Friday, April 18, 2014

Woman Is The Earth - Depths (2014)

Album | Depths
Country | United States
Genre | Atmospheric Black Metal
Label | Init Records

Supporting the all growing US / Canadian scene of atmospheric black metal, Woman Is The Earth offer their third full length album to date as a follow up to 2012's This Place That Contains My Spirit. As the genre has a certain bit of twisted, natural romance, this album also contains a dark and enigmatic cover behind a thought provoking band name, fitting perfectly to it's territory. At first, I was surprised that this is a full length release, as it only lasts twenty four minutes, which is rather short and strange for such records.

For those into the atmospheric black metal sound, Woman Is The Earth sound exactly like what you expect them to, almost identical to older, influential bands. They don't hesitate to get on into the main body of the record with "Crown & Bone / Dreamer", which is interesting but simplistic and limited. It has an average effect to the listener, coming from it's deep atmosphere and repetitive guitar riffs, covering the whole compositional palette with their and murky sound. The drums are decent, if not a little loud and there are typica whispering screams above everything, maintaining one every day atmospheric black metal record.

There are clean acoustic parts scattered in between the tracks, as well as in the second "Lifted" which is sort of an instrumental built on melodic riffs and distortion-less lines. I wouldn't mind an interlude in the record if there was more music in general, as in that case it is placed between the only two songs of the album, which would be perfect for and EP but not a full album. Apart from that, I would say it's also musically indifferent, having few interesting points as it is.

The last track "Child of Sky" undergoes the same pattern, only including a clean voice chanting introduction, also clocking up to nine minutes. The musicianship of the record is somehow limited to the basics but legit in composing, still I would prefer to listen to more from this in quantity instead of quality. Depths has an accurate structure, bonding each of the tracks together for the changes to sound more natural, as well as making them flow more easily. A pale synth can be listened behind the rest of the instrumentation in the whole album, as if it is it's background basis, helping a lot to the atmosphere.

Depths is not the worst atmospheric black metal album I have ever heard, yet I don't think it has any new elements to give out, at least to people already into bands like Wolves in the Throne Room and Xasthur. Moreover, it's not really a full length as it states, as it only has material for an EP, despite the fact that the previous releases of the band were significantly longer, as they should. I enjoyed the first and last track because I like this genre, but I don't think this is anything glorious after all.

DAMAGE: 6.25/10

Monday, April 14, 2014

Daemon (Bru) - Hellstorm (1992) [Demo]

Album | Hellstorm [Demo]
Country | Brunei
Genre | Death Metal
Label | Self-released

This band comes from Brunei, which was part of England until 1984, before becoming an independent country. Named Daemon, they released two demos in the beginning of the nineties and then split up, which was a wise decision if one is to judge from this really bad demo. Hellstorm was self-released and included six compositions, lasting only fourteen minutes in total.

The band is historically important, since it's one of the first extreme metal bands out of Brunei. The influences from Deicide are obvious, especially in the anti-religious / satanic lyrical themes, if not the music itself. Despite that, I can't say I listened to something even close to a mediocre demo, being completely dreadful from start to finish.

Opening with the ultra famous melody of the intro "Resurrection", the awful sound starts with the first track "Fester the Souls". All the instruments sound extremely noisy and horrible, with various recording mistakes, distant sound and overall shitty production. I doubt these dudes spent a minute more in the mixing sessions, after just recording the rehearsals a tape recorder. Even if the music was good, it would be impossible to enjoy with such false sound.

Apart from the production, the band lacks identity in the compositional part as well. From what I managed to hear, there are repetitive riffs, typical worn out growls and poor, boring drum lines. There are not even a couple of moments  for anything to appear a little higher than the average flood, making Hellstorm more like being a shitstorm for the listener. For DIY bands of that time, it is understood, but still it's an atrocious result.

It's obvious that Daemon did nothing right with their puberty back then, especially with their musical attempts. The only thing I enjoyed in this demo were the intro and outro, which are instrumental samples / recordings taken from other famous pieces instead of the band itself. I doubt anyone out there would enjoy listening to this demo, except if you are a member of the band and just remember the fun you had making it.

DAMAGE: 0.25/10

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Epitome (Pol) - Engulf the Decrepitude (1994) [Demo]

Album | Engulf the Decrepitude [Demo]
Country | Poland
Genre | Death Metal / Grindcore
Label | Guzzler

| Incarnated of morbidity |

The very first release by the death metal / grindcore band Epitome came out in 1994 with a title of Engulf the Decrepitude, and it's the only one that doesn't emphasize the word "rot", as one might quickly notice looking at their discography. These guys have been active since the beginning of the nineties and there is a new album coming out this year, meaning that they have been around for a long time.

For a first demo, this one has a rather below average production, without being completely bad. The songs display a standard and somehow simplistic form of death metal, based on a couple of riffs and repetitive fast drums. It's not anything overwhelming and it doesn't achieve much as a whole, even though under the perfect circumstances, it would be considered as solid. Epitome don't overcome the basic level of techicality and variety either, meaning it's just a typical demo.

Straying from the regular death metal vocals, there are a lot of grunts and guttural vocals here, as well as a couple of weird screams / yells at various points. It's the one thing that makes it a little more unusual than one might guess, yet they are not always done in absolute perfection. Listening to Engulf the Decrepitude, I hear an immature band with a few musicianship problems, trying it's luck for the first time.

While the tracks are repetitive, the sixteen minutes of music that can be found here are tight as a whole. Epitome play a little imperfect and dull, showing their low playing level for a first demo. Yet, since the band has a whole discography after all these years, it's possible that they have improved and moved forward as a band. Once I listen to the rest of their stuff, I'll know.

DAMAGE: 4/10

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Anthagonist - Perpetual Beginning (1992) [Demo]

Album | Perpetual Beginning [Demo]
Country | Canada
Genre | Death Metal
Label | Independent

| Stretched out in their blood |

Perpetual Beginning is the second and final demo of the short-lived band Anthagonist, which formed in the late 80s in Quebec, Canada. The band played straightforward death metal with a few thrash metal elements, giving away their era and influences. It is not the crappiest demo ever and will mostly appeal to tape collectors and die hard archive fans.

The production of the demo is legit and provides an audible sound, with a fair dose of dust of course. There are not much to miss, as the guitars, drums and vocals, all reach the same volume and level. Anthagonist play a nice version of traditional death metal, as the bigger bands did back then and still do. There is solid guitar work and riff variety, as well as a couple of extra solos and melodies, as well as a very nice bass sound.

There are five songs in the demo with a total length of sixteen minutes, ideal for it's kind. I think the band would have the strength to record a great record, judging from the few interesting moments this has and it's a pity they didn't manage to do anything more as a band. Still, this release on it's own isn't much of a deal, being above average but relatively forgettable, at least now. After all these years, there is tons of death metal better than it.

DAMAGE: 6/10

Morbicus - Sadistic Immolation (1994) [Demo]

Album | Sadistic Immolation [Demo]
Country | Mexico
Genre | Death Metal
Label | Independent

| Shadow of twisted reality |

These guys reformed in 2011 after a fifteen year abscence, something that not many people noticed as the band released nothing but a bunch of demos during the early nineties and nothing more. The band has stayed unsigned to this day and Sadistic Immolation is their fourth demo release, back in October 1994. Morbicus follow the death metal / grindcore path and this is no difference, thus being itself indifferent.

A standard amount of noise is contained in this poorly recorded tape, with a bad balance between the various instruments and especially the drums, making it sloppy and unattractive. As said, the drums have a higher volume than needed for the most part, as well as some ridiculous symbal sounds that work against the overall effort. This, combined with the fact that the drumming itself is weak and random, like the drummer was just trying to play fast but kept on losing the pace, have a bad impact to the demo.

I kept listening and found very few interesting lines in term of the guitar work, which is also hard to come by because of the bad production. There might be a good riff or two at some point, but quickly vanishes again, before getting into  it's typical patterns. There are a few atonal solos that add nothing good to the tracks, since they are not into place and have no rhythm. The vocals are relatively ok, even though they sound a bit damaged because of the overall sound.

As a whole, I would say that Sadistic Immolation is an anemic attempt by the band, which has clear limits of musicianship and talent. These guys would never create anything above average so average might just be their upper limit, not even reached this time. Containing bland tracks, not recorded properly, is making this hard to accept on any level. Since they are now back, let's hope age has improved their skills, for the sake of any future releases.

DAMAGE: 3/10

Friday, April 11, 2014

Repudilation - Purging of Impurity (1996) [Demo]

Album | Purging of Impurity [Demo]
Country | United States
Genre | Brutal Death Metal
Label | Numb Cum

| Fall of oppression |

Repudilation were formed in 1994 as a brutal death metal outfit, back when the genre had not completely taken form. Still, their first and only demo Purging of Impurity in 1996 was close to it, at least musically, since the band didn't adopt the pure fun gore subjects of the later bands. Repudilation also released a split and a compilation before splitting up, which makes this an important part of their small discography.

This demo includes four tracks, all of them lasting around three or four minutes. The sound is quite noisy but not completely damaged so that it's unbearable, having a dirty production and a couple of samples to keep the entertainment going. The guitars have a thick catuous sound that creates the first layer of the recording and the drums go on nicely and accurately, with frequent blasts and fast parts.

A main characteristic of the demo is the gargling, guttural vocals of Rich Turnbull, which hardly even go into the typical growling moment. His singing is deep, grunting for the most part, making his style clear brutal death metal and of course indistinguishable. The performance is cool throughout the demo and has what is needed to support a groovy old school / brutal death compositional arrangemeny like this.

Since I have not found any lyrics available, from what I get through the various titles, the band revolved around decay, death of humanity and general macabre subjects. That fits fine to the death metal scene of it's time and the splatter lyrics / covers are amiss, as in the rest of brutal death. Yet, I think the black & white cover art of Purging of Impurity, along with the deep red letter, is great awesomeness.

During these fourteen minutes, I heard nothing but legit brutal death metal, budget limited to demo standards only, with an awesome "Dance motherfucker, dance" sample at the beginning of the last song. Lot's of slam elements exist in here, and judging from the chronology it's certainly one of the first records as well. As I'm not a die hard fan myself, I think it has it's stench and quality, so this is indeed a good demo.

DAMAGE: 7.75/10

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pyathrosis - Fields of Unceasing Death (1991) [Demo]

Album | Fields of Unceasing Death [Demo]
Country | Netherlands
Genre | Death Metal
Label | Independent

| Eradicated evil |

Only three demos were released by this Dutch band, back in the early nineties. Fields of Unceasing Death is the second release which was of course independent, containing five compositions and a total of twenty three minutes of direct, tape worshipping death metal.

Among the countless worthless demos of that era, Pyathrosis managed to release an actual gem that worths discovering and preserving as one fine example of the energetic underground. The production is noisy enough but let's the sound of the instruments to make do, making the guitars, the vocals and the drums audible and enjoyable. It's sound does not differ from the recordings of that time, if not slightly deeper, and covers a collection of nice compositions and ideas as a whole.

Fields Of Unceasing Death never stepped into the spotlight but it could be a collector's item, as it's not just something rare, it actually has some quality music to be listened. The vocalist Wiebe van der Veen offers painful growls and stays focused to the traditional way of singing and his talent is a highlight of the whole demo, as it was exactly what I wanted to hear over the fuzzy instrumentation.

Moments of groove are not missing from the demo either, especially in the introduction tracks. Yet, the band does not stray from pure death metal and it reminded me of Bolt Thrower or early Unleashed at some points, if comparisons are necessary. The work on the drums is satisfying while the guitar lines present catchy and poweful riffs, making the listener want to come back to the record after it finishes.

To sum up, I think Pyathrosis nailed it with this demo and I'll look into their other two ones as well, to see if they are as good as this. They have a steady sound and good tracks, a fine and efficient length and a cool, simplistic appoach to the genre. The hounds of early demo metal should already be on the job.

DAMAGE: 8/10

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Ingested - The Surreption (2011)

Album | The Surreption
Country | United Kingdom
Genre | Brutal Death Metal / Deathcore
Label | Siege of Amida Records

| Your flesh is my canvas |

Once starting as a pure, polished brutal death metal / deathcore band, Ingested came into this world with a split in 2007 but most notably their 2009 full length, Surpassing the Boundaries of Human Suffering. Mainly consisting of catchy slam riffs, blast beats and various growls, it's concept was into gore, necrophilia, rape and with a great cover like that, I would surely fit my BDM preferences.

The band released their second full length The Surreption in 2011 and while the music has remained close to the debut, the attitude of the band had generally changed a bit. This record revolves around more generic death and vengeance issues, it has a "nicer" cover, Martyr Defiled and Despised Icon members doing guest vocals in a couple of songs, so the band has moved into something more core than death metal, as it seems.

The production of the record is the same as the debut full length, equally hammering and stomping groovy riffs down your throat, not missing the constantly fast paced drumming. The skills of the band in terms of composition and song writing has not changed very much, so it's possible that if you enjoyed the first record musically, this will do as well.

Turning into something more accessible lyrically and aesthetically is not to be judged, since Ingested at least have their own ideas to present their own way, combining brutal death metal with catchy breakdowns. Now, if you happen to be in a gig they play and see kids hardcore dancing, don't freak out.

DAMAGE: 7.5/10