Tuesday, August 6, 2019

MASS BURIAL - Gangrene Hymns (2013)


When Music and Medicine Collide: At War with Anaerobes

In our modern times it is impossible to follow and then listen carefully to all the metal bands emerging from far and near. What's more, it is impossible to follow all the stuff with Swedish death metal flyer. Well, I came across Mass Burial when got their second full-length somewhere in 2018, and decided to buy this Ep without a flick. Released under the banner of Polish label Wydawnictwo Muzyczne Psycho, it strikes the sight organ with absolutely neat bicolor front-cover done by Juanjo Castellano. Musically, Mass Burial doesn't try to walk away from mentioned earlier old-school genre, even for a while (but yes, there is one surprise). With the very first seconds of „Beaten, Chopped and Eaten by the Porks” I face the storm of well-known stuff. Neither experiments nor unecessary quirks, just a pure tribute to the music I have been worshipping since first „Left Hand Path” / „Clandestine” meeting. During this gangrene madness, the Spaniards head to Dismember heritage mainly. And I have an impression that they mixed their two albums: „Death Metal” and „Hate Campaign”, however the structures are made of more rampant rhythms. The Spaniards boldly use it in each song, mentioned beginning of the track is the best example, here supported by furious leading guitar and absolutely memorable riffs. Then, add to the whole the guitar tone that no one can miss and the proper dosage of melody, and the formula for good old-school shit is just ready.

I wrote 'bout the speed. The same goes with catchiness. Deftly they dose such moments, not only as rhythm guitar is mentioned, but also when it refers to the leads, just take a listen to the ending part of „Unit 731” or two leads in the opener. And when ten minutes pass, „Persecution Mania” finishes the menu. Yes, you're not wrong, this is the Sodom cover. It has been played the decent way and nothing more than that, yet I'm still asking myself what this song is doing here? For sure it doesn't fit here, it ruins a bit the final impression, but if the cover song is needed as air to breathe, I'd like to hear any Dismember piece for the end of the title.

„Gangrene Hymns” seems to be kinda pass for a bigger label. The next second album has been released by Spanish Pathologically Explicit Recordings with two songs taken from the Ep, „Unit 731” and „Gangrene”. I truly do not know if it helped in any way, as the scene nowadays is overcrowded by such bands as Mass Burial, however if only good music really counts, these ten minutes of Swedish insanity are worthy of some careful spins as I do from time to time. Anyway, the band is still active, all the members are pretty active in many various bands, so the metal blood is warm incessantly. With no time for the rest, 2019 brings another title for their discography, the tilte I should check out sooner or later. Thus, let the gangrene flows through the veins of the dead. Or... something like that.


70/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written during July and August, 2019)

Sunday, June 30, 2019

HAEMORRHAGE - Obnoxious (2014)


The Obnoxious Files: Anatomizing the Past

Primarily released as a part of double vinyl split with Christ Denied in February, 1995, it has finally landed on my (operating) table in the month of April, 2019. Unfortunately it isn't the old version, I've got cd re-issue made by Mexican Diablos Recs in gatefold cardboard and finally disgorged in 2017, which is yet another „Obnoxious” title as Power It Up label gave it a vinyl life once again in April, 2014. What's more, the track order has been put on „Haematology” compilation from 2007 with all the content remastered at VRS Studios. It's not the end with sound play, it has been remastered for the newest releasing at the House of Grind once more with two bonus songs added. As Luisma once commented, it has been released as an advance for the upcoming debut album under the banner of Morbid Records. Each „Obnoxious” track had its place on „Emetic Cult”. Then, front cover from mentioned „Haematology” compilation was supposed to be the artwork for the split, yet nobody knows why it didn't happen. As compared to the first edition, 2014 has a bit different cover. Obnoxious title disappear from the right side and appeared down below with no eyeballs and written in capitals. Such a change.

All right, let's leave this historical overview. I perfectly know all the songs and there's no any surprise for me. That's true, „Reek of Putrefaction” and „Symphony of Sickness” albums were absolutely known for the Spaniards and if the general impression has got a lot of common things with the Liverpool gorefathers, however I would lie claiming „Obnoxious” is a piece of brainless copy. No, absolutely no. The idea is to keep it simple, brutally honest, and with overwhelming pathological touch. What's interesting, the music is served in rather slow or moderate paces, even meteoric shots like „Cadaveric Metamorphose” with some headbanging rhythms or „Anatomized” has got a room for breather. Those slowdowns really smash the organs especially on the beginning of „Expectorating Pulmonary Mucupurulence” and on the end of „Fermented Post-Mortem Disgorgement”. Such a skillful dosing of different tempo when the blasting speed isn't a key factor, makes this release very absorbing since the first seconds of „Nekromantik” prelude, and putting it a bit laconic, Haemorrhage just managed to create sick atmosphere. For sure, a round of applause to the realization of sound with new remastering, definitely it helps here, especially rhythm section lines has its place in the morgue. I don't care if „Emetic Cult” contains the whole of „Obnoxious”, for me as a kinda psycho fan of the band since the ages, this issue is a real pathomusical banquet: seven gore tools in twenty-two and a half minutes, being extremely good start on their medical crusade. Summing it in one sentence: it's an uncontrollable proliferation of goregrind. Lusciously!

85/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written in June, 2019)

Saturday, June 22, 2019

SAVIOR - Podział (2019)

The Salvific Convention

After two years since the first debut Ep has been thrown to the underground, Savior strikes back and tries to save some souls with its visions of metal. For starters, it's a good piece of news that beside digital versions, there's a physical format released simultaneously, given in a rather modest form with lyrics, wrong track order and grim band's photography. Yep, that's right, joke is over now, as Savior simply got matured in every aspect as compared to the previous „Panów pan”. First of all, still keeping sound realization in the underground frames, they got it more organic, maybe at the cost of first Ep rawness a bit, yet the result is pretty satisfying, especially when it comes to drums. Secondly, the first words alert it won't be a nice excursion. That's true, two years of rehearsals, gigs and countless drops of sweat should be a drayhorse to reach any progress and the opening song called „Ty” confirms this natural way of development. And if „Ciemne ludy” had some broken rhythms, here I have a real feast of tunes in the vein of Artillery, being fantastic mix of „Cybermind” and „Khomaniac”: catchy riffs, not easy for headbanging arythmic driven paces, gentle guitar passage in the middle and agonizing Jordan's vocals. One shot, one kill and one wonder at the same time... Only two and a half minutes run extremely fast, leaving me with an 'I want fuckin' more such a mutilation, guys' impression...

The Ep contains of three songs clocking in twelve minutes, and it's a clever measure. Each track has something different to offer and so is the next „Obywatel”. Preceded by horror-movie introduction... wait, wait, no, I need to hold my horses, too much goregrind stuff lately. All right, once again: preceded by short talk about the main colours in Polish society, it becomes a song with less thrashing vibes and more clean Jordan vocals, based on fast memorable theme, with changing tempo and furious lead. But the best is yet to come. I mean, the closing and the longest one is a kind of twist ending for sure, being an obvious evidence the band doesn't want to be a slave of any limits or constraints. Despite Vektorish-like portions of riffs, Savior tries to sneak out the thrashing formula, providing both calmer acoustic sounds with melodic chanting and all-consuming drum cannonades that hook death metal domain. And in contrast to this controlled sonic speedy disruption, the second part seems to be a couch potato: very, very slow pace dominates and when it doesn't want to go fast, Jordan changes his voice to more guttural. Yes, these slowdowns in the vein of Dying Fetus or Ingested really smash all the organs without any mercy! That is completely unexpected, yet it sounds absolutely perfect to me. Believe me, I listened to many thrash slabs for years and such a method of sonic execution is given for the first time in the genre, I guess. What's more, „Nam B(Jaro)sław” has a chorus no one can miss. Simply, a highlight!

In a deep sorrow I must avow I missed their last gig this June during the next editon of „The Massacre of the Innocents”, as my son didn't share my enthusiasm and preferred to slaughter me during FIFA 19 game to listen to any metal noise. You know, priorities. Anyway, it's not a challenging task to summarize „Podział”. I am very pleased with the final effort, even if the short adjective aspires to be one of the most important word on the board. Well, as mentioned above, there is a progress, vision and off the chain youth. The holy trinity that will lead them to a full-length, I hope. I'd like to write all the doors are open for them... but unfortunately I have to quote Tadeusz Sznuk 'not exactly' right now, as due to the whole lyrical content, Savior won't be invited on PiS convention, however I've got a strange feeling the band will handle the issue.

80/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written in June, 2019, in searing heat)


Sunday, June 16, 2019

NASTY SURGEONS - Exhumation Requiem (2017)

At Surgical Cafeteria: Human Flesh Is Also Food

Writing that Spanish death metal scene is really interesting these days seems to be a cheap slogan. There are many bands worthy of note and Nasty Surgeons are one of them beyond a shadow of a doubt. Directed by Raúl Weawer, it has been created to bring more brutal and rotting sounds after twenty years of activity in his previous melo-death Mistweaver. This, in turn, led Burgos surgeons to exhuming the old death-gore-grind flesh. With no tape demo or even digital single, they signed a deal with Xtreem Music and „Exhumation Requiem” saw the light of January day in 2017. But I didn't buy it because they are from Spain. No, it was great Juanjo Castellano's front cover, the first thing that got my attention in the case.

The opening song „The Resurrectionists” is on the table and everything is clear for me. After ominous introduction, Spaniards strikes with sounds that defines its style without any problem. Yep, I know, Carcass was on the beginning of the road, yet the Surgeons are another killing offshoot. Two various kind of vocals, varied pace, a dose of catchy melodies with leads (the latter reminds me of Entombed's debut, superb!) and razor-sharp riffs slicing the tissues. To simplify the thing, there are many musical and lyrics influences from gods like Haemorrhage or Exhumed, yet the final conclusion is they are rather a bit slower. It means the band is definitely more death than grind, but still gore.

As I read in some interview, the music has been created in one month. Not sure if something like this can determine the sounds to be good, but „Exhumation Requiem” is an example that such kind of realization works here really fine. All is fresh, without calculation, yet splendidly kept in the genre frames. Even if the front-cover may mislead a bit, the lyrical content is mostly related to surgeries. As for production, both studios Undead and Sinergia gave it a proper vibe for the old-school, I mean, it's neither old-fashioned, nor too modern, it sounds just great especially bass line got the room. Then there is a space for short opening introductions (in four tracks to be more precise) that don't disturb at all, with the best one in „Nasty Surgeons” song: after gentle speech which seems to be kinda surgical credo (and later all the lyrics for the track), nice relaxing and idyllic-like melody is given to the audience to become one of the best medical tool on the album immediately afterwards. There is no filler track, each song has something interesting to offer, no matter if it is really solid and bone-crushing portions of riff cascade in „Human Flesh Is Also Food” and „Autopsy's Protocol” or mostly slow mincing paces in „The Creation of the Monstrosity” and „Devoured Alive”. For sure I have to mention all guitar leads, they're very interesting, compelling, perfectly fit to the sick structure and simply make this album better. Just take a notice on „Burnt with Sulfuric Acid” with two fantastic lead explosions, the first lead in mentioned „Autopsy's Protocol” or total leading madness in the ending title track that opened by the theme based on Chopin's Funeral March.

This promising band offers good music level in all forty minutes. Even if inspirations are quite obvious for them, the performance is more than decent with every aspect of the release, not ignoring memorable song titles and lyrics as well. But... wait, there is only one moment that made me a bit wonder: pretty strange guitar work in „Antemortem Dissection” lasting a dozen seconds (2:02 – 2:26) that suits better for groove or metalcore style, I think. Anyway, while writing these words, the new album has been ready since July, 2018, oozing its infectious stench and invading the underground air. It seems there's no time to rest for nasty surgeons... so, let the operation begin!

90/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written in June, 2019)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

RAVENOUS DEATH - Chapters of an Evil Transition (2019)

Evil Transition: Awakening of the Damned Ones

The main reason I purchased this album was Ravenous Death's previous „Ominous Deathcult” Ep, really noteworthy piece of rotting death metal. I was just curious if this debut shot wasn't an one-night stand as all the members are involved in other different bands or projects. Luckily, the Mexicans went malapertly ahead and recorded those chapters, this time under the banner of Memento Mori bigger label, so the better production isn't just a sheer coincidence, I guess. Then, the next change appeared in the line-up as Miguel Angel left the band for serious healthy reasons (however he wrote music for three tracks) and Victor Mercado entered as a new leading vocalist. So, the scene has been infected in January this year, with ten completely new songs in the vein of... Yes, that's right, in the vein of pure death metal. And you know what? With the very first seconds of opening „Prelude to Evilness” I can see the goosebumps forming on my skin: this is slow introduction, mysterious and dark, with fantastic main riffing and ominous noises in the background. Having no time for a rest, „Doomed to Exist” strikes with full force and there is no any moment of surprise...

Well, the first meeting with the album was a little bit misdefining. I mean, not about the genre of course, but I got the impression that Esteban and his drums ordnance ruled the space. Next listens assured me it wasn't an incessant drum blast. What's more, the musicians avoided the boredom and monotony bringing just good and diversified portions of music within aforementioned style where inventing a wheel once again is absolutely redundant. My first connotations headed for two Vader's albums „The Ultimate Incantation” and „De Profundis” if the guitar and drum work is concerned and for old Demigod if I would like to underline some slower parts and its eerie melodies. Such a mixture supported by Mexican hot passionate blood and metal dedication results just a good old-school slab.

Yes, to mutilate the senses is the main purpose. And if the speed is the key in a way, there are a lot of memorable slowdowns. I still remember such tunes from „Rotten Flesh Murderer” and here I can easily indicate another ones in „Evil Dementia” (with pure Finnish scene worship), „Awakening of the Damned” starting at 1:23 which is quintessence of the style or the beginning of „The Sinister Being” with fantastic melody at 2:23. In turn, „Massacre Cult”, definitely written in the vein of Remains (but it's not a surprise as it was composed by Miguel himself) is an interesting collage of catchy leads and enraged destructive paces. I know I wrote about style purity, yet two more tracks should be mentioned right now. They are a bit different, „Initiation Ritual” has distinct yet short sounds familiar to melodic black metal (Dissection, Sacramentum), the closing track „Soul Consumed by the Occult” (mere fact, the last song from their Ep has word 'occult' in the title as well...) distinguishes itself from the rest by killing guitar parts with strong Spanish Ataraxy touch, being an exquisite closing song for the end.

This album is nothing but the evidence. The evidence that one may create gripping stuff using once invented and recorded things. Old-school is the spinal column throughout, the Mexicans were able to add the rest, boldly, precisely and at last successfully. All the pieces of the puzzle fit together, from scary and no hope giving front cover to rather not typical for such a genre Victor's gutturals, from ominous atmosphere to each single hard hitting ravenous riff. The sounds skelter along ruining the serenity without any mercy revealing something new to adore with every next meeting. And I tell you, as compared to the previous Ep, the transition has been done. Now, the band is a beast, ready to inscribe another death metal chapters. I wait.

88/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written in April, 2019)

Sunday, February 17, 2019

HAEMORRHAGE / DISGORGE - Morgue Metal (2011)

The Mortuariumfilled Highlights

Such a split release was just a matter of time, I guess. Two highly respected bands, the true connoisseurs of human anatomy and diligent students of pathophysiology lectures united the forces to vomit musical entrails into absorbent layers of the underground. And believe me, these 22 minutes are anything but just a gore grind knockout. Three opening tracks shown by the Spaniards have been extracted in VRS Studio (like their „Apology for Pathology” and „Hospital Carnage” albums), so the sound is satisfying, very similar to the split with Dead. Musically I didn't expect any surprises, what's more, the first one „Buried in Viscera” delivers everything Haemorrhage is loved for: being one of the longest piece in their discography clocking in almost four minutes with slow, fast and absurdly fast paces, catchy riffs, obnoxious vocals, long guitar lead (all right, it's not obvious for them), mortuary-like atmosphere. Yeah, it's perfect for me. The second „Chainsaw Necrotomy” known from aforementioned split with Dead hasn't got an introduction, in turn „Reamputated” lasting one and a half minute fits into the pattern of merciless short gore choppings, such popular in Haemorrhage family.

Disgorge part is really worth a damn, as it is their last created stuff so far. And bringing some dates on the operating table: recorded at Inzonic studio in 2009 during two days and released as „Morgue Metal” two years later. The count is easy: eight years have passed and nothing indicates I will see new album this year (or ever???). Ok, first of all, I don't agree with some opinions the realization of sound ruined this Mexican side. For sure it differs from „Gore Blessed to the Worms” (same studio, same engineer) which has more human, but still deformed, face. This time, the sound is focused on extreme rawness and harshness and shrithes to the well-known Swedish dimension sometimes. Musically each song has something interesting to offer, providing very energetic and severe portions of sonic lunacy. Yep, there are pace changes through the whole, there are diverse Edgar vocals that prove he's not worse than Antimo himself. The four tracks flow with sickness and inconceivable putridity cumulating in closing „Corpus in Pest”. Its ending slow mesmerizing part, similar to „Pest.Blood.Metal” fragment from last album, just left me speechless making this track one of the best in Disgorge's anatomic crusade. Such catchy rhythm one may find in „And the Pus Goes On”, just like obscenely slow beginning of „Putrefest”. For sure, there is no space for jokes, everything is dead serious, still with gentle touch of „Symphonies of Sickness”, but mainly with its own ideas and corporeal morbus charm. And it's pity these thirteen minutes are the last bricks for the goregrind morgue, but I return to it very, very often. That's right, „Morgue Metal” as another kind of metal fascinates me hugely, being one of the best splits in my collections... But wait, didn't you hear, the doorway has just been closed... It's morgue time!

90/100
-Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written in February, 2019)