Lines In Wax

TWELVE YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

death metal

Foetopsy – In The Bathroom (2007)

Ants in your pants brutal death metal with a tendancy towards the absurd end of goregrind / porngrind. I’m talking farmyard vocals, pitchshifters, snare drums that sound like dust bins, y’know, the works. Throw in some hilarious samples (as well as some disturbing ones) and 21 total traxxx of blasting madness for you to enjoy. I got this CD through a trade or something many years ago, can’t remember how I got it, just that it was mailed to me (lol). Really fun shit that doesn’t outstay it’s welcome at only 19 minutes of brutality.

Ambivalence – Pornomechanoid (2006)

Crisp, clean production and surprisingly melodic guitar work. Judging this book by it’s cover I was expecting unfathomable pits of muddy brutal death crossed with “goregrind” (read: an extra layer of pig squeals) but Ambivalence has a lot more nuance to them than I could have expected. Unfortunately, nothing particularly challenging or engaging is presented here and the vocals can be pretty bad in parts, so the band’s name really comes into play here, to be honest.

Deicide – Serpents Of The Light (1997)

Serpents Of The Light is where Deicide starts to lose me. To be fair, the first three albums are ranked incredibly high for me; their unique (for the time) brand of serrriously evil death metal was second to none, especially on the self-titled and Legion. Serpents Of The Light is far, far from being a bad record, it is just some of the genuinely scary energy and atmosphere of those earlier incantations has started to dissipate, leaving… well, a really good death metal record, I can’t argue that. But, it is one that fails to ignite the same kind of terrifying spark as the earlier efforts.

Cannibal Corpse – Eaten Back To Life (1990)

The primitive yet thoroughly entertaining beginnings of one of metal’s most endearing (lol) bands. Things are a little rougher around the edges on Cannibal’s debut, with the influences of 80s “proto” death metal still in the mix along with (dare I say) a few thrashy elements too. I wouldn’t call their playing sloppy by any stretch of the term, but the band are certainly looser here than on any other studio record, but moreso due to the overall feel and vibe of the songs rather than due to amateurish timekeeping. The start of great things to come, as we all well know by now.

Skinless – From Sacrifice To Survival (2003)

From Sacrifice To Survival is probably my least favourite Skinless release. Nothing about the songs here pop out at me. Older stuff is grimier, nastier, more savage. Later stuff is more slammy / precise and fuckin’ brutal. This one kinda just falls through the cracks in the middle, which is a pretty shitty analysis to make but I can’t think of how else to describe it, because there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this album, it just doesn’t press any of the right buttons. It gets a 3/5 though because it’s incredibly well made and performed. The artwork is also fairly terrible, let’s be honest.

Anal Vomit – Demonic Flagellations (2005)

Don’t come into a project entitled Anal Vomit expecting the world, and you will be rewarded for your imaginative frugalilty with a cut of messy, unholy death/black hybrid. It would be too easy to add the tag of war metal to cover all of the above bases, but realistically this isn’t quite unhinged enough to fall into that punishing category, if one was to be anal about it (lol). And seeing as I am here vomiting out of my ass onto these review pages almost daily, I will take the ample opportunity here to be just that (anal, in case you couldn’t guess). Stand-out tracks? Bitch, you gotta be kidding. Just get the 36 minute slab of noise on repeat like a true maniac.

Cryptworm – Oozing Radioactive Vomiton (2023)

Stinky, nasty old school death metal, just what the Dr. ordered. Been hyped about a second Cryptworm album for a while and I was very happy when they delivered. The band are now in possession of a drummer that can keep time and oddly enough at first this gives the impression of a loss of some sort of charm (coupled with the slightly cleaner production here on the sophomore effort), but once everything clicks into place you will quickly realise that this is for the best. Gone are the shuffling corpse vibes of older days, instead Cryptworm 2.0 is now a finely-tuned killing machine. Great shit, fair play. I just wish it was a little bit longer!

Coffin Mulch – Spectral Intercession (2023)

Excellent songwriting from one of the stronger names in the current British underground. Perhaps Spectral Intercession does not live up entirely to the sheer excellence of Septic Funeral but this is still a solid follow-up and a solid debut to boot. The HM2 buzzsaw sound in 2023 is no doubt polarising and is indeed a bold choice, because Coffin Mulch are NOT just another one of those derivative copycat bands. The songwriting is nuanced and original and I do genuinely fear that a lot of folk are gonna go “HM2 clone/worship LOL” and look no further. Fortunately, from what I can tell, that isn’t happening too much. But yeah, looking forward to see where these guys go from here.

Devourment – Butcher The Weak (2005/2006)

(Original:) Mmhhmmm de-fucking-licious brutal death metal with the mandatory slam passages that make you wanna beat your chest like a gorilla and throw some mad fucking shapes, dawg. The original mix of Butcher The Weak is much muddier than the remaster but it makes up for that in spades. Likewise the drums are lower in the mix here but I don’t know how it just somehow works far better. The guitars are walls of sludge. Sick as fuck. (Remix): Today on Unnecessary Remixes, we address Devourment’s fucking excellent Butcher The Weak. Now, it’s worth mentioning that I heard this newer version of BTW first. I have no idea how, guess I’m living under a rock because I’ve heard all the other Devourment albums but I mad fucking snoozed on this one. So there is the possibility I am biased with my appraisal of both mixes. Anyway, I don’t prefer one mix over the other. They both have their own merits. The drums are remixed and feel more triggered here, and definitely louder. I don’t know if “more triggered” is exactly the technical term to explain what they did here, but if you do a side by side comparison you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Other bits worth mentioning is that the balance between the guitars and the vocals seems different, probably to accommodate the fresher drum sound. The guitar sound is also a little clearer than the original. All in all, this set of songs slays whichever mix you listen to. It’s just weird that we have a choice. If you’re familiar with one version and not the other then I wouldn’t really say the other warrants a full listen through unless you are genuinely super curious about the differences.

Suffocation – Human Waste (1990)

This is my shit right here. The cover art is just *chef’s kiss*, and the tunes ain’t too bad either, you dig? Back when old school death metal was the new school, Suffo was hitting it out of the park with releases like this. Dry, but organic production holds the framework for rigid but punishing cases of songwriting.

Perverse Dependence – The Patterns Of Depravity (2013)

Get your dicks out for some br00tal fukken slam, brutha! Bust out the pots and pans, run your guitar through your chainsaw (somehow) and get the Cookie Monster out of rehab for some vokills. Expect such ditties as “Maggot Swollen Titties” and “Concrete-Filled Rectum”. No frills, no experimentation, no compromise. Straight up brutal shit.

Cannibal Corpse – Bloodthirst (1999)

Is it just me or does Cannibal’s art just get sillier and sillier as time goes on? Haha Either way, this album bounces back a bit, not that the previous albums were bad or anything, it’s just that the songs on Bloodthirst seem to be more enjoyable. Opening with one of Cannibal’s best tunes, fucking “Pounded Into Dust” (also the shortest song on the album) absolutely smokes 99% of the bands in this style, sick vokills, sick drums, and my fucking lord the riffs! We are not worthy, etc etc… Honestly, I slept on this one a bit thinking it was just another mid-career Cannibal album released in the tour-album-tour-album cycle, but this is one of my favourite’s of the Corpsegrinder era for sure.

Killing Joke – Night Time (1985)

Killing Joke argueably hit their commercial peak with Night Time, an album that contains a lot of the dissonant sounds of their earlier works but also a much more accessible style of songwriting. Songs like “Eighties” and “Love Like Blood” put these guys into the mainstream, if only for a short while. It’s odd because, well, other than the softer side to Coleman’s voice (when he’s not using his gravelly growl), none of the music here seems forced. It’s just like the commercial viability of this record came naturally. RIP Geordie Walker.

Revenge – Scum.Collapse.Eradication (2012)

As I’ve no doubt said before, it seems almost ridiculous to try and review all of the Revenge albums. They are so similar that it’s almost funny, but the saving grace is that every single fucking album is just absolutely fucking unstoppable. Seriously, this shit is just so fucking relentless. The sound is huge, and the music is savage as fuck. It is hard to criticise this level of consistency across all outputs.

Repulsion – Final Demo (1991)

Repulsion – Final Demo (1991)

The one outlier in the Repulsion / Genocide canon. Throughout the band’s history you can track the development of the sound from start to end. On the Final Demo however, things take a turn, perhaps in line with changing of the gaurd musically, in regards to the zeitgeist. Musically, things take a turn towards what can be compared to shit like Impetigo; that loose thrash sound with the heaviness of death metal. Scott is growling here like he does on no other Repulsion release. Would have been interesting to see where the guys went from here, but alas this is where we leave off. (I’ve used the cover of Horrified for this one as I cannot find a scan of this demo anywhere – and the reissued compilation versions of Horrified is the only place you are likely to hear these demo tracks)

Brutally Deceased – Satanic Corpse (2016)

Brutally Deceased – Satanic Corpse (2016)

My guys, if you like compression, you will love Brutally Deceased! Take lightning fast death metal, give it melody and a few black metal riffs, run it through a HM2 and give it a huge, “modern” production and you’re basically right on the money. Brutal music with a lot going on for sure, but it’s kinda lost a bit behind the wall of noise. Don’t get me wrong when your ears adjust, it’s totally fine, and a really cool metal album, but that initial synthetic feel is hard to shake.

Sedimentum – Suppuration Morphogénésiaque (2022)

Sedimentum – Suppuration Morphogénésiaque (2022)

Ugh my brothers this shit fucking slaps. Ultra down-tuned, sewer dwelling “modern old school” death metal is the order of the day, with beyond stunning cover artwork to boot. Like a horde of mutants rising from the radioactive waste deep below your homes and cities, Supporation Morphogenesiaque shuffles and shambles right up to your front door, dripping flesh and slime, before eating off your entire face.

Torsofuck – Postpartum Exstasy (2023)

Torsofuck – Postpartum Exstasy (2023)

Not gonna lie to you, this is pretty good. I went into it with low expectations and ended up really enjoying this comeback record. Granted, the start is a little shaky (track one just doens’t have the “fuck yeah, Torsofuck is fucking back, fuckwads” feeling that you’d expect after such a huge gap, but the record soon finds its feet and away we go. The drum machine is a bit hollow-sounding, and some of the longer samples will probably piss some people off at only half hour in runtime, but for the most part this is a solid brutal death / pornogrind record.

Desecration – Cemetery Sickness (2014)

Desecration – Cemetery Sickness (2014)

Cut up and fed to the dog! The difference between Desecration and many other death metal bands riding on the cheeky / fun / silly / gross subject matter train is that Desecration are actually really fucking great, and Cemetery Sickness is no exception. Everything here is razor sharp and on-point; riffs, vocals and drums (man, the drums!) Speaking of the vocals, there’s a bit more of a range here than usual, which is always nice. There’s some guesties thrown in too, for good measure. The overall production sound, although similar to the previous album, also breathes a bit more organically. The bass is clearly audible, clanking away beneath the insane percussion and maniacal riffage. Fantastic stuff.

Cradle Of Filth – Invoking The Unclean (1992)

Cradle Of Filth – Invoking The Unclean (1992)

Shaky beginnings for everyone’s shrieking banshee led symphonic black metal band (yes, I categorised them as such, fucking deal with it). Expect instead of fragile, glittering hymns of erotic vampirism a hammer to the face in the bluntest fuzzy analogue way. If you love tape trading and early death metal demos then you’ll love this, otherwise you probably won’t find any value in this unless you are perhaps a crazed CoF superfan frothing at the mouth over the prospect of unearthing muddy early demos. Invoking The Unclean however, is a Cradle that is almost unrecognisable. Mad how things change, innit?

Cephalotripsy – Uterovaginal Insertion Of Extirpated Anomalies (2007)

Cephalotripsy – Uterovaginal Insertion Of Extirpated Anomalies (2007)

As far as slam goes, then this should tick all of your boxes. Unreadable logo? Check. Late 2000s Visual Darkness album sleeve? Check. Absurd song titles? Check. We’re off to the races, guv’nor! I’ve got this fucker on vinyl and I gotta be honest it packs a hell of a punch. I’ve often had the complaint that the drums on this thing (whilst performed incredibly well) have a cardboard kind of sound to them, rather than the usual slam ping pings. Real talk though, this thing is just shy of 40 minutes of intense breakdowns / beatdowns / whatever punctuated by the occasional flurry of gravity blasts. There is no big brain take for me to give you here. Me like slam. Me play record. Me bang head. Tidy.

Concrete Winds – Primitive Force (2019)

Concrete Winds – Primitive Force (2019)

Primitive Force comes at you with quite a regimented and organised sound, which is refreshing for a genre that is usually wallowing in unhinged, boundless carnage. That is not to say, of course, that a fair share of carnage is not present on this record. The Josefsson’s batter you into the ground with their military-grade precision and fathomless brutality. It is perhaps not as unforgiving as some music in the war metal style, but where the band make up for this is in the production and the unholy guitar tone, which is one of the best tones I’ve heard in some time. Genuinely sick shit, love it!

Suffocation – Pierce From Within (1995)

Suffocation – Pierce From Within (1995)

Brutal, dry production sets the stage for bludgeoning, unforgivable riffing and pummelling drums. With Scott Burns at the helm, and Suffocation at the strings and skins, would you expect anything else? Pierced From Within takes the template set by the earlier records and expands on them, heaping on more brutality, more dexterity, more variation in different sections. There is much less here in the way of “slams” but when they do hit they have that extra level of punch.

Coffins – Craving To Eternal Slumber (2015)

Coffins – Craving To Eternal Slumber (2015)

I’m finding it pretty fucking wild that I’ve made it to 2023 without really writing about Coffins (sans their split with XXX Maniak). I’ve never been the biggest fan but coffins have been a mainstay in the sloooooooooooow side of death metal for many a year now, so just out of pure numbers and math I should have reviewed one of their records. Alas, here we are. Craving To Eternal Slumber is a nice little EP (that’s as long as some band’s LPs lol) which isn’t quite as dark and dreary as earlier efforts, and has a clear and warm production sound. Keeping pace at more of an “Autopsy” level rather than something more funeral-paced, Coffins plod through some chugging metal salvos that a well worth your time if groove and doom are ingredients that you like in your death metal.

Corpsefucking Art / Goretrade – Split CD (2001)

Corpsefucking Art / Goretrade – Split CD (2001)

This little fucker has the honour of being one of the first brutal death / underground releases that I ever downloaded off the internet. It is a shame then really, that this just isn’t very good at all. Corpsefucking Art in general are pretty entertaining, but here there’s Mortician worship meets Mortician covers meets Mortician grade horror samples, and I’m not here for it, tbh. Goretrade is just also quite possibly the most boring death metal band I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Perhaps they have good releases? This isn’t one of them, though.

Engorgement – Excurciating Intestinal Lacerations (2012)

Engorgement – Excurciating Intestinal Lacerations (2012)

Oi oi English facking brutal deff metal innit brahvahhhhhhh! Skreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. All in all, this is a pretty fuckin’ disgusting offering of rancid, turbid, aural slop. It certainly ticks all the right boxes and if you looked up “slamming brutal death metal” in the dictionary you may or may not be lucky to find Engorgement listed under there. Speaking of becoming engorged, death metal perverts may find that Excruciating Intestinal Lacerations is enough to send them past half mast, perhaps even past full chub into that rapterous, aching, throbbing arousal, but perhaps there is not enough in the way of unique moments within the cacophony of butchering sounds here to warrant the full-blown readiness of your festering engorgement leaking its cloudy juices in peak excitement. Can’t believe I’ve just actually written all that out but hey, it’s done now.

Corpsefucking Art – Zombiefuck (2008)

Corpsefucking Art – Zombiefuck (2008)

Whilst you couldn’t really claim that Corpsefucking Art is pushing the boundaries of death metal, it is hard to argue that they are not an entertaining outfit. The aptly-titled Zombie Fuck is home such to ditties as “Beverly Hills Corpse” (completely with parody theme song), “High Skull Musical” (lmao) and “No Woman No Grind (Bomb Marley)”, the latter of which squeezes two puns into one song title for double your money. Musically this is downtuned, nasty and horrible. The vocals are the usual Cookie Monster affair, but I suspect if you are here reading an album review for a band that actually legitimately chose to name themselves Corpsefucking Art, then you are OK with this. Tuck in.

Haemorrhage – Anatomical Inferno (1998)

Haemorrhage – Anatomical Inferno (1998)

A Haemorrhage record is always going to be a good time, if you are a goregrind fan (or just a Carcass fan and don’t mind a bit of “worship”). These guys (and gal) have been plugging away for years and Anatomical Inferno is their third album. I have the Brazilian reissue in my hands. Now, being from the UK, I can’t remember for the life of me where or how I got a hold of this particular version, but there we go LOL The album is a solid chunk of goregrind mixed less with death metal I guess and more with elements of punk and hardcore. This gives the proceedings their own unique sway, whilst being also rather true to the blueprints set down to which Haemorrhage operate entirely. The production on this thing is a bit loud / overblown, which is made even more obvious when there’s a few demo versions of songs tacked onto the end of the Brazilian pressing. These demos are a little dryer, and the drums are more natural sounding, but for the most part, I think I prefer these to the album versions. Throw in a cover of “Police Bastard” by Doom (also exclusive to this version) and you’ve got a winner. Tidy darts.

Mortician – Mortal Massacre (1992)

Mortician – Mortal Massacre (1992)

I’ve probably heard this a thousand times on the House By The Cemetry represses but was nice to go back and “isolate” this and focus on the original tracks. The evolution from Brutally Mutilated / Demo ’91 is subtle, the band still employ a real drummer here it seems, but the guitar and bass have already entered into the trademark downtuned-and-impossible-to-decipher mush that would become their wheelhouse. BTW if you’re getting filtered by the overuse of samples, you’re listening to the wrong band. BLLLUUUGGHHHHHHH!

Permanent Disfigurement – Permanent Disfigurement (2021)

Permanent Disfigurement – Permanent Disfigurement (2021)

If I were to give my personal, technical, in-depth opinion: This shit fucking slaps. It is a short demo but a promising one, that’s for sure. Vocally, it kinda reminds me of XXX Maniak’s Harvesting The Cunt Nectar and musically it lies between the precision of slam / brutal death and the sloppier, sewer-dwelling OSDM revival style of the last few years. So there you have it – something for the whole family to enjoy.

Incantation – Onwards To Golgotha (1992)

Incantation – Onwards To Golgotha (1992)

Onwards to Golgotha is probably the most prominent musical equivalent of the words ‘blunt force trauma’. The music is an assault on the senses, and that assault is being carried out repeatedly, over and over, but some fucking maniac holding a blood-drenched brick in one hand. The other hand is around your throat, btw. Using such a ridiculous descriptive situation to describe a death metal record is usually done to convey how brutal the record is, how fans of such aural extremity will rejoice in reading such silly anecdotes before making haste to plug in and play such musical depravity at an assortment of unacceptable volumes. But, one realistic thing to take into account, and applicable here to this uncompromising old school death metal release: being smashed in the face repeadely with a house brick is a painful and – forgive me for understating – a difficult experience to get through. In that regard then, it is rather similar to this album.

Mortician – Demo #1 ’90 (1990)

Mortician – Demo #1 ’90 (1990)

UUURRGHHHH I recently got a copy of this on cassette. Whether it’s a legit repressing or a bootleg I’m really not sure nor do I really care, because this shit fucking slaps. To call any era of Mortician’s music “primitive” would be fucking lazy, but the earlier gestations of the band are not quite as streamlined as what would come on the full length records, or even EPs like Brutally Mutilated. That may sound rather obvious, being a review of a demo the band did during their infancy, but it is actually rather striking and quite odd to hear Mortician in this way. They have always been sure of their sound and the vibe that they put forward to the world, even if perhaps how good each passing studio album is does vary, they have indeed been consistent. So, hearing the differences here is very strange. Either way, this short demo fucking rips, and if you’re here right now nosing at old school death metal demos like this then I’m sure I don’t have to do much to convince you that finding a copy or stream of this is a very good idea. Enjoy!

Suffocation – Blood Oath (2009)

Suffocation – Blood Oath (2009)

Less of the slamz and more of the high quality production death metal ting. Which y’know, is absolutely fine with me. Variety is the spice of life and all that – and hey, it’s fuckin’ great to listen to some some fuckin’ brutal death metal every now and then when the production is good enough that I can actually understand everything that is going on! Blood Oath is just that. It won’t win any awards for sheer, edge-cutting originality, but it’s a solid death metal record all the same.

Bowels Out – Enlightenment Through Dismemberment (2005)

Bowels Out – Enlightenment Through Dismemberment (2005)

Guitar tuning is so low that it almost sounds like it is artificially pitchshifted, like Libido Airbag were about to mix these guitars into some sort of techno-pornogrind bullshit. Alas, once one’s puny mortal ears hath adjuste to thon brutallic onslaught of disgusting noise that is the tuning ov Drop 666, one can appreciate the ants-in-yon-pants old school brutal death that Bowels Out are finest purveyors thereof. Such beautous movements as “Gourmet Vaginal Stew” and the vital “Take The Cock” (take it where, pray tell? Belize?) lull you into the catatonic stupor that only the murky worlde ov grindcore and br00tal death metal can invoke. For f(l)ans ov: Cryptopsy and Nile but you wished their albums were made instead by people who’ve played in Intestinal Disgorge.

Malignancy – Intrauterine Cannibalism (1999)

Malignancy – Intrauterine Cannibalism (1999)

Holy fuck, this is fuckin’ brutal; easily one of the best brutal death records I’ve heard in a hot minute. Dat bass, fam – dat bass. Fuckin’ drums on this are out of control though, mans can blast. Roger, perhaps best known for Mortician, is on point here with these drums. He can also be credited for producing this absolute monster of a death metal album. I feel however, writing endlessly about this would be trite. This shit is just fuckin’ brutal as fuck. Everything about it slaps ridiculously hard.

Cattle Decapitation – Human Jerky (1999)

Cattle Decapitation – Human Jerky (1999)

The solid, first major entry from the now-legendary Cattle Decapitation. The band that made this record is a long way from the band that is putting out albums today, but this is still well worth checking out, especially if goregrind or grindcore in general is your bag. 18 songs in as many minutes, Human Jerky is frantic and messy, both in musicality (although Serbian (RIP) and Astor hold it down) and also in voice (Travis’ multi-layered gore-drenched approach is phenomenal). FWIW: The 2020 remaster has a bit more punch and clearer samples, but for my money the original has a better balance overall and especially on the vocals. The wetter, nasty sounds of Travis’ vocals are pushed low behind the growls in the newer mix, which isn’t great.

Nile – In Their Darkened Shrines (2002)

Nile – In Their Darkened Shrines (2002)

Oh my fucking goodness gracious me (as my nan would say). I think I may have just found my favourite Nile record. I came onboard the goodship Nile (sailing towards the duat, or perhaps to Orion, if Robert Buaval is to be believed (probably not)) with the release of Annihilation Of The Wicked. That album blew my mind when I was a teenager – I really hadn’t heard anything like it, in regards to that combination of ultra-brutal guitars, drums and vocals. Y’know what I mean, right? That absurd blasting technicality that sounds like a complete car crash but then as you adjust to it you realise it is ridiculously brutal, mind-bogglingly precise. Every note is intentional. Anyway, that’s what I loved about Nile, I just didn’t find the records post-Annihilation to be as intriguing. Roll around 15 years or so, and I’ve started going into the earlier Nile catalog, again, something that is interesting and admittedly very heavy and brutal, but my God, In Their Darkened Shrines is the perfect balance between the classic Nile sound and the sound that would “blow them up” with the release of Annihilation Of The Wicked. Like, this thing, is just, idk, fucking relentless. The sheer technicality of it, balanced out of wankery and into absurd brutality by unholy guitar tones and crisp, clear drum production – it is just to die for. This is metal turned up to 12 (fuck 11), firing on all cylinders and with all guns blazing (etc etc etc). This is so good that I don’t want it to end, so I play it over and over. When it’s finished, I’m left there like Pharaoh Khufu’s granite sarcophagus: empty and cold. I’ll show myself out.

Revenge – Infiltration.Downfall.Death (2008)

Revenge – Infiltration.Downfall.Death (2008)

Quality.Consistency.Brutality – You can always count on Revenge to deliver the full-blown headcrashing sledgehammer of unstoppable war metal goodness. Infiltration.Downfall.Death is no different to any of the albums that have come before it (sans as many groove parts as its predecessor, perhaps, but we are splitting hairs), but the quality of the sonic madness offered is so high that one really does not mind to be fed the same carnage over and over and over (and to be glad to recieve it). Honestly, fucking brutal. Love it.

Cannibal Corpse – A Skeletal Domain (2014)

Cannibal Corpse – A Skeletal Domain (2014)

Love that fuckin’ album cover! Nice to see something from Locke that isn’t total fucking gore and evisceration (lol). So – onto the album itself. Sitting somewhere between the bludgeoning sounds of old and the more treble-heavy Rutan-produced sessions, A Skeleton Domain hits really fucking hard. There’s something about the riffs here that makes them extra dense and thick and sinister as all fuck. “Kill or Become” will melt your face off and turn you into the (faceless) walking dead. “Icepick Lobotomy” will do, well, pretty much mostly the same to be honest, but dem riffs tho fam, dem riffs! All in all, a solid effort from the legends that are Cannibal Corpse.

Pathology – The Time of Great Purification (2012)

Pathology – The Time of Great Purification (2012)

Skreeeeeeeeeeee I hope you like brutal fuckin death metal because yknow, that’s what you’re gonna get here. You can say a lot about Pathology but the main thing to take away I think is that they are damn consistent. Production variations aside, as well as natural evolution of sounds, I think it is fair to say their output has been consistently solid over the years. This more recent studio album (currently placed in the second half of the full album run, at the time of writing) is a solid brutal death attack, with smooth and high-end production. Lots of high speed blasts and riffs, and a garnishing of more slamming, grooving passages for those of you who want to throw down. I was listening to this at 11pm whilst revising for a technical exam and I just wanted to get up and spinkick some poor cunt in the face.

Autopsy – Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves (2014)

Autopsy – Tourniquets, Hacksaws and Graves (2014)

The problem with Autopsy, is that you’re always going to be comparing anything that they do to their absolutely legendary first few records. There is not much out there that comes close to that sludgy, disgusting and unique blend of death metal that the band made their own. However, Autopsy are also a band that have safely avoided tarnishing their reputation with unneccessary and pointless and well, downright awful studio albums. Most bands cannot say this, I’m sure. Autopsy however, remain the at the top, like a giant, thick, dark and possibly bloody stool, but one that floats triumphantly nonetheless. TH&G is cleaner in production than I would personally like, but otherwise it is an extremely enjoyable journey of death, destruction, and metal mayhem. The songs are actually fresh and very enjoyable, and there is a variety of vibes and styles that come through in the album’s run time. Vocally, things are still very good and I have no complaints with this set of songs. All in all, a solid chunk of death metal.

Brujeria – Matando Güeros (1993)

Brujeria – Matando Güeros (1993)

I’ve said before that early Brujeria is a raw fuckin beast of a band, and this debut full length is no different. Possessing an exceptionally downtuned and dirging sound, Brujeria’s grindcore is less frenetic and more bludgeoning in its delivery. Overall, the vibe is “I need a shower”, much the same like listening to more modern bands like Fluids. I guess that feeling comes with the territory when the songs are about machete violence and narco-terrorism. There are some absolute fuckin belters on this thing, though. Don’t let that cover photo put you off.

Revenge – Strike.Smother.Dehumanize (2020)

Revenge – Strike.Smother.Dehumanize (2020)

I don’t think it would be unfair to call Revenge a one-dimensional band. Their dimension, is, of course, absolute fucking brutality. You come to Revenge knowing what to expect, and if you don’t, then you come unknowingly, you get your wig split, and then you keep coming back for more (unless you are, as Manowar said, a wimp and / or a poser). The uniform cover art across all releases, in the same stark colour scheme and thematic area with minute differences, seems to reinforce this point. Why then, bother reviewing a Revenge album? If you’ve heard one then you’ve heard them all right? True in some regard, but not completely. Idiots like me and complete gluttons for punishment may notice several smaller details that differentiate Strike… from the other releases. The production is slightly… cleaner. I hesitate because I don’t know if that is the right word. Revenge has always had “good” production – that being, it blows your facking heid off, guvnor. There does seem to be an additional level of clarity here, though, which – trust me – does not detract from the aural carnage. The second detail is the abrupt drops into slow, groove sections. These are used sparingly, but not only do they offer a respite from the blastbeats and therefore serve to accentuate those sections, but my god do they hit just as hard. Some of these groovy slow parts are super intense. All in all, another banger from Revenge. I would expect nothing less, to be honest. This is a band whose track record is becoming almost impeccable.

Nuclear Death – Carrion For Worm (1991)

Nuclear Death – Carrion For Worm (1991)

Fuckin’ wild piece of work, this. Mangles together elements of grindcore and death metal in a swirling maelstrom pit of cacophonous carnage. There are moments that remind me of war metal bands like Blasphemy and Revenge, if I’m honest. Carrion For Worm is one of the few records recently that I have immediately played through a second time upon completing it. I know next to nothing about the band and this was my first experience with them so I have nothing else to say other than: this shit goes really hard.

Annotations of an Autopsy – The Reign of Darkness (2010)

Annotations of an Autopsy – The Reign of Darkness (2010)

AOAA are another one of those bands who started in the deathcore / slam – influenced end of the spectrum, and decided to change lanes into a more regular death metal approach as time went on. With their second full length, the band are fully in brutal death metal mode, but with enough chugging riffs to not lose all of their identity. The vocals are the highlight here, the loose, gargling growls that are spat hideously across the top of these concoctions are a nice change from the dry heave of most low vokills. The drums are also fantastic, but the production – whilst strong – is a little typical and perhaps synthetic in parts.

Anal Blast – Battered Bleeding Bitch (2004)

Anal Blast – Battered Bleeding Bitch (2004)

Fun – and extremely vulgar – brutal death metal, but not as good as the first album or even the demo. My initial thought was to write that there’s a lack of focus here, but in reality the songs are short and sharp, and the brutal misogyny / menstruation themes are as strong as ever (what a sentence to write out at seven in the morning lol). Don Decker’s vocals are absolutely crackers too. It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure.

Miasmic Ooze – Terrain Of Inflamed Pustules (2021)

Miasmic Ooze – Terrain Of Inflamed Pustules (2021)

With a band name like this, and a cover art design and logo in a similar vein, you’d expect Miasmic Ooze to be the most brutal, gory thing on the planet. Instead, the band show immense restraint, playing an old school death metal sound without being afraid to strike us with a little melody now and then. It’s a shame that this thing is only 4 tracks long, as I really like the recipe that these guys had for their stuff.

Brujeria – ¡Machetazos! (1992)

Brujeria – ¡Machetazos! (1992)

Early Brujeria is some ugly, scary shit. Like, the band did kinda become a parody of themselves. I know it was always a joke in some way, but fuck if the early shit wasn’t some of the nastiest stuff around. The horrors on the record sleeves only helped strike this brutality home, like a err, machete chop. This thing revolves into weird angular bizarre noisy stuff rather than anything grind or death metal in parts, but it makes the listen all the more interesting. Great shit.

Hate Eternal – King Of All Kings (2002)

Hate Eternal – King Of All Kings (2002)

I hope you like blastbeats, because otherwise you’re fucked out of luck with this album. Rutan’s Hate Eternal had always escaped me for some reason, so I was very happy to give King Of All Kings a few spins. The album has a big production, which gives the weight of the strings and the blizzard of the drums both room to breathe. Brutal, yet also very well made and technical. Lovely riffs lads, I’ll give you that.

Nuclear Remains – Radioactive Decomposition (2022)

Nuclear Remains – Radioactive Decomposition (2022)

Radioactive Decomposition delivers far more maturity and dexterity than a band with this kind of vibe, aesthetic and sound should have any right to. Death metal is the base ingredient, but forgive me for embarrassing myself by saying that Nuclear Remains do to death metal what Vektor do for thrash. That is not to say that Nuclear Remains is just a clone of Sound Of Perseverance era Death, but flexible and original in their compositions and songwriting. If you like spacey death metal shit like Cryptic Shift or Blood Incantation but would prefer your metal with a little more sickness and brutality at the same time, then Nuclear Remains may be the band for you.

Sanguisugabogg – Homicidal Ecstasy (2023)

Sanguisugabogg – Homicidal Ecstasy (2023)

An improvement on the base sound, Sanguisugabogg step things up a notch with their second record, which has a much better sound all around. The drums in particular, sound absolutely fantastic – both in the initial performance and then in the production. The snare tone is wicked and punches right through the mix. Musically, everything else hangs nicely in the balance but the drums definitely lead the mix, for sure. Either way, if sick caveman riffs and absurd vocals are your cup of tea, you can do no wrong in checking out this hyped-up unit of death metallers. Tracks like “Mortal Admonishment” for example show that the band is capable of much, much more than the usual chugga-chugga-ping-ping skreeeeeeee kind of deal. There is a technicality bubbling beneath the brutality that keeps threatening to surface. Also, I’m undecided whether that art is brilliant or terrible, Write your thoughts on a postcard.

Gruesome – Dimensions Of Horror (2016)

Gruesome – Dimensions Of Horror (2016)

Depending on what you want from your death metal, you may find Gruesome to be tired and derivative or instead scratching that specific itch that only early 90s death metal can. The excellent cover art (by Ed Repka) should give you some indication of the presence of the “classic” sound here, but by what degree this is a case of the spirit of such being kept alive vs. being aped as a gimmick… well, that’s up to the individual listener to decide. Taking originality out of the question, Dimension Of Horror is a super fun 20 minutes, with 6 tracks of prime-cut death metal goodness. Tracks like “Raped By Darkness” or “Seven Doors” really showcase the sinister vibes here, and the production is on point across the whole release, allowing the songs to be delivered with the required impact and audible punch.

FesterDecay – Carcasses Revenge (2017)

FesterDecay – Carcasses Revenge (2017)

Not as good as the later shit but still intense pathological grinding death metal / goregrind in the vein of early Carcass. A short release of only 8 minutes (the version I heard didn’t have the Carcass cover at the end), but worth every second of your time. Tracks like “Liquidised Gallbladder” (how is that even medically possible? I don’t want to find out) and “Centipede In Ass” are just as digusting as you may imagine them to be. Expect lots of blasting drums, crunching guitars (and a few odd, wailing solos), and a ton of disturbing gory vocals. Tidy.

Vacuous – Dreams Of Dysphoria (2022)

Vacuous – Dreams Of Dysphoria (2022)

Vacuous’ debut record expands on the band’s promising sound from demos (EPs?) such as Katabasis. The band have grown from a small unit into a fully fledged 5 piece and the sound has grown along with them. The artwork is fitting; such a messy, confusing maelstrom of what could be flesh but also otherworldly materials is the perfect artistic interpretation of Vacuous’ dense and brutal sound. I’m not going to give you any big brain ideas about what I think this album is about (it wouldn’t be my place), but the dark and atmospheric take the band have on death metal helps hammer the songs home, especially when you get the odd groove rearing up out of the storm and really taking you by surprise. Great stuff.

Impetigo – Ultimo Mondo Cannibale (1990)

Impetigo – Ultimo Mondo Cannibale (1990)

Gross, disgusting, beautiful, old school analogue death metal with grindcore elements. In fact, I hate the term “deathgrind” but to use it to describe bands like Impetigo or Blood is very fitting. Things do stray into Mortician territory here and there (as in, massive horror movie sample chunks are thrown in) but otherwise this is pure raw metal Armageddon. I love everything about this. Sick, pulsating production with thick drums and riffs, and barked or yelped or pitchshifter vokills. A band after mine own heart, most def.

Nocturnus – Ethereal Tomb (1999)

Nocturnus – Ethereal Tomb (1999)

Cool, calm and clean, Ethereal Tomb first comes on like a fucking Symphony X record or something, until you quickly realise that you are listening to a death metal record, just recorded and presented with a prog-style production. It is a far cry from the muddy yet gratifying CHONK of albums like The Key or Thresholds, but I found Ethereal Tomb to be a very rewarding listen, especially with repeat visits. The drumming in particular, by Rick Bizarro, is fantastic. This is the core of the original band sans Browning and the bassist (whose name I forget), and it’s funny because nobody who is in the current Nocturnus “AD” is on this album – it’s like a completely new band, but one that is closer IMO to the original Nocturnus that Nocturnus “AD” can hope to be, Browning or no Browning. Anyway, this odd outlier in the catalog is well worth checking out. Please do not be put off by the clean sound or the absolutely pants album cover.

Sarcofago – I.N.R.I. (1987)

Sarcofago – I.N.R.I. (1987)

Messy, nasty, horrible metal cranked up to 11. You can feel the youthful energy of this thing overflowing throughout the whole record; be it in the raspy vocals, the crazy guitars or the sloppy, scattered drums. This is like combining early Possessed and early Venom in that machine from The Fly and turning it up to 666%. I.N.R.I. almost sounds to me like the accidental template for “war metal” (stuff like Beherit, Blasphemy and more recently Revenge, Conqueror etc.). I love how track 7 is misprinted as “Ready To Fucky” on some versions of this album – that is just absolutely hilarious, and jarring with the sinister tone here (I can’t wait to ask my partner that question the next time she seems even remotely in the mood – I’m sure it will seal the deal, so cheers Sarcofago). Stand out tracks include “Satanic Lust”, “Desecration Of VIrgin” and “Deathrash”.

Nile – Black Seeds Of Vengeance (2000)

Nile – Black Seeds Of Vengeance (2000)

You know the score by now – absurdly technical, down-tuned and blurry death metal that is intricately composed yet verging on the possibility of completely falling apart and sounding like completely pointless mush. It is indeed a fine line to walk, and such a constant barrage of Egyptian-theme barbarity can grate on the ears, with or without decent production (Black Seeds… is somewhere in the middle). However, if you are in the mood for have your sense completely blasted with unforgiving technical death metal, then I can’t really think of a better band off the top of my head that does it as well as Nile.

The Rotted – Get Dead Or Die Trying (2008)

The Rotted – Get Dead Or Die Trying (2008)

When the jump from Gorerotted to The Rotted originally happened, I wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of the decision. After seeing the band live in The Rotted form in either 2009 or 2010, that opinion quickly changed and I got myself this CD. It is, to be fair, a really fun listen if you like your metal injected with the usual energy and bile you would get on a hardcore punk record. The opening one-two of “Nothin’ But A Nosebleed” and “Howling” not only sets the bar but really, the high point for the record, with “Howling” easily being the best song on here. Also of note is the excellently-titled “There’s A Party In My Mouth (And Everyone Is Being Sick”, and the cover of the 28 Days Later theme, which was an interesting idea and one that the band pull off surprisingly well, even if it doesn’t really fit all that well onto the album.

Nocturnus – Nocturnus (1993)

Nocturnus – Nocturnus (1993)

Decent 7″ record from early Nocturnus. It’s not as great as The Key or the stuff that followed, and it’s really similar to a Morbid Angel kinda vibe, but despite this its actually pretty good. I don’t have a ton to say as it’s only two tracks, but its well worth checking out.

Arghoslent – Incorrigible Bigotry (2002)

Arghoslent – Incorrigible Bigotry (2002)

Not feeling this shit, at all. This band seem revered amongst those who are deep down the NSBM rabbit hole, but Arghoslent are not a black metal band. I guess this is NSDM, if I could use such a fucking stupid term. I am genuinely, honestly, all politics on hold, struggling to understand what is so great about this band? All I’m hearing is some mid melodeath with bad production. And that kids, is not enough reason to put up with the fucking atrocious lyrical content. In the bin with ya.

Ripping Corpse – Dreaming With The Dead (1991)

Ripping Corpse – Dreaming With The Dead (1991)

Interesting debut (and only full length record) from Ripping Corpse, which of course, featured Erik Rutan who is now death metal legend (Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal, Cannibal Corpse etc. etc.) Even in these early daze, the riffs, shared here with Shaune Kelly, are pure precision. The production is a bit of an odd one, but this is a solid metal album. The vocals from Scott Ruth are perhaps an acquired taste for some, sounding like a very strange mix between John Tardy and the guy from D.R.I. lol A good listen, though.

Suffocation – Effigy Of The Forgotten (1991)

Suffocation – Effigy Of The Forgotten (1991)

This is some historical sick shit right here. Perhaps for its time one of the sickest and heaviest sounds ever, and a precursor to the entire sub-genre that we know today as slam or slamming death metal. There was just something more brutal about a lot of these New York bands compared to shit coming out elsewhere in the country – I guess it was maybe the hardcore influences, I don’t know. I’ve never been that big on slam but you can’t argue with Effigy Of The Forgotten. It is a slab of unforgiving death metal. Also, Dan Seagrave’s art for this is just incredible.

Darkthrone – Goatlord (1996)

Darkthrone – Goatlord (1996)

As I said in the review of the vocal-less Goatlord, the music of this release fascinates me. However, the vocals added later, in an attempt to make Goatlord into a complete album – well, these things are pretty fucking bad. I appreciate the desire to complete the demos that they started many years prior, but there is a whole farmyard worth of different vocal noises here, from the kvlt down to the absolute bizarre. Not all of it works for Darkthrone, and to be honest, it kinda ruins this entire album. I was really glad when I finally got to hear the original tracks without the vocals.

Darkthrone – Goatlord Original (2023)

Darkthrone – Goatlord Original (2023)

I can’t help but be captivated by the music that Darkthrone play on Goatlord. It is a true “what might have been moment” where the whole course of music could have been changed. Can you imagine a world without Darkthrone as a black metal band? Think, what would the implications of this be? Black metal would still exist obviously, but it would look different, that’s for sure. I never really got into Goatlord as a rabid teenage Darkthrone fan because of how dreadful the vocals were, so it is really, really cool to be able to play through the original demo tapes, once again lovingly restored from Fenriz’s original copies, this time by Patrick W. Engel. Gone are the hammy vocals added later – these are just pure instrumental tracks from a young band that are writing their sophomore album. The whole band are incredible, but Fenriz’s drumming is fantastic here. He is, arguably, wasted in the true/pure black version of Darkthrone, and it would be cool if he played in some other bands sometime (other than Isengard etc). I love time capsules like this. They are always worth opening.

Hellhammer – Demon Entrails (2008)

Hellhammer – Demon Entrails (2008)

I’m a listen to a demo in it’s original form kinda guy, but Demon Entrails is one of the exceptions, as it pulls together a pile of Hellhammer OG demos into one compilation. I mean, that’s what demo compilations do, right? LOL I’m not sure what it is about this that I prefer to listen to over the originals, but I think it has something to do with the seemingly endless amount of old shit here (over 100 minutes). Anyways, this is basically proto-everything when it comes to extreme music. There is very little one can do to deny the influence of Hellhammer on metal music. As far as how these demos sound, well, they are demos, so expect stuff to be very rough around the edge. However, these are far from unlistenable. There is very little difference between the sessions presented, and both of them are buried under plenty of tape hiss, wow and flutter. But as I’m sure you know if you are into plumbing such depths of musical antiquity, this is all just part of the fun. The audio is clear enough for you to appreciate everything that is going on. A legendary compilation, no doubt.

Nausea – Condemned To The System (2014)

Nausea – Condemned To The System (2014)

I’m pretty sure I saw Nausea touring this thing at the same festival as Terrorizer LA played, in some sort of Oscar Garcia-related frenzy. I could be wrong, because I find all of the iterations of Terrorizer confusing, but why on earth am I talking about Terrorizer in a Nausea review? Well, this is exactly why – the various iterations / lineups of Terrorizer confuse the fuck out of me and I somehow, probably because I saw them both live at the same time, also roll Nausea into this confusing ball. And that malaise around Terrorizer extended into my feelings on this Nausea record, causing me to put off checking it out for many, many years. Thankfully then, that Condemned To The System is actually really fucking good. It’s a bit no-frills, but if you just wanna bang your head to some fucking sick riffs and uncompromising drumming, then you can’t really go far wrong. A lot of the parts here remind of Utopia Banished / Harmony Corruption era Napalm Death (peak death/grind crossover so that makes a lot of sense I guess.) Good shit, all in all.

Fleshrot – Demo 2020 (2020)

Fleshrot – Demo 2020 (2020)

Came for the ass, stayed for the death metal. NGL that cover art had me immediately checking out this short demo (at just shy of 10 minutes in length). I then promptly forgot about it all under now, so I figured I’d best write up about it. The intro and outro tracks are absolutely fucking pointless, with respect. What’s the point in pushing a two-track demo to being four tracks if only two of the tracks are actual songs? It adds nothing to proceedings atmospherically, so all-in-all their addition is just a waste of everybody’s time. Thank fuck then, that the two real songs that make up the “middle” portion of the demo, are actually really fucking good. The production on this thing is incredible for a demo; the bass clanks menacingly underneath a rotting layer of guitars and the drums hold the whole thing together just-about – like a shambling reanimated corpse lunging towards fresh victims. Good shit. I need to check out the album.

Cannabis Corpse – Nug So Vile (2019)

Cannabis Corpse – Nug So Vile (2019)

I love how Cannabis Corpse are still active, I really do. They have come a long way from their parody beginnings, but still stick to their guns about releasing solid, no-frills death metal. Fuck experimentation, fuck pushing the envelope, Nug So Vile proves that Cannabis Corpse are still about headbanging, riffs and weed. The guitar work is second to none, as is expected when you look at the discography previous to this one. Nug So Vile loses a few points as we are a few records deep into the discography now and the variation is still minimal, but hey – as I said, that’s what this is all about: straight up death metal worship. Also, that art is ridiculously good.

Gorevent – Fate (2020)

Gorevent – Fate (2020)

Brutal and enjoyable slam that is unfortunately falling just on the wrong side of predictable. Formulaic songs aside, Fate is a beast of a record, with bludgeoning production that is thick, heavy and dry. In the first instance it reminds me of Cephalotripsy with more chug and less gravity blasts. At 8 songs long and only 25 minutes in length, Fate doesn’t hang around for long but honestly, after two listens it actually felt much longer than that both times. All in all, a record worth listening to for those who are deep in the mires of slam but the earlier Gorevent stuff is much better, IMO.

Venom Prison – Animus (2016)

Venom Prison – Animus (2016)

Venom Prison is a band that is fairly local to me and one that has blown up massively and has continued to rise for what is not long coming up to a decade, give or take. Animus is an older album of theirs (how the time flies), and one I missed at the time for various reasons. One of the main things that stands out to me about this on a first listen is the sheer number of brutal, slamming riffs. Venom Prison mix multiple elements of the metal genre together, but death metal is the base, from the more technical or melodic sides, to the “deathcore” side, and as I said, surprisingly, the slam side. Those riffs are totes brutes, fam.

Apostasy – Accuser Of Brethren (1993)

Apostasy – Accuser Of Brethren (1993)

Anything with “brethren” in the title gets immediate chuckles from me for reasons I can’t be bothered to explain, but also because its such a stupid and hammy word. Truly, it is the only reason I checked out this early demo from Apostasy. All in all, this is some decent, cavernous old school death. These guys were very obviously worshipping at the altar that was Napalm Death’s transition from grind to death, but all in all, this is a quick and very fun listen.

Debodified – Utopia In The Eyes Of A Beast (2003)

Debodified – Utopia In The Eyes Of A Beast (2003)

Debodified play busy, chaotic death metal in the school of Cryptopsy and the like. On the Utopia In The Eyes Of The Banished record, and no doubt any other album to their name, the band employ scatterbrain drumming of the frantic blast’n’fill variety, layering on equally jumpy and technical riffage, not to mention globs of disgusting vocals. The band are not afraid to dive into a chugging section every now and then, but endlessly complicated technical death metal is the bread and butter here. Highly recommended for those deep into the genre.

Bloodclot – Gusher (1992)

Bloodclot – Gusher (1992)

Punishing old school death metal for the masses! I was lured in by the candid sleeve art and the related name (lol), and I stayed for the brutal assault. For an early 90s death metal demo tape, this is incredibly well put together, and the production is very clear too. What I love most about Bloodclot’s* songs is the frequent descent into all-out blasting chaos. It reminds me of Harmony Corruption / Utopia Banished era Napalm Death, but without sounding too similar to those sessions at all. A really cool gem, glad I managed to unearth it. (Is it Bloodclot or Blood Clot? The demo tape has it as one word)

Lividity – Used, Abused And Left For Dead (2006)

Lividity – Used, Abused And Left For Dead (2006)

Lividity have long been one of my favourite brutal death metal bands, from the swampy, down-tuned earlier stuff, to the well-produced sickness of the later days. Used, Abused… marks that initial departure away from the murkier side of things (at least in terms of studio albums), and instead ushers in a new era of mind-boggling speed and precision. The drumming on this record, by Jordan Varela is absolutely second-to-one. Like, this is seriously fucking fast. Lividity haven’t let up in the obscenity department however, with the sick humour carrying over regardless of death metal style. “Pussy Lover Pt 3” has one of the most hilarious samples that I have ever heard. All in all, you don’t get much better than this when it comes to brutal death metal.

Lock Up – Pleasures Pave Sewers (1999)

Lock Up – Pleasures Pave Sewers (1999)

Ah fuck I just absolutely love Nick Barker. I won’t say that he is hideously under-rated, because the people who like him love his work but generally, in the wider metal world, he is definitely snoozed on. This man can drum! Anyways, what do you get if you mix Nick with the string section of Napalm Death (RIP Jesse) and put Peter Tagtgren on vocals (he did some Bloodbath stuff but otherwise I am unawares of his work)? Well, you get Lock Up, of course. I’ve seen Lock Up a few times in a few different iterations, but I have never see them with this line-up (I was a bit too young), so Pleasures Pave Sewers is an excellent document of the band’s sound from that time. It would be rude of me to say that the riffing is derivative, but it is very similar to the Napalm Death stuff of the time, which is hardly surprising as it includes two of their players, but Nick’s insanely fast and spritely drumming really gives proceedings a good kick up the arse. Tagtgren can hold his own too; bellowing out vicious explosions of bile like the icing on a very grindy cake. Pleasures Pave Sewers doesn’t re-invent the wheel, but that’s OK.

The Black Dahlia Murder – Nocturnal (2007)

The Black Dahlia Murder – Nocturnal (2007)

Never been the biggest fan of these guys but Trevor has always been a bastion in the world of death metal, so spun this in his honour. Its pretty cool, and it pulls from all corners of metal, with I guess death metal being the main course. The production is enormous and this sounds very well made. It’s not my favourite thing in the world but I’m glad I listened. RIP Trevor Strnad.

7 H.Target – Fast-Slow Demolition (2012)

7 H.Target – Fast-Slow Demolition (2012)

7 H.Target are quickly becoming one of my favourite slam acts. The other records I’ve heard of theirs are very impressive so the logical step would be to go back to the first full length and see what that’s about. And what do we have? More razor-sharp slam with inssssaaane riffs and incredible drumming. Oh boy. The production is massive, crystal-clear and really gives the slams the absolute brute force that they need, without compromising on clarity. Shit, I found myself throwing hammers to this record in my living room whilst drinking coffee and working from home, so it got that outta me! Haha! If it can make me move then it must be good!

Deicide – Legion (1992)

Deicide – Legion (1992)

Legion is a dense and difficult listen, especially for old school death metal. Just take a look at the release date on this thing and you can truly see that Deicide were forging ahead with new levels of brutality. These days brutal death has been done a million times, but this must have taken heads off back in the day. Another cool thing about this is the unassuming artwork, which hints in no way shape or form at the chaos within. I prefer Once Upon The Cross (and the S/T tbh) but shit, this is brutal as fuck. Dry production, unforgiving music and vocals.

Benediction – Subconscious Terror (1990)

Benediction – Subconscious Terror (1990)

I didn’t realise until today that it was Mick Harris of Napalm Death / Scorn etc. who produced this album. It’s got a lovely sound, one that is admittedly a little bit raw but it works really well. The drumming is outstanding (that snare sound is out of this world). Barney is on point in the vocal department and there’s some really cool sections where his trademark roars are backed up by absolutely disgusting pitchshifted screams. I love it. I’ve long been a fan of Benediction, having caught the Dave Hunt fronted version of the band live multiple times, but I’m really glad I went back to the debut and checked this out. Really good stuff.

Carcass – Torn Arteries (2021)

Carcass – Torn Arteries (2021)

Ah, Carcass. How everytime I hear thee, I pine for thoust earlier daze of grinding gore. Carcass at this point is an unrecognisable band, consisting of Steer and Walker and a bunch of other randomers (no disrespect to them – congrats on getting the Carcass gig). Torn Arteries offers me no more than what Surgical Steel already did, and with the reformation hooplah and fanfare having worn off somewhat, I am less than enthused for this shit, I won’t lie. However! Once one’s ears have adjusted to the toxic modern and over-compressed production, one surely could not argue that Torn Arteries is a bad album. Despite my above paragraph, Torn Arteries does deliver in all things metal, but it also leaves me rather uninspired. If you just want to bang your head then that is absolutely perfectly fine, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who can find many things of worth inside this slab of melodic death metal. But, all I want to do after listening to this is to dig out my vinyl bootleg of Reek lol (I will admit though, the cover art is really cool)

Blood – O Agios Pethane (1993)

Blood – O Agios Pethane (1993)

Blood remain one of the most criminally underrated bands in the grindcore world. You really have to peel back the surface layers to find appreciation for them. It’s weird, because they have been around since the genre’s heyday, and as another writer so well put, they are like an amalgamation of both early Carcass and early Napalm Death. O Agios Pethane proves however that Blood are so much more than the sum of their parts. On first listening, their loose, down-tuned grind can be perhaps quite easily dismissed, but stick around and you’ll see that the band are quite well travelled when it comes to extreme genres and influences, and melt them all together into some disgusting horrible turgid soup of an album. It is well worth your time.

Guttural Secrete – Nourishing The Spoil (2013)

Guttural Secrete – Nourishing The Spoil (2013)

Today I noticed that the word “spoil” is in both album titles from Guttural Secrete. A pointless fact there for you.  Anyway, this is, much like its predecessor, a razor-sharp execution of the brutalest (is that even a word?) form of death metal. The speed and dexterity here is rather overwhelming; the songs are slick and polished, yet are delivered with the bludgeoning force of a spiked sledgehammer to the back of the skull.  Mike Hrubovcak killing it with the disgusting art as well. Tidy.