I decided once more to hurt myself by continuing the all-personal all-unbiased analyses of the discographies of the giants of death/black/grind/noise and related genres. There will be moments of great discouragement in the future, maybe a few names that some people don’t remember at all, and certainly many releases that I had managed to avoid for years without knowing how low a historical band can dig but had to discover the hard way. Let’s start here, with a band that donated the world a timeless classic and a forgettable comeback. And had to stop right there.
But remember, god can, when you ironize about the metalheads who complain “it was only good on the first album and the demos” because that’s exactly what happens here and so many other times. Though the situation here might not be as tragic as in other cases, going from being fathers of a genre to releasing average grind records that play in the background while eating Churby’s falafel at Obscene Extreme is a completely different situation.
World Downfall, 1989
I really can’t add anything about this album that hasn’t already been said, it is an absolute milestone in the grindcore genre, able to distill those particles of primal rage recessed in Death Metal to refine the most violent breed of punk and noise into something never seen or heard before. THe FLOW here is beyond description. The bass lines have such a fleshripping force that just a handful of thrash metal classics like Illusions or Pleasure to Kill could compare. Terrorizer here created a familiar yet new generation of violent groove, a compact and breathless album that once reached the limit goes one step further with Oscar Garcia’s perfect vocals reinforced by a Vincent at his peak. And then he, the drummer par excellence. What can be said, really, about the greatest grindcore record to come out of the USA?
Darker Days Ahead, 2006
I recently closed by shop when I heard of a new Terrorizer album and given the state of extreme music at the time, the premises were quite bleak. Here, as predictable, Terrorizer loses everything despite the nerve of Jesse Pintado, who on a guitar level could honestly hold the fort with an even darker sound compared to the 1989 classic, a grim sound typical of some early British industrial-breed grindcore. What does not work, or rather is completely eclipsed by the debut, is everything else. The drum sound is criminal, the vocals too static and with those fucking machocore choruses this is a shadow of something vaguely reminiscent of “World Downfall” but lost between hopefully forgettable releases like Nailbomb and Asesinos, which to me personally represent the lowest moment of this music during the ”90s.
Hordes of Zombies, 2012
Six years ahead and another stab comes with this album that should not be. The cover art as well as the layout are those of a third grade band on some obscure east european label, no. If the cover is ugly, the logo miserably modified with subtle yet unnecessary photoshop maneuvering, and let’s not talk about the chouce ot font for the title, on the turntable the record is even worse. This sad Karina can’t hold the reins of Pintado and any grind element despite Sandoval cranking, is gone. Rezhawk as always is grounded on a single note, plus the terrible modulations on the riffs are just hammering nails on the casket of the debut.
Caustic Attack, 2018
The sadness of the previous album’s boiled Vincent and the lack of Pintado left no glimmer of hope open for this umpteenth and final stab in the back of World Downfall’s green Christ, not least because this Molina guy doesn’t sound much better than Rezhawk. Fortunately, the riffs have awakened a tiny bit and Sandoval really goes for the throat here. It’s still average fast Death Metal far from the grindcore of the first great record, but it is not indecent stuff like Hordes of Zombies. I would buy it? no. Would I listen to it again? No. I mean guys, you could have ended it with 1989, eh.
Screening inside my mental schemes with honesty this one, as well as the second album, would not be ratable as 5s, except that there is the shadow of a perfect album looming over everything. Could they do anything that could stand the test of their classic debut? I don’t think so. Nostalgia is not always a good thing.
Sublime rotting sewer sludge-slimy grind, wherewith grind I use the term in its most ancient of acceptions, there is an eerie echoing vibrancy in these tracks that pair obscenely with the slightly out of place rehearsal sound texture. What it doesn’t deliver in massiveness it does in sheer nightmarish opera. Top release where sound and aesthetics fuse in the perfect balance of true Death Metal with the due doses of horror, garageish noise, and the sensation of writhing maggots writhing under your tongue. Few tracks released so far but they have a solid base.
I don’t know how they managed to do it but this recording totally sounds like a demo from 1992 and I mean it as a compliment. It has some of the chaotic roughness of early Deranged, Goreaphobia and a hint of Autopsy morbidity in properly placed corners. I also love the shitty logo here. All in all this is a complete win for me. Top notch band, deserve proper release soon.
Little precious from Despise the Sun records, a limited batch of fifty musicassettes brought this band from the ancient cracks of Rome’s cemeteries to its postapocalyptic unlife. Certainly nothing new or excessively intense for a genre that relies on sheer savagery (check Totalitarian or Intolerant for that), but definitely an interesting listen with its obsessive barrage riffs, multi-layered vocal blasphemies and so on.
CONTINUUM OF XUL
While I definitely support the idea of playing that nowadays rare typology of infernal themed Death Metal I could never force myself to like the previous project called Hellish God which I just found completely aimless and without a clear direction, you know, the John Travolta meme. You have plenty of south american bands conceptually closer to this approach that unleash the powers of Hell upon Earth that you could prefer over that band.
Yet, things have clearly improved here with the name change and while I still have the feeling that the music convolutes endlessly in spirals, without ever bursting out, after a few listen I realized this might actually be a conscious approach from the band: to recursively wind spires upon spires of demonic hordes rending themselves to pieces in a spiral of bottomless sin. This is no easy listening, even compared to other bands in this list that raised the bar of songwriting sometimes bordering on wanking.
I never review variants of grindcore that don’t deal strictly with horror of death or better yet gore ♥ on this fanzine, but Jesus fucking Christ, this stuff is AMAZING. These guys have all the nuclear aggressivity of the original second world grindcore that labels such as Rotthenness or Grinding Madness used to harvest back in early ’90. Top distorted bass backed grindcore of the finest quality, highly recommended. By the way I appreciated the fact that their logo makes the Congenital Deformities one look like Unleashed meet Dark Throne. Total favela illiteracy here! Thumbs up.
An interesting new band that plays really good Brutal Death Metal with a general approach that is more organic and has more “feeling” than the average mid-eastern product that always sticks to the same sound, same lyrics, and same artwork since Amputated Vein crystallized the whole brutal guido slam aesthetics. Cinerarium does have its share of trademark Enmity-like squeaks but the final product is more complete with a big dose of darker, tighter ideas. It is an evolutionary pattern similar to that followed by countrymates Blasphemer of late, for instance, and I like it. Part Liturgy part Krisiun part Reincarnacion, the band gors for the throat and comes out with an overall impressive product that however creaks violently on the slower parts. There is a whole riff at the end of the song below that makes me want to turn off the computer (I admit it, I am not reviewing records when I make these reports). They should really get rid of the slow-mid tempos and go full speed all the time because they really perform very well there (and the slow tempos suck badly, don’t do that).
Interesting if somewhat vanilla Death Metal with a shitload of influences that range from old Bolt Thrower to old Gorefest, basically a salad of Death Metal from the early 90’s glued together with a strong dose of dark heaviness. Initially the sound was way more on the early swedish side but turned darker and darker over time. Now we are left with a genuine breed of Death Metal that is basically a sum of everything that was morbid and obscure in the beginning of the genre.
When I heard the few first minutes of Hadit on their bandcamp page I told msyelf “I bet either this band is from Rome, or they signed to Terror from Hell, or both.” For some reason our capital seems to have become a catalyst for the most complex exercises of Death Metal with a brain, and TFH just seems to have an affair with bands that defiantly pierce the membranous barriers of reality with hints of ancient esotericism.
Obsessively melodramatic and hypercomplex long songs that are a cosmogonal voyage through infinity riding a million riffs of parallelly eerie and brutal Death Metal. They have some hints of that bardo method-o’malley hipsterism I generally hate when overly intellectual writing overcomes the primal savagery and horror that this genre is made for, but somehow I liked it anyway. Shall I start trimming my beard, chop off my fingers in a Zoidberg fashion and start yelling about inclusivity in metal?
Hell, how did I underestimate this band! I reviewed a tape not too long ago (for this zine standards) and now it feels as if I am listening this recording for the first time. Honestly this stuff is even better that I recalled. The finnoscandian inspiration is clear and the massive, crunchy, sound is accurately reconstructed assembling among the best of elements of the genre. All riffs properly placed, with long, breathtaking incursions in the depths of space and sick mind trip, more akin to Krypts than Hadit (above), however.
Whoah! Three full-lengths already, really? I heard this band name before but always forgot to check them out. They play good solid Black Metal with some structure and attention to sound, yet nothing particularly memorable for a genre that is supposed to live upon its filth and hateful spirit. Nothing wrong here but hardly sucks you in.
Huronian decided to take the hard path (again) of playing a genre that basically everyone misinterpreted and was initially thrashed by precursors like Kaamos and definitely obliterated by the new renaissance of Swedish Death Metal. Huronian plays what could be properly called “melodic Death Metal” in which however the “melodies” are not necessarily soft and mellow – think Unanimated, Eucharist and so on. The world might not be still interested in a genre that was overexploited years ago but at the same time, who the hell still understand how things work nowadays? Their music is complex, extremely well written, vicious and yet has that thin veil of harmonies that makes everything work properly. Not a band I would sign on Nuclear Abominations, but do yourself a favor and check them out because close to nobody play this styule anymore!
Spiky, acidic Death Metal with a strong militaristic vibe inspired by the post Conqueror / Order From Chaos movement that over recent years produced bands like Diocletian. Order of the Iron Fist plays everything in line with expectations, including the caliginous recording typical of other eastern noisier experiments like RotUGF or Tsalal. I really like this newer branch of Death which someone defines as Black/Death, although I can’t really see what “black” one could find here besides the vocals, which to be honest, I find here plain and lacking punch, and yet I don’t think a vocal style could strictly define either genres, I think Black Metal in general is more about the feeling of “something else, something wrong, something from the other side creeping in”. Whatever. This is a good band even though it doesn’t really deliver 100% yet in my opinion, the path they chose is narrow and inhabited by generally top level bands already. I would buy their new stuff when it’s out but I expected to be blown away, I didn’.t.
This is music that makes you hate yourself. BUY IT.
Nuclear Wargod recently released an advance tape on Despise the Sun and they fucking shred. They’re on the Blasphemy side of gasmasked Black Metal (is that, think about it honestly, a fault?). They completely lose it when the slow down but if they manage to fix it this is a band that really would deserve a full-length release. Suffocating and miasmic, this is a band that drags you across a nuclear wasteland with sore-covered cannibal mutant priests of Satan. Not surprisingly they have some links to Sadomortuary and they actually play a very similar game. Can’t wait to hear more.
This is a one man band that hardly would fit a list on this fanzine you’re reading in normal times, but I found this solo project honestly flawless. It’s just a bunch of slow riffs and guttural vocals the likes we’ve straight out heard a million times recently (last 10 years or so when Doom Death has become a thing again), but you can actually feel her agony. In total fairness I have found this EP, recorded during the first wave of this world pandemic, perfectly fitting the mood of this period and impeccably inspired. Manly nod to this good job.
Ultra down tuned, raspy and guttural Death Metal with that obsessive, coagulated sound and the fragrance of bloodspattered torture cellars. Hearing tenebro Today gives me today more or less the same feeling of hearing “Butchered at Birth” in 1992, only gore – no air. They have a repetitiveness that borders on drone sometimes, like a slowed down version of Deranged played 18 rpm, which is great but a tidbit too still for me to listen for too long. Natheless, I’d definitely place their recordings in a good position if I had to dub a compilation tape of italian bands in 2021.
Interesting liquid-amphibian goregrind with lyrics about volcanoes. I am generally not particularly attracted by such liberal SJW deviations from the sacred conservative duties of splatter and pathology, but gorenoise has been lacking a bit in this country and to be honest this one is also of superior level compared to a gazillion other bedroom projects. To his credit, the themes are actually about destruction and consequence of horrible burns and death by lava.
Solo project of Hornhammer, not the most intense of releases but worth mentioning in this report for several honest and interesting ideas. There is some Nifelheim inspiration here and with a proper line up there could be a real interesting follow up.
I am afraid this is a band that hasn’t aged well, probably because the field of Brutal Death Metal is unlike its older brother, extremely sensible to the passing of years, when drummers blast harder, riffs get ever more complex, and sound production crispier and heavier. I am sad to say don’t like this new incarnation of Bastard Saints and believe me I have known these guys for 25 years now – listening to these new tracks give me the same yet opposite feeling I had when listening to “Hanged For A Blessed Masturbation”: unripe for its time.
Might be the lack of their trademark guitarwork that kinda glued every piece of this madman hallucination together, and it certainly doesn’t help that some of the tracks are in Italian, including the terrible name they opted for. Either way this time the music doesn’t click for me. The Brutal Death Metal soul is here predominant and yet not as brutal as it used to be when it was just an opaque ligament to connect all fragments of a sick psyche together. The drumming is overly martial and mechanically cyclical and cold but that was a problem I had with latest Broken Hope records too so maybe it’s just me. That said it’s a good band, really, just not special as Bastard Saints used to be.
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.