Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dustbin of Demos: Vol II

With the advent of digital recording, CD burners, and now digital releases, putting out "an album" isn't significant like it used to be. Countless amateurs release overlong, underworked collections of music that are a vague approximation of a format they see as a measuring stick for success. While there are hardly any boundaries to the milestone of releasing an album, some self-aware bands still declare the same type of releases as demos, an acknowledgement that their craft is not perfected in its present form. Others release EPs, which range from short collections of good music to trumped-up demos. In this EPisode of the dustbin, we review some demos that are called EPs for whatever reason.

Life's Illusion - Art of Despair (EP)
Depressive black metal from Ukraine

Life's Illusion is a band that desparately tries to emulate the "depressive" sound that proliferated from the No Colours roster a decade ago, inspired by bands like Wigrid, Nyktalgia, and Sterbend. The result is a horrible mess of distorted, warbling wails over a couple simple guiter melodies noodled by a novice with a sea of out-of-the-box "atmospheric" synthesizers. Most of the time these vocals could even pass off as unintelligable screamo, but a hardcore-derived band would have the sense to not let a song drag on for 14 minutes. The slow-and-sloppy clean guitar parts and mediocre solo really frame that these morons thought there was some artistic merit to this rubbish. (Steve)

Thy Ordeal - Et Hoc Indicium Adversus Dei (EP)
Blackened death metal from Poland

A derivation of 2000s death metal, enabled by Vital Remains and Santolla-era Deidice, which plays death metal but seems not death-oriented, but focused on using death metal as a heavy frame for a guitarist's melodic lead ideas. An unaccomplished, but dedicated guitarist who has these really simple lead ideas that he has built these seven-minute songs of utterly negligible death metal around. Every song seems without purpose other than the guitarist exhibiting a few basic tricks, nothing seems to be tied together other than a couple stylistic emulations that ultimately trail off into loose ends. Ultimately, this sounds like a "guitarist-seeking-band" demo from ten years ago. (Steve)

Glaukom Synod - Covered in Semen and Slime EP
Industrial noise from France

Glaukom Synod hack through covers of Napalm Death, Led Zeppelin and Bolt Thrower in 16-bit glory on Covered in Semen and Slime. Though a few originals are thrown in, the real treasures here are experiencing selections of Death Metal's roots worshiped in an extraordinarily heavy, and crusty and unique manner. Led Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused" performed by the machinery of a bottling factory and conducted by an army of garbage trucks is cool but gets lost among covers of "World Eater" and "Scum." The harshness and repetitiveness of the samples used across these renditions is enough to cause uncontrollable bleeding in the ear-sockets. The covers are all discernible, all pristinely executed, and take the extremes of the originals and emphasize the dystopian vibes flowing forth from within.  Frank Klepacki would be excited to hear this and if you're a fan of his soundtracks but felt "Mud" or "Hell March" just wasn't quite minimalist enough, get in contact with Nihilistic Holocaust for a copy. (Orion_M)

Tester Gier - Speed Metal (EP)
Crossover/pizza thrash metal from Poland

Polish for "Game Tester", this is video game-themed rethrash. I don't know Polish, but based on the sound of it, it's probably also about pizza. This is an incoherent blur of recycled thrash riffs, shout-along hardcore punk, and some melodic Gothencore riffs. There's a spoken-vocal rapcore-like song too, dumbing things down to the level of E-Town Concrete. These are eight songs that go nowhere very quickly, just fragments of a particularly bad rethrash/metalcore hybrid. Recommended for fans of Lich King, headbands, and Pizza Hut. (Steve)

Tape-shaped artwork, cool!
It sorta breaks the formatting though,
and it doesn't even come on a real tape.
Not cool!
Hellraizer - Abominaciones (EP)
Brutal death metal from Nicaragua

This brutal death metal band trudges through chugging riffs with guttural growls over them and hardly anything to differentiate one point from another, besides some wretched screaming in the first track. The problem this band encounters is that their music is directionless: the songs emulate a style which builds up to the breaks in the music, but here, neither the music nor the breaks fit together. As a brutal death metal band, of course, the point of half of the songs is to set up to a breakdown derived from Suffocation's "Liege of Inveracity" but this band sort of bounces around throughout the music, with brief but pointless breakdowns and other ill-fitted intermissions. Most notably, this band has some breaks where one might expect a breakdown or slam, but instead they go into a hard rock/heavy metal-esque melodic lead break. The gruff production lends itself well to a 90s death metal aesthetic, and the band is technically competent, but the composition makes little of the elements haphazardly clobbered into the music. (Steve)

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