Monday, December 29, 2014

Dustbin of Demos: Vol V

Whatever happened to the death in death metal? The morbid fascinations that led speed and thrash metal bands to make more extreme music to accompany their dark tales, the illustrious exploration of morbid mythology, and the pummeling morbidity which pummeled itself to death in the early 90s, only to be replaced by increased technicality which led down the road to a foreign land. So many death metal bands seem to be going through the motions, imitating the methods of others without having something deeper driving the extremity of their music. Surely there is some death to be found in the least refined form of death metal: the demo.

Foul Entity - Putrid Despair
Death metal from Athens, Greece

Death metal with unapologetically unrefined production. Basks in slow, gloomy parts contrasted against a few fast ones. This has the morbidity of dirty demos from the late 80s, and the focus on simple dark riffs and melodies rather than imitating established styles of death metal riffing full-time gives it a nice vibe that's somewhat uncommon. While the style is interesting, the music itself isn't evocative so it can't make much of it. (Steve)

Bones - Demo 2013
Death metal from Antwerp, Belgium

Dirty death metal with that old demo vibe. In contrast to the previous band, Bones has integrated the air of morbidity into their music and production. They certainly know how to set the tone, but they don't quite distinguish key elements in the music. There are some transitions that feel deficiently abrupt, rather than gut-wrenching. The riffs are a chunky blend of most old DM styles. leaning mid-European. Still, the band is getting in the right mood for oldschool worship, and perhaps beginning to set their own path. Skip this demo and listen to their EP. (Steve)

Death Incarnate - Before Devastation
Death metal from Santiago, Chile

A sampler platter of death metal rooted somewhere between late-90s Cannibal Corpse and lightweight Swedeath that gets a bit too happy with the melodies half the time. It's pretty fast, but not thrashy - brutal trudgery that's going, but not going anywhere. Similar to what a lot of bands were getting to in the early 2000s where they had the grit of deathy production contrasted with a lot of melodies and a general lack of direction in the music. This almost always feels like they're emulating other bands. They've got a bit of conviction about going through the motions, but they're still going through the motions. (Steve)

The Skull (not that one) - Nuclear War
Speed/thrash/death metal from New Zealand/Canada/Australia

I like this band's style - punkish heavy/speed metal riffs with fast drumming that sounds like it's from 85-86 or so. It was short-lived as it evolved rather quickly, but bands like this certainly romanticize it. The problem is, this band doesn't have the dark convictions that push the music to be fast and extreme, it sounds pretty restrained and not at all wild. With power metal leads and vocals that lose all intensity after the first track, it ends up just sounding goofy. Silliness permeates the music and makes it feel more like pizza thrash than early death metal. (Steve)

Forgotten Tomb (not that one) - Death is Just Another Path
Death Metal from Valparaiso, Chile

A damp, old-sounding death metal recording which relies on a frantic juxtaposition of tremolo riffs and percussive power chords. Aside from the first riff repeating for two full minutes, this approximates old-timey death metal demos quite well. The methods are rather primitive, the vocals are a bit too loud, but in this rather concise form, it delivers a morbid aesthetic pretty well. That's clearly the only aesthetic sense this one-man band possesses, because this looks like a shitty DSBM demo with papyrus font. Yeah, papyrus font. I'd think the tape that looks like a Thai restaurant menu offer the sampler platter... (Steve)

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