Saturday, December 8, 2012

Baphomet - The Dead Shall Inherit [1992]

Every time there's a new morbid bludgeon going on in the current death metal underground, the origin of the that cadaverous formula is tightly bind to your typical Floridian suspects of brutality; Massacre, Morbid Angel to a certain extent, Deicide, and perhaps even some South American intensity thrown in. Though, I regret to admit that the current trends have taken reiteration to a point where it's almost a necessity, and while doing so, many overlooked gems are ignored or neglected. Borne of the crude and ghoulish cemetery grime and made of rotten flesh and bile, Baphomet is what you'd probably call ''a grotesquery of the genre'', which, at least circa 1989-1993, was considered  to be very true. Huddled in gore, filth and malignancy, Baphomet's ''The Dead Shall Inherit'' is a crudely underrated treasure to be found in the deepest, putrid trenches of the burial ground.

''The Dead Shall Inherit'' was probably overly brutal for even acknowledged mavens of old school Floridian brutality that I've mentioned, who brought the genre to a point of lush and wealthy, mainstream finesse. There's always some good in reconsidering the roots of one's masterful aesthetics that have been divided by dichotomy over years of development and sophistication. Baphomet still today sounds utterly regurgitating and macabre, weighing immense, muscular riffage upon heaps of carnality, forming an oblique hybrid of death and thrash fashioned in such a way that you'd get the feeling the composers were gushing out frantically in violent surge of adrenalin while shattering bones and flaying a marauded cadaver. It's possible that the band was trying to take the gurgling, decomposed ebullition of the roaming kings of gore and brutality at the time, so there are obvious differences; instead of keeping the listener distorted with clinical technical death metal showers, ''The Dead Shall Inherit'' weighs on pressure, excluding the busying, and fluttering their gory momentum with masterfully crafted implements of sordid, ruthless simplicity and sending the listener's pulverized skeletal complex into mire of blood. This is music that neanderthals would've simply adored.

Of course, all these primal incursions come with a cost. Any sort of mood, embellishment and technical diversity is left to rot, omitted. Therefore, in the sense that the band's only implements are pummeling grooves and upright beats, you could say they were pretty ''non-bullshit'', but then again they would probably tell you the same thing. In addition to the hammering rhythmic department, Baphomet had sodden bass lines that really quivered and enlightened the discharge of the guitars as to decompose them even further. Like on ''Valley Of The Dead'', on the legendary intro riff, the bassist literally exposes all the stomach-churning contents of his body while this four strings bob to attain undeniable headbanging pleasure. Tom Frost's vocal timbre is also a shaking feature and oblique like the guitar work; I can't quite relate it directly to any well-known guttural vocalist. Consistent and punishing like a shower of meaty bricks falling upon unprotected heads, ''The Dead Shall Inherit'' will leave the typical OSDM freak sweltering, and should be the weapon of choice for anyone looking for his/her USDM fix. Feel free to abolish you neck, but make sure your next appointment with the doctor doesn't involve any ugly, violent music being blasted out. The consequences will be vital.

''Valley Of The Dead''
''Streaks Of Blood''
''Vile Reminiscence''

Final Rating:
Awesome [8.2/10]

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Grand Belial’s Key – Mocking the Philanthropist

Grand Belial’s Key is one of the more recognizable bands from the overcrowded USBM “scene” and a favourite of mine. Influenced by punk, speed metal, death metal, traditional metal and doom yet forever shrouded in a blasphemous black metal atmosphere, Grand Belial’s Key truly forged a sound that they could call their own, especially when it came time to unleash their debut album, “Mocking the Philanthropist”.

The album has a very dark and occult feel to it, mostly due to a very “natural” sounding recording. Although the production is a bit “amateurish” when compared to their later works, everything sounds heavy and full of tone with the guitars and drums especially packing a punch. The riffs are melodic yet beefy and have a bit of a “punk” drive to them in parts while the lead work is tasteful and accentuates the rhythm parts nicely. The bass is there, but doesn’t have a huge presence, just doing its thing and holding the songs together. The drumming, provided by The Black Lourde of Crucifixion is very unique (albeit a bit sloppy at times), in that he uses the whole kit and provides a solid sense of rhythm that is not often seen in underground metal. The Black Lourde… also provides vocals, which sound much deeper in pitch and raspier than one usually associates with black metal, making them, like his drumming, rather unique in this genre of music. Keyboards and organs occasionally pop up as well, adding a nice touch and some extra dimension to the music.

Lyrically, GBK can be compared to bands such as Profanatica, in that the focus is on perversion, blasphemy and a general hatred of all things religious. The lyrics are also well-written, which makes for a change when compared to other bands that use similar themes yet come across as immature or childish.

While GBK’s later two full lengths would turn out better, you really can’t go wrong with their debut as a solid introduction to their works and a classic album in itself, full of great songs and catchy, headbanging moments. No other band, past or present, sounds like Grand Belial's Key. 

Foul Parody of the Lord's Supper

The Slums of Jerusalem
Castrate the Redeemer 
The Holocaust Trumpeter

Final Rating:
8.0/10 Awesome (not as great as their next two albums, but still a classic)