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.

PROFANAL (Ita): “Black Chaos” full-length Cd 2012 Iron Tyrant

Profanal Black ChaosHere it is, we finally delivered. One stays out of the local scene (please don’t start bitching about the use of the word “scene” if you can find another, less sabotaged term to describe a collection of bands playing extreme music within the boundaries of the same country, it’s your problem, not mine) for a decade and when you’re back you suddenly realize your country has produced more great releases in a year than the decade before you started drifting abroad. So this is it: my country is now able to release stuff like this monumental piece of Metal of Death that could as well being recorded in some cheap studios in 1990, with that acrid, crushing sound that was typical of that time (and broadly exploited in books like “Swedish Death Metal” and “Encyclopedia of Svensk Dodsmetall”), by  skinny teenagers dressed in checkered plaid shirts.

Let’s start from the very beginning, though. The packaging is quite nice: we have a tentacled Lovecraftian monster of Seagravean symmetry on cover, and we know that tentacles are very high in the scale of Death Metal subjects. It’s maybe a little bit cartoonish, but I certainly praise the choice of a black and white layout. Hell, you could not go wrong with lineart black and white. Well you can, actually, but this is not the case. Two big surprises await me as I open the booklet. It is 8 pages long (wow, no shitty folding leaflets this time?), and has LYRICS inside. Lyrics, for fuck’s sake, sounds like ages since I read any good ones. The writing may not be the best I have ever read, and sometimes the grammar is not entirely correct or elegant, but here we have DEATH METAL lyrics about suffering, death, grief, zombies, demons – themes that should always be in a Death Metal album. Fuck yes. Thank you, thank you very much.

Soundwise, there is very little to say here, but that is far, far from being a complaint. I might go digging some obscure reference for names of Swedish rehearsal bands of the early nineties, but I suppose Dismember are the greatest and most blatant influence here. I’d dare to go into little more detail and say their sound is a mix of ALL the Dismembers of all eras and not just the early ones (oh and excluding that tragic album I won’t name with the space marine on cover, of course). The uncompromising brutality of Grave is certainly another fitting element of description, as is Carnage‘s hyper-loose riffing and decrepit sound. If I was to play in a band today, I would play this shit, I have no doubts about this. Profanal (which does not stand for Professor Anal if you ask, that might be their pornogrind side project) love real Death Metal and play Death Metal. Swedish Death precisely. They play it with no frills and not a single iota out of place. Metallic, distorted chords with anguishing screams and a bucket of rotten blood smeared all over.

Color me impressed, this is one of the best Death Metal bands we have in this country right now.

INSANE ASSHOLES (Ita): “Grindzilla” Lp Cd 2007 Subordinate

Preface: This is a review I begun to write in 2007, so do not bother to write it’s an old album, I know it’s an old album, and yes I am a human shit for not having reviewed it when the band actually needed it, but hey, I was just at war with myself at the time eh eh. Stay tuned because you’ll see a lot of old shit in the near future. It might as well be some bands have disbanded in the meantime. In any case I have two crates full of old promos to review so just shut up and enjoy what I have to say now that nobody needs it, ah!

I’ll start right away by telling what I do not like about this release, and it’s, plainly, the not-so tongue-in-cheek-humor. I barely could bear Spazztic Blurr or AOD, go figure what I can think of a band with humorous lyrics 30 years later. There are no lyrics printed here, but the titles just need no great analysis. Thinking about it one can view the humorous approach a bit like that of cheezy genre movies like Blood Freak (the monster turkey movie) or classic Troma stuff but I’ll be honest, I am not a big fan of that kind of horror, preferring less happy gore demented stuff.

Setting rants aside, I’ll move on to what I actually like of this album, and for a start the layout is quite good. Sure, “run of the mill” vanilla Subordinate “neogrind” style, but you can’t say the packaging isn’t professionally done, with sharp lines and an all original artwork, so thumbs up for the presentation here. But please, lyrics next time.

I don’t understand why they decided not to feature this band on the Metal Archives as not only the crisp sound but the songs themselves seem pretty “metal” to me. Well, a lot metal actually. The backbone is definitely fucked up grindcore of course, and it has some frequent blastbeats as well, but everything just sound as metallic as it can get (hell there is even that Pantera guy who was shot on stage mentioned in the thanklist twice, can you dare to say they’re crusties?). Remove the freaked out vocals from the mix and just listen to the guitarwork and tell me what you think.

From start to end this album is relentless, pretty tight, and has a lot of consistence. With that I mean that there are no boring intermezzos and trippy shit (well, actually there is a humorous song called “Carbonara Groove”, and a modern black metal bridge towards the end, but we can forgive them) but just straight to the core songs which have one or two riffs apiece and this is an approach I generally appreciate. I think if you cut off all pauses between the songs and you can pass this whole album as a single track eh eh. Slow down it a bit and you get a pretty decent Death Metal album as well , I need to try that.

So to wrap up my opinion is a bit mixed, I like the no frills approach and the fucked up vocals (Bastard Saints could have been a strong influence here as the randomly scattered vocal style is quite characteristic on that band and the singer also appears as guest here) but I always preferred a more sick, rougher sound. I have a concept of grindcore which is quite far from this, something darker, borderline frightening, certainly not this metallic. This album is an honest display of fast Grind/Metal with a schizoid vocal dept and a sleazy horror movie backbone. Could be worse after all.

MORTORIUM (Ita): “Whore of the Liar” demo Cd-r 2008 s/p

MortoriumI knew I was hearing right even beneath the folds of inexperience when I first heard Mortorium. The first demo (review soon, damn! I still need to review the first one and I already got the second ahah, that’s what makes you understand how slow you have become) was not one of face paling blasphemy, but things have improved ten times so far.

They sadly give up to some mellow Black Metal clichès at times (in the second half of “Bleeding Wounds” – I have to skip the track becouse I cannot stand it), but mostly they’re good at composing brutal Black Metal with throat ripping roaring vocals. The singer knows his due, sometimes reminds me of Funeral Mist‘s Arioch (now Marduk I think, not sure) , in which the vocal range is broad, but always evil. You get 12 minutes in all on this demo, but the material is pretty intense, I am quite happy we have bands like this in Italy after all the incredible mass of shit I had to hear in the ’90’s (and sadly today still going strong with all that shit about witches and trolls). Bands like this and Mefitic or The Krushers make me hope for a better future of burned down churches and Satan-centered Black Metal. Mortorium plays straight ahead Black Metal with raw structures, slightly Swedish riffing and a good balance of South American madness..

I am not a fan of war imagery, so I’ll skip comments on the machine gun in the back. But the rest of the demo follows the big principles of “good demo design”: no advanced Photoshop tricks, just a b/w cover with gothic fonts and a picture of Padre Pio (which is the whore in question) with an upside down cross on his forehead, ahah!

Cut the second song at 1.50 and we’d have a killer demo!

BLASPHEMER (Ita): “s/t” split Cd with ESKATON (Pol), MODUS DELICTI (Ita) 2006 Frost Foundation

Well first off the cover artwork is almost indeciphrable. It’s so dark you mostly see shades here. However after some tweaking with curves in Photoshop I managed to see what’s lying beneath and hey, this is a cool artwork indeed, looks like some abstract bio-mechanical work of worms and bloated flesh, reminds me of some Aaron Cain works! Someone has to be executed for concealing this work under layers of darkness. Blasphemer plays a modern breed of Brutal Death Metal of the fastest kind with non stop multi faceted riffing and a ton of guitar harmonics and chuggish breakdowns which well, just scream the words Deeds of Flesh aloud in my ears! The drummer is razor sharp in his work, competent and with concrete awareness of his surroundings: he has the uncommon quality of being able to work along the other instruments, placing evidence to the few slams by battering the snare drums so to give emphasis to the multitude of breaks you get along the songs. I don’t mind for the few screams which in my opinion are always useless, but the vocals are deep and guttural and they work fine for the overall job as well. You get killer Brutal Death without melodies or solos, recorded almost flawlessly as well. Might it be that it suffers a bit from being somewhat derivative but I never thought of that as an issue. I think this stuff is meant to be fun to play and hear, not for some challenge to being original.