Thursday, 31 January 2013

Deadman's Blood - Product of a Deranged Mind

DEADMAN'S BLOOD - Product of a Deranged Mind (Self released - demo CD 2012)
I guess some of you may be familiar with that English chap Matt Bass, who runs his youtube review show and also plays in a couple of metal projects: black metal Witchclan and old school death metal Deadman’s Blood. With the latter he was announcing the release of a second demo for quite a while and so finally by the end of 2012 “Product of a Deranged Mind” was released. Having a guest appearance of three legendary US death metal musicians, this was not suppose to be just yet another demo, but something more extraordinary… at least this is how I imagined it to be. The reality is a bit different, as after listening to the demo I must confess that my anticipation was bigger and in the end the material turned out to be quite average, but surely it is good enough to give it few occasional spins once in a while. So, please don’t get prejudiced right off. But before we talk about the music, I must ask Matt about something what really annoys me in his approach to his band. This is something what I meet with quite often nowadays and what really pisses me off, I mean why someone would actually limit the demo material of his band? Where are the times, when bands have copied hundreds or even thousands of copies of their demos and have been sending / trading / selling them to whoever wanted? Not to forget about sending a necessary quantity to the zines or labels… Nowadays – and that is also the case with Deadman’s Blood – there are 100 copies or even less and no more. Nothing would be provided for promotion, nothing for everybody interested… What I noticed that that often it’s sort of making an artificial cult and elitism, which is equally pathetic and funny as it is unnecessary. Why so many bands do that nowadays? Maybe Matt can answer me this? I really see no point. And I’m not even gonna start on the idea of selling mp3 files of your demo on iTune or wherever, because that is just beyond my comprehension. For that some underground orthodox maniacs can crucify Deadman’s Blood straight away hehe! But that is Mat Bass’ idea for his band, fine, I just totally don’t agree with it, to be honest.
Let’s move forward though and listen to some metal, shall we? Speaking just about the musical content of “Product of a Deranged Mind” I can say that I more or less liked what I’ve listened to. Deadman’s Blood performs old school, archaic death metal, but definitely Matt has composed some cool riffs and had some good ideas to use for the demo. And so the first song, “The Knife (Will Cut You Deeper)”, is definitely the most energetic and fastest track from the whole demo. It is really cool; great groovy riffing to bang your head, some more melodic parts here and there plus the infectious, catchy chorus part… All those attributes will make you remember this track most from all four songs from the demo. I can also say that style wise it reminds me Bone Gnawer most, but there are also some similarities to the Swedish death metal and bands like Puteraeon, Entrails, Interment, so definitely a worthy recommendation. I think this song includes Kam Lee’s guest vocal contribution, so it’s really cool (he’s also responsible for the artwork of the demo!). Then the following three songs would focus mainly (but not only) on slower tempo, with more of that Autopsy worship of rotten, morbid, cryptic sound and overall atmosphere. “House of Horrors” is standing out here as the most interesting I guess, but I cannot say there is anything wrong about “Zombie Creeping Flesh” (is the title influenced by that gory horror movie from 1980???) or “Can’t Escape the Butchery” neither, as both are also solid and good songs. I like some of these riffs, Brian Werking did excellent job with his guitar leads and the vocals are just sick!
After listening to “Product of a Deranged Mind” I would need to point out a couple of things, which I see to be improved next time; if of corpse I can only suggest anything. The songwriting doesn’t leave much to be wished for, it is solid and fine, but maybe the songs are slightly too long and thus they lack a bit of that straight forward attitude. Then the production of the demo is the matter, which I would need to discuss most. I mean, the sound is not bad, it is OK, definitely the demo got a good mastering, but still I sometimes have some slight doubts for that drum machine, also the guitar sound is sometimes little bit weird. Most of all though, I totally don’t like the way bass guitar sounds on this demo. I don’t know whether the mixing fucked it up or what, but it’s one of the very few cases, when the bass guitar sound has actually been annoying me constantly all the way through listening to the demo. I actually had to take some bass off my stereo, to make this instrument less audible and thus less irritating. I’m not sure how should I describe this sound exactly, so maybe listen to it yourself and try to find the words for it, for me the production of “Product of a Deranged Mind” is definitely the weakest point of the demo. There’s too much of that “bedroom band”, mechanical kind of feeling, with fucked up bass guitar and not enough of plain and simple arse kicking nuclear energy of killer death metal.
Final rate: 69/100 

Friday, 25 January 2013

Nocturnal Vomit - Cursed Relics

NOCTURNAL VOMIT - Cursed Relics (Kill Yourself Productions - LP 2012)
I must admit that I haven’t listened to anything from Nocturnal Vomit for quite few years now. Somewhere around 2004 I got their demo “Infernal Ascension of the Gods” and later I think I’ve also listened to their EP “Arts of Tenebrous Superstition”, but that was years ago and since then I just never had a chance to listen to anything from this Greek band. It may be due to the fact that that demo, which I mentioned, sounded rather mediocre and not as impressive to really bother about the band so much. I don’t know, anyway I kind of lost interest in Nocturnal Vomit. But at the same time I sort of kept watching what they were doing, I’ve also read some interviews with the band throughout these years and in 2012 I’ve found out the news about Nocturnal Vomit’s debut album, finally coming out after all these years of their activity. It was surely a good opportunity to go back to their music and check if I was interested in it at all. So, I purchased “Cursed Relics” on CD first (and soon later also on LP) and I must say that the music of this Greek band is nothing like what I have remembered from that old demo, which I mentioned. Of corpse there’s almost 10 years between both releases, but the progression and evolution, which the band went through in that time is huge.
One of the things for which I remembered “Infernal Ascension of the Gods” was its raw, harsh and primitive sounding and the music, which also was very raw, very chaotic and archaic as hell. It was mainly death metal oriented, but surely it also had some influence of the black and even the very old Teutonic thrash metal. Ha, I guess that moniker such as Nocturnal Vomit must have been there for something! But with “Cursed Relics” this name may be misleading, I mean someone may expect something more oppressive and blackened and assume that Nocturnal Vomit will be in the vein of Revenge, Black Witchery or Bestial Raids, but meanwhile “Cursed Relics” is nothing more or less, but 666% pure death metal album, played in the classic way and with the traditional meanings.
I’m glad to hear that Nocturnal Vomit got better in every aspect of the music – starting from the production, which is very brutal, heavy and massive, with awesome guitar tone, etc. This sound, together with the music and the raspy vocals, reminds me now the good, old Asphyx more than anything else. I mean Nocturnal Vomit uses the similar slow or mid paced riffing and tempos all the way through their album, plus Thomas Vomit really sounds like Martin van Drunen (or maybe Wannes Gubbels hehe?)… And because I love Asphyx, then obviously I also liked “Cursed Relics” a lot. But I think it would be totally unfair to just say that Nocturnal Vomit copies Asphyx, as they also have something original in their music plus I think that together with Asphyx some other bands, which influenced the Greeks would be Sadistic Intent, Pentacle, Mortem, Grave, Morgoth and Soulburn. So basically everything what’s best in the underground death metal! Obviously to mime the old bands is not quite enough to impress. If you don’t have that something extra in your music then it is a failure, but do not worry – Nocturnal Vomit has everything in the right place, including the heart and soul for this kind of death metal. This is very passionate, energetic and aggressive old school death metal and really the Greeks have gathered a bunch of absolutely killer and essential riffs around their neckbreaking songs and they really got it right. It’s even difficult to point out any standout tracks, as I see the whole album to be on the same high level, but maybe “Functions of Abomination” would be the one, which I liked most? I also love “H ZΩH EN TAΦΟ (Outro)“. Anyway, I strongly remind you, if you’re into the bands, which I’ve mentioned above, mainly Asphyx and Pentacle, then this is an album for you.
Another couple of words need to be said about the whole artwork for “Cursed Relics”. Nocturnal Vomit is not the first – and most likely not last – band, which have used the works of phenomenal Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński. I love his paintings also, as he managed to create a very unique and often very disturbing and dark atmosphere on this pictures. They certainly fit perfectly to death or black metal albums and the one, which has been used for “Cursed Relics” - or two, as the second one is on the back cover – are some of the best ones ever. On the vinyl cover they look just wonderfully, I love every detail of these paintings, including the colouring. Oh, I really wish that the LP version also had a huge poster with that artwork; I would certainly put it in frame and hang on the wall. Anyway, summing it all up (the music plus the artwork), it turns out that “Cursed Relics” is one of the most effective and memorable albums of the 2012 and one, which just has to be in your collection!
Standout tracks: no bad songs here… “Functions of Abomination”
Final rate: 85/100

Krashing - Disinterment 1987-1993

KRASHING - Disinterment 1987-1993 (Natura Morta Edizioni - CD 2012)
I must admit that one of the coolest things, which I have noticed and which happened in the past three, four years, was the blog society, which helped to exhume hundreds of old and sometimes nearly forgotten bands and their demos. Yeah, I can hear some voices screaming now: internet and downloading mp3 demos is not underground ble, ble... fuck that. If there were no blogs and downloads of those old recordings, which they provided (or even the scans of the old fanzines!) I would probably never have a chance to get to know many killer releases and bands. And can there be something more underground and valuable that supporting the great scene and great demos? And it is always fantastic feeling to find a band, which was formed and split up 20 years ago and to hear their music for the first time now and to find out that something, what back then people have perhaps considered as mediocre, sounds actually very good and better than many bands, which have survived the tough times for death metal (I will stick to this genre, as black metal has completely different story and to be honest many old black metal demos from the 90’s annoy me for their completely fucked up production). I’m not gonna mention any names now, because I hope everyone was able to find such bands by himself, what shouldn’t be difficult, seeing that many of those old demos and EPs or whatever, have been exhumed and brought back to life in one form or another (I mean they were re-released on LP or CD). Here I have a pleasure to introduce you to a band, which I think have never crossed my path before; even on those blogs. At least I don’t remember seeing their name on websites like raf666underground, plague of death (not active anymore) or wherever. This is Italian band called Krashing. First time I got to know them was, when a certain musician from Bergamo (hails to thee, Abibail!) asked me to make some Metal Archives updates for some bands from his city and one of them was Krashing. More so, it turned out that he has just released a CD compilation, with two demos of Krashing, so I was happy that Abibail got me a copy of it and now I can introduce this band to some other people – I mean to you, whoever you are, reading this review. I dare to say that there won’t be that many (any???!) people, who have heard of Krashing ever before.
Krashing was a thrash / death metal band, formed back in 1987 in Bergamo. This three-piece has recorded a couple of demos – “Cycle of Decomposition” in 1991 and “The Ancient Were, The Ancients Are, The Ancients Will Be” in 1993. Soon after the release of the second of these tapes they’ve split up and have remained entombed, until Abibail exhumed them and brought back to the sun light. So, Natura Morta Edizioni has released this CD titled “Disinterment 1987-1993” and this really sounds like someone entered an old catacomb and excavated something from it. The music of Krashing smells like putrid and sounds like the most archaic, old death metal classic demos from that period of time. Before listening to it first thing you must do is to get rid of the 20 years old dust and spider webs, kill some maggots and put a mask, otherwise the stench of death may kill you! Hehe, just kidding, don’t worry; the CD is definitely released in good and solid way. 8 page booklet provides some information about both recordings, has all the lyrics, plus some old photos… So, you’ll find everything you need. And musically don’t expect maybe the best and most killer demos of all times, because “But Life Goes On” or “Only Shreds Remain” they are not, but surely they’re very decent and solid efforts. I like that authentic feeling of these two recordings, that dark and extreme atmosphere and passion, so characteristic for many early death metal demos. Sure, sound quality is not the best, is it very raw and in many ways primitive, but surely not as bad to abhor you (unless the heaviest band you like is In Flames :). Krashing certainly played something on the edge between thrash and death metal, but with the slight prevail of the second of these styles, as definitely their music was faster and more aggressive than the thrash bands would sound like at that time. Eeghh, what do I need to write… If you like that feeling, when you listen to the early demos from Vader, Massacra, Mercyless, Nihilist… it also reminds me some early Polish death metal demos, like Thanatos’ “Out of Sanity” killer demo. Krashing is pretty much similar. And who cares, if it sounds so dramatically archaic and primitive? The feeling is most important and for me “Disinterment 1987-1993” is a nice travel back in time and great introduction to completely unknown band. I hope that with this review some more people will get that compilation, you surely must if you dig the old scene!
Final rate: 80/100

Kill - Death KILL Metal

KILL - Death KILL Metal (GRUFT - CD 2010)
Kill is one of the newer Polish death metal bands, although it is formed by several experienced musicians, who have previously been playing in few quite well known bands like Christ Agony, Supreme Lord, Witchmaster, Sacrilegium. Personally I’ve heard of Kill for the first time only recently, when they announced and later on released their debut full length CD “Murder Rips Its Path”. I’ve got this album and I must admit that it really crushed me badly. I can still feel a neck ache and pain in the guts, as this material really kicked me hard and definitely was one of the best death metal releases of 2012, in my opinion. And because I always like to have complete discographies of bands I like in my collection, I decided to look around for some of the earlier Kill releases. “Kill” promo from 2009 is not available anywhere, but I was lucky to find the first official release of the band – “Death KILL Metal” EP, which was released in 2010 by a small and very underground, but doing a good job label called Gruft Prodüktion. They’ve also released such materials as Bloodthirst / Excidium split CD, Bloody Sign / Mortificy / Luctiferu / Cromb 4 way split CD and Supreme Lord’s “Legion of Doom”, so few very good materials, that’s why I was quite certain about the high quality of the “Death KILL Metal”, speaking of how the booklet and everything will look like. Another thing was if the music will be as good as from “Murder Rips Its Path”. It would certainly be really cool, if it was…
I already gave about a dozen of spins of this CD and well, I must say one thing –I like “Murder Rips Its Path” more, but that doesn’t mean “Death KILL Metal” is worthless. Definitely this is also a very solid and good material, but maybe lacking a spark or something what would really put everything ablaze and cause some serious damage. Kill – just as on their debut full length album – performs a strictly US influenced death metal and when I listen to their music one band comes to my mind mainly – Cannibal Corpse. Of corpse one may also list here Suffocation, a bit of recent Deicide, Obituary, Six Feet Under and whatever, but it is the Buffalo Cannibals, who must have made the biggest impact on Kill. That can already be proved by the fact that this EP contains “Stripped, Raped and Strangled” cover. This track, one of the best Cannibal Corpse songs ever, from one of their better albums (“The Bleeding”) has been played very solidly, pretty much just as the original, without any changes or personal touch of Kill, what some of you may see as a disadvantage, but I don’t care. It definitely is a good cover tune.
As for Kill’s own material I must say that I like their mid paced or slow death metal a lot. It is very brutal, very heavy, definitely perfectly suiting the maniacal headbanging... Kill has plenty of very memorable and catchy riffs, as for this kind of music, and that may be one of the reasons, why their music is so easy to listen to and why it just force you to bang the skull. But just listen to such tracks as “Steel Garotte” for instance… That first riff from will stick to your head for the rest of the day, obviously it also is one of the most Cannibal Corpse’ish riffs from the whole EP. “Holy Inquisition”, “The Ordals” and “Peccatum” are another good songs – again I must say I like the riffing and all else, also the production is very nice; thick, heavy and perfect for this sort of music. I’m afraid though that near close of the EP, with two last songs – “Iron Face” and “Taste of Water” – Kill lost something, definitely these two tracks are way less interesting and I must say they’re just dull. The riffing became just average and so are the vocals and everything else in these two songs, so maybe it would be better if “Death KILL Metal” didn’t have them?
Final rate: 70/100