Saturday, March 31, 2012

Demolition Hammer - Epidemic of Violence [1992]

It really shouldn't be possible to release an album this damn amazing nearly ten years after the inception of the thrash subgenre. Thrash seemed to peak during 1986 with masterpieces like "Pleasure to Kill," "Reign in Blood," and "Darkness Descends," rendering all later output by other bands virtually a compliment to these divine creations. Still, once "Epidemic of Violence" is heard by a listener for the first time, their reaction might be similar to the reaction of someone who just ran away from a speeding bull or the survivor of a hellacious trainwreck. Demolition Hammer's sophomore release is akin to a shot of adrenaline directly into one's heart because never before has there been such a combination of brutality, catchiness, and relentless aggression in a single thrash album before. Sure, Kreator really set the standard for brutality in the thrash genre with their magnum opus "Pleasure to Kill", but Demolition Hammer took that sound and injected an amount of catchiness and an almost groove-like sensation that the entire genre was unable to successfully do for nearly ten years.

There isn't a single thing that Demolition Hammer did wrong with the music on this record. The midpaced moments are astounding in how incredibly heavy they are for a thrash act. While a band like Bolt Thrower is notorious for their undeniable heaviness and crushing midpaced riffs, there's a distinct difference in the sounds of the two bands, because Demolition Hammer didn't need to downtune their guitars as low as the death metal masters, yet their music could smash through a brick wall all the same. The intro to "Human Dissection" is devastating with its thunderous double bass drumming a la Vinny Daze and vile guitar playing that could be compared to a giant stomping through a city and the midpaced riffs on the title track could make a corpse headbang. The faster moments of "Epidemic of Violence" are equally diabolical and intense as the slower stuff, with the track "Omnivore" being a blitzkrieg upon the listener's eardrums, but a sonic assault like this has never been more catchy. 

Steve Reynolds' vocal performance on this album is a highlight all of its own. His insane barks during the slower parts of the band's music take the already brilliant songs to a level that you never thought thrash could go and his rapid-fire assault during the faster moments (Think "Aborticide" and "Omnivore") is in a word, "eargasmic," not to mention the stellar gang vocals throughout which are just as destructive. Vinny Daze won't go down in history as one of the best drummers to ever sit behind a kit, but his work on this record is beyond superb and will be the shining moment of his legacy. The soloing isn't mindblowing, but they get the job done well and they're never playing over a dull riff, so I can't bring myself to even try and complain about it. Honestly I could talk about "Epidemic of Violence" and Demolition Hammer all day, but it would be easier to just turn the volume all the way up and seclude myself from existence for 39 and a half minutes while I headbang myself silly. 

"Skull Fracturing Nightmare"
"Epidemic of Violence"

Final Rating
An Absolute Skull-Fucking [10/10]

Friday, March 30, 2012

Infester - To The Depths...In Degradation [1994]

Greeting, old schoolers, this is Arthalos from Lacerated Reviews. I'm honoured to be in such a great webzine and I hope to be of some use in terms of improving the site. However, let's face the facts. Nightmare Reality is a great webzine with reviews for numerous old shcool metal albums, but it doesen't have enough reviews. I am by no means going to improve the site rapidly but even the smallest of participations is a great honour for me...

The American scene of OSDM had a vast range of underground bands that played digusting, abominable death metal. Especially the New York scene specialised in making ultimately filthy death metal. Some bands, which I come across only at seldom, sink even lower than these bands in order to create the ultimate filthy death metal sound. Very few bands have really perfected this style, but when the sadisctic and tormenting sound is exposed, the listener will be utterly devastated by the tremendously dark and evil vibe. Infester, by far, has to be one of the prime death metal bands in this compressed sub-genre of death metal. Their sound is filthy and incredibly distorted, but it is also crushingly heavy and doomy.

"To The Dephts...In Degradation" in an incredible effort, displaying ghastly and heavyweight riffs aswel a blackened atmosphere. The album title describes the music perfectly, and the grotesque and macabre imagery shown in the cover art is mosntrously sadistic. The music is so dense and corrupted that people who enjoy Lovecraft but dislike metal in general could easily attain what they would want from this. The first vibe that one may get from the album is probably a rather straightforward but murky death metal vibe, though little do they know that the album explores through much dense and ghastly elements throughout its fifty minute journey. In such a chaotic record, it would be obviously hard to notice clear influences an styles present in the riffs at first, but one can get used to the record in time. The general aspects of the riffs are indulging death/thrash assaults and rich tremolo bursts with a ton of black metal influence going on. Believe it or not, anyone into Blasphemy, Bestial Warlust or Archgoat can be quite content with what they will hear on this album. The death metal riffs have been manupulated continously and the resultant is a repulsively hideous tone and inundating riffs, perpetually striking the listener, thus taking him/her into a journey full of torture and beyond comprehension.

Of course one should also notice the amazing musicianship displayed in the riffs, buried deep within an concrete substance of horror. The riffs are actually quite technical and are perfectly arranged and composed. The technicalty is quite obviously nothing like the furiously instrument-bashing, note-smashing tech death retards that play today. These are quality riffs, composed with great care and yet still being able to be oppressive and dark like the rest of the album. And despite being so pondorously drowsy sounding, the guitars and drums synchronize perfectly, putting a lot of effort into the quality and sordidness of the riffs, aswel as their level in dynamics. The keyboards are used perfectly on this album. Never have I seen a band that created such a dark atmosphere and accompanying it with horrendous keyboards for additional aura and aspect. Speaking of aspects, there are great highlights on this album that are just as crucial as the riffs and atmosphere. The vocals, which channel frequently between lower gutturals and hellish screams and barks, not dissimilar to Glen Benton's vocal work. Intense drumming which sounds rather weak but at the same time showing technique and precise percussion and most importantly being able to determine the speed of the album almost directly.

The album is no less a classic than ''Fallen Angel of Doom'' or ''Onward To Golgotha'' in its ways of monstrous filthiness and tiring and oppressiveness. It immerses the listener in an incredibly dense and chaotic atmosphere and thus sadisticly torturing him/her. "To The Depths...In Degradation" is the perfect musical equivalent of one of Lovercrafts blood-curdling and spine chilling tales. Not only is this an OSDM classic, but it is also the ghastliest reflection of a human being's nightmare, represented in the most grotesque and agonizing way possible.

''A Higher Art Of Immutable Beauty''
''To The Depths(In Degradation)''
''Chamber Of Reunion''
''Epicurian Entrails''

Masterpiece [9.3/10]

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Disinter - Exitus Letalis (Demo) [1993]

Believe it or not, bands are allowed to sound different than the other ones of their scene. There was Autopsy who slowed down and raped many people's earholes with their doom-laden death metal when the majority of American bands were blasting away, there was Deathrow from Germany who took a more technical approach to thrash as opposed to the extreme aggression (no pun intended) of bands like Kreator and Sodom, and then there were bands like Disinter, who created some extreme death metal in the vein of bands like Malevolent Creation and early Cannibal Corpse rather than the doomier and darker filth that most Finndeath bands played. While the music here isn't as great as the aforementioned bands and there were hundreds of other bands who played in a similar style, that doesn't take away from the glimpses of greatness found on the "Exitus Letalis" demo. 

The slithering and monstrous sound that many people may expect to hear once the demo starts is nonexistent, instead it's replaced with a fast death metal tremolo riff and only followed by more brutality, though I cringe as I use that term because of the hundreds of horrible bands out that are considered "brutal death metal," no worries though, because Disinter is brutal in the way that there is no escape from the neckbreaking riffs that can be found, like on the song "Exhumation" which is a nonstop assault on the brain and neck. Ripping tremolos and midpaced riffs are pretty much the only facets of guitar playing on this demo, leaving no room for melodies or intricate riffage. In addition to the decimating riffs, the vocals on "Exitus Letalis" are incredibly reminiscent of Chris Barnes from the low-end growls to the more guttural rasps and it suits the band's style of death metal perfectly. 

For a four song demo there isn't much variety and they all follow an incredibly similar pattern, though, "Exhumation" and "Necrophagia" tend to cause some more destruction than the other two tracks. Again, this isn't the greatest demo to be found in the blood and dust, but a full-length from this band could have been a decent addition to the fantastic death metal scene of Finland. Fans of Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation, Sinister and the like should have no problems in enjoying Disinter and this demo. 


Final Rating
Awesome [8.5/10]

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bestial Warlust - Vengeance War Till Death [1994]

Aside from a few bands, Norway's black metal scene was and is utter shite which is something that the guys up north in Canada knew. Of course I'm speaking of the guys in Blasphemy who created the bestial masterpiece "Fallen Angel of Doom" which would spawn a slew of great bands (and a whole lot of craptacular bands as well) that emulated the band's more relentless black metal sound. Arguably the best band to follow Blasphemy and their vile sound would come from down under (Who would've thunk it?) in the form of Bestial Warlust, with the cheesy and hilarious stage names and everything. After releasing some demos under the moniker of Corpse Molestation, it was time to set fire to the extreme metal underground with their debut record "Vengeance War Till Death" which is quite possibly the greatest metal export from Australia and has easily one of the best album covers ever. 

If you've heard "Fallen Angel of Doom" then you should know exactly what to expect on "Vengeance War Till Death," and the band wastes no time in letting the listener know what kind of filthy and spastic music is about to be unleashed as they open the album with the track "Bestial Warlust." A song that starts with some fast and random drumming accompanied by Bloodstorm's exclamation of "Bestial Warlust!" before erupting into an all-out assault upon the listener and their brain which is sure to be turned to mush once the record is over. The next song "Dweller of the Bottomless Pit" isn't much different than the first track and it almost reinforces that terrible stereotype that all war metal sounds exactly the same, but the next track "Satanic" is black metal in its finest form. This song is evil, heavy and entirely devastating as it starts off with some heavy powerchords accompanied by a tolling bell to further that dark and murky atmosphere. 

One of the most common complaints that I've encountered when seeing discussions of this album is the drumming, which I immediately laugh at. The drumming here isn't extremely precise or even varied much, but there is no denying that the intensity from the kit throughout these seven songs from hell is such a vital part to the music. The riffs only come in two different varieties for the most part, they're either bursts of tremolo riffing like on the song "Storming Vengeance" which seems to be nothing but fast tremolo picking or they come in the heavier, midpaced variety, though they're not too slow thanks to Hellcunt's insane drumming. "Vengeance War Till Death" is definitely one of those records where you'll either love it or hate it as most of the tracks are similar in sound and leave pretty much the same impression. Whether or not that impression is a positive or negative one, doesn't matter because at the end of the day Bestial Warlust and their answer to Blasphemy with this album will continue to be one that is coveted by the metal underground for years to come. 

"Storming Vengeance"

Final Rating
Masterpiece [9.0/10]

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cancer - Death Shall Rise [1991]

Here is an album that occasionally gets lost in the shuffle when discussing the best material to come out during the year 1991, which is one of the best years for metal in general, especially death metal. I don't want to lead you on and say that "Death Shall Rise" is the epitome of what death/thrash should be and that it is the greatest album of the subgenre, because it really isn't, but it is still an album that stands tall on its own feet and delivers a great eight-track onslaught of what you would expect a death/thrash record to sound like and one that certainly deserves some more recognition. 

Cancer already had an uphill battle when releasing their sophomore album, because their fellow UK comrades in Bolt Thrower and Benediction would both release two excellent albums later in the year. Luckily, this group of metalheads had a different sound than their countrymen, not settling for a doomier or groovier sound, instead they would release an unbridled assault that became apparent once the classic "Hung, Drawn and Quartered" punched through the listener's speakers. Fast riffs and tremolos that sounded like they could have been written by Chuck Schuldiner himself (Maybe it was because James Murphy played guitar on this album?) and heavy riffs guaranteed to cause some whiplash to the vertebrae are what were to be found on this track, as well as an incredibly catchy chorus (with guest vocals from Glen Benton). 

While the first track is the definition of brilliance, the rest never seem to catch up to the precedent set so early on. A lot of the riffs aren't anything overly special or anything that couldn't be heard from other bands that came out before, and the vocals are a little dry. The bass and drums also don't do anything that warrants much attention, either. The closest that Cancer comes to recapturing the greatness from the first track would be on the songs "Back From the Dead" and "Corpse Fire." The former track has a darker edge to it due to some melodies placed throughout, and the later song is a no-nonsense song that never lets up and even features some blast beats. After the eight songs have all gone through, there is an impression that is made on the listener, but it isn't on par with the same that are left by albums like "Dreaming with the Dead," "The Awakening" or "Idolatry." Not that it really matters, this album did have one of the best album covers out there, though, and had the music been as fantastic as the cover art then "Death Shall Rise" could have been an undeniable classic.

"Hung, Drawn and Quartered"
"Back From the Dead"
"Corpse Fire"

Final Rating
Awesome [8.5/10]

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sinister - Diabolical Summoning [1993]

The Netherlands may not have a scene as prolific as the mighty Swedes or the Americans, but the bands that were around in the early nineties offered some really good death metal whether it was from Asphyx, Pestilence, Creepmime or Gorefest, there was always a guarantee of quality from their releases and Sinister's sophomore record "Diabolical Summoning" is no exception. While the band's first full-length "Cross the Styx" showed a lot of talent and potential for the young band, their second album would really identify the band as a serious group in the death metal underground. The sound is tighter and the music is much more memorable all around from the riffs to the solos to the skull splitting vocals, drums and everything else, this record just kicks all kinds of ass from the start. 

The track "Sadistic Intent" wastes no time in battering the listener with an awesome transitioning between the thumping bass line and heavy riffage, before turning into one hell of a moshing track full of midpaced mayhem and death metal tremolos laced with intense drumming. The best aspect of Sinister's music on "Diabolical Summoning" would definitely be their ability to create music that is heavy and brutal without overdoing it and sounding like a Cannibal Corpse or Suffocation clone, but rather a more extreme version of Malevolent Creation, especially during the song "Magnified Wrath" which comes complete with palm-muted powerchords that crush oh so similarly to songs from the masterpiece that is "Retribution." This record doesn't depend on being evil to get its point across and aside from the intro to "Leviathan," there is never a need for any melody to set a tone or create an atmosphere, only violent and repulsive riffs are needed for this and tracks like the title track and "Mystical Illusions" are perfect for the occasion. 

Mastrigt's vocals aren't anything too amazing or worth bragging about, but they do their job well and compliment the insane music, not leaving anything more to be desired. There are a couple instances where the bass makes its presence felt ("Sadistic Intent" and "Leviathan") but overall nothing worth a lot of praise. The drumming on this record, however, is superb and consistent throughout, whether it's because of the thunderous double bass pedals that push the tempo well beyond fast or because of the added heaviness of the adequate fills. When all is said and done, "Diabolical Summoning" doesn't surpass albums like "Last One On Earth" or "Consuming Impulse," but it does find itself comfortably resting among the country's best death metal outputs in the twentieth century, and is definitely worth checking out for any fan of heavy music.

"Sadistic Intent"
"Magnified Wrath"

Final Rating
Awesome [8.6/10]

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spear of Longinus – Domni Satnasi [1997]

Spear of Longinus is a band from Brisbane, Australia who classify themselves as “Nazi Occult Metal”. They’ve been sporadically active since 1993, having released 5 studio albums, 2 EP’s, 1 demo and 1 compilation album which consists of their debut demo and first EP. “Domni Satnasi” is their debut album which was released in 1997 surrounded by quite a bit of controversy due the bands lyrics and beliefs. These moral crusaders have no idea what they were missing out on, because “Domni Satnasi” is an absolutely killer old-school black/thrash album, sounding somewhere between Vomitor (who share members and ex-members with S.O.L.) and other Australian acts such as Urgrund and Gospel of the Horns.

Considering the rough as guts sound of the music, you’d be pretty surprised by the clean production on this record, of course it’s not considered “clean” by modern standards and is a bit “thin”, it fits the music perfectly and you can hear every instrument and, in my opinion, is the best production on any Spear of Longinus release.

The songs are generally fast-paced with a few slower and mid-paced sections that pop up at just the right moment and the guitar solos aren’t flashy or used in every song, but when they are, they fit the song well and don’t feel out of place. The drumming isn’t too varied and can get a bit boring at times, but the beats are used well and drive things along just fine. The bass follows the guitar, which again suits the music and it would just not work if he were to go and do his own thing. The vocals are mostly your standard blackened rasp but there’s a bit of range to them and they take on a death metal-ish tone at times.

I don’t really have a favourite track, but it’s pretty cool to hear the original version of “Devil’s Poison”, which was later used as a Vomitor song and album title, it’s also refreshing to hear lyrics about something as simple as stinky pussy among the other songs which focus on war, occultism, philosophy, esoteric themes, religion and National Socialism.

All in all this is a great album worthy of any old-school extreme metal diehards’ collection.

It’s a very consistent album so I’m not going to bother listing highlights. Lister can eat my shit.

Final Rating:
Awesome [8.5/10]