Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Marilyn Manson - Portrait of an American Family (1994)

    As the world seemed to speed up and turned more violent since the '80s, the common ways of entertaining became more exaggerated too. The mainstream metal scene also felt the need of some update and scandalous backup. The debut of Marilyn Manson meant a new kind of shock rock therapy for the metal audience.
   Their concept was very complex, based on social criticism by flashing onto the paradoxes that are coexisting together in the American society. Religious obsesson and perversions, conservative values and abortion, sex symbols and serial killers, drug abuse, pornography and entertainment industry, Christian cults and satanism just to mention some pairings that are continously referring back to the triangle of fear, sex and violence. And the whole thing had sarcastic, ironic performance that wasn't completely clear for everyone, so for people who had lack of common sense, or felt insulted by discovering themselves in the lyrics, Marilyn Manson was the new boogie man. For the band the concept seemed to be always more important than the music, so diversity and musical maximalism was never their strongest point. "Portait of an American Family" was a twisted mix of the that time conquering grunge and industrial metal waves. The support of Trent Reznor formed a lot on their musical progress. However the band was able to get the attetion they were looking for. And Mr. Manson could have call himself lucky too, because his huge audience seemed to be well updated in societal problems and competent enough to understand the complex concept he created, not only fascinated by his visual appearence and performance.
Yeah, that was sarcasm too...

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Soulstorm - From Euphoria to Paranioa (1994)

   Soulstorm debuted as a strongly Godflesh influenced industrial metal band with the ambition to play this style heavier than others do.
   So they tried to mix industrial with death metal. These two genres aren't easy to combine, mostly because the specific metal subgenre features are fading or disappearing by the simple, but strict repetitive themes that are compulsory industrial features. The results were similar like at Meathook Seed, the diversity and the noisy, intense sound gave the main difference in total. The death metal influences are sometimes there, sometimes gone and than a more melodic side is showing up. "From Euphoria to Paranoia" was a large step after the very raw first album. The typical Godflesh references got left behind (like the mid speed bumping the artificially distorted vocals) and their music became more complex, included catchier themes and had progression in sound too. Industrial may softened the general effect of the album, but it didn't made it much friendlier. It's a less known, but intersting classic of metal influenced electronic musickness.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sadistik Exekution - We Are Death... Fukk You! (1994)

   On the side of Blasphemy and Goatlord, Sadistik Exekution could be mentioned as an influental band if it's about the forming of the black/death subgenre.
   This style had no fixed scene, similar bands just like appeared randomly at various locations and mostly pretty rarely. Similar to the mentioned others, Sadistik Exekution played very noisy and absolute compromise-less blasphemic brutality. Sound quality was secondary, but their second full-lenght album had a larger progression in that way after "The Magus". It's hard to find out where they turn unserious and immature directly, and when things should be taken more seriously. In this style it's not hard for a band to become it's own parody, but probably they just "didn't give a fukk" about the whole thing, just wanted to play some noisy, disturbing satanic insanity. Unlike most of others in this endlessly exaggerated style, they tried to operate with atmoshpere too, but that's also some upsetting noise only, no need to be afraid of any light melodies to appear, that may break the balance of disharmony. Anyway, "We Are Death... Fukk You!" counts as a remarkable  black/death metal classic.

Necrocannibal - Somnambuliformic Possession (1994)

   As metal music and especially extreme metal was able to take roots only with phase delay in Eastern Europe compared to the West, it took even more time for it's show up in Russia.
   Necrocannibal was one of the first bands on the local extreme field, and such as most of the other few similar projects of those times, they shortly disappeared too after their one and only album. The other thing is why Necrocannibal is important on the side of sowing the seeds of death in Russian metal is, that their music was more original amongst the few others. That means they were not like an ordinary local copy band of any bigger names of the genre like for instance Graveside or Mortem was. They played typical thrash hammering-based old school death metal with intense themes, and short, catchy solos. The growling style is pretty sick and appreciably increases the level of enjoyment. Even though "Somnambuliformic Possession" came a bit late, it's typically one of those death metal classics that are hard to get tired of, and could be enjoyable for long term in their simple, catchy, headbanger-compatible form.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Schismatic - Egregor (1994)

   To change drastically and to turn into unusual directions to impress the audience, or to get wider attention wasn't something new in the mid '90s. Actually it was the main trend that time. But Schismatic may interpreted this situation a bit exaggerated, and made something extra weird by "Egregor".
   It was so different from the first album, like if it wasn't even the same band. They borrowed a new frontman from Necrobiosis, plus they involved light melodic and jazz elements unexpectedly, without any warning. Pestilence experimented with something similar on "Spheres", by mixing death metal with fusion jazz, but that was at least unified, resulted an interesting atmosphere and they tried to reach some balance. On "Egregor" the concept was the high level of contrast, to turn from one extremity ot another. In this case the highest level of contrast that's possible to make. Whether "Egregor" was  made for unserious reasons or it was a failed innovating ambition, it could be fun to listen to because it's simply so weird. It shows how death metal could end up in so light melodies that may appear in the worst retro family tv series, or in a jazz club report, or even in such music that could be used up for soundtrack in old socialist educating documentaries about manufacturing technologies. An interesting and unusual album for sure.

Necrobiosis - My Soul (1994)

   Such as most of the forgotten Polish one album death metal bands, Necrobiosis' music bequeathed only on tape for the after-ages.
   Middle speed and strong atmoshpere are the most significant characteristics of  "My Soul", and the main impression is more like melancholic even though the vocal style is quite aggressive. Some doom metal influence could be sensed too, and the direct influence of Asphyx could be presumed. This combination of cawing narratives, middle speed, common slow downs and simple themes gave that impression. Maybe the sound was similar too, but that's hard to tell after the poor quality in which "My Soul" remained. Still Necrobiosis stayed more on the ground of death metal. Heavy and ominous themes they didn't involve, the contrast of harsh sound and atmospheric-melancholic backround was in their focus. So intense brutality wasn't the strongest point of the album,but still it didn't reach the border of death/doom. It could be interesting enough in it's simple form as an individual report from the times of the change of the extreme musical scene.

Ghost - The Lost of Mercy (1994)

   Ghost had to wait a lot for their first full-lenght album, which was the last one as well. The band formed in the late '80s and therefore their music included plenty of old school references.
   The most typical feature of the Eastern European extreme metal scene is that the technical and financial difficulities of album releases eased around the middle of the '90s, when death metal slowly faded away. And because of this late arrival these bands didn't get to wider attention even if they were able to produce great quality. The main scene changed a lot meanwhile, the genre exhausted, and the audience was looking for something new already. "The Lost of Mercy" is like a nice nostalgia album, the biggest names of the genre may come into mind as possible influences during listening these themes, such as Brutality, Morbid Angel, Obituary or Carcass, only to mention a few. The album starts rough and keeps that very intense profile for a while, but some groovy themes showing up with time, and short grinding parts are common too. It sounds like fan made album that tried to mix these influences and creating something unified from them. There is no lack of diversity and intensiveness, so "The Lost of Mercy" could be very enjoyable for the old school fans of the genre.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Monastyr - Never Dreaming (1994)

   Monastyr's one and only full-lenght album is another less known, but excellent old school Polish death metal classic, that was extraordinary not only in the local scene, but in the main extreme metal scene too.
   In all-round they reached the level of the main scene, and by "Never Dreaming" they gave a new tone to old school death metal. Simple, basic themes leading the album, which may sound refreshing especially because these are nice reference to the very basics of extreme metal. The Hellhammer song they covered for closing the album, perfectly fits to their own songs. The rough distorted sound turned their music very heavy, and this combination with the animalistic vocal effects created a so sick impression that couldn't be heard often even in this style. While the main trend was about progression and to try unusual style combinations to exhaust even the last drops from a dying genre, Monastyr tried the opposite way, back to musical minimalism and overwhelming heaviness, that became trend over a decade later. However, this kind of simple but brutal sound never gets old.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Tortharry - When the Memories Are Free (1994)

   Tortharry is another remarkable name that should be mentioned after Root and Krabathor, which bands were the oldest excellency of the small Czech extreme metal scene.
   Tortharry may be less known outside the borders of the Czech Republic, but they also stayed active during the passed decades. Their music was more raw, and therefore less catchy. Burality and intense hammering was the main feature of their music, and even though they sometimes involved some atmospheric sound and fast solo parts, their effect could be barely sensed, simply disappearing between the noisy, heavy riffs. Their music had some brutal death touch on the side of the thrash metal influences which were kind of ordinary at both of the mentioned others, but at Tortharry that appeared only at the drums by simple but stict basic thrash themes. The sound and the main impression somehow reminds me to some less popular German bands, like to the late style of Apophis, but that's maybe because of the raw themes they've operated with.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Samael - Ceremony of the Opposites (1994)

   "Ceremony of the Opposites" was a turning point in Samael's music. It's probably one of their most interesting albums because they showed up with something unexpected, something that counted extraordinary in black metal.
   Seperated from the main scene of the genre, Samael developed it's own way of progression. It was still a black metal album, but the sings of their late turning point into industrial could be sensed already. The sound became clear, the themes turned more repetatitive and simpler, and they slowed down to middle speed. The intense hammering disappeared and typical black metal themes got reduced, such as the role of the atmosphere. The themes took the lead with their raw basic riffings. That was intersting, cause this could mean an old school reference back to the very basics and a change into something else the same time. Time revealed that the second was correct. The atmosphere created by keyboards and classical elements gave a melodic impression instead of blurring the main view. Instuments had exactly the opposite effect than what the ordinary sizzling black sound could do. Even though the concept didn't change yet, "Ceremony of the Opposites" showed a new possible direction for the black metal genre, that just made it's first steps for wider popularity that time.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Mangled Torsos - Drawings of the Dead (1994)

   "Drawings of the Dead" was a genuine old school death metal classic, that could be sorted to those albums which had the most wretched main impression.
   It was an extraordinary way to reach the darkest depths of musickness. Maybe it's better to say that diversity was the main feauture they operated with, because they mixed various influences and solutions to create one whole heavy mass, and all of them served the main cause well. The doom-like influences, the heavy themes, the occasional fast hammerings, some infesting goregrind-like touch, the retching growling and wretched vocal style. The catchy melodic parts having similar effect like the lightest melodies used up as background music for the goriest scenes of a horror movie. The concept and even this whole complex, well-composed putrid mass strongly reminds to Necrophiliac. Similarly to that other masterpiece, "Drawings of the Dead" is also one of the less known, hidden gems of the genre.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Thergothon - Stream from the Heavens (1994)

   Some people in Finland may thought that death/doom wasn't enough depressive and demoralizing, so they experimented with something more effective. They were Thergothon, the pioneers of funeral doom metal.
   If we think about Winter or Disembowelment, similar ambitions were not new, but Thergothon was mainly responsible for the birth of this subgenre. For them to slow down so much didn't serve the needed contrast for the more intense themes that came after, it was the center of their concept. They created a unified composition that lately was used as a sample to define this style and counted as an inspirational material. The point of departure was death/doom of course, but by stepping back more into the direction of doom metal. With a strong atmosphere they turned the slowly rolling noisy mass into a whole, and also gave the main melancholic and spiritual impression. The keyboards had strong '80s feeling that always sounds weird on '90s albums and don't really fit to the heavy, noisy themes, but they were used to create some balance. On the side of the tragic oblivion and nature-based lyrics, the influences of horror kept their important role. Not the emotions or the gore, but the heavy letargy is in focus. That was a possible exaggerated way through death doom, and described the basics of funeral doom.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Hetsheads - We Hail the Possessed... (1994)

   Before the groovy metal band Blackshine, the band members had a pre-project called Hetsheads. Under this name they were a less known old school death metal band, and their works during their short existence were resumed on a compilation album titled as "We Hail the Possessed..."
   Their own style wasn't completely develop that time, it sounds more like a fun-made project of death metal fans, so the influences are easy to find. On the side of the evident influence of the Swedish scene, references to Carcass and the strong inspiration by Autopsy could be noticed during listening. The lyrics are according to the concept, based on gore and anti-Christianity. So it's like a melting pot of their current favorites, a summarize of the early '90s death metal wave from a subjective view embedded into noisy, but strong sound. This demo compilation sounds very good compared to ordinary demos, and could cause enjoyable moments for the fans of old school death metal.