Monday, May 29, 2023

AI answers: Altars of Madness or Scream Bloody Gore?

As the use of AI has skyrocketed this year with all kinds of applications, you can present it with as complicated or as simple answers as you want. Since I am quite simple myself, I am wondering what the machine overlords think about extreme music, and it gets especially interesting when I am requesting a pick between two choices. 

In this case, we are looking into two classic death metal albums from the United States, Altars of Madness by Morbid Angel and Scream Bloody Gore by Death. All words possible have already been written and said about these two releases, but maybe it's time to put the final nail and a verdict to the dilemma. Let's see:

- AC: Which do you think is better, Death's "Scream Bloody Gore" or Morbid Angel's "Altars of Madness"?

- AI: As an AI language model, I don't have personal opinions or preferences. However, both Death's "Scream Bloody Gore" and Morbid Angel's "Altars of Madness" are highly regarded albums within the death metal genre and have had a significant impact on the development of extreme metal music.

"Scream Bloody Gore" is considered a seminal album in death metal history, released in 1987 and recognized for its raw and aggressive sound. It showcased the early sound and songwriting of Death, which contributed to the establishment of death metal as a distinct subgenre.

"Altars of Madness," released in 1989, is often cited as a groundbreaking album that helped define the sound and style of extreme metal. It features Morbid Angel's intense and technically proficient approach to death metal, incorporating elements of thrash and black metal as well.

Both albums have their own unique qualities and have been influential in shaping the death metal genre. The preference between them ultimately comes down to individual musical taste. I would recommend exploring both albums and deciding which one resonates more with your personal preferences and musical interests.

- AC: Let's say you are a music critic and have to pick one for your magazine's column this month. Which one and why?

- AI: As a music critic, if I had to choose one album between Death's "Scream Bloody Gore" and Morbid Angel's "Altars of Madness" for a magazine's column, I would consider the following factors:

Historical Significance: "Scream Bloody Gore" holds a special place in the history of death metal, being one of the pioneering albums in the genre. Its impact on the development and evolution of death metal cannot be understated. This historical significance could make it an intriguing choice for discussion and analysis.

Musical Innovation: "Altars of Madness" pushed the boundaries of extreme metal at the time of its release. It showcased technical prowess, intricate song structures, and a blend of various metal elements. The album's innovative and influential nature could provide ample material for an in-depth analysis.

Overall Impact: Considering the lasting impact on the metal scene and subsequent influence on other bands, both albums have made significant contributions. However, "Altars of Madness" is often regarded as a landmark release that helped shape the extreme metal landscape in a profound way.

Given these factors, if I had to choose one album for the column, I would lean towards Morbid Angel's "Altars of Madness." While both albums are highly influential, "Altars of Madness" stands out for its technicality, genre-blending approach, and the lasting impact it has had on the extreme metal genre. Its complex song structures, aggressive sound, and powerful compositions could provide a rich and captivating subject for a column, appealing to readers who are interested in exploring the evolution of extreme metal music.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Brutal Truth - Need to Control

Need to Control, released in 1994, is the second studio album by American grindcore band Brutal Truth. Known for their extreme sound and uncompromising approach to music, the album remains a landmark in the grindcore genre. Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, Need to Control is a relentless assault of ferocious riffs, blistering drumming, and caustic vocals that showcases the band's technical prowess and unyielding intensity.

From the opening track, "Collapse", Brutal Truth grabs the listener by the throat and refuses to let go. The guitar work of Brent "Gurn" McCarty is furious and dissonant, while the rhythm section of Dan Lilker on bass and Rich Hoak on drums forms an unyielding backbone. The combination of their tight musicianship and raw aggression is awe-inspiring. The album's production is intentionally raw, adding to its raw and primal energy, making it sound like a visceral live performance.

Lyrically, Need to Control delves into a range of societal and personal issues. Tracks like "Displacement", "Choice of a New Generation” and "Judgement" tackle themes such as political corruption, consumerism, and societal decay. Kevin Sharp's vocal delivery is a mix of guttural growls, aggressive shouts, and venomous screams, capturing the frustration and anger that permeate the album's lyrics.

One of the standout tracks on the album is "Godplayer". It opens with a menacing bassline before erupting into a furious frenzy of grinding guitars and relentless drumming. The song perfectly encapsulates the band's unrelenting aggression and showcases their ability to seamlessly shift tempos and incorporate complex rhythms. The guitar solos, though brief, add a touch of melody to the chaotic onslaught, displaying moments of musicality amidst the sonic chaos. The album also includes a cover of The Germs' "Media Blitz." Brutal Truth's rendition injects the song with even more fury and aggression, serving as a nod to the band's punk influences and showcasing their ability to take a classic punk anthem and make it their own.

Need to Control is an unrelenting assault on the senses, and its impact on the grindcore genre cannot be overstated. The album's intense energy, technical proficiency, and politically charged lyrics make it a significant release in the world of extreme music. While its sound may not be for everyone, it remains a testament to the band's uncompromising vision and their refusal to conform to musical norms.

In conclusion, Need to Control is a monumental album that solidifies Brutal Truth's status as pioneers of the grindcore genre. It is an uncompromising and relentless musical statement that pushes the boundaries of extreme music. If you are a fan of abrasive and uncompromising music, Need to Control is an essential listen that will leave you battered and exhilarated. Brace yourself for a sonic onslaught that will test your endurance and push the limits of your musical sensibilities.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Deeds of Flesh - Trading Pieces

Before the modern day studio effect pollution, this is how death metal albums used to sound like. Debut by now legends Deeds of Flesh came out as organic and as thick as they could make it, in about the middle of the best decade ever. 

All instruments sound perfectly organic, it's quite technical, the production is perfect and the drums are way above average. Simple and ugly lyrics throughout, and lot's of tempo changes as well as great guitar riffs.

Good first step for the band, especially after an equally juicy EP a year earlier, Gradually Melted. Trading Pieces can be there for all your death metal cravings. [4/5 - Excellent]

1. Carnivorous Ways
2. Born Then Torn Apart
3. Trading Pieces
4. Hunting Humans
5. Impious Offerings
6. Acid Troops
7. Deeds of Flesh
8. Erected on Stakes
9. Chunks in the Shower
10. Blasted
11. Outro

Autumn 1996, Repulse Records

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Bullet Ratings - May '23

Blood Ceremony - The Old Ways Remain [3.5/5 - Great] 
% good marks here

Cattle Decapitation - Terrasite [3.5/5 - Great] 
% better than Death Atlas, cringe still works in their favour somehow

Drain - Living Proof [2/5 - Bad] 
% is this what kids listen to today instead of thrash metal?

Grave Desecrator - Immundissime Spiritus [3/5 - Good] 
% fine as is

Hasard - Malivore [3.5/5 - Great]
% thick

Impetuous Ritual - Iniquitous Barbarik Synthesis [3/5 - Good]
% 15 years of what's going on

Krallice - Porous Resonant Abyss [3/5 - Good] 
% you'll probably enjoy this

Morkera - Aggravations [4/5 - Excellent] 
% sharp like a venom bite

Nefarious Vermin - Abolition of Tradition [2.5/5 - Average] 
% the definition of average

Sacrilegious Impalement - IV - Infinite Victor [2.5/5 - Average] 
% maybe this is fine, but it's all the same

Sunday, May 07, 2023

Absu - Tara

Arguably great album, as are their previous ones and with a kickass cover as well. It was the turning point before the band stopped its activities for a while, before coming back with their self-titled album in 2009 in a bigger label, Candelight Records. 

With Tara, I have the same problem I always have with Absu, their type of raging playstyle eventually becomes repetitive for me, and gets me tired.

A few tracks here are awesome, like for example "Pillars of Mercy", "From Ancient Times" and the longer one "Stone of Destiny", which features classic King Diamond worship screams.

Still, 52 minutes of this was too much for me. Definitely good, but I could live with half of it. [3/5]

1. Tara
2. Pillars of Mercy
3. A Shield with an Iron Face
4. Manannán
5. The Cognate House of Courtly Witches Lies West of County Meath
6. She Cries the Quiet Lake
7. Yrp Lluyddawc
8. From Ancient Times (Starless Skies Burn to Ash)
9. Four Crossed Wands (Spell 181)
10. Vorago (Spell 182)
11. Bron (Of the Waves)
12. Stone of Destiny (...for Magh Slecht and Ard Righ)
13. Tara (Recapitulation)

Spring 2001, Osmose Productions

Saturday, May 06, 2023

Covenant - In Times Before the Light

Covenant were wise to change their name into The Kovenant to separate the time they were unique and beautiful with the time they went completely off the rails. 

I can't believe they also went on to pick this fine piece of work and slaughter its soul in 2002 with that horrendous re-recording. 

Apart from that, one of the most amazing symphonic black metal albums from Norway and maybe generally, full of memorable tracks and great production exactly to fit its time and the perfect medieval cover. 

Possibly overlooked, it's one of the classics of the late 90's and there's a few more around there that you might have also missed. [4.5/5]

1. Towards the Crown of Nights
2. Dragonstorms
3. The Dark Conquest
4. From the Storm of Shadows
5. Night of the Blackwinds
6. The Chasm
7. Visions of a Lost Kingdom
8. Through the Eyes of the Raven
9. In Times Before the Light
10. Monarch of the Mighty Darkness

Monday, May 01, 2023

Top 5 Greek brutal death metal albums

I consider the Greek brutal death metal scene a relatively secluded little island with a few inhabitants, not really getting bigger or smaller, but still with its own identity and impact on the rest of the world. It’s not nearly as populated as, let’s say, black metal, but some of the bands within, active or not, have reached numerous of the bigger labels dedicated to the genre.

The first and more distinct work in this direction has been, in my opinion, Inveracity’s first demo Defeated Humans Raped in 2000. There were slight hints in the 90’s as well, but never amounted to a full length album, mostly demos like for example Disembowel’s Uncurable Wounds in 1995 (very fuzzy guitars, growls and general feel that reminded of early Suffocation) or the early attempts of Atavism, a goregrind project with heavy sample use and grooves in the likes of Mortician.

Things took real form when Inveracity’s debut full length album Circle of Perversion came out in 2003 through Unmatched Brutality Records (who also handled Brodequin and Cerebral Effusion at the time). At that point, there were some more bands already with mini-releases, like Vulnus, Extreme Violence and Fleshart. Notable is another full record one year earlier than Circle of Perversion, Evade’s Beyond the Logical Patterns of Thought. Not with the traditional brutal death metal topics or visuals, but still fitting if one considers the dusty production, a handful of familiar patterns and the record’s length of mere 17 minutes.

By now, the number of bands with releases during the last decade are enough to conclude that there actually is a brutal death metal scene in Greece. Below are the personal top 5 albums from a pool of around 40 that I am aware of, and hopefully will find out more in the future.

5. Cease of Breeding - Sounds of Disembowelment

2010, Amputated Vein Records

I don’t remember when and where, but it might be the case that I came across Cease of Breeding even before Inveracity, without even knowing there were Greek bands like that. Sounds of Disembowelment sounds exactly like what I expect from such a record. Knuckle-bleeding production, violent and ugly, it feels like watching classic horror on Valentine’s day.

4. Remnants of Flesh - Degenerated Human Cells

2009, Sevared Records

Unfortunately short-lived, Remnants of Flesh had a short EP out in 2007 but it’s this album that basically shows what the band is about. Quite heavy and fast-paced death metal with gory lyrics, some pig squeals and harsh enough sound. Members of the project have been involved also to a few names that will be dropped just below, and later.

3. Abnormal Inhumane - Consuming the Infinity

2016, New Standard Elite

They made their mark with their debut Disgusting Cruelty of Homicide in 2011, and the second album Consuming the Infinity showed how they had progressed. Top-notch musicianship all across, seriously brutal and exploring new lyrical themes of the universe and science fiction.

2. Birth of Depravity - The Coming of the Ineffable

2012, Inherited Suffering Records

Under this name, they have also released an incredibly good album in 2017 named From Obscure Domains, yet I still remember the blast I had the first time I discovered The Coming of the Ineffable 10 years, with the greatness starting from the stunning cover. The record’s serious highlight is also the vocals, and the excellent lyrics.

1. Inveracity - Extermination of Millions

2007, Unique Leader Records

My lists are always one album per band and that’s why Circle of Perversion is not at no. 2, but generally speaking, Inveracity has always been one league ahead in terms of brutal death metal in Greece. Exceptionally technical, excellent flow, extremely heavy, but almost even easy to listen to and with a lot of memorable tracks. Not only a landmark album, but a must mention when it comes to modern extreme metal from the country.

Some unmentioned releases that are also recommended:

  • Aceptic Goitre - The Purging (2017)
  • Blasted Pancreas - Pathogenic Organisms in Blood (2022)
  • Birth Through Gore - The Culmination Conquest (2015)
  • Embryectomy - Flamethrower Ecdysis (2020)
  • Extreme Violence - Ecstasy in Pain (2005)
  • Fleshart - Art Brut EP (2002)
  • Human Rejection - Decrepit to Insanity (2009)
  • Incineration - Blasphemous Theologies (2007)
  • Mortal Torment - Cleaver Redemption (2015)
  • Obscence - Screams of Agony EP (2001)
  • Obscene Evisceration - Despotism of Lust and Death EP (2019)