Oggi il Dottor Marciume ascolta: Pneuma Hagion “Trinity I” tape, deep slow & low tuned Death Metal from Texas, 2015 Nuclear War Now!
Small one man project of Ryan Wilson from Intestinal Disgorge, a band whose lows are way less than the highs, but that here pulls out a decent nice release. With Pneuma Hagion Ryan tries the slow chunky Death Metal way with deep Pillardesque vocals, so much so this tape reminds a non-esoteric or non-evil version Onward to Golgotha. I generally struggle to like one man bands, but Ryan sounds inspired here and albeit there is not much difference between the songs (they basically all sound the same) the formula of having low tuned tremolos with slow grinding bridges and ultra deep grunts is nice so I would give it a distracted 6. Not stuff I’d really spend my cash for a vinyl as it was recently repressed on wax by NWN together with another three EPs, but I have heard much worse.
Oggi il Dottor Marciume ascolta: Schizoparanoic Platoon “Warfare: Mass Annihilation” MCd, Martial und militaristic Death Metal from Greece, 2019 Askio
Very acidic, rusty, warmongering Death Metal is what we get from this decently prolific band from Greece, whose latest EP (this) has also been recently repressed on tape by Infested Morgue rex. Battlefield insanity is what better defines this band, in a more acidic “Voivod projected 300 years in the future” or a more brutal static version of Marduk/Exmortem way more than Bolt Thrower. I personally wan’t sure of this recording the first time I put this one in the record player but the cyclical obsessive sound dug in rather quickly. The vocals are stern and arrogant, just shouting orders on top of a squadron of tracklaying bass/drum machinery. Misleadingly monolithic, there is also more stuff going on within this suffocating mass of sound than what might seem at first.
Pulverizing Lethal Force aka Pretty Little Flower(s) is yet another metallic grind core band from USA. I already plentifully stressed out that I prefer a crustier kind of grind, yet I cannot deny the catchiness of the songs nor the unquestionable ability of this band to concoct enjoyable music. There is so much metal in both sound and structure in this Cd, that sometimes they even remind me of very early Sinister, but there is also a constant use of blastbeats and groove which is typical of the “punkier” part of the spectrum – I could say this band is 60% and 60% if you know what I mean.
The booklet is plain yet rather well done with 8 pages and some lyrics printed inside, of the classic yet never old “socioapocalyptic” kind, all about fury and crushing rage, everything packed in a sober, rational style.
I am not hugely fond of live shows (except for blatantly good ones, like Last Days of Humanity‘s amazing Cd of some years ago) so the final tracks can be easily skipped, but the tracks 1 to 17 are intense and tight enough to make up for a good album all the same, and they even squeezed covers by Doom, Unseen Terror and Denak inside this record. This might be one of the best releases I have heard from Power It Up so far, strictly speaking about this specific kind of furious metallic grind. There is a lot of groove and energy displayed all through, without all the dissonant bridge bollocks we often hear today. PLF is a band that is able to play its cards without recurring to any bells and whistles or endless intros as they can produce good riffs, arrange them with taste and record them with a extra generous pinch of ferocity. Well done, not bad at all.
Here 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.
I decided to exhume an old review from the previous website (remember you can access all the old reviews by clicking the “old reviews” link in the sidebar) just for the occasion. Like I used to say, Profanatica was one of my favorite Black Metal bands, to receive their new album is a fucking event. The question is: will this reunion work? Or we’ve just been lucky with Archgoat?
In short, I will tell you that this is really one of the top 5 Black Metal albums of the year. Ask someone with a brain what Black Metal is and you’ll get similar answers. It has to be misanthropic, alienating, mesmerizing, insane, demonical, inhuman. All these elements are still present and strong in Profanatica‘s sound, goddamnit! And in a perfect balance as well. This is one of the bands that paved the genre and they still do it brilliantly. You don’t get the evocative ballads of Burzum or the merry sing along riffs of Watain here: just unrefined, raw Black Metal force, a sticky black fluid that absorbs life and happiness flows out of the stereo once you put “Profanatitas…” on the turntable. This is also one of the best releases from Hell’s Headbangers so far too, it was a cool relief to hear that some bands actually withstand the test of time so well.
Just like it should be for real Black Metal, there are no fancy evolutions here: everything is stripped to the absolute minimal – drums are just a constant droning sound in the background, an almost tribal hypnotic beating. The riffs have the crushing, slow force that pressed nails in jesus’s hands and feet. The vocals a lacerating lament, gargling with hateful spite for living things. I cannot think of a better expression of good old fashioned BlackMetal. You can almost figure yourself in the middle of a bestial orgy, surrounded by the smell of sulfur and brimstone, black robed priests with leper gnawing human bones and virgins fucking with goats and dogs. This is definitely a must-fucking-have album.
The artwork is cool but the booklet is a little bare, just folded cardboard. Thinking about it a second time, it fits the release – but I’ll personally go for the vinyl. Get the 12″ version if you find it, its force is doubled on old school vinyl with all the pops and crackling. Again, absolutely a must have.
Profanatica was one of my favourite Black Metal bands when it was becoming a solid enstabilished genre per se, with its aesthetics and stuff, and the fact they came from a district of New York just made the thing for me all the better. I feel really annoyed by Scandinavian Black Metal, however you call it. This band originally formed out of a very early version of Incantation when both Ledney and McEntee left Revenant (if you want to hear the other bands which came before this: Contrivisti and Toten, check out the excellent – as usual – retrospective on Nuclear War Now!) or as Ledney put it, when John left the band and took the name with himself. Whatever the case, it seems their friendship must have been deteriorating afterwards becouse McEntee is on the first line in the thankslist of this “…Tormenting Holy Flesh…” split album. Profanatica is quite atypical for the modern interpretation of the Black Metal band, for several reasons. The riffs of their songs were not just constrant buzzing tremolos a la Immortal & Co. but you can call them riffs old school Death/Black with Doom laden bridges and powerful twists, there is even one small touch of the early Incantation here, when I really like the guitars, the impossibly bad recording and shrieking vocals just don’t annoy me so much, on the contrary, I am pleased by the total garage sound, it really reeks evil like the worse south American recording and the malignity just results heightened. Ledney here handles both drums and vocals (like Nocturnus or Autopsy) and I believe he does a good job at both things. His screams are a blasphemous agony, not your ridicolous typical popeye Scandinavian-style shout, I really picked this out becouse some resemblances to Messiah which I reviewed yesterday might not be totally out of place, when we talk about the slower grinding sections. Track 1 is the only new song here, as both “Final Hour of Christ” and “Weeping in Heaven” previously appeared in other works, and the 8 minute “I Arose” is just a fucking evocative instrumental masterpiece. No really this stuff is so neat I am not afraid to say I like it more than 99% of today’s Black Metal (there are exceptions, but you get my point), this is what I mean for Black Metal, not paper penguins. I don’t care much for the panda corpsepaint but seens it’s a must have for any so called satanic band (bah). Profanatica was really, really direct and sick in their blasphemy. I have seen a video of these guys playing naked and smeared with blood on stage, masturbating on the bible, smashing a virgin mary statue stained with blood on stage, spitting urine at the crowd, they were really, really nasty and disgusting, trying to break all of jesus christ’s rules not just by writing lyrics in their flats but also by acting disgusting and against the laws of nature (a bit like G.G. Allin). I haven’t heard anything since their reunion (except for the collection picLp but that’s all old stuff) so I can’t tell if things changed for the best or stayed so primeval, you should check Hell’s Headbangers website often to stay informed. I have compared both vinyl and Cd versions of this split and I haven’t found any differences. There was a flyer insert withing the Lp cover however where Osmose was sponsoring the “The Raping of Virgin Mary” unreleased album, ah. I don’t know if there was a mistake on the flyer but what was to become the cover of this split was instead placed as the cover for that never released album. Blasphemous and totally crude the way this is meant to be, once again! Fuck polished sound!
Splatter Whore‘s side offers a bit more in terms of intensity and fullness of sound compared to Eyetofuk. Instead of sounding like a collection of sampled Nailbomb songs, their intent seems to be way more into traditional cyber-Goregrind with lots of mid tempo changes and a sound that well, isn’t the more convincing of the world either, but still better than their cd mates.
Honestly speaking, I don’t like much the riffs themselves, in particular the fact they’re a bit too fast to crush with heaviness, and too slow to shred with ferocity. Mostly it’s a collection of real average guitar chords, stuck together with some samples and a cricket vocal approach that probably would fit better an American Death Metal band in the vein of Sikfuk or Bound and Gagged than dirty grind. They’re however the best thing on their side anyway.
Of all the songs I probably liked most the mast one, “Please Fuck Me!”, as it’s probably the most weird and wicked of them all. Cover art looks like a variation of Mike Diana’s old works. Funny and cool… even if comic book art is getting a bit inflated.