Saturday, October 28, 2017

LET THEM HANG - Human Macabre Icon (2015)

The Sky Is Dying over Gothenburg Habitations

Getting any tapes from Till You Fukkin Bleed label is like a time machine teleporting me to the first half of the nineties, still with glow on my cheeks, trembling hands and shuffling legs, nothing has been changed through all these years. All right, let’s see at the item shown to the world few months ago: modestly and neatly released with printed lyrics and band’s photography. What do I need more? Of course, the only thing that counts is music, doesn’t it? Right, and I tell you that my first meeting with this Swedish trio is a really good sonic journey. Yes, their location is Gothenburg, but do not be misled, as „Human Macabre Icon” is another… instrument that turns time successfully back, though it is definitely more precise taking me to the 1993 year when a certain band called Entombed released its third album called „Wolverine Blues”. And this last (so far) stuff of Let Them Hang I would place somewhere in time when the final seconds of „Out of Hand” reverberate.

This Swedish characteristic sound which comes out of the tape is like an air to breathe: I need to it to live. Yep, I got addicted maaaany years ago and there’s no matter if the underground / mainstream is overcrowded by such bands. There’s no matter as long as I’m able to discover another killing bands like Let Them Hang. Comparing to the sound realization of „Wolverine Blues”, the band didn’t decide to turn up the bass lines so much. Anyway, the persons of Isak Edh and Anders Lagerfors did a good job providing absolutely macabre sound, especially when played at maximum volume. The rest? I cannot be wrong. Three tracks, ten minutes, Swedish death included. For sure the band doesn’t expose melodic parts like in „Hollowman”, „Heavens Die” or mentioned „Out of Hand”. No, they put special emphasis on general direct moving rhythms and grooving intensity. And it’s hard to choose the best one as they stick to mind at once, but maybe the final song with two kind of vocals? Just take a listen on slowdown appearing at 2:00. Yep, I can feel like crawling in entrails, guys. Add not so fast neck-breaking pace, catchy portions of riffs and recipe for a gig firecracker is ready. It’s not possible to stay fixedly.

If the second song in the family is the fastest yet with some doomy parts, „Network in Blood” has really strange (but I’m not saying it sucks) slowing down, influenced by any doomy / sludge crew I guess. And summing it, those tracks mean they do not want to invent anything as everything has been invented in this kind of music. But! If the band doesn’t want to be forgotten, the essence is to find own place in the nowadays infinite similarity flood and the trio definitely did their duty. Band’s bandcamp declaration predicates that the music should be fun, loud, intense and made by and for fans. Believe me, all is correct for these mad Swedes and I buy it in such a form: simple, hard-hitting and bloodboiling. So guys, it’s a good time for a full-length, especially when „Human Macabre Icon” saw the rotten light of day in August, 2015. I only do hope they will try to keep it as it has been sereved here, not trying to jump into „To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth” ooze. It wouldn’t be nice. 


(written in October, 2017)

Friday, October 20, 2017

SEPULTURA - Arise (1991)

In Desperate Cry: Sepulchring the Thrashing Flesh

To find any proper words to describe the fourth album of Sepultura, let’s face a couple of facts of numerical data that concerned the band and its activity at the time: 40000 dollars recording budget from their label and first Sepultura’s studio recording outside their homeland, many enthusiastic reviews in most popular magazines, the longest tour (1991-92) supporting „Arise” visiting 220 shows in 39 countries, entering the Billboard charts, platinum sales worldwide and finally gaining the same (or even bigger?) reputation and respect as Metallica and Slayer. Those facts are irrefutable indeed, the album became a finest hour of the band in fans opinions…

But what is the truth from my point of view after all these years when it was firstly bought on unofficial tape now completely broken, then on licenced one still working till today and finally on golden disc? To put it briefly, „Arise” is just a swansong of the band once named death and thrashing beast. If I hear the band’s name, only first four full-lenghts are on my thrashing altar, there’s no any other recording I have worshipped since those years. Along with releasing „Chaos A. D.” in 1993 I lost my faith in their creativity to this very day unfortunately. Starting from the devilish debut to the absolute magnum opus „Beneath the Remains”, the band managed to develop itself on musical side and general metal visions, providing better and better albums. What’s more, their third recording is the best Brazil can offer to the metal world so far and one of the most exciting stuff ever recorded. „Arise”, published two years later, had to face the great predecessor. It didn’t change anything, yet the second place became a fact.

While glancing at the Whelan’s fine front-cover, one thing is really hard to understand: lack of the old classic logo. Then, putting the album’s name on the right side, I have an impression of disturbing assymetry. As for the method of production, Andreas Kisser said it was simply better, for sure the drums are a bit clearer, but all in all, „Arise” didn’t outdo the mighty rawness and underground dimension of „Beneath the Remains”. Of course it’s not a fault, as long as it sounds still devastating. And when I take a listen to the first two songs, I could say that this killing power of the predecessor continues due to the title track based on simple yet absolutely catchy riffs and „Dead Embryonic Cells”, a bit slower with outstanding slow-down and being just a metal highlight of all times. And if I have to complete „Beneath the Remains” track order, „Subtraction” should be immediately added there too: changing rhythms, stunning leads, a total madness. It’s worthy also to compare the closing „Infected Voice” to „Primitive Future”, as the musicians once again ended the album with extremely fast crushing tune. This is the way how it works, however arising ending is a bit weaker as compared to beneath-the-remains final.

It is impossible to omit new elements in here. Leftmost, „Desperate Cry” not only with disturbing starting acoustic parts (sometimes I find it taken from some fraightening fairy-tale), but hardcore-like riffs and strong industrial additions appearing at 4:45. What else, „Altered State” that is opened by tribal drums and full of grooving and hardcore-ish rhythms, kept in mid-paced manner. The track is a forerunner of the things to be on the next album(s). And definitely I cannot call it a thrashing piece in full.  

These ‘something new’ offers are a modest supplement, which I entirely accepted (with some keyboard and industrial opening parts as well, just like vocal experiments in „Under Siege (Regnum Irae)). While asked if „Arise” works as a whole, I answer without any hesitation: yes, it surely does. Nothing has been changed since the year one. The musicians, carried by „Beneath the Remains” thrashing havoc, deliver just a great album, from beginning to the very end, and show their skills in riffs, leads, furious rhythm section and enraged Max vocals. As always, the final mark is the result of the whole and songs „Murder” and „Meaningless Movements” (next to „Altered State”, after all) are determining factor to low it a bit down. Not bad at all, but comparing to the masterly rest, just weaker ones. My cd remastered version from 1997 with expanded booklet is enhanced with four tracks: Motörhead cover „Orgasmatron” (one of the most classic covers played by Sepultura, as Max explained), „Desperate Cry” in original Scott Burns mix, „Intro” that was used for their live shows and the most important „C.I.U. (Criminals in Uniform)”, recorded during „Arise” session, yet never completed vocally. Resurrected from oblivion, it simply kicks my thrashing ass! This way, the album clocks in almost an hour of  real musical pleasure…

…preceding „Chaos A. D.”, a real meaningless movement for the band. But this is completely different story.  


(written during September and October, 2017)