Friday, June 29, 2012

Sepultura - Arise

This is one of the most cherished and worshiped metal albums of all time. It is also one of the most over-fucking-hyped snore-fests you'll ever endure, as well.

After gaining global prominence with 1989's stellar 'Beneath the Remains', all eyes were on Sepultura. When this album was released I remember digging it. The aggression's there. There's really nothing "gay" or weak about it and a few songs here and there are actually "almost" among their best. It wasn't until a few months down the road that I realized that this album is a total fucking bore. Every riff repetitively plays at a predictive and evenly numbered pattern which begins to wear thin on my brain, not to mention that after the first two or three tracks the album begins to steer off course and go absolutely nowhere. Also, there's something about the production that wears thin. For its time, this was a state of the art production job that ranked among the better works of Terry Date and Fleming Rasmussen, yet that is in all likelihood wherein lies the fatal flaw. Had 'Arise' been christened with the same sound as 'Beneath the Remains', it may have retained a bit of a desperate sounding edge instead of coming across as lazy and too comfortable sounding.

As much as people viciously cry and stamp their little feet over 'Roots' and everything afterward, I must say that starting with 'Chaos A.D.' onward, my interest in the band was fully renewed and I found them at their best when they were engrossed in all of the tribal experimentation and the slower, heavier riff fests that filled the confines of those albums. This may be the album that truly gave them critical acclaim but in my mind this was a creative dead end and they needed an album like 'Chaos A.D.' to pull them out of the mire of stagnation.

Max's vocals are actually a little better on this album than the last, which is one of, perhaps the only improvement from that release. His voice sounded a little shot on 'Beneath the Remains' and it was good to hear him sound a little more venomous and rejuvenated this time around. Igor is also in top shape on this album. Anyone who's followed Sepultura's career since the Morbid Visions days can attest that Igor Cavalera's drum expertise had improved by leaps and bounds from that album to this. Night and fucking day. Unfortunately, again, the riffs are just not that engaging. Not even in terms of a simplistic groove. The actual thrashier, busier riffs are unbelievably dull and the only other album that I can compare this to as far as excruciatingly boring songs are concerned is Obituary's 'The End Complete'. Maybe it was a Roadrunner thing. Who knows?

Deicide - Deicide

I noticed as of late that Deicide has become the linchpin for every pseudo-intellectual type roaming the internet and feeling special because they discovered 'Ulcerate' or some other el blando-o "post" death metal band that makes them feel intellectually superior for doing so.

The real kicker is that most of these "critics" are prepubescent chumps that regard Deicide's debut as being "meh" (by the way, I'd like to kick whoever came up with that cutesy little term in the face a couple of thousand times) and only worthy of a passing laugh. The fact of the matter is that I remember when this came out as clear as day and all of the smarmy fucks who are my age and are now "swept away" by the imaginary genius of Darkthrone or enthralled by the even more baffling appeal of Portal were left drooling and stupefied with amazement when this came out oh so long ago regardless of what they'd lead you to believe in this day in age.

I realize that it's been a LONG motherfucking time since Deicide has wielded any semblance of authority over the fickle minds and imaginations of the death metal masses, in no small part due to the fact that they have been on a creative downslide since, arguably, 'Once Upon the Cross'. Maybe 'Serpents of the Light', depending on how forgiving or just plain dense you are. I can also understand, to some degree, that since this albums release the death metal flood gates were torn off of the fucking hinges, cast aside and forever forgotten thus allowing an unhealthy amount of desensitization to flow into the ears and minds of metal music listeners since. Despite the fact that the band has been mired in creative stagnation for almost twenty years, nothing, absolutely nothing can take away from the initial impact this band had on the metal scene, death metal in particular, during those early, formative years.

Back in 1990, there were really only a handful or two of bands that were legitimately creating music under the death metal moniker. Sure, there were countless unsigned acts that nobody would hear of until at least 10 or so years later with the advent of the internet, but as far as signed bands that were releasing globally accessible albums were concerned, pickin's were mighty slim, therefore when Roadrunner aka R/C (in those days) unleashed Deicide's unholier than thou self titled debut in the Summer of 1990, minds were sufficiently blown.

It's so easy for people to jump on the hipster bandwagon these days and poke and jeer at Glen Benton's rapidly balding dome (which does nothing to cover up the crooked cross embedded in his skull)) and his increasingly shot voice, not to mention his unwise insistence to liberally pepper his vocal lines on almost any and every conceivable section of each new Deicide song making it a cringe inducing affair to endure, yet make no mistake about it whatsoever, on this album Benton was a fucking hateful and bestial sounding monster from where only nightmares reside. He sounded equal parts demonic and murderous savage and I don't give a roasted rats arse if he tinkered around a bit in the studio to come up with some of the vocal monstrosities on display here. The bulk of the voices that he employs on here are certainly his own and as far as the high and low overdubbing goes, well, what can I say? It sounded fucking great! Sure, scholarly know-it-alls will be quick to point out that Carcass or even Napalm Death were also using high and low death metal vocals before Deicide had but I dare say that the explosive effect that Glen's vocal studio tinkerings would have FAR fucking surpassed what I had imagined could be done up until that point.

For quite some time beforehand, Slayer, for me, was kind of the "be all, end all" band in terms of shock and aggression, lyrically and otherwise. Even though I had been exposed to the likes of Napalm Death, Obituary, Sodom, Death, Kreator, etc, none of these bands were able to shake the foundations set by L.A.'s best, that was until Deicide came rampaging out of the gates with this behemoth of a monstrosity. Even the lyrics put everyone else to shame. When you proclaim that you 'killed Jesus, you know, just to see him bleed....', that pretty much nails the fucking coffin shut. You can go around wearing spikes and dabbing black and white make-up on your face akin to the manner in which many glam rock bands had done beforehand, but when one makes a statement such as that, that pretty much cancels out all of the "crispety, crunchety" black metal bullshit that has filed out of the gates since. The war is over.You can go back home now. You are no longer needed, and never were for that matter.

The drums on this album were also something of a surprise. Sure, death metal's blasting obsession had already taken form and everyone was already drooling over Pete Sandoval's expertise, yet there was something a bit more desperate and barbaric about Steve Asheim's brutal pummeling behind the kit. Listening to Pete sounded like what a typewriter must sound like to a deaf guy in the next room. Asheim was pounding the fuck away on these things and at that point showed all the promise of Sandoval and many of the other great drummers of the time.

Of course along with Legion, the self titled debut was Deicide's most evil sounding record to date in terms of guitar tone and riff selections. Sure, the leads were in the messy Rick Rozz/Slayer department, but who gives a fuck? When the actual riffage is this desperate and harnesses that much hateful intent, I pay close attention. Leads were usually the last fucking thing I cared about, if I even paid them any mind to begin with.

It's truly a shame that so many people getting into death metal these days are skipping right over this masterpiece of truly evil death metal. Sure, the band's Satanic "beliefs" are up for question but the negative and chaotic vibe that this album gives out puts to shame anything that has come out of Norway since Darkthrone jumped on the bandwagon that they've been circling ever since.

Darkthrone - Under a Funeral Moon

And the story goes...

Somewhere in late 1991/early '92, seemingly ALL of Norway collectively decided that death metal was uncool now because someone saw a picture of Obituary in Metal Maniacs wearing sweatpants and Bermuda shorts. At that point they also decided to emulate the musical as well as physical traits of 80's death/thrash bands such as Bathory, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, early Slayer, Possessed and so on, in answer to Obituary's treasonous dress code. I'm not sure where the part that 'any and all musical talent be utterly kicked to the curb and disposed of' came into play, but the Norwegians took to the endeavor with all the gusto of a tranny in a hot dog eating contest. Let us also never forget that it was at this point that almost every band in the world jumped on Norway's cock as a result. This is NOT to say that Norway was a lighthouse beaming with originality. What Norway essentially did was rip off the elders of the 80's and in turn accuse anyone else of doing so of being a copy cat of the Norwegian "style" of copy catting. Yet, originality was not the only thing the Norwegians lacked. They were also devoid of a goodly deal of talent in those days as well save for a three fingered handful of bands. Of course in the ensuing years, any band that began to develop any sort of technical proficiency (as is usually the case after years of practicing) or attempted to outgrow the inbred trappings of the almighty Norwegian Black Metal scene, were in turn accused of "selling out" or just plain "being untrue".

From amidst the wide eyed confusion of teen angst and obligations wrought from the furnace of peer pressure came the Lord of all Things True himself, Sir Hank of Amarillo aka Fenriz. I actually extract great amounts of evil joy when I watch or read interviews from this cartoonishly charismatic fellow as I have never seen anyone write and rewrite the book of How to be a Black Metal Hipster Yet Come Across as Being Otherwise as much as the popularly adored Mr. Amarillo. Never before has the world encountered such a champion of contradictions as they would with each absolutely worthless utterance from this man's throat. The fact that Darkthrone has played it rather safe in terms of remaining confined to the shadows as opposed to coming out full blast ala Satyricon or Gorgoroth, playing festivals and shows and embarking, viking style, on world tours, etc, has only furthered the notion in peoples minds that they are dealing with some black master of magicks steeped in arcane ideology and as a result, the pinnacle being of underground cool and cred. Barf.

Nevertheless, it was to be that when Sir Lord Hank of Amarillo spoke, the masses unwaveringly listened and obliged his every whim. And when Sir Hank decided that 'A Blaze in the Northern Sky' did not sound "necro" (aka like shit) enough he decided to once again crawl back into the lofty confines of his mind and see what his asshole might produce and lo and behold, the world was graced with an even stinkier, smellier poo than before. Ladies and gentlemen... I give you... Under a Funeral Moon!

Whereas 'A Blaze...' has actually grown on me a little throughout the years (though I'll never truly forgive Darkthrone for the treasonous act of abandoning their death metal sound for the flavor of the day) as there are actual rhythmic fluctuations to be heard as well as an admittedly "evil" vibe that permeates the air within that release, its two successors are nothing but glorified pieces of fly ridden shit that give the musical term 'noise' a negative rep. Listening to two inbred mongoloids from the backwoods of Virginia with Tourette's violently buttfuck each other in room filled with priceless china would sound infinitely better than having to endure any one full track off of this or it's equally mundane twin, 'Transilvanian Hunger'. The fact that not only people actually like this album but that it is considered to be a (barf) 'masterpiece' is a staggering inclination of of just how far up the evolutionary ladder we have to go to reach the top.

Unholy fucking black metal. Sir Lord Hank of Amarillo in all of his true necro glory at far right

I keep telling myself that most people like this album because it's merely the cool, ahem, "necro" thing to do. The riffs on this "album" suck roomfulls of AIDS patients dicks with an unmatched fervor and a glee most hideous to behold. I'm not kidding either. You can actually picture the enthusiastic and undaunted retardation on the band's faces as they mindlessly bang away track after track. Kind of like giving a child a sheet of acid and a box of crayons. I am convinced that when someone drones on about the "genius" of this album, they are naught but some robot slathered in human flesh whose battery is only moments away from expiration. Of course the big kindergarten swipe at anyone who actually has the gall to not buy into this albums extraterrestrial hype is to claim in an indignant tone, that they don't "understand" this album. As if The Lord Fenriz himself had whispered it's divine secrets into their ears and left your puny and unworthy ass in the dark screaming "why hath thou forsaken me???!!"

Well fuck all that. I don't want to understand it. I am content in knowing that if you find this album to be a work of musical genius then you are part of the sheep that this band and countless others of their ilk complain about, including themselves. The only thing astounding and astonishing about this album is that the band managed to force out a pile of shit this big without the aid of surgery and a years worth of Band Aids.

Nile - At the Gates of Sethu

Once again I just don't understand people and all of the hate and/or "mixed feelings" about this album. First off, if you only listen to this album once before running in front of your computer to "film" yourself inciting a review whilst standing amidst all of your perfectly placed metal memorabilia in your tiny bedroom over at your Mom's house ( it seems in order to become a bonafide, card carrying member of the Youtube Review Squad, you have to have in your possession a variety of questionable aesthetics on display. Either that, or just plain look like some hulking bearded and balding kid in his early twenties camped out in his parents basement, gettin' all philosophical on your ass)) then I can understand the seeming perplexities that one faces in dealing with this album, hell, ANY Nile album for that matter. On the other hand, if you've truly sat there and absorbed this album after a few and thorough listens, I would assume that it's quite clear that this is yet another monumental album from a band that has yet to drop the creative ball that they have been scoring shots with since the beginning. 

If Nile wasn't your thing then that will assuredly remain to be the case since this is basically Nile being Nile with an ever so slight shift in production. Perhaps the most notable change in style and technique comes in the form of the main vocals belched fourth from the bowels of guitarist Dallas Toler Wade. His vocal delivery on this album are just a wee bit clearer than they had been on previous outings and effortlessly fits into the mold. This proves to be quite the strategic and tactical move on the bands part being that Dallas' delivery is the most discernible of the bunch being dished out and carries with it a rather hateful aesthetic that comes across quite convincing. Just enough venom being spat fourth to keep you flinching at the utterance of each word.

Nile has employed a variety of different vocal styles since the very beginning of their career, ranging from low end growls to hateful sounding shouts and rasps to clean singing all the way to groovy little chants supplied by Tibetan monk types (probably some bearded local redneck, but hey!). Anyone who finds themselves confused by this thinking that this is all a new thing should go and Dimebag themselves as soon as possible as there are enough dumb motherfuckers out there swallowing up precious air and polluting the scenery with their hearse for a dead brain otherwise called a numb fucking skull. 

Also in pertinence to the vocals, Karl's soupy low end makes an unheralded return to prominence after being, for the most part, absent for much of the last two or three albums. I'm not the biggest fan of Karl's sound and approach to the mic but it does serve for a nice and cozy 'return to the roots' of sorts which is basically the theme of this album. Sure, the technicality aspect has been upped a couple of few hundred notches since the old days and the playing is all the more tighter but this album more than any since 2002's 'In Their Darkened Shrines' has that "good old fashioned" feeling of the band during their formative years. Sure, Nile's been around since '93 but the pharaohs didn't really start rolling around the tombs until their 1998 genre defining debut, 'Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka'.

As previously mentioned, the slight change in production (courtesy of death metal go to guy, Neil Kernon) is perhaps what truly gives this album that "throwback" vibe. I know that there are and will be more than a few fancy little bitches who get their pussies outstretched in an uproar over the sound of this album but let's face it, ANY little change and fluctuation in Nile's rather "consistent" assault should be greeted with open arms. Unfortunately for the band, they have been throwing so much out at you since their inception (ie doom, technicality, instrumentals, intros, chanting, etc, etc, etc, etc) that listening to any one Nile album is a colossal task in itself, never mind a whole careers worth of albums. This also gives rise to the opinion that Nile is boring and releases the same album every two or so years. Catchy tunes and simplistic song structures you will not find here though there is an occasional groove riff scattered and left to the winds throughout the duration.

If there's one thing that I wish they would have done with this album and hopefully do with the next, is make the songs a bit more catchier. I would love to see the end result of that approach. After seven albums of brutally consistent material, I think that it's safe to say that Nile isn't going to be dropping any bombs of a "morbid" or "frosty" magnitude on us but I would love to see the band further explore the more straightforwardness (a word to be regarded as loosely as a porn stars twat) that they began to toy with on 'Ithyphallic'. Perhaps. Perhaps not, but I can dream can't I?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hate Eternal - King of all Kings

For such a mediocre band that's had more misses than hits, the conceit of Hate Eternal is no small beast to be taken lightly with album titles such as 'Conquering the Throne', 'King of all Kings' and 'I, Monarch'. You'd expect all other death metal bands to drop their weapons and abandon all hope in the face of such a tyrannic and omnipotent entity. Nah. The truth of the matter is that Erik Rutan is a one trick pony whose greatest and most refreshing offerings are embedded within his past contributions to his former bands Ripping Corpse and Morbid Angel. HE's debut, 'Conquering the Throne' sounded like a split album featuring some of the blander tracks by Morbid Angel and Suffocation. Perhaps if Rutan and Doug Cerrito (formerly of Suffocation and early Hate Eternal co-conspirator) had actually collaborated on a few tracks instead of merely divvying up the album's content between them, they could have come up with something more interesting and memorable. Well, they hadn't, and that album isn't anything to jump for joy over as a result.

Enter 2002's 'King of all Kings'. After a lame intro that leads up to a rather ho hum start, it becomes immediately apparent with the beginning riff of the second track that all hope is indeed not lost here. 'The Obscure Terror' is one of the more bizarro songs to have been enveloped into the death metal pantheon and fortunately it stands alongside a few other songs off of this anomaly of an album. After scanning through the writing credits within the KOAK traycard, everything begins to make sense to me. The majority of the kookier songs on here were written by Jared Anderson, he of the little known and undeservedly overlooked Internecine out of Cincinatti, Ohio. Anyone familiar with Internecine's demo or their 2002 album 'Book of Lambs', should know full well the kooked out capabilities of Mr. Anderson and his weirdo vision of rhythmic endeavors. Again, most of the standout tracks written for this album were by Jared Anderson and also serves as a painful reminder of his talent and the possibilities that will never be as he had passed away a few years after the release of this album in 2005.

Perhaps bolstered by Anderson's creative presence within the ranks, Rutan manages to step up to the plate as well. Of course not everything he dishes out is a knock out punch as some of his riffs tend to manifest a sort of triumphant yet "whimsical" quality that oftentimes sounds out of place, especially after being excorted through Anderson's creepy  rhythmic landscapes. Rutan's leads are pretty much the same thing he's been doing since Morbid Angel's 'Domination', way back in 1995, which sounds fine but also showcases an artist shackled to the confinements of his own gimmickry.

Personally, I've NEVER bought into the hype of Derek Roddy, who is not a bad drummer by any means, but being able to blast really fast is not the sign of a truly good drummer. Not in my book at any rate. Besides, he's really not even that fast to begin with. All that aside, I would rank his contributions to this album among his best and most inspired work. Evidently this was a good time in the lives of those within the Hate Eternal camp as everyone sounds hungry and inspired. Vocally, Erik Rutan is just kind of there. He lacks the attitude and charisma of a David Vincent or the sheer brute force of a Frank Mullen, yet the vocal mediocrity fails to hinder then weirdo genius of the majority of songs on display.

L-R Jared Anderson, Erik Rutan, Derek Roddy

KOAK stands out within Hate Eternal's discography as it showcases the rawest production that the band had employed up until that point and since. One of my major gripes with the band is the awful and over bassy production of every album since KOAK. It's made all the more strange considering that Rutan's production work on other albums such as Krisian's 'Conquerors of Armageddon', Cannibal Corpse's 'Kill' and Goatwhore's 'Carving Out the Eyes of God' is rather pristine and discernible as opposed to the work he has invested into his own band, which usually sounds supremely overcooked to the point of disaster. As a writer and a musician, I can understand going back and checking up on odds and ends and somewhat obsessing over things but what Rutan does is madness. Thankfully, this is the one album that comes close to showcasing the promise of a band that features a former member of Morbid Angel. Unfortunately, Rutan would squander that promise throughout the years with a string of increasingly mediocre albums.

KOAK will also be the last album to feature visually appealing aesthetics upon the CD cover before the creeping onset of insanity caused Mr Rutan to employ the services of the creatively inept individual who's been shitting all over HE's covers since.

I really do like this album. Even the weaker tracks are still solid and again, KOAK is worth owning for Jared Anderson's bizarre riffing contributions alone.

Vader - The Ultimate Incantation

Wow. Who new that Vader sucked so bad as a musical "force"? Sure, there's talent abound but the vision behind the expertise is in dire need of a new pair of specs.

Vader is another band whose hype machine has been in overdrive for the last 20 or so years. Unlike Autopsy though,   there's something about Vader that keeps me coming back from time to time. The main problem with Vader is that they're rather boring. I know people say that Bolt Thrower has sounded the same on every album, but that's bullshit. Perhaps due to the change up in production style and methodology throughout their career more than an actual shift in musicianship, Bolt Thrower has managed to deliver the goods that they're known for with each release yet do it in a way that makes them sound different each time. Vader, on the other hand, has sounded the same on every album since their inception save for a few albums that are even more boring than usual (such as the staggeringly overrated 'Litany'). Now unless all Vader fans and fanatics possess special skills that allow them and only them to detect great chasms of change that differentiate each album from the next, then I'm pretty sure I'm on point with this.

I'll admit, Vader's brand of death/thrash isn't really my thing, but every now and then it's rejuvenating to hear blasts over muted tremolo riffing, which, in a nutshell, is Vader's specialty.

The Ultimate Incantation rubbed me the wrong way from the beginning as I had heard through some long since forgotten source that the band would be recruiting Tomas Skogsberg (he of the Temple of Sunlight) for production duties. Being a humongous fan of the sound on Entombed's debut album as well as those by Carnage and Therion, I was interested in how this would turn out. I hadn't realized nor heard that the band were ultimately unhappy with the work he had invested and opted to re-record the album elsewhere. had I known that, perhaps I would have been a bit more prepared for the flood of tinny sounds to come. Right off the bat I was becoming annoyed with this album as the first track takes about 15 minutes for the vocals to make their appearance, which by that point was the 'make it or break it' moment for me. Of course by the time Peter's haggard sounding rasp hit my ears I was dismayed by the weak and unconvincing vocals on display. The final nail in the coffin. Where the gay pirate from Autopsy, at the very least, sounds frenzied and all over the place, Peter's vocals sounded like the guy from the old Dunkin' Donuts commercials in the 80's waking up and doing the Thorazine shuffle on his way to "make the donuts". I always preferred the more hateful sounding vocals of the lower end that David Vincent began to employ on 'Blessed are the Sick' and perfected to godliness on 'Covenant'. Even Glen Benton on the very first Deicide album had an unbelievably hateful and commanding sounding voice before he ended up sounding like a rival to the throne of the gay pirate from Autopsy.

Most of this album is a fucking chore to endure though every now and then a groovy little riff will pop up like in the beginning of 'Chaos' or the second riff in 'Final Massacre'. Of course the truly standout moments on this album are far and few between and life is way too fucking short to spend it yawning your way into oblivion.

This is definitely not Vader's best album though it's certainly not their worst. As mentioned earlier, my main problem with Vader is that they are unbelievably boring outside of an occasionally inspired sounding riff accompanied by the obligatory blast. Listening back on this album brings back a lot of fond memories (I was about 17/18 years old when this came out) and that alone has sort of breathed a new life of interest into the goings on within the Vader camp for me. Of course I'll always prefer the haunting chords of Immolation or the toxic waste, satanic ritual keg orgy of Incantation to this.

If you prefer the thrashier side of the metal o' death with a handful of blasts thrown in for good measure and are not very picky when it comes to wimpy and tired sounding vocals, then Vader is your man, er, band.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Autopsy - Macabre Eternal

First off, I've NEVER given a shit about this band. Maybe it was the gay pirate vocals of Chris "Reefer" or the cardboard "heaviness" of their guitar sound, but I have consistently failed to grasp and understand the hype of this band. Sure, they have their place among the elder gods due to the time of their arrival as well as Mr. Reefer's contributions to 'Scream Bloody Gore', but even then, I still don't give a fuck. Whoopty fuckin' do. I'm sure the crackwhore down the street made big contributions to the spreading of AIDS. Doesn't mean I'm going to go over and lick her asshole in praise of her worthy endeavors.

And so now we have, much to the delight of all of the phony internet "metalheads", the long awaited comeback album, and boy oh boy does it blow. There's nothing worse than a band trying to retain that good ol' early 90's death metal sound while mixing it up with new age recording techniques. Ugh. Right off the bat this sounds like shit.

As if Mr. Reefer's shitty pirate vocals hadn't sucked enough ball sweat before, now they suck AND sound old and worn out like an aging whore who persists on drinking herself into oblivion with the occasional (hourly) detour into the embrace of a fully loaded crackpipe. What's worse is that the fat guy on guitar thought that he could sing good and decided that he was going to give it a go on the mic as well. These whiny, wretched bitch vocals are so horrendously bad that they're actually amusing to listen to. It's sounds as if the gay pirate was enraged that the fat, whiny guitar player had smoked up all of the resin in his crackpipe and decided to brutally throatfuck the fat, whiny guitarist as punishment thus lending to his vocal "technique" this wretched quality that can only be heard from those who've suffered severe damage to their larynx.

Every time I see some chump on the internet singing the praises of this album's vocal "mastery" I know in my heart that I am reading the words of some teenaged "chicken" who sells himself for heroin and therefore can "relate" to the sounds of the screaming bitch guitar player.

I'm not going to try and deter anyone from getting or checking this album out as the hype surrounding this band is akin to the spread of the Bubonic Plague during the 14th century and I know that most people out there cannot help themselves from jumping on the bandwagon in order to gain for themselves a paltry sum of internet cool points, so I'll just leave it at that.

Chaos Inception - The Abrogation

Holy open lesions Buttman! Now THIS is a fucking death metal album! This is for the folks who wish that Angel Corpse hadn't broken up and that Morbid Angel stayed out of The Blue Oyster bar.

I can already tell that a lot of people are going to sleep on this album, which is a fucking shame because not only is it a flawless exercise in speed and brutality, but unlike Hate Eternal and many other "big name" death metal bands, these guys truly deserve the recognition and notoriety that those bands enjoy by actually writing SONGS instead of meandering through a flurry of "brutal" and technical notes and blast beats with nothing of true value or worth to be had.

Featuring former members of Alabama's Fleshtized, Chaos Inception pretty much pick up where that band left off and leave it in the dust.

Guitarist Matt Barnes and drummer Gary White deserve special recognition as it appears that they are emerging as the next "Trey and Pete" duo. These two work flawlessly together and it's somewhat of an addiction to sit and listen to each arrangement and see what lies around each rhythmic bend and turn. Like Angel Corpse and Morbid Angel before them, CI likes to fluctuate between a higher end tornadic riff assault and then suddenly drop everything into a low tuned maelstrom. perhaps the greatest feat accomplished on this album is the fact that there is no shortage of breathless technicality yet nothing is overcooked nor does anything overstay its welcome. This is not to say that CI goes off on seemingly mindless tangents (ie Nile) as everything is perfectly wrought and placed exactly where it should be.

Whereas you have one distinct version of "evil" death metal with bands such as Immolation, Incantation and Coffin Texts leading the foray with their haunting riffs that often touch upon the realm of doom, there also exists another style of evil death metal with bands such as Mexico's Ravager, Brazil's Rebaelliun and Angel Corpse who favor a more speedier approach and "witchy" vocals. Yes, this is definitely of the "faster" variety of death metal, but unlike a band such as Origin, you're never left feeling burned out after listening to the album. If Brazilian and Floridian death metal is your cup o' menstrual fluid, then bow down to your new masters.

Chaos Inception deserve their place among the elite faction of death metal and hopefully more people out there will take notice of this godly band. Do yourself a favor and grab up a copy of this as soon as inhumanly possible!

Exodus - Pleasures of the Flesh

I know that most folks prefer to jump on the aging, grey pubed and somewhat limp cock of 'Bonded by Blood',whereas I, have always preferred 'Pleasures of the Flesh' not too mention that I will not be jumping on any cocks, weathered or otherwise.

I do like 'Bonded by Blood', however it amazes me that in the ongoing quest to "out metal" everyone around them, most folks (aka-internet metalheads) "appear" to staunchly and ravenously claim their allegiance to Exodus debut while dismissing everything released afterward. Personally, I think these people are either A) full of shit, or B) un-fucking-ejamuhcated as 'Pleasures...' mercilessly blows away 'Bonded by Blood' on nearly all fronts. Granted, if you're an ancient fuck whose first experience with Exodus was indeed BBB back when it came out in 1985, then I can understand the rabid fanaticism. It's hard to get over one's first impression, regardless of what came afterward. To all of these internet dweebs who pour over Metal-Archives in a day or two and emerge shortly thereafter as some self proclaimed scholar of all things metal, I say to you, fuck off and die. These are the same lame-o motherfuckers who friend any and every has /never been metalhead musician on Facebook and Myspace like they're collecting Garbage pail Kids, eagerly lapping up every bit of information dribbled fourth from the lips and Cheeto stained fingertips of some patch clad and bespectacled Jabba who "used to" play bass for (enter name of super ultra obscure death.thrash band from nineteen ninety something here) and then proceed to flaunt every nugget of information extracted from Lord whatever-the-fuck-his-name-is over on Facebook all over the comments section of Youtube and back onto that concentration camp of retardation, Metal-Archives.

The fact of the matter is that Holt and Hunolt were on fucking fire on this album. The riff intricacies put to shame anything on BBB, not to mention that the primal aggression of that album is left intact and seamlessly transferred and incorporated into and alongside the bands growing technical precision. I guess the big difference here is in the vocals as Baloff had been kicked to the curb in favor of the equally nasally if not as maniacal and crazed sounding 'Zetro' Souza. Despite the recent fawning over Tom Hunting's drum technique all over the internet (undoubtedly due to the "nu" thrash metal phase), his contribution to this album and any other Exodus album that he appeared on for that matter is good and nothing more. Don't expect anything on the level of Hoglan or Lombardo here.

Original album art for Pleasures of the Flesh

Anybody who has half a clue as well as a level 2 or more understanding of guitar technique knows full well the godliness of Gary Holt, not to mention that Rick Hunolt aint no slouch either and 'Pleasures of the Flesh' truly showcases the best of their abilities up until that point and since. Unfortunately it had been a creative downward slide after the release of POTF though 'Fabulous Disaster', despite a few covers that were tacked on for shits and giggles, is not a bad album at all and even features a few of my all time favorite Exodus tracks including the absolutely killer thrashterpiece, 'Open Season'.

Fuck all of the dorks who, in their quest to gain Facebook "cool points" claim that Bonded by Blood is the be all end all Exodus album. POTF is where it's TRULY at. This was the pinnacle release of a band that never got the respect it deserved outside of the immediate metalhead community.

Darkthrone - Transilvanian Hunger

This album is straight fucking garbage. I don't care how much the "necro kvlt" insists that this is the most "dreadfully evil" and atmospheric (barf) release ever to have been shat out from within the confinements of poser central (Norway), they'll NEVER be able to convince me that this album is anything but the fly ridden piece of "blackened" shit that it is with its praises being an ongoing exercise in incessant cock gagging. Phlegm covered faces glistening with venereal fulfillment and worship in their eyes.

I was of an apparently small and tiny faction of folks in the world who were not at all impressed with Darkthrone's transparent and treasonous abandonment of their death metal roots after the colossal 'Soulside Journey' beginning with 1992's 'A Blaze in the Northern Sky'. I remember the time like it was yesterday. A friend of mine who published his own zine and had run a metal show on the local college radio station, had given me three Peaceville promo CD's that he had received in the mail. Among them were Autopsy's 'Fiend for Blood, My Dying Bride's 'Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium' and of course Darkthrone's eagerly awaited sophmore album. There's no way that I can fully translate how fucking disappointed I was when the sounds of 'Kathaarian Life Code' came rushing out of the speakers. I kept hoping that this was some joke along the lines of the first notes of Dio's 'Last in Line'. Nope. This sucked. And unbeknownst to me, at the time, this was here to stay.

I will say this in regards to Darkthrone's "transitional album"... I eventually had warmed up to it in recent years as well as the majority of their catalog, mostly due to the fact that I am a Celtic Frost FANATIC of old and can hardly get enough of that vibe, be it from the band themselves or from one of the countless clones of their sound. Unfortunately though, the two albums that followed 'A Blaze...' I have not taken to in the slightest. 'TH' especially. Ironic considering that those are "the hits". A fact that I will never be able to wrap my head around. Not in this life.

I have always been more into doom and/or death metal with doom elements scattered throughout such as the stuff Darkthrone had so perfectly crafted on their debut. When it comes to tinnier, rawer and/or "blacker" sounding metal, I prefer the stuff that I grew up listening to in the 80's, such as Bathory, Hellhammer, Possessed and so on. By the time the Norwegian black metal machine had begun to pick up steam and take off, I was well entrenched in the swamps of death/doom supplied by the likes of Accidental Suicide, Magus, early Cathedral and Thergothon. The tinny and rather weak sound of black metal was not to my liking. It would be many, many years after the fact when I listened with a new pair of ears and begun to realize that it wasn't all that bad... except... for 'Transilvanian Hunger'.

From the land of ice cream and snow cones

I think the near mythical proportions of praise and adulation that has long smothered this album adds to my contempt and inability to "join the ranks" of blank eyed worshipers. Simply chilling and tremolo picking one note for several minutes before going to the next note and repeating the same thing does NOT constitute a "genius" endeavor in my mind. I understand the whole "hypnotic drone deal" that so many hip, alternative metal types seem attracted to and I'll admit that a vast majority of funeral doom bands (a genre which I happen to love) border on the grounds of madness with their insistence to draw out a rhythmic pattern well into the realm of absurdity, but again, the weak and tinny sound of the guitars coupled with uninteresting riffs does absolutely zero for me.

It's funny that people cry, piss and moan about the Darkthrone albums that immediately followed TH as in my opinion that is where Darkthrone truly began to cook.

This will always be one of those albums that I just do not get and I'm not worried about it either.

Nile - Ithyphallic

Right off the bat, I must confess at being dismayed at this album's status as being Nile's "worst". For me, this was the album that I had been waiting for Nile to write. Up until this point, the band had pretty much everything going for them (technicality, low tuned yet coherent production on each album, a knack for penning more than plausible doom sections and of course the obligatory brutality needed to gel it all together), yet throughout the bands professional career they had, for some reason, been unable to write a solid, catchy tune outside of an oddity or two (i.e. Lashed to the Slave Stick). For the first four albums, the first three especially, Nile had displayed a rather juvenile sense of stringing a song together, opting to revel in nonsensical tangents that seemingly had no structure or form whatsoever. While I admired many aspects of the bands sound and have certainly detected signs and symptoms of a hidden genius lying somewhat dormant within the maelstrom of chaotic ideas, it was still quite difficult to take the band 100% seriously despite their obvious efforts at penning an epic tune.

Enter 'Ithyphallic'. The amorphous riffing tangents are still present, yet this was to be the first solid (and for the most part, successful) attempt at writing actual "songs" instead of professionally recording a cluster of over-indulgent jam sessions.

Right away I noticed that the usually and traditionally thick Nile "sound" had been stripped down a few layers or so. The heaviness is still there for sure but the slightly rawer production lends to the album a rather tinny overtone, yet does little to nothing to deter my appreciation for the songs themselves. 

Beyond the fact that the majority of the material on this album sounds reigned in and tempered to perfection, there is an undeniable upgrade in the bands technical proficiency as well. The fretboard finger fucking fiesta on this album is light years away from what the band was dishing out during the 'Nephren-Ka/Black Seeds' era. Some of the more "notier" material sounds like what I would imagine 'light and air' to sound like given the possibility to experience aurally either element. 

On top (or beneath) the more "blazingly fast" riffage are some of Nile's most oppressive doom landscapes, wrought from such abysmal depths that it's actually rather difficult not to feel a bit dirty and violated after having experienced their colossal weight and rather weird implications such as those scattered throughout the duration of the title track. ESPECIALLY the title track. As if attempting to live up to the name, 'Ithyphallic' showcases some of Nile's most perverse and straight up "bizarro" riffs and pattern arrangements coupled with a rather desperate frenzy of notes beforehand that ultimately loses the power of flight only to succumb to the swampy depths, left drowning and gurgling in despondency. It is also worth mentioning that 'Ithyphallic' is also, without a doubt, Nile's most "evil" sounding release, putting them alongside bands such as Incantation and Immolation within the ranks of hauntingly blasphemous sounding death metal.

This is also the album where Dallas Toler-Wade pretty much took over vocal duties and ran with it, similar to when Mille became Kreator's sole vocalist after the release of 'Terrible Certainty', leaving Ventor to drop bombs in the background. This move makes perfect sense to me being that Dallas has a more refined and hateful sounding approach as opposed to Karl's muddier and rather unconvincing low end growl.

It seems to me that once George Kolias was enveloped into the fold, that's when Nile truly began to cook, with the bands past works up until that point merely serving as a warm up exercise. 

'Ithyphallic' has a few flaws, to be sure, but nothing to sit around with your thumb in your mouth, soaking in  tears as if you had just been ass raped and discarded. As I mentioned previously, I am rather shocked at all of the whiny complaints regarding this album. I would imagine that anyone who had followed the band up until this point would be pleased as punch with this album as it showcases true growth within a faction of talented musicians, even if some of their previous works have been a bit misguided and directionless.