING is right here, and I will start with the amazing sounding name (I bet they were Finnish ah ah!), killer logo, great sketched artwork. I am one of the ones that got this on CDr which is cool, even though this is definitely tape stuff (I read some of these demos came out on tape too), I admit I would really like every single Death Metal demo came out this way, no frills shitty art, dripping logo and rough paper, nothing else. There is no real booklet but the other side of the cover keeps it old school: typewriter fonts, impossibly dark picture, and a scattering of song titles like “DIE IN PAIN”. Now I’d like to give a Nobel prize to any band that comes out with a title like this, I am serious. And then you have “Eternal Decay” and “Death in Blasphemy” which are equally ultimate Death Metal titles as well. And let’s not forget the Nihlist cover.

Being recorded in some place called “The Cellar” you cannot really expect Morrisound, can you? Here it is: pure cellar sound, and I believe they’re talking about a REAL cellar, not some studio with a cool name. The sound is as fuzzy and degenerated as you can imagine, and the rehearsal sound is just a perfect fit for the incredibly basic riffing we have here, it’s like some extremely early Death Metal recording from 1990 with guttural growls and a slightly drone metallic sound. Of course I do not  think a band should end his path here since a little bit of structure is mandatory even in Death Metal but what I liked is that I was n0t able to hear anything so refreshingly primal for many years. The band subsequently released some more stuff so the sound here is probably not even fairly indicative of their latest efforts but it is a nice demo to hear in a time where 13-years old freaks are able to blast 10000 bps hyper-technical riffs. Nice addition for a complete DM collection: guttural vocals, primitive riffing, sloppy (in a cool way) drumming and so on, just as it was.

BATTERED INTESTINE (Hol): “Hacksaw Brainsurgery” Cd-r 2008 demo

Where do I start? I don’t remember anything about reviewing records ah ah! After a cold beer tonight I just picked out the old box of Cds and tapes yet to review and wiped some dust off a multitude of cool things. Unable to decide where to start I just picked up this one randomly. The letter is date october 14, 2008. Wow Ricky, I must extend my first apologies for reviewing this album almost 4 years later. Eh.

I think I always started by giving some clues on the packaging. Nothing to say here, reeally, it’s just a CD-r with some tracks in it. Still better than downloading mp3s from the Internet of course. The font used may not be the best in the world but sticking to black and white and old horror lartwork reminiscent of old Tales from the Crypt is a sure shot. I have seen professional packages done worse than this (see Extreem records reissues).

Letting the disc spin, I have to say Battered Intestine is not the most outstanding goregrind band you can hear either. It’s always a fine line you’re walking when you try to play mid tempo gore stuff: plainly said CBT are good at it, this “band” isn’t. The record neither noisy nor sludgy nor heavy enough to stand out of the murky waste of gore sludge the scene proposes, it’s just a run of the mill bedroom recording with that metallic drum sound and buzzing guitarwork we heard many times, and honestly the guitar riffs themselves, taken singularly, are atrocious. Better than latest Samael for sure, but not a must buy.

Just in case you want to give it a chance, the full demo can be downloaded from their MySpace page.

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!

INFAMOUS GLORY (Bra): “Order of Doom” demo Cd-r 2007 s/p

Infamous GloryAs a standard rule, Brazilians just like most South Americans, do it better. At least when we talk about Metal, and extreme forms of Metal in general. Some of my favorite bands ever come from Brazil and – god be damned – I am always excited when I hear about a band from this country I don’t know, because they have a dedication to the cause which is completely different from that of most of us Europeans. In general, but now always, a Brazilian Death Metal band has a sense of belonging, a sense of brotherhood and mutual support which is unrivaled everywhere else on Earth.

My friend Douglas from 2+2=5 records handed me this fantastic demo (wrongly self asserted to be a “promo”) a few months ago. Top notch logo with skulls, black and white cover, raging song titles, big “old school death metal” statement on the cover – everything seemed to go for the better. I gave it a listen right as soon as I was home but… I wasn’t over escited about these 4 tracks, even after three listens. I preferred to wait a few weeks before giving it another try.

My conclusion is that Infamous Glory is definitely more a Metal band than a Death Metal band. Even if they describe themselves as “Old School Death Metal”, and I absolutely confirm it, they’re not exactly “old school” as we mean it today. Their roots come slightly before the 90’s, as most of the structures and riffs remind me of late ’80’s classic Metal than the raw, dark Death Metal of the golden age. Forget about old Imperious Malevolence, Ancestral Malediction or Mental Horror, as this band does not runs for the fastest and heaviest position. They play a mix of genres that goes from Death Metal a la Diabolic, Deceased, Infamy, Pessimist to more generic Black Metal, with an abundant influence of Thrash and some virtuous soloing. There is surely a good share of brutality, as the drummer knows how to blast, and the vocals are powerful, but in general I cannot find a line in the song writing. Some chugs seem pretty pointless and for some reason the fury doesn’t manage to pierce the amp if you know what I mean. Good, flawless Death Metal is what they play, but I feel it’s lacking some punch. Good stuff, but needs some more straightforward songwriting and to get rid rid of some embellishments. Add some Nunslaughter and we might get some really killer thing.