Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Aberration - 1994 Promo

When mediocre is truly mediocre you can just feel the indifferent monotony rolling out of your speakers like the passing of a Honda accord in a Wal-mart parking lot. While we all scour the depths of the past and present for that ever so elusive glorious forgotten relic, or lost demo or whatever it is that pressures us to continue our endless search, more often than not we are met with acceptable attempts more often than not. Aberration's 1994 Promo is not one of those. It also isn't a 1968 Pontiac GTO on the open highway. This five track demo is the epitome of a demo that flew under the radar for good reason - sheer blandness.

It's got a mediocre production, with a thumpy bass, rehearsal room tone drums, stock guitars and a vocalist that is there because the band needed to fill the void. I don't know what it is about tracks like "Something Wrong," or "Barbarian Summoning" that just strike me with the impact of a newly purchase pillow, but there is barely enough energy in this demo to warrant the reels spinning in the tape enclosure. It took more effort for a machine to manufacture the tape this demo was printed on then Aberration put into recording the demo. I can imagine the band in the studio, half asleep, possibly slowing down the tempo to the songs so that they wouldn't have to work as hard to play the parts. A song like "Sweet Suffering," aside from requiring a more interesting and less wimpy song title, would gain excitement ten-fold from a slight tempo adjustment of only a few beats per minute.

To the nitty gritty: the songs and such. The tape is in the style of generic US Death metal... the kind every town had in 1994 including the Polish hamlet this crew truly put on the map with their blistering product. The Introductory track trembles along... modestly... trying to be witty with tremelo riffs mixed in with standard eighth note chugging but instead, the song sounds like an embellished series of toss-away riffs. While nothing is particularly offensive, there is little to care about either. I'm not sure who exactly is singing on this demo... there is NO information on the thing. Whoever it is, they lay out a couple of decent Barney Greenway wails at points but majority of grunts - more like grumbles - are not worth the price of the tape. The guitar playing and bass playing is... nothing special. The drums are nothing special, lacking any real charm. The drummer tends to just follow the syncopation in the riffs, adding little rhythmic depth to the songs. At times the toms are buzzy and way too hot.

The lack of proper credits and information includes the lack of a cool demo cover with black and white sketched artwork of zombie penguins eating the goo-spewing-pustule-covered neighborhood children. I don't quite understand why there is a total LACK of effort in this regard. Surely they could have had someone attempt the album cover... anything would be better than the cover of that Mindland disc... I'm afraid to go by the listed lineup on websites because, with a lack of information on the demo itself... who knows where the information on the album came from on these sites. Overall, this is a total pass for anyone really. Unless you really have to own every death metal demo from the Polish town of Plock this is sure-fire demo no one really needs to hear. This review was way more effort than the thing deserves. Hopefully it saves some nomadic Metalhead time tracking this down in the end.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Beyond - Relentless Abomination Vortex Demo

While browsing the Dark Descent Records webshop during my purchase of the Timeghoul reissue (a necessary purchase for anyone who has a cursory interest in death metal) I happened to snatch up this demo from Germany's Beyond. Relentless Abomination Vortex is a dusty mix of death metal predominately influenced by the less technical Dutch artists such as Asphyx, the melodic twistedness of the Swedes, German thrash and sprinkled, rather dripping, with an arcane atmosphere. It would be hard to delineate this demo to any single influence as elements of death metal, thrash and even hints of doom are all available for consumption. This relatively new demo released in 2011, is just another example of the modern death metal genre's desire to return to the roots of the genre, get back to the ugliness and the slime-covered personalization that really was such a hallmark of the genre in the early 90's.

The songs are written by vocalist, guitarist Cadavarous Odour and are genuinely pretty fast and urgent, almost as if everyone else is trying to keep up with each other but definitely not sloppy. The tempo really dictates the energy on the demo. Cadavarous' vocals are somewhere between a bellow and a high growl, somewhere between a lion and a hyena, which I imagine to have a relatively high pitched barking. The second set of guitars is provided by Cenotaph and the classily named Vomitlord handles bass. Drums on the album were sessioned out to A.P, a nameless formless entity of unknown origin, probably just some kid from around the block who they strong armed into doing the drums. The drums are awesome though, maybe they should hire him as a full-time member. D-Beats and slower plodding riffs are abundant and the whole thing sounds like a faster version of Coffins.

Three tracks, Pointless Prayers, Whirlwinds of Chaotic Carnage and Appearance from Beyond are the contents of the demo. I thought that final track, Appearance from Beyond, was the highlight due to the mixture of tempos, the archaic sounding lead near the end of the track and the quickness of some of the d-beat drumming. Pointless Prayers starts out the demo with some typical ambient crap that leads into the track greater, which follows in the band's style appropriately and without fault. The track starts out with a thrashy riff but the song is mostly a death metal affair. The song is obsessed with reaping the benefits of the verse riff which deserves to be harvested. It's a simple four note evil thing that is particularly catchy. Second track is more obscure in it's construction but holds nicely as a second track. It's less gripping and memorable than Pointless Prayers or Appearance...

Overall, a cool demo, nothing to gawk about really but nothing to tear apart to shreds. It's a demo that would be better suited to a death metal fanatics collection for sure but I would wager that anyone into the more weird sounding side of metal would take a liking to the thing. The guitars have a strange, twangy and reverbed production that really sets them apart. Like they were recorded in a hospital surgical ward or in the empty recesses of an abandoned sewage treatment plant. It's a cool three song demo to pick up for fans of Coffins or possibly Autopsy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Maximum Oversatan Review #2

Reviews are starting pour in. Here's another one from the depraved mind of someone on the internet:

Witching Metal Webzine : Maximum Oversatan

"Do you like d-beats? Do you like Satan? Goats? Hell? Tits? Then MAXIMUM FUCKING OVERSATAN is for you!"

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Stench - Primitive, Vulgar and Armed

This one could have gone either way. I could have give Stench's Primitive, Vulgar and Armed the same kind of review that MSNBC would give to Rick Santorum's brain. My entire review would be a condemnation of something so idiotic and immature that only Anal Cunt fans and readers of The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds would be likely to find any of it either humorous or "badass." On the other hand, I could also go the exact opposite and give it the kind of coverage that Mark Levin would give Newt Gingrich should he be nominated the GOP presidential candidate. That review would read something like me explaining how for once someone found a way to inbue some subtle and misguided humor and parody into a demo without it coming across as tedious or weighted down. I would wager that the disc would get these sorts of reviews; no stars or five stars, 100% or -45%.

In reality I have no idea what I would rate this. Tracks like Quickdraw are the perfect blend of "what the hell was that?" and "what did he just say?" and then there are tracks like Troops of Obliteration which pass by unnoticed. The most memorable parts of the disc are clearly the lyrics. Take for instance two sets of lyrics from the aforementioned Quickdraw: "You can see your reflection in a toilet that won't flush," or the always imaginative: "He possesses hairy nuts and the devils own right hand." Elsewhere on the disc the imagery remains similar, with lyrics revolving around crushing things, killing people, raping, feces, more feces, and more killing stuff. The genius of the lyrics is that they are audible and clear. You can literally hear each line, more idiotic and demented than the one before it and presented with the bravado and indifference of a drunken hobo. This works really well in songs such as "Dark Moses," and the always philosophical final track, "Cunt Punt."

Musically, the album retains the riffing styles of sub-par thrash but performed relatively well compared to what you would expect from a trio of individuals that probably recorded this whole demo in the span of about 4 hours and rehearsed the whole thing in even less time. The drums are programmed across the album but I honestly never found them bothersome because, well, I rarely cared what they sounded like. I was too busy trying to put a picture to lyrics in the shortest song on the album, Intergalactic Barbarians. Imagining "Putrid like ass" individuals "flying their ships like Satan's Disease..." could almost be a thought exercise in some college psychology class. Across the album though, the band show some interesting musical styles, with Lingering Demon taking cues from ZZ Top and Steppenwolf and Quickdraw containing an intro with a decisively western feel. The band also utilizes some samples across the album, usually pretty humorously.

For most I could only imagine the listener trying to imagine the men behind this release: Al, Randy, Earl and someone called Uncle Jarek - probably a name included for craps and giggles and not an actual person. Unfortunately, I already know the men behind this project. And all I can say is that Stench is truly the perfect musical representation of main man Al's fecal obsessed drunken indecency. For me, the lyrics are more hilarious because they actually sound less like something dreamed up for a song and more like a conversation I had with the guy two weeks ago at the local bar. When Al proclaims that "Satan's gonna get ya, take his shit into your house and on fire set ya... Satan's gonna eat your dog, Satan's gonna hurl," I almost remember those words last time we hung out. In all honesty, it's pretty stupid but rarely have I heard something that was such an honest interpretation of someone's real life personality in music.

Most people will hate this and throw the disc in the garbage immediately after turning it on but someone who doesn't take metal too seriously will probably find some enjoyment in the lyrics and blatant outlandishness of the whole thing.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Maximum Oversatan Pins

Maximum Oversatan pins are available. $1.00 each or free with purchase of Maximum Oversatan tape. Less than 20 copies of tape are left so get them while you can.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Maximum Oversatan Review

Be sure to read the review of the Maximum Oversatan demo on the release's post here on Contaminated Tones or at the reviewer's site, the always busy and respectable Foul Feast of Flesh blog. Thanks again for the killer review!