Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Depraved Literature part X - Tough Riffs issues 1-3

It's always great to read some underground (extreme) metal fanzines. The more is there, the better, I always say. Recently I had a pleasure to get and read three issues of Tough Riffs Magazine. My first encounter with it was by their website which I found as damn interesting, filled with interviews with some of the best death metal bands out there. And later I saw also that some of this material has been printed. There are three issues, so it was surely a pleasant surprise that the editor of Tough Riffs Dima Andreyuk was so kind to send me his works. This is why I do this article now. Let me just say that I think that all these three issues of Tough Riffs are still available, so get in touch with Dima. Or you can check the website, as all the content from these issues is there as well. 
But let's get to the point. Tough Riffs is death metal magazine. No black or thrash, just death metal, in all its forms and styles - from old school to brutal and slam, even with a bit of grind here and there. As such it reminds me Chaos Magazine. It focused on one genre and includes some more well-known and respected bands, as well some new acts... and some bands, which are on the battlefield for years, but they still live deep in the underground. All issues are professionally printed, issues 1-2 are in colour, but I prefer the style of issue 3, with its black / white and more interesting layout. It looks much better and underground. There are only interviews. No reviews, no articles. For me it's OK, I don't need reviews. I know they're usually an important part of every zine and magazine, but instead we can get more interviews. With 40 plus pages, every issue is filled with chats and with some cool bands. The quality of interviews is varied - some are better, more in-depth, some are quite short and basic. Questions, which Dima asks, are all music and band focused, he doesn't really ask about anything else. This again has good and bad aspects - good, as the music is what counts the most. Bad, as the interviews are pretty standard and usually more topics would give more in depth and interesting conversations. Anyway, I don't moan. I've read all issues with pleasure and it was nice to go through Tough Riffs. I'm not into every band from Tough Riffs 1-3. Usually it's like 5 bands I do like a lot, 5 which I know but I'm not so much into (brutal, slam death metal mostly) and then there are some bands, which I've never heard of. So, let's go through the content of every issue. 
Issue 1 contains chats with: Skinless, Protector, Brutality, Grave, Lividity, Profanity, Dead Infection, TON, Internal Bleeding, Soils of Fate, Demonomacy, Defeated Sanity, Internal Suffering, Fulgora, Darkall Slaves, Beneath, Disgrace, Nailgun Massacre, Gortuary, Horrified. 
Yeah... I've never heard the music of quite a lot of these bands. I am a fan of such Grave, Protector, Horrified, Nailgun Massacre, Brutality, so it was cool to read these chats. But I have to say that the best interviews are those with Demonomacy (I have to check their demos now, damn!) and Profanity (I immediately bought their "Slaughtering Thoughts" album after reading this chat haha). Interviews with Lidivity, Brutality and Horrified were pretty interesting also. Generally, it's a good work and solid debut issue. I lack maybe deeper interviews sometimes and from my personal taste, there are too few bands that I am personally into... but I've read all interviews anyway. And enjoyed them! 
Issue 2 has interviews with: Misery Index, Pestilence, Morta Skuld, Ossuary, Master, Malignancy, Prophecy, Creepmime, Blood, morgue, Dehuman, Burial Ritual, Kraanium, Cerebral Effusion, Nervous Impulse, Extinctionist 
The second issue brings also some bands, which I like a lot, as well as plenty, which I either don't know or don't care about. But I definitely did enjoy chats with Master, Morgue, CreepmimeDehumanMorta Skuld... also Pestilence, although I had a bit of laugh reading that Patrick Mameli cries that all fans want to hear only old Pestilence songs, not the new ones. What a surprise, considering that old albums are legendary, while the new ones are shit. There's a bunch of brutal death metal / slam bands presented as well, but all I can say is that I've read these interviews, but I cannot say that many of these bands would interest me. Generally, the quality of second issue is the same as issue one, both are pretty similar, also when speaking of the layout. 
Issue 3 with: Monstrosity, Sinister, Malevolent Creation, Devoid, Morbius, Disharmonic Orchestra, Immortal Suffering, Holy Terror, Aborted, Morpheus Descends, Criminal Element, Gorgasm, Rotten Sound, CryptopsyPsycroptic, Blessed Sickness and Mercyless 
Issue three is the best of all, in my opinion. I prefer the black / white colouring it has way more, the layout and design is also more interesting... and there are I think some better interviews. They have more interesting questions and are longer, more in depth. Also, the choice of the bands is more what I like, because I'm big fan of quite few of these acts. They're all death metal of corpse, but some killer names are here like Monstrosity, Sinister, Malevolent Creation, Devoid, Morbius, Morpheus Descends, Mercyless. Still no reviews or anything except the interviews, but I don't mind that. This issue was a fantastic reading and I enjoyed it a lot. Good to see that Tough Riffs has evolved and got even better, so I am sure that issue number four will keep the great quality. And bring more great interviews. Very recommended then, check for more details. all interviews are also published on this website, in case you prefer to read from your laptop or tablet. 

Morbid Flesh - Rites of the Mangled

MORBID FLESH - Rites of the Mangled (UNHOLY PROPHECIES - CD 2017)
It's been a while since Morbid Flesh released anything ("Embedded in the Ossuary" came out in 2014), I am very, very glad then that "Rites of the Mangled" is out. I have to say that I've been playing this CD for some time now and the more I listen to it, the more I like it. I do realize that this album doesn't provide anything new or groundbreaking to the whole death metal genre. I do know also that it has very small chance to become the death metal album of the year... at least to most of the people. But personally, I have to say that this album just fuckin rips my guts out and kills with no mercy, bringing exactly my favourite type of death metal. It ticks all the boxes of "what I like about this style of music the most". And more importantly, everything on this album sounds excellent, the whole performance is top notch and the songwriting and arrangements are perfect. Definitely it's Morbid Flesh's best effort yet, it shows great step forward, even compared to also great "Embedded in the Ossuary" EP... Yeah, it's sweet fuckin death metal torture and beast of an album. 
Morbid Flesh definitely takes a lot of influence from the Swedish death metal, but I would rather say that they're playing traditional European death metal in general. Why? Well, obviously they have the production, which is pretty close to the classic Swedish sound. They also come up with many fantastic harmonies, which normally characterize classics like Dismember or Goddefied. They also have a bit of Entombed-esque groove. But there're also many killer doomy parts or more brutal and vicious parts, which would bring to your mind some Finnish, Dutch or German classics. The melodic part of "Rites of the Mangled" is truly excellent, I mean take a listen to such "Incantation" for instance. The ending part of this track is wonderful and harmonies are as good as those from "Like an Ever Flowing Stream", in my opinion.  
Anyway, it doesn't even matter what inspires Morbid Flesh to compose such crushing death metal. The fact is that their music is absolutely good and for me it's not yet another average sounding old school death metal release. Every song on "Rites of the Mangled" sounds brilliant, every song is filled with riffs that are GODLY and the whole music fills me with aggression and energy that erupt from it. I absolutely recommend it. 
Standout tracks: "Burn the Entrails", "Banished to Oblivion", "Incantation" 
Final rate: 85/10

Ghastly - A Morbid Demo...

GHASTLY - A Morbid Demo... (Self financed demo CDR 2004)
Yesterday I've been searching for some old promos that I keep stored in a shoe boxes (yes, serious haha!) and I also found a pretty cool demo CDR, which I completely forgot even existed. This is "A Morbid Demo..." from Australian band called Ghastly. They were pretty shortly lived band, which existed between 2003 and 2006, and "A Morbid Demo..." was released in 2004 (followed by one more demo "A Morbid Ritual" in 2005). Since it's been probably more than 12-13 years since I have listened to Ghastly for the last time, I decided to give it a go... Luckily the old CDR still plays smoothly and more so, the music turned out to be pretty fuckin cool. It was nice to remind myself about this band! 
"A Morbid Demo..." contains four anthems of old school metal. These guys melt into their style influences from traditional heavy metal (Well, all in all they have done a brilliant speeded up cover of Running Wild's "Black Demon" from killer "Gates to Purgatory" album), thrash and speed metal (Sodom) and obviously the old school black metal of Venom, Bathory, Tormentor or so on. So yeah, it's very traditional, raw and nasty sounding stuff, with that evil and obscure feeling, which characterized the old recordings. And damn, I have to say it's been pure pleasure to listen to Ghastly. I know that this demo is nothing innovative or exceptional, but it's just so much fun to listen to such stuff. You just grab a beer (or five haha), play it loud, scream and band the bloody skull like the real heavy metal maniac does. Cliche? Maybe, but it's a wonderful heavy metal cliché. 
So, it's a shame Ghastly split up so soon. Although its members play now in band called Demons Gate. But I want to grab Ghastly second demo, hopefully I will manage one day! 
Final rate: 70/100

Just Before Dawn - On the History of Destruction

JUST BEFORE DAWN - On the History of Destruction (DARK SYMPHONIES - CD 2017)
Let's check another Just Before Dawn's recent release, this time it's a CD titled "On the History of Destruction", released by Dark Symphonies. It's sort of compilation, which contains the recent EP "The Ghosts of the Eastern Front" plus a whole bunch of new, unreleased songs. There are ten songs in total, with almost one hour of sorrowful and epic death metal on the clock. Quite a lot, but I have to say that I've listened to this album with great pleasure and enjoyed its every moment. 
I believe that you are already familiar with Just Before Dawn music. I have written about it and described it in details several times. I hope I was able to recommend it to you and that you managed to grab some of their recordings. To keep things short, let me remind you that Just Before Dawn is a project of Anders Biazziwho - together with several other musicians invited for every recording – creates a stunning epic death metal. This music is filled with sorrowful melodies, monumental riffs, it has almost mournful atmosphere... It's just incredibly epic, heavy, quite slow-paced death metal, which can remind you bands such as Hypocrisy, Bolt Thrower, Amon Amarth, Hail of Bullets, Unleashed and so on. Good thing about this album and Just Before Dawn in general is that despite the slow, doomy tempo and the melodic accents, the music isn't boring. Sure, there are better and little worse songs, like everywhere else, but the average quality is great. And some of the fragments on this CD are simply stunning, especially the song titled "The Ghosts of the Eastern Front" is truly fantastic, I like it a lot. But such "As Death Breaks the Surface" and "7th Patrol" are also among my favourites. This album is very easy to get into, there are many memorable riffs, all vocalists who were invited did great job also (Rai Walters from Departed Souls, Jonny Pettersson from Wombbath, Matias Nastolin from Decaying, Marc Niederhagemann from Lifeless, David Nilsson from Feral)… You can only hear that the production quality differs between some songs, especially for the last two tracks – which are not even mentioned in the tracklist – where the sound doesn't seem to be as heavy and powerful as it's on some of the other songs. But it doesn't disturb, especially for song like "7th Patrol", which is just killer. 
On top of everything, there are two killer cover tunes, which I think simply kill. First, there's Hail of Bullets' "Operation Eastward" - very well played, keeping the song in pretty much the same vein as original, without making it even tiny different. Which is good, because I like this song the way it is. It's real fuckin crusher and beast of the song, so why changing it? And Jonny Pettersson from Wombbath did great vocals for it. The second cover is even more worthy. It's called "We Will Remember Them... (A Tribute)" and it's a medley of some of the best riffs and song parts of the mighty Bolt Thrower, compiled into one, twelve minutes long song. What a killer idea and great performance, with just many classic riffs, which we all love. Petterson, Dave Rotten and Brynjar Helegtune did vocals for it and they obviously did good job. I truly like this idea as well and the final result is just fuckin sweet. 
Standout tracks: "The Ghosts of the Eastern Front""As Death Breaks the Surface""We Will Remember Them... (A Tribute)", "7th Patrol" 
Final rate: 80/100