Saturday, June 30, 2012

Artillery - By Inheritance [1990]


Technical music has never been my favorite cup of tea. Anytime there is a technical (or progressive as both are pretty interchangeable) tag added to a type of music it automatically turns me off from checking out the music, but there are quite a few bands out there who have done it right. Coroner, Demilich, Deathrow, Gorguts, Heathen and few other notable names are ones that I've come to love because of their ability to create memorable music that isn't just a bunch of guitar tech-wankery, but none of those bands created the kind of sound that Artillery did on "By Inheritance." In fact, no other band could hold a candle to the Danish masters' gift of blending technical magnificence with melody, thrashing riffs, insane vocals, clean and acoustic guitar passages and everything else that makes this record the flawless masterpiece that it is. 

The main reason for the absolute brilliance of "By Inheritance" stems from the impeccable guitar duo of the Stutzer brothers. Saying that every song on here has great riffs would be a massive understatement, because there are riffs on every track that are to die for. The intro riff to "Khomaniac" is fucking legendary and highly memorable, plus the riffs later on in the song are just as tremendous (one of the reasons why this is one of my favorite thrash tunes of all time). "Beneath the Clay (RIP)" features stellar riffs that rival those created by the man himself, Megadave, as the guitars' rhythms blaze by with a rapid fury of ever-changing notes and frets. But it isn't just the thrashing riffs, it's also the Stutzers' ability to weave clean guitar melodies and passages in and out of the thrashing mayhem effortlessly, creating an opera of incredible metal music that seemingly never ceases. The title track is the perfect example of Artillery's signature sound and the remarkable chorus is an essential for any metalhead. "Don't Believe" is another track that captures the beauty of the acoustic sections and the frenzy of the distorted guitars nicely for another classic, though that shouldn't surprise anyone by now. 

Seriously, this record could have been an instant classic due to the riffs and other guitar parts alone, but Flemming Ronsdorf and the rest of the band stepped their game up just as much. The drumming isn't amazing in every song, but the intro to "Beneath the Clay (RIP)" is unforgettable and the fills on "Life in Bondage" are worthy of some praise as well. Thorslund's performance on the bass isn't mindblowing like the Stutzers', but there aren't any negatives to his playing either. Ronsdorf's vocals are almost as much of a highlight reel as the guitars, as he can do it all. He was found clean singing (and quite well) on "Don't Believe," hitting high falsettos on "Beneath the Clay (RIP)" and shouting his fucking lungs out on "Bombfood," which is one of the key reasons as to why that song has arguably one of the catchiest choruses ever heard. "By Inheritance" is basically the answer to the question "What more do I need in life?" Because you're not really living until you've heard this record. 

Highlights
"Khomaniac"
"By Inheritance"
"Bomb Food"

Final Rating
Legendary and Beyond [10/10]



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Altar/Cartilage - Ex Obliovione/The Fragile Concept Of Affection [1992] (Split)


During the days when death roamed the world like a unmerciful tyrant, bands were exploiting their own music rapidly, and many couldn't even get pass demo level. Splits were scarce, yes, but they still existed, and somewhere in the repugnant bowels of time, lies a hidden split of two bands; The Finnish act Cartilage and the Swedish devil Altar, but great bands who would gradually escalate towards the same fate that many suffered during the late/mid 90's: Destruction. Yes, it indeed brings me great sorrow to see that both bands are now disbanded, but instead of mourning over their death like me, you can grab a copy of their split LP (which is now a precious rarity), and enjoy forty two minutes of decomposed manifestations of corrupted death metal, from the two countries that made produced the during the heydays of old school death metal.

Four bonus tracks were added to the album later on (two songs four each), and I suppose they're fairly good, but let's focus on the main, decrepit material here. Altar are from Sweden, though they don't extract the same kind of Swedish death metal bands played in those days to the opposition of many, creating a rather thrash-oriented churning of Morbid Angel circa ''Altars Of Madness'' with a slightly rougher production and a more doom-laden edge. Altar keeps the balance of the music at a steady level with jumpy incursions and spiky verse and that additional thrash crust I was talking about, but I still didn't find their style too distinct or gloomy. The vocalist's muffled growls don't stand out with great prominence, but so long as they fit the music well, I'll be content.

Cartilage, on the other hand, provide with a slightly different brand of death metal, this time taking influences from their home country instead of another. Cartilage definitely pleasured me more than Altar because the riffs are rawer and even more filthy than Altar, and Cartilage's vein is laden with Demilich, Abhorrence and Convulse; some of the finest Finnish death metal bands out there. They're sordid, no doubt, and evil at that, and they can preserve that quality of the music through each riff, slow or fast. Cartilage mainly focuses on frantic attacks and swift channels, leaving a bit of an old school thrash mark on your ears, but they still tend to give off a horror feeling to the listener with numerous implements, so you'll be headbanging and feeling chills slithering through your spine at the same time. Awesome.

Both bands would eventually be destroyed, but Altar released a couple more demos before their annihilation, so I guess they're a little more lucky. This split offers death metal that any old school death/thrasher would enjoy, and they're even bizarrely flourished, and even though both bands may not have created considerably original death metal, their material is still sturdy, cunning and rotting, so jump at it while you still have the chance.


Highlights
''The Underworld''
''Why Do I Watch The Dawn''
''Ex Oblivione''
''Daymere/A Message From The Grave''

Final Rating
Awesome [8.6/10]

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Atomic Aggressor – Rise of the Ancient Ones [Compilation – 2008]


Atomic Aggressor is a four-piece death metal band from Chile who released a few demos between 1989 and 1991 then disappeared until the release of a compilation album entitled “Rise of the Ancient Ones” on Hells Headbangers and Rawforce Productions in 2008 which contains all three demos and three extra previously unreleased tracks.

Their sound can best be described as rough edged death/thrash with a dark vibe that fits the Lovecraft inspired lyrical content. The musical style is similar to that of other South American bands from that time period such as; early Sepultura, early Sarc√≥fago, Anal Vomit, Vulcano and so on with a bit more early death metal than thrash metal thrown in. Scattered throughout this release you’ll hear violent riffs, gruff and bestial vocals, psychotic drumming and the all out Sudamerican brutality their peers were known back in extreme metals early days. The production is suitably raw and very consistent between each demo, even the three newer songs sound straight out of the early 90s!

“Rise of the Ancient Ones” goes to show that there were many great bands from the early South American extreme metal scene that have long since been forgotten about and that with a little bit of digging there is some killer stuff to be found. 

 Highlights:
The Session
Unholy Temple
Bloody Ceremonial

Final Rating:
Awesome 8.2/10

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Enchanter - Defenders Of The Realm [2008] (Compilation)



During the late 80's hordes and hordes of power and thrash bands emerged in the US metal scene. Some of these power metal bands such as Jag Panzer and Fates Warning were brought to higher levels with the help of their huge fan populace, but there were ten obscurities of every known band, and unfortunately these bands were never picked up. Enchanter is just another lost USPM gem, and even though this compilation of their demos helps restore some of their dwindled pride and visibility, I still don't it's sufficient and it's sure as hell not fit for such a great band as Enchanter. Seriously, I can't see why these guys weren't as big as Fates Warning or any other USPM band, they've got some direct, strident melodies, and their music is overflowing with reactive energy, so now, I'll do my best to promote these guys.

The closest comparison I can make is Fates Warning because Enchanter have some serious, heavy riffs to go along with their plodding melodies and the superb high-pitches of the vocalist, though even that comparison is not fully accurate as Enchanter also embrace the mystical power metal feel with epic choruses and some frantic power and melody conflagrations that result in what we dub as ''Happy metal''. Perhaps such moments are scarce, but that epic fantasy vibe combines with the brilliantly suited musicianship, and aura of surrealistic oddity covers the atmosphere. Besides the epic portion of the music, there are lots of catchy, thrashy riffs to found on this compilation, and most of these thrash laden attacks are fueled by utter fury, and the sudden change of mood can really make Enchanter look more than serious. ''Beckoned With A Call #2'' for example, is abundant in outrageous chugs, enhanced by a brooding mysticism, just before breaking into a somber piece of acoustic music. All music is crafted elaborately and their fantastic feel never falls out of place.

The cover art of this compilation really explains all; it's epic and it emphasizes on the glorious moment of war, but you have to admit, there's some pessimism in it. ''Keepers Of The Dawn'' is yet another lugubrious track with more focus of the dismal tone of power metal rather than the epic, glorious tone, and you can understand that easily from the way the chords pass and charge, or by the seriousness in the vocalists tone. The vocalist, is a personifying force on his own. His voice can be related to John Arch of Fates Warning, because he can perfect the same kind of harmonious shrieking and lung-exploding on top of the heavy riffs, and I really can't understand why there's no praise of him. His voice is lasting, forceful, compelling and repelling at the same time, and he clearly earned a large amount of space in the mix. I don't think any resident USPM nerd can dislike this gathering of demos, yet it's an ill thing that these songs will never be exposed greatly, but with the help of the internet, that can heppen. Hopefully.

Highlights
''Thor''
''Defenders Of The Realm''
''Time Gone Past Nevermore''
''Tomb Of the Unknown Soldier''

Final Rating
Masterpiece [9.1/10]

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tormentor - Anno Domini [1988] (Demo)


Absolute fucking insanity. That's really all that needs to be said about Tormentor's "Anno Domini" demo. There's a reason that this record is held in such high regards in the metal underground, whether you're of the belief that this demo was incredibly influential or you feel that's just a rehash of stuff done by bands that came before such as Bathory, Mayhem (A band that Chisar would soon work with on the legendary "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas"), Sodom or Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, this music is a destructive force that all falses should avoid. If you fall into the latter camp of people, then you really must get your ears checked because, while there is some definite similarities in style, Tormentor are easily one of the more unique bands of the bunch due to the technical proficiency shown throughout these 13 tracks. 

Wait, technicality and sloppy black/thrash? Surely I must be jesting, but of course not, these Hungarian vandals were very talented with their instruments because in the midst of the sheer aggression and fuddled atmosphere there are brilliant melodies that are strung throughout, acoustic sections that have a classical feel and of course there are some phenomenal solos. But, the vast majority of this demo is dedicated to sounding evil and ripping flesh with riffs that are razor sharp. The riffs range from crazy hammer-on-ridden ones like the ones found on "Heaven" (the best song on this demo by the way) and "Tormentor II" to midpaced stompers such as the ones found on "In Gate of Hell" and "Beyond" to the venomous thrash riffs and tremolos like those featured on "Tormentor I" and "Apocalypse."

Like I said, there's more to "Anno Domini" than just crazy riffs, there's some great variety here. "Lyssa" is a technical, yet blasphemous instrumental that mesmerizes as well as slays. "Trance" and "Elisabeth Bathory" both mix up the clean guitars with the distortion for an eerie and evil atmosphere that will send chills down your spine. And, of course the other instruments all deliver here, with the drumming reaching top speeds that send the music into frantic paces while also spewing out great fills left and right. The bassist manages to keep up with all of the manic music perfectly and also has some terrific fills. Then there are the vocals which might actually be the highlight of Tormentor's music, as the legendary Attila Chisar's vile rasps (very similar to Quorthon and "Angelripper") conjure up a violent storm that is equivalent to the ferocity of the music itself. To sum everything up in a sentence, "Anno Domini" is a goddamn masterpiece where everything works perfectly together and if you find yourself not liking this demo then you need to be burned and died. 

Highlights
"Tormentor I"
"Heaven"
"Apocalypse"

Final Rating
Masterpiece [9.3/10]

Nifelheim - Nifelheim [1994]



Although Nifelheim's self titled debut album was released during the time when the second wave of black metal was just getting popular, it follows the exact trail that early black/thrash savages like Hellhammer, Bathory or Venom created. There were some pioneering black/death acts which emerged during the early-mid 90's as well, such Swedish blasphemers Necrophobic or Finland's darkened black/death assault Belial, but Nifelheim produced over-the-top, completely flurried black/thrash that doesn't fail to butcher carcasses. And in addition to the extremity and sheer speed of their music, Nifelheim has to be one of the first bands to correlate satanic themes with traditional metal anthems lyric wise, and even though their music evil and frantic, cheesy black/thrash/speed moments can not be avoided. Not that I'm complaining about these so called ''cheesy'' riffs, really.

The main material that enhances the speed, the aggression and all things evil is that Nifelheim (as stated) take their influences from the early black metal scene rather than the second scene which is a much atmospheric affair by all standards. Hints of cloudy atmosphere here and there may be present, and there's a resonant production quality too, but otherwise the whole of the album is a fluent burst of militant black/thrash, seldom tending to slow down or show any sign of deterioration. The production is thin and metallic just as the guitar tone, so you won't be provided with a whole lot of chunky, carnal riffs, but the disastrous tremolo pickings and chord strums are as sharp as newly-forged blade, so you've been warned--don't mess with this one. I also tend to enjoy the flickering array of dismal melodies, thrown into the crazed riffing at a common basis, and the somewhat sophisticated feel of the riffs, keeping the dynamics at a high level for a good near-thirty-minutes. Tracks like ''Possessed By Evil'' embrace the classic black/thrash/speed attitude with scratchy, tremolo and chord attacks while the bombastic goodness frenzy on Sodomizer is out of control and the supreme combination of atmosphere and semi-technical riffs on ''Storm Of Satan's Fire'' is another treat entirely.

Yes, the album is no longer than ''Reign In Blood'', then again, it's similar to the aggressive magnum opus in many ways, but surprisingly, Nifelheim has managed to keep the energy constant and volatile throughout, and a substantial amount of variation is offered with the gritty, grinding edge of the fuzzy riffs, only be enhanced with primal art of blast beating and the crusty barks of Per ''Hellbutcher'' Gustavsson. Everything is  irritating, in the right manner that is, and the primitive attitude or early black metal and early thrash metal is preserved throughout every single track, with a tiny dash of atmosphere, hidden under the riffs. Next time, when you're going through your classic black/thrash pieces and while channeling between Usurper, Desaster, Destroyer 666, early Sodom and Kreator, and Aura Noir, don't forget to remind yourself of the masterful bestiality of ''Nifelheim''.

Highlights
''Black Curse''
''Storm Of Satan's Fire''
''Possessed By Evil''

Final Rating
Awesome [8.7/10]

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chastain - Ruler of the Wasteland [1986]


Just by glancing at the album art, you can probably tell what you're getting yourself into when it comes time to listen to "Ruler of the Wasteland." This is epic heavy/power metal of top form with plenty of Judas Priest and Maiden worshiping going on. Chastain is a band that is for some reason, not as popular as they should have been. I rarely ever see mentions of this band on the internet and I stumbled across them by accident myself, but I'm fucking glad that I did. The band's first record "Mystery of Illusion" honestly isn't anything worth writing home about, as it's solid, but it just can't compete with this greatly improved sophomore album, a record boasting epic atmospheres, catchy hooks and fantastic melodies throughout. 

"Ruler of the Wasteland" starts off with the title track and immediately the listener is grabbed by the shredding solos and the catchy Judas Priest-inspired riff that follows. But then the vocals come in, and I'm sure if I didn't tell you or you didn't look it up yourself, you would never guess that Chastain was fronted by a female in Leather Leone. Her vocals are plenty aggressive (well, as far as power metal goes. Think David Wayne of Metal Church), but there are also plenty of moments where she hits the real high notes and she does so with the greatest of ease. The range of Leone's vocals is a definite highlight on this album, as it provides the listener with some added variety to the already varied music. Some of the tracks are typical power metal tunes that feature typical riffage and shredding solos galore, with "One Day to Live" and "Fighting to Stay Alive" being the main ones to follow this archetype. Tracks like "The King Has the Power" and "There Will Be Justice" travel a more unorthodox route, using the bass as the focal point of the music at points and mixing in the acoustic sections with the rest of the music, but the songs are fine nonetheless. 

Of course, I said Chastain has their epic material and that's really when they're at their best. "Angel of Mercy" is the best track on "Ruler of the Wasteland" with its chilling intro, terrific riffs, stellar melodies and solos, and of course the soaring vocals that top everything off. I guarantee this song will be stuck in your head for a while. "Living in a Dreamworld" and "The Battle of Nevermore" are also pretty epic in their own right, though they just can't measure up to the brilliance of "Angel of Mercy" (Then again, that would be asking too much). "Ruler of the Wasteland" is just another awesome album that came out in the year where so many masterpieces were released that it unfortunately got lost in the shuffle, but that's no reason to doubt the top-notch material here, so check out Chastain immediately or heads will roll...

Highlights
"Ruler of the Wasteland"
"Angel of Mercy"
"Living in a Dreamworld"

Final Rating
Awesome [8.6/10]

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Irreverent – Blasphemous Crucifix Profanation [Compilation – 2010]


 I’m sure most of our readers here at Nightmare Reality are somewhat familiar with the black/death metal act Black Witchery, but, what about the old-school death metal band Impurath and co. formed way back in 1991 who only recorded a couple of demos before changing the name to Witchery before moving on to become the entity now known as Black Witchery? In 2010, a compilation album featuring the two previously released demos, one unreleased demo and two live tracks was released.

As I mentioned above; Irreverent was formed in 1991 when Impurath and co. were very young, probably still teenagers. It’s been said that they originally started off playing a lot of Hellhammer and Bathory covers, which definitely shows through on the songs here; which feature a weighty Hellhammer-ish tone and vibe. The Irreverent material differs greatly from what they would go on to write as Black Witchery… for starters; the music is often much slower, almost ritualistic at times, and as mentioned, has a massive Hellhammer vibe in the bass-heavy guitar tone.

The production is surprisingly consistent between the demos, allowing the compilation to flow more like a full length album, which works well given the 40 minute run time. The songwriting is generally straightforward and primitive, with plenty of variety between songs, leaving this to be one of the best demo comps I’ve heard in a while. I’d put it up there with Slaughter Lord and Sadistic Intents’ compilation releases.

“Blasphemous Crucifix Profanation” is a must-own for all fans of Black Witchery, old-school death metal and punishing Hellhammer worship. If I still haven’t convinced you that this is worth bagging, look up the songs “Crush the Messiah”, “Mortuary Feast”, “Ritual of Darkness” and “Holy Denunciation” to hear this long forgotten cult band speak for itself.

Final Rating:
Awesome 8.3/10

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sentenced - Shadows of Past [1991]


I'm sure any death metal fan reading this knows about Finland and the country's tendency to unleash filthy, murky death metal of the highest caliber, so I won't ramble on about it and bore you. Sentenced is one such band that took up their axes and then proceeded to drown them in melodic, doomy brilliance and then drop tune the shit out of them. Seriously, these guys must have gone a major Bolt Thrower binge because the amount of grooving and chugging on "Shadows of Past" is ridiculous. The opening track "When the Moment of Death Arrives" starts off the way that you would expect a Finndeath band to sound - with a dark, yet beautiful melody that sets up the tone and then all of a sudden this plodding, behemoth-like riff enters the fray and heads begin to bang. "Rot to Dead" and "Under the Suffer" are a couple more tracks that embrace the "Realm of Chaos" groove and pummeling and they do it incredibly well. 

Of course, this is Finnish death metal and "Shadows of Past" isn't just a Bolt Thrower-worship record. There are plenty of melodies strung throughout this album, whether they're used as an atmosphere enhancer like on the intro to "Rotting Ways of Misery," or they're being used to balance out the heaviness with the melodic like on "Disengagement," Sentenced knows how to write some great music that isn't just endless tremolos and blast beats. Another notable trait of the country's style of death metal is the underlying doom influence and just about every song has a moment that is undeniably doomy. The powerchords possess a grim emptiness to them that conjures the feel most of the time, similar to a band like Autopsy, but there are also plenty of riffs that are just straight-up doom ("Disengagement"). But, the major influence for this low-end sound is none other than the heavy-as-fuck bass. The bass creeps along and is always the elephant in the room, so to speak, and its presence is very welcome as far as I'm concerned. 

In addition to the Bolt Thrower grooving and the more melodic material, a lot of the other riffs and parts of the music are greatly influenced by the godfathers of death metal, Death. The tremolo sections throughout reek of "Leprosy"-era Death, as they're fast and somewhat evil sounding, but not as heavy as a band like Incantation or as evil as a band like Morbid Angel. The vocals are also very reminiscent of Chuck Schuldiner, but there's also a healthy dose of Brett Hoffmann in there as well. "Shadows of Past" is definitely a great record to have in your collection if you're a fan of Bolt Thrower, Death or Autopsy, as it is a fantastic representative of what Finland had to offer, though Sentenced wasn't the best. It's a shame that these guys would go on to later produce some utter shit, but at least I've still got this album to deteriorate my eardrums to...

Highlights
"When the Moment of Death Arrives"
"Rot to Dead"
"Suffocated Beginning of Life"

Final Rating
Awesome [8.3/10]

Deteriorot - Manifested Apparitions Of Unholy Spirits [1993] (Ep)


Judging from the album art, album title and logo font, I'm sure any dedicated old school death metal fan would know what to expect from this, although some still may be blown away be the sheer force and compelling heft of the music on Deteriorot's debut Ep, ''Manifested Apparitions Of Unholy Spirits''. Deteriorot are fairly obscure even though they released a monolith of an old school death/doom album in 2001, and a second in 2010, and I still find it hard not to mention these guys when the topic is top-notch old school death metal bands, and it's even more surprising how many underground fans scarcely talk of them. This is blasphemous, dense, incredibly ghastly and even grooving death metal, right from the pits and crypts of abominations.

The main influence is the deep, cavernous Incantation influence, hidden under pretty much every riff and every aspect of the music. Another great element that Deteriorot possess is that they tend to fuse the thick Incantation-esque riffs with a bludgeoning thrash influence, and even some Finnish mystery and gloom is safely installed into the crushing, grooving death/doom riffs, providing with a good amount of variation throughout the eleven minute Ep. Delicious riffs are aplenty if that's what you seek, but like the abyss sprinkled aura of the cover art, the music is a burden of atmosphere, mainly coming from the comprehensible, yet somewhat muffled spray of the production. Alongside the atmosphere and aura, the satisfying feel of the riffs also stand out as crucial elements, because the riffs are full and tasty, nutritious enough to cease your ravenous rage for a good while.

There are two tracks, and nothing more, so I'd say this Ep acts a sort of warm up to ready listeners against the real beast, ''In Ancient Beliefs''. The title track is a looming, brooding, gloomy piece of oppressive death/doom monstrosity, with well executed passages and Autopsy-esque, blood chilling guitar thrills, while ''The Afterlife'' has copious amounts of grooving Incantation riffs ready at its command, engaging and depriving with each blow. Unfortunately, their debut crosses the whole ''old-school'' line which is marked at 2000, but if you liked this, you have no excuse for not checking out the full-length. This is blood and blasphemy soaked evil, heavy as fuck death metal, so do your ears some good and listen to it right now.

Highlights
''Manifested Apparitions Of Unholy Spirits''
''The Afterlife''

Final Rating
Awesome [8.6/10]

Sadistik Exekution – We Are Death… Fukk You! [1994]



“FUKKIN’ KAOS!!!” is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Australian death metal lunatics Sadistik Exekution. These Sydney mad men crafted some of the most chaotic, sick and disgusting sounding death metal ever played. It was loud, evil, abrasive, blackened and spastically chaotic. “We Are Death… Fukk You!” is the second full length, which came out in 1994.

SadEx were ahead of their time; utilizing the psychotic screams and shouts of vocalist Rok, to Rev. Kriss Hades’ insane guitar work, Dave Slaves’ mental bass lines and the ultra fast drumming, the band combines elements of death metal with black metal, grind and a few rare doom parts (see “Evoke War Vomit” for example) to produce some of the most intense and shockingly awesome music you will ever hear. 

Every song on “We Are Death…” is an absolute ripper, although some may be held back from their true potential by the production, which jumps around on each song, as this album was originally recorded as an EP but released as a full length with a few singles/demos/etc. chucked on to make up the extra time. The production issue, however, is the only real negative thing I have to say about “We Are Death…” and pointing out anything else would just be nitpicking, which doesn’t work when analyzing an album so chaotic and intense. I’ve chosen not to ramble on too much while writing this review because once you listen to the album, it speaks for itself with its’ straightforward approach.

Highlights:
Internal Klok
Electrokution
Evoke War Vomit

Final Rating:
Awesome 8/10

Autopsy – Retribution for the Dead EP [1991]




Autopsy is a classic old-school death metal band and every self-respecting death metaller should have at least a couple of Autopsy releases in their collection. I recently obtained a physical copy of their first EP, “Retribution for the Dead”, which was released following their legendary debut album “Severed Survival” and the “Metal Forces” split they did with Paradise Lost.

First and foremost, it should be pointed out that “Retribution…” is more of a death/doom hybrid than their earlier material. Each of the three tracks here simply crush, coming across as some of the most sludgy and bluesy death metal ever put to record. The production is suitably murky and cavernous; sounding like it was recorded deep within an ancient crypt. 

The three songs featured here; “Retribution for the Dead”, “Destined to Fester” and “In the Grip of Winter” all run over four minutes and are top-notch examples of simple, yet beautifully written and well thought out death metal. Each one has a clear beginning, middle and end, and plenty of variation whilst still sticking to a mostly slow paced death/doom template. 

One thing you’ll definitely notice, is that just about all of the thrash influence present in many early death metal works is absent here, leaving Autopsy with a sound similar to what I think a punk-influenced doom metal band like Saint Vitus would do if they played death metal. Even the few moments where the pace does speed up sound more akin to a band like Discharge than, say, Slayer, due to the loose and bass heavy tones present.

“Retribution for the Dead” stands as one of my favourite death/doom EPs and should be an essential listen for any serious old-school death metal maniac. There is a clear reason it was tacked on to the end of the 1993 reissue of “Severed Survival” as bonus tracks…

Highlights:
It's three of Autopsy's best songs... obviously each one is a highlight in itself.

Final Rating:
Awesome 8.5/10