You might have noticed there is a big mess, especially in the archive of the oldest reviews. I am upgrading and working a bit on the background of this website lately and I am trying to import all the reviews from the old server (over 700!) but something seems to be broken. The latest post should work OK anyway, so you might not even notice except for a few ugly details on the layout of the blogzine. I am too lazy to properly arrange things so that I will upgrade all at once, as it is way easier to work this way. Please be patient.
I have been pondering about what to do with this webzine for a long time. Partially I just don’t want to let it go but on the other side I see little use for a blogzine that just files album reviews in a strictly structured fashion today. Let’s be honest: things have changed enormously in the last 13 years, when the first Internet become a commonly known technology and MySpace and Napster begun circulating again older music. Up to 2000, things were just happening in waves. There was the so called old school DM sound, which at first was the crossbreed of a dying Thrash Metal scene (have a look at earlier Death Metal zines, to see what I mean) and then we got shitty second generation “cold” black metal and that horrible thing that is the so called gothic metal, and the whole Machine Head/late Sepultura “department store metal” which somehow went hand in hand with grunge, when everybody was considering himself an alternative guy. Each of these eras were able to dig a grave for the previous ones. Yet in 2000 information started to circulate unbelievably fast and the alternative guys who were into mass market music (the same that today is embodied by all those 3-part-names bands with funny haircuts and colorful tattoos) began to fracture in smaller groups and all kind of old genres have been exhumed and created their own brand new ecosystems. My guess is that at the time some older guys finally got their chances to shine, and they began drifting into these smaller ecosystems as micro-stars of the moment. Fast forward 10 years and all this has been staured to the point of no return. A million ecosystems exist today, every one of which aware of the other, some smaller and more elitaristic, others way more common (the sideburn/funny fringe haircut bands I was talking about beore). But yet, everything has been exploited at every possible level, incuding MY music. Thank you sirs. I really like to see Nihilist demos on Youtube and mega deluxe boxed sets pressed by labels that completely disregarded the genre in the middle ’90s, not to mention completely stop the production of vinyl records. In the beginning I was pissed off, very much. Someone once said “when everybody knows it, the magic is gone”. That was my feeling for a while. Lucklily, not anymore. It’s the progress baby, we have new challenges ahead. We can’t just grumble about the past. Things are like that today. This music has been spiled in every possible way – EXCEPT for one thing: the music has not been spoiled at all. The sound is exactly the same. So exactly, WHO has REALLY changed in all these years. Really, your dear records are not as good as they once were just because everybody in your building can listen to it in a couple of minutes with a broadband access and some electronic device? But let’s get back to the zine. I was writing my first reviews in 1993. 20 years ago. At the time, zines were a great work of love, the glue of the whole undergroudn movement as we understand it today. Zines were the essence of the underground, together with the letters we used to send and the talk out of the concert venues. But zines have drifted to the web, and even they look a bit faded to my eyes today. I have seen forums die in a few months when Social Networks became the new place to exchange informations. Today, we have Metal Archives for every kind metal reviews. You want to know about a band? You go straight there and read. Some of the reviews are even not total bullshit, I swear. And then there’s Youtube! Basically all the new records go straight up there is a nanosecond, oftentimes BEFORE the proper release date. And I’m not even starting with magnet links and torrents and all the shit that has been going in this business since the 00’s (Napster, Kazaa, DC++, Limewire, eMule etc.). And if you’re just straight lazy, there are a couple of rather good blogs around that offer direct downloads of albums, demo recordings, live shows and so on. The point is not anymore about crude information, we have plenty of that in our hands. And we have a shitload or records to hear, whenever we want, more than we can ever listen in our life. From a certain point of view, it is really not much different than what we did with tapetrading in 1990 – you sent out a 90 min TDK cassette to your pen pal filled with recordings and then wait patiently to have another tape back with other recordings you asked for, or just trusted your friend will choose well. Sometimes you just got the same record several times (I probably have 6 or 7 tapes with Suppurated Fetus, ah ah.). Things have just gotten lighting fast, and then you don’t even need to personally know whoever is sharing the songs.
The medium is gone, the music is still here, though.
I am not going to complain here, like I hear so often. I am not a Death Metal/Grindcore grognard, not anymore at least. I simply realized that while music was certainly and objectively better between the ’80s and the early ’90s due to reasons I might discuss one day here on Nuclear Abominations, the point is that I was also terrificly younger! My feelings for that music are inevitably connected to memories of a feeling of freshness and discovery that I used to have at the time. Everything was new ground, and completely undiscovered. Thanks list were the main source for knowing new bands for me! As time progressed, though, everything began taking form and structure. Man, I was already pissed of in 1992, ahah. Guess what.
I certainly don’t regret never having learnt how to play an instrument, that’s probably the only part of the whole extreme music ecosystem that I never got familiar with, and I am happy with that. Music still sounds like some weird magic to me, and I am grateful for that or else I’ll be just doing my stupid strongman routines with other bisons in the gym today. But, luckily, I can still put on records and note down some riffs and some nasty bridges, and thanks the gods below, I have no clue what’s really going on there. I completely ignore the technical name for that trick or that sound. Some time ago I read a line by a guy who said “Metal should not be self aware”. Well I don’t care much for Metal in general, but the guy was completely right. I hack systems for work, it’s my job. I wirk in IT. But this is a system I don’t want to know any more details about, I like it to be a black box.
So to start wwrapping things up – what am I going to do with this blogzine? I have some dozens, probably one or two hundred, records in queue to be reviewed. And I have some (hopefully) interesting ideas for non-conventional articles and interviews and maybe even a report or a retrospective that I have been wanting to write for a while. How am I going to do all this shit, I am not sure, though. What I perfectly know is what this zine can’t be about: it can’t be about news. You got all the web for news, the whole world. And it can’t be about technical, objective, politically correct reviews. You got plenty of those too and so called “metal journalists” (AH AH AH AH AH) today grab the virtual pen very prepared about what’s going in the underground music movement which is something I am generally uninterested in. It certainly can’t be about stricly old school death metal. I love that music and is probably my main interest even today, but right now the market bubble is at its height, it’s a style that (understandably, while definitely unexpected from me) is hugely popular today and its aesthetics are being drained to the point of spoling the ground of all life (how ironic). It can’t be about goregrind only either. Goregrind as I mean it is probably not as fucked up as grindcore today (and conceptually my vision of true grindcore is not far for my vision of pure goregrind but that’s another story), but the abundance of comic reliefs and spineless pornogrind is getting always more boring and sterile by the day.
What to do then? Well, I have more or less this idea:
I have no clue.
The draft for this post is originally dated a few years ago, At the time the sewage sound of decrepit metal and grind was relegated mostly in the past. Thats why I didn’t regret losing touch with basically everything released in the last 10 years. But that’s not true anymore, not strictly at least. I have managed to be good terms with the whole “system” today (I am not going to call that scene. I am referring to the whole ecosystem, not just the interpersonal blabbermouth relationships). There is some good shit under all these layers of boring derivative, boneless garbage, actually.
What I will probably do is going very unstructured. I’ll probably post rants like this, and opinions, very personal opinions. And memories and maybe some unrelated shit as well. I am just not interested in going on the same way as I always did. That stuff I have done so far, you can read that basically everywhere. I might probably mix old and new and maybe just grumble about some things that still manage to piss me off.
Who knows. Stay tuned and you’ll see what happens next.
2013 is here. I acknowledge not being very active on this blog AT ALL in 2012. I am a bit ashamed to admit it yet I don’t really feel there is much left to say about what’s going on after something like 19 years after my first review on a paper fanzine. Extreme music is still strong lately and yet it has twisted so many times I struggle to recognize it. I have a bucket with about one hundred tapes and Cds and even some vinyl for reaview close to my desk, plus a shitload of new stuff I have catched up recently (trades and yes, even some buys), not to mention old classics I’d like to shed some light upon. I am not sure when or if I will be active again on this page – but – I don’t feel like letting go the idea of Nuclear Abominations, not yet.
What I am certain about however is that Buio Omega, my distribution, is definitely going to be launched once again in 2013. No fixed date, but it WILL be online again in the following months. Also, the label is going to release some “new old” stuff, so I cannot really say I am being too idle at all. For personal reasons, there is a lot of stuff going on in my life right now, and I cannot guarantee anything on the music side escept for the distro and eventually a release or two. In any case I still enjoy talking about music, do not despair, my dungeons are still full of decomposing corpses.
Ave, thy hated heart, ave
It took me forever to write this introduction because you know, the works or this band defy any description. Words just escape me to properly describe the orchestral concept that is contained in the wax you have in your hands. I gave up so many times, thinking that only the music, the lyrics, the artwork combined, could give justice to a band that set a new standard, that nobody was ever able to follow. It is certainly a proof of genius when you create something so beyond any classification that every attempt at imitation results in just a cheap replica. Music alone can’t describe Nuclear Death. It’s a combination of characters and unique chemistry at the right place and time that sparkled the concept that evolved in what you hold in your hands now.
Teratomas, mutants, freaks, genetic disorders be they born of chemical manipulation, accidental exposure to radiation or just a bizarre tricks of evolution in DNA have given birth to the unique and the grotesque in the history of mankind. Nuclear Death is one such freak in the history of music. In math, they would be called outliers: data anomalies that just can’t fit any logic or trend and is therefore discarded when making coherent calculations. What’s so anomalous as to be frightening to start with, is that this band was born in one of the most forsaken, remote places in the middle of nowhere, in times certainly not suspect. Back in 1985 the seeds of what would became the world’s most twisted and bizarre experiment were planted: the demos that are contained in this collection should really steal the serenity of your sleep, if you reflect on where and when they were recorded. Where did this thing came from?
Even taken one by one, the elements that make up the Nuclear Death vision are as twisted and unique as one can dare to imagine. Horror blossomed from images of beauty, stitched together like dog fur and human skin, smeared with blood and curdled milk, saliva and insect ichor, music and lyrics and artwork transcend to an holistic work of demented art I still find myself contemplating in awe even after almost twenty-five years. All of the pieces in this metabolism could live alone and yet, when put together, they are something different than the sum of its parts, something that disregard any rationality.
I dare you to read the lyrics. To abandon yourself to a world of twisted harmonies, hallucinations, depravity, vampires, freaks, necromancy, incest, zoophilia, urban squalor as well as delicate brush strokes of grotesquely beautiful images of children playing in the garbage against the setting sun, of dead babies rotting in fields of flowers and beautifully depicted expressions of love, described by Hampson as the “black fruit that nourish the lice of the earth”. The words this band managed to put together completely stand out of average Death Metal (’cause this band belongs no more to Death Metal than to any other genre, and besides, Death Metal as a term did not even exist then it bred up). The feverish writing flows in a totally unique way, the songs are candid tales of beauty as seen by a bizarre, deranged, loving mind. You can perceive the morbid affection and purity of the hand writing these tales of horror. A child talks about her mother, a man tends at his garden where he planted rows of fetuses and fed them with vitamins and his own feces. There is nothing sadistic or angry in the tone of the lyrics, each a poem of its own. Sometimes, it’s a sense of abandonment and hopelessness in front of an ineluctable, greater evil, a realization of horrors beyond our reason we cannot face, but have just to accept. Sometimes it’s love and rapture. A song like “Proposing to the Impaled” we could just describe as a song of genuine and romantic love. A misplaced love that is. In the universe of Nuclear Death love is for corpses, animals, or infants.
And then we dogs, lots of dogs barking in morgues or barren streets.
“Homage to Morpheus”, unique in his genre, is a work of desperation, a scream of anguish: where is the beauty of the world? “When did it turn from blue to black”? My skin is pale, stretched on my skeletal body. And I have no more veins to feed. “Hail heroin”, it says, which keeps us safe from the ugliness of life.
I dare you to hear the music, that chaotic, dissonant, unique texture that takes its odd shape when you place the record on the turntable. Think about what you have read and abandon yourself to the crackling and insect-like buzzing of greenflies and black insects swarming on a sun bleached corpse. There, in the middle of Arizona, almost thirty to twenty years ago someone actually composed this music as a perfect complement to the tales of love and horror we examined above. A complex, atonal, convoluted, disharmonic guitarwork upon which ungodly vocals and furious, tribal drum beating just seem to follow their own patterns. Lori’s unique vocal resonance is the perfect complement, a work of disfigured grace: let’s not ingenuously digress on the fact that a girl was singing here! What we shall recognize however, is that behind the roaring and rasping there is a fair, distant note of fucked up femininity, which is the perfect icing for the innocent aftertaste of the lyrics. Our atavistic concept of mother’s milk, home and shelter is taken away one rabid bark at a time, chewed away by the lunatic fury of Lori’s unique style, with clenched teeth and a frothy mouth. Whitfield here is out of control, hammering at his drums with tribal, fumes chocked ecstasy. Even the recording of these albums and demos is dirty, muddled and sick as just, well, everything else.
I dare you to have a look at the painted art of these recordings. Hampson’s hand is unquestionably distinctive. His artwork has the bidimensional, perspective-lacking ingenuity of children or primitive cave art (have a look at “Carrion for Worm”‘s cover, see how the objects are misplaced, how the baby-headed, gutted dog angles awkwardly on the canvas?). Yet the scenes depicted all over are horrible and deranged. “Bride of Insects” could be a twisted representation of nativity, where huge hairy and knotty spider legs are the frames of the cave that saw the birth of Jesus. Our personal Mary is licking a blood-covered fetus cuddled in her arms, as bat-monsters hangs from the ceiling and naked kids with white eyes play with knives and their own guts on the ground. All these morbid scenes are however, as we defined earlier, innocent. There is no need for aggression because inert reality here is even worse. The horror is so ineluctable that chips away at your sanity for its intrinsic existence. As a last, significant note, I’d like to pinpoint the fact that both album covers are painted on grey canvas. Even the choice of the canvas is not casual, escaping all standards. The silver-grey of Bride, and the pockmarked, blood-rust stained grey of Carrion disturbed me more than every other detail. There is no place for colors in the world of Nuclear Death, except for some smear of blood or dried urine. It is a natural, bleak gray that just steals all hope. You could hide in black, but every joy is revealed in grey, and torn to pieces before being thrown in the garbage.
Where dogs bark.
And eyeless children play.
And vaginas have teeth.
The Webzine is still alive. Today it had a very major upgrade, since I have switched the entire website to a stable, robust blogging application called WordPress. It won’t look so different from you at a first perspective, but it is actually very different from behind, as it will allow me to have a far better and simpler management of the webzine.
I am not too familiar with WordPress, tho. That’s why you won’t still find any list of reviews and interviews YET, but I am studying it every day, so I will be able to create the pages hopefully in some time. In the meantime, I will have to make a second big move. The first time I collected reviews from all my old HTML websites to the new custom ASP one. Big work, but nice. Now I need to import all the old reviews in WordPress. Though and long thing, but not impossible. I seriously doubt I will be able to import directly from database to database, as the fields were very different. But I’ll check.
Talking about more concrete stuff, LOTS of reviews are on the way. I will corner the idea of the paper ‘zine for the moment becouse it’s blocking me from doing other things, like updating this one. I didn’t say I will NOT release issue #3. Just I want to revive the webzine a bit first. I am doing already some testing of this new program on my personal blog, and man, this thing is really fast and user friendly.
Where the fuck are all the old reviews??
Read above, they’re coming. I will update this new website often from now on. Besides, if you cannot resist reading some old stuff, have a look at the old Nuclear Abominations. It will stay there for some time while I am importing all the shit.
You might be wondering what’s happening in these days of silence. Well a few things have been building up behind the scenes. The printed version of Nuclear Abominations isn’t up yet, but that’s because I am still doing some interviews and am finishing a few detailed retrospective articles on Carcass and Beherit (with plenty of photos and infos). The tentative date of December wasn’t too optimistic however, because I trust it won’t take much more time. I am also lagging with reviews and have at least 50 new ones to do to catch up with promo material. I will post 2-3 reviews a day for the next few days to get to the present day, with the month of December excluded as originally planned.
As for the releases, two works are under construction right now: the Nuclear Death demo collection is way close to completion, I just need the artwork and layout finished hopefully by end January/February, I can assure you I am in control of the situation. The idea of a limited double Lp version is also vivid and much probable, but let’s not overtalk now as I usually do. I am also following a split release between Anatomia from Japan and Bowel Fetus from Australia, both total Autopsy worshippers as yours truly. We’re still discussing about the layout and much of the recording has yet to be done but see, if the Nuclear Death thing is going to take too long, that’s the next thing you’ll see from the label. You can check more details on the Nuclear Death release on the Official band website I registered last month (www.nuclear-death.com)
Nuclear Abominations isn’t only about goregrind, but goregrind surely has some underground fascination on me, that’s why I also put up a forum/wiki website www.goregrind.com/wiki where you can find information about anything you need on this genre. If you play or know informations that are not listed there, please make your contribution, it’s easy and free.
I also took some pictures at the Just Killers No Fillers show in Germany last month, which I plan to post on this website soon. I have also read a few good books on webdesign techniques and finally got a digital camera, both things which should improve the website aesthetics.
A big hello to everybody who has kept in touch all these weeks of silence and don’t lose your faith, more reviews are to come SOON!