Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dying Fetus, or How Frenzy Will Affect

Dying Fetus (U.S.): Reign Supreme    (Relapse)
It’s not clear how they make it sound so much fun. Let’s see what we can figure out.
“Invert the Idols” is the work of the Tazmanian Devil eating the microphone. This track sports a mosh superbreakdown. OK, roger that.
“Subjected to a Beating” offers bursts of blasting speed and midpaced superlow brutality. Check out the catchy riffing. Aight, we may be on to something.
“Second Skin” is open invitation to a circle pit, at the concert or right there in grandma’s basement. You gotta what you gotta do. Check out the quick melodic guitar semi-solo. They are teasing there, before continuing into the chaos.
“From Womb to Waste” is a lesson on how to do chugging guitar rock. Do some chugging, but do other licks with that. Blast in the right places. Inject a little technicality, for good measure. That’s the ticket.
“Dissidence” is track number 5. You gotta keep people’s attention still. How do you do it? Deliver good songs. Major chugging/breakdown moments here.  Got it, will-a-do.
“In the Trenches”: Look out! A thrashy riff but tuned down and incomprehensible growling. Then, speed it up, there’s a wee bit of thrash under all this guttural brutality, methinks. Nice!
“Devout Atrocity” has a bit of pinch harmonics, but not too much to avoid annoying. Oh, wait, I was wrong: here is the most breakdown, most chugging moment on the whole album, perhaps.
“Revisionist Past”: a melodic guitar intro, some positively catchy riffing. Do people realize how different this song is? Can I get a witness? The guitar work here is the best on the whole album. Maybe. It’s definitely memorable. Dying Fetus is no slouch! Air guitar time! Go!
“The Blood of Power” is the last song. Blasting, mosh moments, plus a very nice melodic guitar solo. That’s it, some 37 minutes. It’s over. Play it again.
Dying Fetus knows very well how to get people to mosh and how to make people try to do the low guttural growling. “I dare you not to growl along,” says the music.
Why fight it? You know they’re right.

My only gripe is the drums. I think they sound a bit too soft and too plastic. They could use a more solid punch, make it hit with power and strength. Overall, the album is too clean, I think. I would be curious to hear the grittier, stronger, nastier, dirtier sound. Would not be more brutal? Maybe take a page from their earlier albums and get more of the nasty back.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The legions of brutality, and the legions of stupidity and mediocrity

Brutally Deceased (Czech Republic): Dead Lovers’ Guide (Lavadome)
The quick, easy way to describe Brutally Deceased is: a younger, hungrier, rawer Dismember with well-placed bursts of ultra-high speed used for emphasis.
Traditional, classic Stockholm/Sunlight Studio from 1990-1991 is what really, really drives Brutally Deceased.
Example 1: “Blissful Desecration”: begins with a midpaced, total buzzsaw riff, slightly melodic in a raw way, then it speeds up and the superlow growling kicks in, as the song settles into a pace that alternates between uptempo and fast. The middle of this song has a quick guitar “solo,” a bass “solo” and a nice little drum “solo,” too. It then speeds up and ends. Done.
Example 2. “All That Rots and Withers”: The start is total death metal blasting low-growl brutality. Wunderbar! The middle part slows down to an uptempo, galloping speed. This is where you raise your fist and growl along. Don’t get too comfortable, here comes the blasting once again. And done.
¿Comprende? I think so! Oh, yup, they do a cover of Dismember’s “Override of the Overture.” This is less polished than the original because Brutally Deceased is rawer.

Cardiac Arrest (U.S.): Vortex of Violence  (Ibex Moon)   
Cardiac Arrest plays nothing but brutal death metal. The growling is low, and the blasting is constant.
Oh, well, what about the melodies?
What melodies, what you say?! The guitar work is meat and potatoes, direct chainsaw-sound guitar.
This band must hate all those trendy thrash bands, the emo/core bands, and the bands with breakdowns.
Here’s a clue. Suffocation. Lock Up. Bands like those. Mainly, fast and heavy. Lots of heaviness, and on a death metal mode of blast and growl and bang your head, now.
If you hate the brutal stuff, you best keep walking because Cardiac Arrest don’t like you very much and want you to go listen to whatever you like, as long as you stay away from them. Cardiac Arrest is just nasty stuff. Fun, too.

Fisthammer (U.S.): Devour All You See (Horror Pain Gore Death)
Part brutal, blasting death metal, part melodic/thrashy Fisthammer wants everybody moshing.
Not really a bad to stay within one particular, narrow style, Fisthammer appears to be brutal death metal, with other spices. The low, growled vocals and blasting certainly create a particular image.
Tell Fisthammer what you want!
They have it. Speed? Check. Blasts? Check. Fury? Check. Power ballads? Nope! Jazzy parts? No!
Alright, so, they don’t have everything, but they are a-ok. Now, if they could figure out how to do a jazzy power ballad of brutal, blasting death metal, then they would have everything in the world. C’mon, Fisthammer, you can do it!

Kraanium (Norway): Post Mortal Coital Fixation (Comatose)
This just has very little energy, or creativity or intensity, so it’s difficult to see where is the excitement.
Of course, this is exciting to the band themselves, and also maybe metallers who are new to the genre of midtempo/slow-ish “woof-woof, burp-burp…brootal” dog-barking metal.
                  The low-level of creativity and lack of energy really do destroy any possibilities for headbanging or even nodding along.
                  Investigate if you like slow/midtempo, very basic, repetitive burp “brootal” music that has extremely low-IQ horror/gore lyrics.
Sexcrement (U.S.): Sloppy Seconds   (Comatose)
This type of chugging guitar—all the songs sound like “chug-chugga-chugga-chug” and repeat—lacks imagination.
  This is supposed to be heavy and brutal, but it’s not possible to be heavy if the music has no intensity in the playing. Doing play-on/chugga-chugga repetitive guitar riffs offers little in the way of interesting things to the listener looking for frenzied energy, aggression, power, anger, creativity or just a good amount of musical talent.
Deadly Remains (U.S.): Severing Humanity  (Deepsend)   
Chugga-chugga death metal and blast and groove. 
They depend a lot on the play-on riff: the chugging guitar riff that seeks to make the audience mosh. They want the listener to stand up, and mosh.
The growling thrives on the low-muttered completely woof-woof.
Deadly Remains objectives are basic. So the music sounds basic.
The guitar sound is particularly annoying because it comes from the Zakk Wilde school of playing: at every moment the guitar makes a high-pitched irritating sound. Pinch harmonics is one of the most annoying things in guitar playing, but especially when it becomes “the thing” about the songs.
Play a real riff. Do a solo. Anything else that would involve creativity.
Pinch harmonics is the equivalent of that annoying kid who thinks that nails on a chalkboards is a fun sound.
It’s only fun to you because you are making it.
The rest of us want to kill you.
Final verdict: good energy, nice blasting, loving the intensity. Now Deadly Remains only has to stop their guitar player from being so annoying. Stop! Stop! Just play a riff, man!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Deadborn (Germany); Desultor (Sweden)

Deadborn (Germany): Mayhem Maniac Machine (Apostasy)
Deadborn relies on speed—fast riffs and fast drumming—to get their point across: loud and fast death metal.
Deadborn’s reliance on speed, of course, will be perfect for those that prefer no-nonsense death metal. If you want your music not messing around, then Deadborn knows your name. The songs are between 2 and 5 minutes, on average: very little fat, all muscle.

 As such, for this very reason, Deadborn is quick to get the job done and be gone. Once the cd stops, the speed and fury will remain in your head, for sure.
Where Deadborn will need to improve is the guitar work. The blasting tends to obscure the fact that the guitar work, while competent, could use more outstanding riffs. For that reason, Deadborn will rock you, but they will not yet really make its presence felt once the music stops, besides the speed.
Most of all, Deadborn sound eager to get in front a group of human beings that want to hear some loud music! They believe in not wasting people’s time with wankery, bass and keyboard solos and long songs. So, in that sense, this is from the Motorhead-Tankard-Overkill-Destruction-Cannibal Corpse school of metal: the goal is to thrash the audience, nothing super complex nor dazzling, just a lot intensity. Deadborn’s music is closer to blasting death metal than any other category, so the energy level is high throughout.
Desultor (Sweden): Masters of Hate (Abyss Records) I was listening to the second song called “Another World” and I thought, “Nevermore with blastbeats.”
Of course, that’s totally not true. Maybe “extreme metal with traditional/high vocals” would be more accurate. After all, Nevermore’s guitar work doesn’t really sound this thrashy and the drumming is not this fast, so and so forth.
Desultor, as a musical idea, probably sounds strange to some people: Thrashy/speedy guitar work, with some definite death metal leanings (so, basically, heavy stuff); fast/blasting drum work, but with clean vocals.
Really, clean vocals? Can that work? Well, it’s certainly different from the speed combined with some talentless jerk “vocalist”, just hollering and screaming.
So, on this album, with all the speed and thrashiness and death metal speed, at no time is there some talentless hack cupping the microphone and eating it like a turkey sandwich and just burping into the mic and claiming he is doing “vocals”??
No!! There is not!! There is no one barking like a dog on this album, and no one growling about zombies and horror movies. Oh, yup, I almost forgot to mention the songs. Yes, Desultor keeps it fast, blasting, thrashy/deathy and it is easy remember it all because of the clean vocals.
“Nevermore” with blasting speed is not the best description, but if you are curious, that should at least sound like a proposition to look into.
Yes, I know, this doesn’t actually sound like Nevermore. That’s because this is not Nevermore. This is Desultor. A different band. See how that works?