Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Archives of the Dead part XXXII - Epitaph - Demo 1991

Archives of the Dead part XXXII - Epitaph - Demo 1991 
Line up: Mark Good (bass), Kevin Astl (drums), Tony Teegarden (guitars, vocals), Scott Senokossoff (guitars) 
Recorded at Morrisound Studios, 1991. Produced by Tom Morris and Epitaph. 
Wanna read about another crushing US death metal demo from the early 90's and band, which only very few people remember (I think)? Here's it is. The band is called Epitaph, which is a very unfortunate name, considering how many other Epitaphs there were. These guys were from Florida and if you look at their line up, you can spot names, which can also be found in Cynic (Tony Teegarden) and Resurrection (Mark Good and Kevin Astl had an episode there).  
So, a classic Floridian death metal? This is exactly what Epitaph was. And more so, they were just fantastic. This demo from 1991 sounds killer. Epitaph recorded it at the infamous Morrisound, so the sound quality is great, it sounds professional, super tight and brutal. And stylistically it sounds like a combination of Death and Obituary, to describe it as simply as possible. They had the melody and bit of twisted riffage from "Spiritual Healing" combined with the heaviness and brutality of "Cause of Death". Very well played, technically this demo sounds nothing like a beginning band. I especially like the bass work, which does not allow you to forget about its existence for the entire demo and plays many great parts. The drummer also plays tight and precise. There's a bit of thrashing feel here and there, which can remind you also bands such as Demolition Hammer or Solstice, so generally this is a super, super fuckin awesome stuff. I could not believe that it's so little known, when I played it for the first time it blew my head off right away. Three songs, 13 minutes of music, but what a joy to listen to it. I'm glad that I've found this demo. 
Oh, John Tardy did some guest vocals in one of these songs. 
Verdict: 80/100

Friday, 11 January 2019

Omegavortex - Promo 2018

OMEGAVORTEX - Promo 2018 (self released)
A while ago I had an enormous pleasure to recommend you one of Germany's better current death / black metal acts, Ambevilence, whose self titled EP made quite a great impression on me. For some reason Ambevilence is no more, but Omegavortex steps in as a continuation of this project. And I must say that I feel a lot of satisfaction for being contacted by Rob from Omegavortex, who gave me an opportunity to listen to their pre-production cassette of the forthcoming debut album. And what can I say... this material sounds absolutely killer and you can believe me that Omegavortex should end up on all of your shopping lists as soon as the album is finished and released (at the moment I have no idea when it's gonna happen, soon I hope!). 
Basically, Omegavortex is a continuation of Ambevilence, yet the intensity and sheer aggression of these new songs extends Ambevilence EP easily. And I love how vicious and ferocious these songs sound like. They're taking the listener through a chaotic dimension, blasting like crazy, bringing the same savagery and "evil" feeling as early Morbid Angel, Order from Chaos or Necrovore did. Harshness of this music gives it also a strong black metal feel, which is also underlined by a viciously screaming vocals. It's important to notice that these four tracks have not included even a single moment of melodic or more memorable fragment. It's merciless, aggressive and malicious in atmosphere all the way through. It's not only about blasts, but let's the honest - the tempo is fast in majority of this material. But it's properly diversified with slower or mid paced sections, which have that great old school morbid death metal aura of the bands I mentioned above. Listen to "Dark Matter" as an example. And I dare to say also that this tape sounds very well as well, even if it’s only meant to be a pre-production material. But it shreds and lacks nothing! 
So, "Black Abomination Spawn" is the title of Omegavortex's upcoming album. I am absolutely looking forward to hear it and I strongly believe that it's gonna be one of the best debuts of 2019. 
Verdict: 80/100

Listen to it here: https://omegavortex.bandcamp.com/album/promo-2018

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Incinerator - Concept of Cruelty

INCINERATOR - Concept of Cruelty (RAW SKULL Rekordz - CD 2018)
What a surprise to see new Incinerator album, only one year after the excellent "Stench of Distress" was unleashed! But it's a positive surprise for me. Debut album was great and so is this one, for sure! With big smile on my face I started to play this album, excepting the rightful continuation of the old school death metal style from the debut. And that's exactly what I got from "Concept of Cruelty”. It's a fuckin blast of traditional European death metal, everything here is played in the classic vein and it sounds absolutely killer. And if you call yourself fan of bands such as Asphyx, Pestilence, Grave, Dismember, Benediction and such, then get ready for this devastation!!! 
Such albums are for me a pure pleasure to listen to. Not only stylistically they're rooted in my favourite death metal styles and influenced by my favourite bands, but the songwriting, performance, production - everything about it is fantastic. There are killer riffs on every song and there's also diversity, which allows you to enjoy the album more. Incinerator plays faster, more violent and aggressive parts, but also come up with slower, heavier stuff and a bit of insanely memorable melodies. The music is very dynamic and it's also powerful as hell, with the production, which I like a lot, because it keeps the harshness of underground death metal, but the sound is also clean and so strong that you want to play the music as loud as possible. Structures of most of these songs are rather simple, the band seems to prefer the “keep it short and easy, but effective” way, which always have a punching effect on the listener. There are bit faster, more straight forward songs like “My Darkest Needs”, but my favourites are such tracks like “Dead”, “Morbid Lust” or “The Concept of Cruelty”, which provide more heaviness and viciousness to the music and have also some of these great melodic parts. And especially “Covered in Red” blew me away, maybe because it has such a killer mid-section similar to Asphyx / Bolt Thrower, which I like so much. 
There’re maybe one or two songs, which are a bit weaker, like “Quarteredismembered”, so maybe this is why I like Incinerator’s debut album more. It was more complete. But this one is also solid and worth to listen to. It’s one of those death metal styles, which I worship, so I cannot have different opinion. Very good band, definitely! 
Standout tracks: “Covered in Red”, “The Concept in Cruelty”, “Dead” 
Verdict: 70/100

Monday, 7 January 2019

Just Before Dawn - Tides of Blood

JUST BEFORE DAWN - Tides of Blood (RAW SKULL Rekordz - LP 2018)
This is third Just Before Dawn album, but if you count "On the History of Destruction", which compiles two EPs and some other songs, then we could say that it's a fourth full length release from this Swedish death metal band. And if you ever had a chance to hear any of their previous efforts then you should know exactly what to expect from "Tides of Blood". Which is melodic, almost epic sounding Swedish death metal with a concept that deals with the Second World War and various important events from its history (like Market Garden and the bombing of Bremen). One more important and always very attractive fact about Just Before Dawn albums is that its leader and main songwriter Anders Biazzi always invites a whole bunch of other musicians to participate in his album. Don't be surprised if you hear a different death metal growler in each song. This time you could hear legendary vocalists like Dave Ingram, but also Matias Nastolin (Decaying), Ralf Hauber (Revel in Flesh), Jonny Pettersson (Wombbath), Mattias Parkkila (Malfeitor). And guitarists such as HÃ¥kan Stuvemark (Wombbath). Isn't that exciting? Oh yes, it is. As always! 
And even if Just Before Dawn music is not able to surprise me with anything new and it seems to be repeating the same or similar patterns from the previous albums, it sounds fantastic anyway and I personally enjoy it a lot. To some new listeners it could sound slightly one dimensional, monotonous and too long... But I personally don't feel it this way. I rather prefer to say that I love these melodies, monumental feeling of this sort of death metal and that it perfectly fits the concept, which Just Before Dawn presents. Slow paced, epic... sometimes sorrowful, full of emotions death metalwhich is not solely limited to aggression and brutality and which stylistically combines Bolt Thrower, Asphyx and Swedish death metal (including Amon Amarth, band, which personally I dislike!). All songs from “Tides of Blood” flow slowly, taking you straight into the frenzy and tragedy of war. They don't bring any surprises, but sound very good, very solid and insanely memorable. Which is a perfect recipe for this sort of death metal. The guitar work is very good, I also like how all guests did they work.... and on top of the very well written songs, there's clean, yet powerful production, what gives a good balance between the melodic side of this music and punching, aggressive riffage. I'm also happy to hear Mr. Ingram here. I know that he's been back into death metal for some time, in bands such as Down Among the Dead Men. But I haven't had yet a chance to hear them, so it's great to know that his growl still sounds brutal and great! 
What else can I write!? "Tides of Blood" has got a fantastic vinyl presentation, with a black / white marbled vinyl housed in a gatefold cover. Strictly limited, it's a must to have, so be quick, get a copy or be dead. 
Standout tracks: "Market Garden", "Bombs over Bremen", "Tides of Blood" 
Verdict: 80/100 

Vastum / Spectral Voice - split 7"EP

Split seven-inch vinyl with two such fantastic bands like Vastum and Spectral Voice is just must to have in collection. You should not hesitate even for a second, but get a copy before this vinyl is sold out! Dark Descent released this small piece of wax and I love how they did it, especially the layout, which resembles all these old, classic death metal seven inches from early 90's. It really looks "old"! What a nice idea. 
And musically, this release is exactly what you will expect to hear from these two bands. Old school, obscure, grim and fuckin heavy death metal, which will crush your every piece of flesh and turn it into bloody, disgusting pulp. It's gonna squeeze all liquids out of your body, like you squeeze your lemon and slowly tear all limbs. Fuckin sonic death metal torture! I actually like Vastum's "Gagging on a Gash" a bit more over Spectral Voice's "Katabatic Depths", as their riffs are more memorable, more crushing and deadly. I also like vocals in Vastum more. Anyway, "Gagging on a Gash" is relatively slow to mid paced death metal monster, yet it sounds very powerful and massive, with good feeling and proper horrid atmosphere. "Gagging on a Gash" is much more savage, vicious and faster, but the atmosphere in this song is super awesome as well, so damn bestial and horroresque. I've heard better songs from these two bands, if I can be honestWhich doesn’t mean they sound boring here! Both are solid tracks and it’s always a damn pleasure to listen to these two bands. 
Verdict: 75/100