Thursday, August 31, 2017

Meathook Seed - Embedded (1993)

   If industrial was mixed already with rock/metal music, why not try to mix that with death metal? Meathook Seed was a project by Mitch Harris from Napalm Death, and in two Obituary members (Donald Tardy and Trevor Peres) he found companions for his musical experiment.
   In general the death metal features couldn't be completely distinguished from ordinary metal features that could be found in industrial metal in general, but "Embedded" is far more guitar centric than other albums in this style. The repetitive themes aren't so simple either, and showing larger diversity. Since the drums aren't completely programmed either, the industrial influences are not only represented by the overweight of electronic music features, like in most similar projects. It's like they tried to approach things by the song structure first of all. The industrial influences are there only to amplify the basic metal themes, but as the album goes on, their role is increasing. The vocals are occasionly similar to hardcore shouting, but mostly they are artificially distorted. So by this approach: the difference between the unusual mix of these two quite distant genres and simple industrial metal based on diverstity both in themes and lyrics, and on a more balanced mixture of the two styles. And of course that leads to a heavier impression. While similar tryings are rarely successful and resulting something that's not really possible to enjoy, Meathook Seed succeeded and created something genuine. And interesting and unusual experiment for sure!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

16 Volt - Wisdom (1993)

   After it was proven in the '80s by projects like Skinny Puppy and Godflesh that electronic music could have a darker side too, from the early '90s industrial had a renaissance led by bands like Ministry and Nine Inch Nails.
   It was clear that this field still had untapped perspectives, there were plenty of different tones which were not shown yet. If 16 Volt might sound familiar by style even for those who never heard of them, that's because of their wide influence, though their name wasn't so known out of the industrial scene. They also mixed rock/metal music with industrial, but in a more chilling way. "Wisdom" had it's dark tone of course (it's probably their most melancholic album), common slow speed, cold sound, and mysterious whispering vocals are the main features of the album. It's typically early '90s music, but still includes strong '80s influences. That showes that it was a lingering development, mostly because not many bands tried to mix so different styles, and only a few of them had successful and effective results. Though 16 Volt is quite underrated, their music showed a new possible direction and became one of the classics of the industrial scene.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Buzzov•en - To a Frown (1993)

   On the side of Eyehategod, Buzzov•en should be mentioned as the most effective and exaggerated bands of the early sludge metal scene.
   Unlike others in this style, intensity had main role in Buzzov•en's music, instead of melancholic, demoralizing impression. Therefore doom metal influenced heavy riffings and sound is more like occasional. Hardcore punk and thrash metal had main influence on their music, which represents a different approach to this style opposed to the more common southern rock and doom origins. Of course the dirty, noisy sound is inevitable and gave the main tone to the lyrics based on inner strugges led by self-destruction, violence and hatred. So if the pulling off, demoralizing atmosphere isn't so strong in the music, the lyrical topics and their performance by the unfriendly wretched-cawing vocals are well supporting the antisocial tendencies. And making sure that those who desire violent musical entertainment will not be disappointed. "To a Frown" was the key for the band for wider attention and international success, and though it's a simpler and rawer album than their late ones, became an important sludge meral classic too.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Eyehategod - Take it as a Need for Pain (1993)

   Slow speed mixed with the intensity of punk music, heavy themes, very noisy sound, strong self-destructive impression and endlessly demoralizing feeling became the main features of a genre, which was well introduced by Eyehategod at the first time.
   Their debut, "In the Name of Suffering" was described that time as some raw punk/doom experiment, and even if the band counts now as sludge metal veterans, it wasn't a false designation at all. Similar ambitions were not unknown in the early '90s, but Eyehategod made it and put together in the most exaggerated way. "Take it as a Need for Pain" had better sound quality, and less doom influences, the raw power of noise and desperate rage was more in focus. And of course the provocative lyrical topics and disturbing visuals that are inevitabely attached. Though both albums are evergreen classics, the second one trasmits better the antisocial, self-destructive feeling that became the gave the main character of the band and the sludge metal style.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Tallow - Red Disc of Proximia (1993)

   There isn't much to know about Tallow, except that they had one full-lenght album that is often compared to the Melvins in style.
   "Red Disc of Proximia" could count as another alternative how sludge metal was built up, but from a bit different sources. Tallow's music lacks the punk influences and includes more from the style of the '70s and '80s hard/psychedelic rock. It's simple, harmonic features often appearing on the album, but the main view is still disharmonic in general. Unlike Melvins, they sound less noisy and assuming less undirect references to endless self-destruction. That also means that this short album isn't so raw either, but all-in-one it's still not an easy record. It starts heavily, with strong doom influences, but slowly the album turns into a calmer, more psychedelic direction. The simple themes they operated with are balancing on the borderline of genres, and this laconic, but still meaningful simplicity made their music so genuine. This barely known album certainly counts as a gem of the early '90s scene and belongs to it's  most interesting musical experiments.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Melvins - Houdini (1993)

   The Melvins were always famous about experimenting to play heavier music than it was usual in the styles their tried themselves into. Their music wasn't only heavy but very raw too, which couldn't fit between the borders of the current genres and they couldn't had many chance to apply to any popularity contests either.
   Their alternative, punk, doom and grunge influenced music might be hard to enjoy without psychedelic drug abuse, which might had important role in writing their songs too. Anyway the uprising grunge wave of the early '90s was symptahizing with that concept and had a fortunate effect on their popularity too. And luckily that time they released "Houdini", which is probably their most audience-friendly album. The heaviness of their music is not based on the slower themes only, but their sound was more distorted and unfriendlier too. These ambitions made them a significant influental band of the sludge metal genre. "Houdini" is not a remarkable album only because it shows a genuine way how to merge various genres to create antisocial music, but also shows by detailed features how sludge metal was born.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tool - Undertow (1993)

Although Tool is not widely considered a metal band as much as  they are alternative rock, they're obscure enough to hold reverence for those fans of extreme genres thanks to the members' odd stage presence and occult, obscure, and social structure examinations; only made clear when one takes the time to study their lyrical content; that extends beyond memorizing all of the lyrics to Ænima.

Undertow deserves a spot on the blog for being softer than what was actively considered metal at the time. After all, the album embodies everything metal was at the time, without the intense musical stimulation (they saved that for their visuals and lyrical impact): in it's 20's, angsty and nihilistic. I think Tool has done an irreplaceable job of creating this visual and musical entity that either 1) Completely creeps people out and gets the band banned from your local Walmart or 2) Intrigues the listener enough to want more. And as a metal head, what else compels us to continue down this "path of destruction" for more, faster, better, raunchier metal than the fact that there is mental intrigue? Tool has cornered the market with mental intrigue. Undertow contains classic songs such as Prison Sex and Sober. It's influenced a countless amount of bands and opened a strange door between the booming grunge scene of the early 90's and metal at the time. A complete embodiment of 90's in a unique and re-released album covered album, Undertow is a hidden gem in a complicated tree of what is metal. 

Brutality - Screams of Anguish (1993)

   Even though Brutality was founded when the Tampa Florida death metal scene was about to form, their debut came out when that scene was on it's top already, and by this timing, the band evolved into it's second wave.
   It was usual at Floridan death metal that all bands had their own features that made easy to distinguish them. Brutality had a raw and powerful style which could fit nowadays to the term "ordinary death metal". "Screams of Anguish" was in the middle way compared to the others. Slower themes, mid speed, and intense aggressiveness were same common, but a frequently returning exact lead guitar theme gave the main character to the music, which often bursting out in short noisy solos. If their music have to be cathegorized, it's somewhere between Morbid Angel and Deicide, but similarly to newer bands of the genre, they showed larger diversity and wider scale in themes. An underrated band for sure, but "Screams of Anguish" took place next to the biggest classics of Floridan death metal.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Disincarnate - Dreams of the Carrion Kind (1993)

   The second wave of the Floridan death metal scene also had some interesting surprises, though it wasn't so overwhelming and influental as the first wave was.
   Disincarnate was a project of James Murphy who was known by cooperating with Cancer, so the band already had a promising reference. "Dreams of the Carrion Kind" was not only a new waved album by name, but in style it was different too. It was musically more developed, complex and includes the features of the late technical ambitions of the genre. It is clear at first hearing. that it's not an experimental project of young, low experienced musicians. Excellent themes following each other on this neatly composed album. The change has already begun that time, but not many bands joined yet to seek a new path in this style. Just like in most genres, complexity is a finishing point, shows that the exact genre starts to get exhausted. It wasn't different in death metal either. Disincarnate's one and only full-lenght album showed wider diversity than it was usual, and it's very close to the style of modern death metal.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Banished - Deliver Me unto Pain (1993)

   Banished was the same project like Baphomet was, but under a new name after they noticed the appearence of a German band with the same name.
   Except their name nothing else changed, they kept playing their haltingly intense and badass music without change. The reason why they are worthy to mention again is that their music became more mature, and they reached the maximum that could be given in their style. A song from "The Dead Shall Inherit" was recorded again on this album, which shows a very direct basis for comparsion about their progression in sound. Already their previous album could be sorted to the best events of the death metal genre, but the top of their musical achievment was probably "Deliver Me Unto Pain". Time proved that the  name change had more unfortunate consequences than advantages. Not only because this album became less known, but as Baphomet they were noted by the main audience. Later after the disappearence of the German Baphomet, they returned to their older name.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Rottrevore - Iniquitous (1993)

   Who said that death metal can be only about gory, horror inspired topics, war and blasphemy? After Christian death metal the appearence of other alternative topics is everything but surprising.
   Rottrevore played excellent and high quality death metal, and "Iniquitous", their one and only full-lenght album is one of the noisiest and most brutal ones of the early '90s death metal scene. But the heavily distorted deep growlings are about everyday's problems. The way how people became the puppets of society, the helpless vicitms of political strategy. Horror in real life so to say, and there is certainly some analogy between fictional horror and everyday's struggles. Except the second is less spectacular, does not effect everyone drastically, and not anyone can sense it's destructive progress. So political and societal topics could fit the same way into extreme music, and the heavier musical background could give more seriousness to the main message than alternative rock or punk music for instance. But "Iniquitous" became an old school classic mainly because of it's musical parameters and heavy sound.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Morta Skuld - Dying Remains (1993)

    Even though Morta Skuld's name don't telling much to many people, they were one of the heaviest bands in the early '90s metal scene.
   Their music was like a different approach of the middle-slow speed bumping styled death metal on the path of Obituary and early Broken Hope. The difference was that they preferred more complex composition in their music, and sometimes almost technical style over groovy, catchier riffings. This haltingly marching impression made their music more effective and heavier, and gave another definition to brutality, that is strongly related to the toolbars of death/doom and groovy death bands. The dirty sound increased the effectiveness of their music, such as the short, but very awesome solo parts that created some contarst with the mostly simple themes. The interesting thing about the album is that though only simple and basic themes could be heard on it, their common changes giving the impression of complexity.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Morgue - Eroded Thoughts (1993)

   Morgue's one and only full-lenght album was one of the countless death metal products of the early '90s. And the band was one of the countless bands who shocked the youth and music junkies of those times with their exaggerated musickness.
   "Eroded Thoughts" inlcudes all important features that could be related to that age and the old school style why this genre could be liked. It's intense, aggressive, putrid and has the atmosphere and awesome feeling that couldn't be reproduced nowadays, and only hardly could be imitated. This elusive feature is hard to be repeated even by bands which keep playing since the early '90s. It's just a characteristic expression of that period, completely bonded to that age and it's main feeling, and as those times passed, the motivating influences were gone too. Fortunatately in the Morgue this unrepeateble act of self-expression was conserved, such as on plenty of other records too. "Eroded Thoughts" is a forgotten, but very awesome classic of the genre.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Pentacrostic - The Pain Tears (1992)

   "The Pain Tears" by Pentacrostic is a less known, but cultic masterpiece, straight from the depths of the infamous Brazilian underground scene.
    Unlike most extreme bands, not the intensity was their first priority, but the heaviness of their music. While plenty of others tried themselves in this direction already in the main scene, similar ambitions were new in South America that time. But Pentacrostic still completely fits into the local scene, cause their music includes features of more styles the same time, such as most South American bands. The most interesting thing is maybe to hear with how simple things they created their own genuine style. Dark atmosphere and the cawing vocal style giving an impression that could remind to black metal, but the main feeling is far heavier by the noisy sound, the excellent bass lines that could be well heard, and the slow/mid speed that's occasionly interrupted by intense hammering. This ominous and endlessly dark impression is truelly unmatched. The synchronizing of diversive effects, like speed changes, different style features, sound and atmosphere made "The Pain Tears" an exciting album that certainly pulls down the listener into the depths of the Netherworld.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Obscenity - Suffocated Truth (1992)

   It's always a big wonder why the most awesome bands - like Obscenity - are so badly underrated, even though their music would deserve a unique rating between to the best death metal bands ever. And they could change places with many of the "elite bands" of the genre.
   Obscenity used to be a brutal death band, but "Suffocated Truth", their first album was typically old school in style. Included the awesome feeling and all the features why old school death metal could be liked. It was intense, brutal, sick and full of aggression. The vocals are on the borderline of rageful and suffocating growling, gives the effective impression that the frontman screams his soul out. In themes the most awesome anthems of the genre could be heard and the noisy sound fits perfectly to the main feeling. They are probably the most remarkable band of the German extreme metal scene on the side of Morgoth. "Suffocated Truth" is a real and original death metal masterpiece, belongs to the top records of the genre.