2018 Dunkelheit Produktionen
Dunkelheit from Germany is probably one of my favorite labels around today. In 11 or so years of activity they keep up a great job at releasing great bands like Tetragrammacide, Blood, Goat Semen, Abatuar etc. for about one hundred releases, all of which caring, just like I do, more for music that pushes boundaries of noise and sickness than mere “genres” alone. They also maintain this tradition of sober, symbolic (or apparently so) layouts, which over time have managed to contribute to the label’s branding identity. Subduer are an interesting new project from Germany that mix elements of power electronics with the chaotic J-Readesque disharmony of extreme Death/Black, some sort of Terror Organ meets Conqueror kind of dry brew. 4 tracks could be not enough to completely savor and dissect the potential of this band but there is enough hisses, samples, drone hammering and manic screams to fulfill a trip to the gym late in the evening. Good stuff as usual, worth checking out.
After some really shitty stuff it was enough time for something really structured like this German band Deny The Urge on German label German Underground Crossection eh eh. Seriously speaking thi is a band that certainly knows how to handle instruments even if sometimes I have the feeling they just go a little bit over the top. But let’s start with some thoughts on the booklet: first and foremost you understand this band struggle to differ, they have a non-metal introspective name with a non-metal introspective logo on a non-metal introspective cover (look, it looks like an eye but it’s your soul confined within a sewer looking out at the real world, surrounded by the demons of your mind!). The booklet is complete as any booklet should be, with lyrics in every page and all the recording bollocks. Stopping a bit on the lyrics they’re of the – guess? – introspective kind, about inner demons, reflections on how peace comes from a time of war, evaluating the infinite cosmos and its plethora of options and so on. Not terribly interesting but worth a fast read. They’re also not extremely well written but I appreciate the fact they tried at least.
As for the music one could understand by now that this band takes itself quite seriously so I was expecting some hyper technical showoff hodgepodge to back up the whole project. Well indeed Deny the Urge does play technical Death Metal but despite going mellow at times with longs solos and display of unquestionable prowess, they can also crush with some more than decent Death Metal riffing. You get good growls, fast double bass, sharp riffing like every respectable Death Metal band. They do sometimes showoff a bit with those Necorphagist-like guitar leaks and some not so subtle incursions in melodic Death Metal a la [insert any name here]. Luckily however, melody and crunch are quite separated so it’s not too invasive. If this band was considering shattering any boundaries and come up with original stuff it definitely fails, however I cannot deny that everything is arranged with a LOT of skill. There is thought on every note here, with very good arrangements and as much structure as you can think. What lacks here is in my opinion and maybe paradoxically, the ability to mix all the good ideas in a single SOUND. The songs actually do have head and tail and follow a concept, but I feel like all this prowess is wasted when things don’t overlap in a new sound.
Now I can go back to my Mortician albums, thanks.
Okay, this time I prefer not to read anything about this new release before actually hearing it from start to finish. I remember this is the band who also released a split with Abscess some years ago and according to Power It Up‘s info sheet it’s a collection of Bloodred Bacteria singles. I am not hugely versed on this kind of new grind core, but it seems to be a genre immensely popular in Germany, eastern European countries and in the far north. I personally never got big into it, and according to the sales of my shop back in the days, it doesn’t seem to stick very much in Italy. Maybe I didn’t push it enough… whatever.
The label is doing a good job with reissues in general, starting from a nice packaging with full lyrics and a couple of meaningless drawings, to a careful re mixing of these old songs for an even, better balanced sound. I lost myself halfway in the lyrics, some sort of generic rant that goes from moaning about how liberalism is bad and generic fun stuff. This definitely not the kind of lyrics that stick in the head like Fugazi‘s or Minor Threat if I must be honest. Also I would consider them a little more if they came from a Chilean band, instead of Germany.
From the musical standpoint, the Cd starts out a bit slow. Mostly that boring brand of run of the mill grind you can find on that big box of 7″ with nonsense covers you always find in average punk gigs. You know, the one sold by that guy with the army cap with Warsore patches, yellowish vegan skin and that brand new Driller Killer shirt. However even with the worst cynicism I admit there is good shit in the remaining half of this collection, though. The band seems to have gained some awareness somewhere in 2003-2004 starting out with the Swarrm split (that one is a great band by the way). The vocals are kinda strange, they are not particularly extreme, but their use of multi-layered recordings make them quite personal. The guitarwork has become more contorted without falling in that mathcore shit, but also not purely derivative of Discharge either. I must say there is some personality in this work. What seems to lack however is a good punch. The chemistry seems to have stalled to good levels, but none of these songs gave me even a fair shake. Mostly fast chugs and repetitive shouting. Could be a good choice for those into generic grind, I personally found it quite avoidable.
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.