Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Mortal Slaughter - Lepers (1993)

   If only one album should be chosen as the very best record of the early '90s Eastern European extreme metal field, I would certainly chose "Lepers" by Mortal Slaughter.
   Not because the band did anything revolutionary new, or something remarkable that no one tried before. Simply because they merged all features in their music why old school death metal could be liked, and they did it on such a high level like not many others were able to do. Plenty of names could be mentioned as possible influences, but the two most distinguishable ones which gave the main character of the album are the references to Death, and the harsh growling style that is reminding to the genuine and brutal voice of Marc Grewe from Morgoth. "Lepers" is a strongly thrash influenced album and doesn't lacks heavy metal-like themes either. It's like a re-defination of the development of death metal by bringing out the maximum from all of it's components. Excellence in music and what is maybe same important: includes an awesome feeling that's probably not possible to repeat or to imitate. This unworthily underrated album had to wait a lot for a remastered re-release, but it deserves to take place in the line of the gretest records of the genre.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Merciless Death - Sick Sanctities (1993)

   Merciless Death started to shock the audience already in the mid '80s with their wild thrash hammering as one of the earliest Polish extreme metal bands. And of course the communist authories were not so pleased to hear that, so their names appeared on their black list very soon. After several complicated years and a system change the debut of the legendary band finally came out.
   Their first demo "Eternal Condemnation" sounded quite stunning already, and proved that Merciless Death deserves wider attention in the extreme scene. After the long break it seemed like they didn't lose anything from their intensiveness, "Sick Sanctities" was updated to the actual death metal tendencies, as the second demo, "Holocaust" predicted. The thrash basics remained, and the actual influences turned their music way more aggressive. Suddenly appearing light melodies compensing the speed of their music by creating a contrast. It's not a young rebel band anymore that could be heard on this album, but skillful musicians. Even though "Sick Sanctities" came out a bit late, it belongs to the cult classics of the early '90s.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Antropomorphia - Necromantic Love Songs (1993)

   Nowadays sex sells the most, and it has the same intense effect on metal music too, especially in more popular genres. In exreme metal it's not so sure, but still some death metal bands tried to extend the sickness of their music by mixing gore based lyrics with exaggerated perversion.
   Exactly that was the goal of Antropomorphia too. Occasional melodies, fast hammering and very deep growling style are the main musical features of their debut EP. The way how they combined the melodies with ordinary death metal themes sounds a bit raw, but they are well composed in general and may cause enjoyable moments. The concept is in focus, and the unusual title and cover art served the same cause. Those who may need extra supplies from gore and necrophilia based concept and lyrics influenced by Autopsy and Cannibal Corpse, may find their countings in Antropomorphia. While those bands had similar lyrics only the show something more disgusting and brutal than usual, "Necromantic Love Songs" was a more erotic approach.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Catacomb - In the Maze of Kadath (1993)

   A piano melody introduces into the dark musical manifestation of the mystical horror maze of Catacomb.
   The walls of the maze were built up from the inspiration of Lovecraft's novels. The piano intros gave a melancholic impression, and became an important part of the dark atmosphere that is the most catchy feature on the EP. The other one is the melodic ambitions, and the two perfectly fits together and creating a balance. "In the Maze of Kadath" was not a brutality contest, though it's a death metal EP, but it's also far from melodic death. Diverse themes, melodic solo parts, mid speed, and strong, misty atmosphere are the main features. The very deep growling stlye and the occasional speed ups making a contrast, but these are essential parts of the main harmony. The musical concept of "In the Maze of Kadath" is closer to death/doom style than to death metal in general, even though it lacks the successful level of heaviness and extended slow downs. The influence of Paradise Lost is suspected. However, it's a unique record in the line of the early '90s extreme metal classics.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Electrocution - Inside the Unreal (1993)

   To use words like intense, exaggerated or insane to describe old school death metal albums would be correct in general. And since the main ambitions of the genre are exactly to reach those impressions, it wouldn't be wrong if the same would be told about most albums.
   Some records, like "Inside the Unreal" by Electrocution seem like more worthy to be described like that, because even compared to the main scene, their music sounded way more intense. Not only the very fast hammering gave that impression, but the pile of excellent heavy themes, that keeping the attention from the beginning to the end, and don't let any boring moment to show up during the album. Such exaggerated brutality with catchy and various themes is rare to find. Endlessly sick and inhuman growling style assisting to introduce the most putrid depths of brutal sound. Even though "Inside the Unreal" is a very underrated album, it's a real old school death metal masterpiece all-round, and belongs to the greatest dark gems of the '90s extreme music era.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sickening Gore - Destructive Reality (1993)

   An enjoyable old school hammering-based album was represented by the one and only record of Sickening Gore.
   Even though the name and the visuals may suppose some gore and splatter centered concept, the music stays between the borders of old school thrash influenced death metal albums of the early '90s, with occasional grinding and brutal death references. The short noisy solos and the main themes are typically referring to the features of the Floridan scene, and by the actual influences they tried to spice up the main view a bit. In general it's a more diverse album than most were in the very long line of death metal records of those times, but partly because of their huge amount, "Destructive Reality" simply got lost in the endless mass of extreme metal. The other thing is that it cannot really offer any attention sparking features or moments during it's shorter running time. Still it's a good album with great quality and could be entertaining for the seekers of old school death metal nostalgia.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Misery - Mystic (1993)

   The one and only full-lenght album of Misery showed another alternative way in death/doom metal, which wasn't common at all.
   While most bands operated with melancolic melodies, progression or raw themes and putrid sound, the style of Misery was somewhere in the middle. Not too melodic, not too depressed, not fell into the darkest depths of hopelessness, only included a little bit of all. It's compatible with black metal audience too, because of considerable black influences in sound, feeling and vocal style. These are referring to the oldest manifestation of the genre and mainly the influence of Samael is suspected. The lyrics are also related to that direction, torment, mysticism, occultism and upper dark forces. "Mystic" was one of the first albums which were influenced by black metal out of the genre, since it started the first steps in wider development that time. And it was an extraordinary album in the style of death/doom metal too. A less known old school classic!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Impaled Nazarene - Ugra Karma (1993)

   Finnish black metal was always more aggressive than the traditional Norwegian scene of the genre, and they've oriented into  a different direction since the beginning.
   One of the earliest infamous Finnish black metal bands was Impaled Nazarene, who even turned directly against the atmospheric Norwegian tendencies, that gave very high importance to the externals and to the background concept. By their extremely aggressive and bestial style, the band practically accomplished the exaggerated requirements that their rivals, only theoretically fulfilled by comparsion. The band completely skipped the strong atmospheric effects and sizzling demo-like sound, and operated with clear and brutal sound instead. "Ugra Karma" is a riff-centric album that refers back to thrash metal roots, but shows a forward step the same time both in themes and lyrical concept. It's not only about Anti-Christianity, satanism, or slumbering dark powers, but sacrilege on insane level by involving war, apocalypse and even Hindu references. Therefore their main concept is closer to black/death or to the style of Marduk than to ordinary black metal. To add a remix song too gave a new perspective, and could took as a starting hint to industrial black metal, that style mix appeared much later. These made the album far more diverse than most of it's coetaneuses in this style. The excellence of "Ugra Karma" lies partly on this, and partly on it's harsh sound. It was probably the most brutal and genuine early releases of the genre.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Depravity - Silence of the Centuries (1993)

   Depravity gave an important influence to Finnish death metal with the last act of their short active period.
   "Silence of the Centuries" was an EP only, but it could be an ideal sample to illustrate the features of the local death metal scene, and it's influence could be compared to old Sentenced, Convulse or Demigod. According to the main "concept" of Finnish death metal, not the overwhelming brutality took the leading role, but the catchy themes, and on the side of the putrid sound and cryptic deep growling vocals it's getting the really harsh tone. A dark atmosphere completes the main view by it's melancholic effect. The melodic solo themes partly resulting the same, partly increasing the intensity of the album. For the listener "Silence of the Centuries" opening the forgotten crypts of the underworld by the sinister impression of it's basic intense, hammering based and high quality death metal music. An enjoyable classic of the '90s extreme musickness!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Crypt of Kerberos - World of Myths (1993)

   An interesting mix of genres could be heard on "World of Myths" by Crypt of Kerberos, that lateley was more known as a progressive metal band. Their debut was different from ordinary death/doom, because it's more like an unusual approach of their late style.
   In general it's an intense album filled with quite diversive themes. The slow downs are common though, but these are not to express the heaviness of their music, but only subordinated to the intense themes that could be heard in the followings. The album starts with typically '80s heavy metal melodies, than it sounds like changing to some blackened death, but before it could be diagnosed, it continues as death/doom, and changing to heavy metal again. This constant changing continues during the whole album in arbitrary order. Slowly as the progressive elements are getting revealed, it's getting clear that these having the main role, and the whole aggregation of contrasts are serving nothing else, but progression. Ths was everything but usual that time, and Crypt of Kerberos was one of the earliest heralds of similar musical experiments.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Unanimated - In the Forest of the Dreaming Dead (1993)

   As the death metal wave exhausted from ideas, many bands drifted into progressive and technical direction in the struggle to create something new or they completely changed their style. A few bands like Unanimated debuted with something else by mixing the actual underground trends.
   To turn death metal melodic wasn't ordinary that time, the band counts as one of the heralds of this style, which created a paradox by skeletonizing the genre from it's main features. But unlike the melodic death bands of Göteborg, Unanimated stayed at the heavy riff centric song structures and didn't try to build the whole concept around melodies that are so catchy as it's possible. The slowly uprising shadow of the Norwegian black metal scene had a strong influence on their music and the lyrics about mysterious dark forces and melancholic topics are also evident references. But in this case not the sizzling sound gave the occasional atmosphere, but some '80s heavy metal influences which turned this album to a bridge between the old school style and the actual modern trends in extreme metal. It sounds like they "dreamed" these following trends shortly before their wider spreading.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Necrony - Pathological Performances (1993)

   Even the title and the visuals leaving no doubts that Necrony was very determined to follow the path of Carcass, the masters of goregrind and ultimate musickness.
   Their one and only full-lenght album may sound nostalgic, because probably Necroticism was their main inspiration. Similar to the third masterpiece of Carcass, the mix of death metal and grindcore is the main feature of "Pathological Performances" with longer song lenghts, and occasional grinding parts. Deep growling vocal style and artificially distorted, animalistic voices causing pleasurable moments, which may referring to the earliest, pure grindcore times. Strong death metal riffs having the main lead, but sometimes short melodic themes appearing too, which are like reminders to the sickest moments of the band's idols. These appearences are unexpected and first may sound weird, like if they would be uncertain and wouldn't be able to fit to the main insanity, but gave an exciting new tone with their '80s-like sound. "Pathological Performances" is a nice reference album in the seek of the most putrid and the filthiest perfection in musical disharmony.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Spina Bifida - Ziyadah (1993)

   Amongst the lots of death and death/doom projects of the early '90s Dutch metal scene, Spina Bifida showed also what high standards meaning by their one and only full-lenght album, "Ziyadah".
   This high quality and well composed material is somewhere in the middle between the two ordinary ways of death/doom. The melodic, experimenting ambitions influenced by Paradise Lost are there, but the simple, heavy themes and harsh sound having leading role. The lyrics are closer to the first direction with their abstract and sometimes philisophical approach, so even if musically they sound unfriendly, the main message is more like agnostic, mystical and melancholic. Musically with less they tried to show more. That may sound  like the same could be told about any other bands in this style, but in this case it's not a potencial soundtrack of complete destruction and hopelessness, but serves only the heaviness of their music, trying to keep in balance with the lyrics and may give an interesting impression that made this album extraordinary.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Phlebotomized - Preach Eternal Gospels (1993)

   Before Phlebotomozed completely sank into the chaos of avantgarde metal, they had an EP that stayed closer to ordinary death/doom than their late works.
   Somehow it's inevitable to mention Paradise Lost as a main influence when it's about experimenting or more melodic ambitions in death/doom, and in their case is not different either. They operated with simple, heavy riffs and sound, but keyboards and violin turned the main view softer than it sould used to be in this style. The involve of these two instruments created an atmoshphere that not only had a following role like in general if they are in use, but often took the lead too. No matter how aggressive tone they had or how harsh their music sounded like, in lyrical topics they stayed at abstraction and alternative approach. The avantgarde experimentings are on a lower level on this EP, but some risky tryings could be found already. Sudden and unexpected changes, melancholic light melodies, progressive metal and even folk music features appeared, but in this amount they didn't turned things into complete chaos yet. The song's extenteded lenght they filled with enough diverse themes to keep constant focusing from the side of the listener. An interesting experimental record for the seekers of challenges in extreme music!

Dissect - Swallow Swouming Mass (1993)

   Dissect is one of the countless and forgotten one-album death metal bands of the early '90s. Similarly to the other Dutch bands of that era, sound and quality they also took seriously, and produced a material that is worthy to take place between the most enjoyable albums of old school death metal.
   In influences their music reminding mostly to the Floridan scene. Some balance between common mid speed and thrash influenced fast hammering, sometimes slower, sometimes almost groovy themes are the main features of their music. In themes they also seemed like to seek some balance by basic riffs and short, melodic solos. The deep growling vocals and gory lyrics adding a sick background to the main view, and referring to Cannibal Corpse, but in general plenty of other bands could be named as non-direct influences. In intensity they are also somewhere in the middle, by trying to build on the contrast of speed changes and evolving the heaviness of the slower parts with the raw brutality of fast hammering. "Swallow Swouming Mass" could be and exciting album for the fans of old school extreme music.