Category Archives: American Death Metal

MURDER INTENTIONS (Bel): “A Prelude to Total Decay” full-length Cd 2009 Soulflesh Collector

Murder Intentions - A Prelude To Total DecayThis might not be the latest work by Murder Intentions from Belgium. According to what I read, they also released an EP last year even though it doesn’t sound radically different from this album, what I write here can also be said for this new work (but thank you Soulflesh Collector for the promo). I might be particularily uninspired today but even after a second listen, I can’t but state that… they sound to me likewise uninspired. The very first thing that blossoms in my mind right now is that these guys must probably be quite young, the kind of young that makes you consider Pantera a strongly influencing band for Death Metal, you know.

They certainly have a lot, and I mean a lot, of tempo changes and riffs and growls and screams and what have you, with a super-thick, massive sound which perfectly suits the crushing mid tempos and occasionals slam beats, yet they seem to be missing the non-stop barrage sound of more established names like famous neighbors Pyaemia or Disavowed). This is a band that probably focused its efforts on variety and complexity. and mind me, they are probably doing it properly too, but I am probably not going to pick this record up for the next car trip. This is the problem with 5th generation Death Metal: it might sound technically perfect,, but missing a spark of either energy, or utter brutality. The sound is thick and very metallic, with the distorted bass giving an extra layer of thickness to the overall heavy groove, almost Skinless-like when the singer growls during the heavies breakdowns. Yet, generally speaking sometimes less is more. In any case, good product, but won’t take place in my shelf.

Good work with the booklet, even though I have seen this layout of work ever since the times of Corpse Gristle and Ablated, maybe it is time to level up here as well? Lyrics are not written in the booklet, but generally deal with the complete unleashing of energy and fury into destructive force. It’s undeniable that Murder Intentions have a good deal of blasting energy, it just sometimes fall in unexpected directions.

MURDER INTENTIONS (Bel): “A Prelude to Total Decay” full-length Cd 2009 Soulflesh Collector

Murder Intentions - A Prelude To Total DecayThis might not be the latest work by Murder Intentions from Belgium. According to what I read, they also released an EP last year even though it doesn’t sound radically different from this album, what I write here can also be said for this new work (but thank you Soulflesh Collector for the promo). I might be particularily uninspired today but even after a second listen, I can’t but state that… they sound to me likewise uninspired. The very first thing that blossoms in my mind right now is that these guys must probably be quite young, the kind of young that makes you consider Pantera a strongly influencing band for Death Metal, you know. They certainly have a lot, and I mean a lot, of tempo changes and riffs and growls and screams and what have you, with a super-thick, massive sound which perfectly suits the crushing mid tempos and occasionals slam beats, yet they seem to be missing the non-stop barrage sound of more established names like famous neighbors Pyaemia or Disavowed). This is a band that probably focused its efforts on variety and complexity. and mind me, they are probably doing it properly too, but I am probably not going to pick this record up for the next car trip. This is the problem with 5th generation Death Metal: it might sound technically perfect,, but missing a spark of either energy, or utter brutality. The sound is thick and very metallic, with the distorted bass giving an extra layer of thickness to the overall heavy groove, almost Skinless-like when the singer growls during the heavies breakdowns. Yet, generally speaking sometimes less is more. In any case, good product, but won’t take place in my shelf. Good work with the booklet, even though I have seen this layout of work ever since the times of Corpse Gristle and Ablated, maybe it is time to level up here as well? Lyrics are not written in the booklet, but generally deal with the complete unleashing of energy and fury into destructive force. It’s undeniable that Murder Intentions have a good deal of blasting energy, it just sometimes fall in unexpected directions.

MISERY INDEX (USA): “Ruling Class Canceled” split Cd with MUMAKIL 2007 Power It Up

Misery Index Mumakil

Oh come on. Is that really an half skeletal corporate man with a bunch of oppressed black victims against an American flag on the cover? Don’t they really ever get tired of that stuff? I seriously think I got my full share with Brutal Truth‘s debut, and that was 20-something years ago. Seriously, the booklet is fine, but the lyrics here sucks worse than some teenager punk band from some obscure burg in the rocky center of Italy. Well that’s worth for Misery Index at least, as I can see no Mumakil lyrics in here. I’ll spare the suffering of discussing what the subjects of these lyrics are about, you can grab any Dead Kennedys record and get something a million times better written.

Contrary to Brutal Truth, however, which even on the first album had string grindcore influences, I can hear nothing I can call even fairly grind in Misery Index. I really wonder what the fuck everyone is listening at these days and dare to call grind fucking core. This band have the fattest motherfucking sound ever, so clean and crisp you can use it to cut pepperoni for your pizza. They even have some chunky reminiscences of Dying Fetus (well that cannot be considered a falut, I guess Jason probably contributed a little bit to his old band’s sound), grunts and all. All this rant says basically nothing so far, bit that’s just because I could not force myself to find anything remotely interesting in this recording. Average seems to be the fitting term here, superbly average fast, modern, American-styled Death Metal full of all those accelerations and barking. Not my cup of tea.

As for Mumakil, things get a litytle bit more complex. They have some extra layers of screams and grunts, probably some less refinement in their songwriting which I can’t but appreciate, yet they still sound as uninteresting as a band can be. Considering they take the name from a Middle Earth creature, share the same cover as Misery Index, and print no lyrics, their music is all I can rely on to identify what the personality of the band is. And at the third listen, I still cannot distinguish this stuff from a billion other records. Sure, they seriously kicked Misery Index ass on this split, but we’re still far from being memorable even for a single second.

I cannot say anything band about this split, but I can’t say anything good either. 7″s are cool however, and this Cd has been pressed on wax of different color. Does that count?

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”.

IMPRECATION (USA): “Sigil Of Baphomet” Ep 7″ 1993 Drowned

Imprecation sigil Of Baphomet

Let’s open the weekly “flashback” review with one of my favorite Eps. I have heard often the name of Imprecation of late and every time I hear it this 7″ immediately comes to mind. Well there are several things that make this one of my favorite records, first and foremost the concept, Black Metal. When I speak of Black Metal i don’t speak about granny vocals and buzzing guitars, I speak of Black Metal as a conceptual thing, much like what the call today “the first wave” when being a Black Metal had nothing to do with the sound. Imprecation had its roots profoundly dug into the occult, with added elements of Lovecraftian horror in the best early Morbid Angel way, plus an added touch of gore, which is just something I am obsessed with and always live in an extreme metal band.

“Sigil Of Baphomet” is a Drowned Records release, and we basically all know how Drowned was possibly one of the best labels around before 1993 in terms of both sound and aesthetics. How all this was progressively lost with Repulse and totally canceled in Xtreem is still a matter of speculation, but for sure Drowned is in my top 10 personal best labels of all time, from the earlier compilation tapes (might be reviewing them one day) up to records like Purtenance, Demigod or Rottrevore. Everything in this label reeked of decrepit Death Metal and old books, and even the artwork was always in line with the concept that some labels try to recapture today (hey, I am not blaming anybody here, I am one of those eheh!).

In particular this 7″ had this deep red and black print which was an exact expression of the sound, claustrophobic and eerie at the same time. It came with an insert too, with lyrics, band pics and the so incredibly useful thank list that was our main source of information on the new bands to check out.

I personally find this Ep also has the best tracks that this band ever recorded, way darker and heavier and suffocating than the demo they recorded right before, and the newer tracks they recorded in 1994 found in the later classic Repulse compilation “Theurgia Goetia Summa”. The sound here is absolutely nothing short of frightening, a real trip to an hell of dismembered limbs and rivers of gore regurgitated by an horde of cloven-hooved demons. Try to follow the unrelenting slow crunch of the songs reading the lyrics and you find yourself entangled in a dimension of blood red horror. Incantation Eps or “Onward To Golgotha” days are definitely the first albums you can relate this record to, but there is something that keeps it on a different track. I find Imprecation a little bit more brutal, and straight in your face in their approach compared to early Incantation (which, honestly, remain unparalleled in style). i personally like this garage, muffled sound because it really brings me to a dungeon where corpses are hung to hooks ready for being sacrificed to some dark entity. Not a lot more to say, this is an all time classic in my favorite format that is 7″ vinyl, so I know this would be one of the ones I will keep if I had to choose among the best in my collection.

The Ep dissected

IMPOSER (Ita): “Divine Intolerance” Ep Cd 2010 Butchered Records

imposer divine intolerance

Imposer is another excellent band from my land. I haven’t got the chance to hear their full length released a couple of years ago (same NY based Butchered Records apparently) but I suppose the two songs on this MCd are pretty close to that sound. The only recording I had the chance to hear was their first demo-Cdr and that was at the time I still ram a shop, which translates to about 10 years ago. From what I remembered, they had a Krisiun-like sound and I liked it pretty much, but my memory is getting fuzzy on that time. I had the chance to see them live as well, at least twice, and they delivered solid brutal Death Metal the late ’90s way. So here it is: two new tracks plus two covers, or at least I presume it’s two as one is a famous Deicide cover and the other one is by “Heaten/Lifecode” which I think is a local band.

Everything is deliciously packaged: I absolutely adore the cover art as I have a weak spot for icons, symbols and woodcut-like medieval prints. You don’t get lyrics but the overall quality of the layout is quite good. I would have preferred a slightly different, less modern font on the booklet, but it’s not really that relevant.

 

The two tracks we have here are as straightforward as Death Metal can be. I think they might call it War Metal today, but since that was a term they used for “Panzer Divison”-era Marduk I am uncertain on using it. To be clearer: during the end of the 90’s when the whole sound was selling out like a whore all in a sudden we had bands like Diabolic, Centurian, Angelcorpse, Throneaeon, Infernal Torment, Exmortem etc. and Satan incinerate me if Imposer does not fit that school of relentless Death Metal without frills. It was a scene that exploded out of a violent rejection for the ever mellowing sound that was the rule at the time, and I am pretty sure it was a clear statement of intent. Imposer‘s sound is some sort of cross between Krisiun, Diabolic and earlier Deicide without the wimpy solos, but also skipping the excessively retro-worship of these days. I am pretty grateful we have bands like this going on today. The two tracks that make up the first half of the album are as solid as a boulder, but I have to admit I am not extremely excited about the slight turn they gave to “Sacrificial Suicide” and if there’s a weak spot here it’s definitely the Heaten/Lifecode track, which contains possibly the worse, sloppiest, most moronic riff I have heard in months – what the hell is that mid tempo “happy go lucky” dance? In my book this is no big deal as it’s not a track of theirs yet I am puzzled how they came up with covering this shit.

To wrap things up you can’t really find anything more coherent and proudly War/Death than this in my country. Two songs might be a bit too little to spend money on, but if you want a sample of what this band is capable of, here it is. Fuck god.

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.