DESECRATOR - Subconscious Release (MOSH TUNEAGE - CD 2012)
Nowadays people tend to praise all death metal albums or demos from the early 90’s; even if back then they were considered to be just mediocre… it seems like it is enough that something was recorded back then to be now called “a classic and cult release”. But we must realize that not everything what has been recorded back in the early 90’s and is death metal, must mean it is a worthy, killer and classic gem. Among many killer and truly essential releases there were also few, which I think were just not that good and which aren’t that obligatory to have. There are many examples for that and it makes me laugh sometimes, when the labels re-release demo from such Abhoth or Embryo / Stigmata, call them cults, but in reality they were just very, very mediocre… and still remain like that. Here is another such example – Desecrator from UK. To be honest I’ve never heard of this band back in the old days; they never popped up in the zines or magazines, which I had, so first time I’ve ever seen their logo and the artwork for their only album “Subconscious Release” was only few years ago (and the artwork caught my eye immediately, as it is one more Dan Seagrave’s work and the blue colouring of that horrid, unearthly creature really reminds me “Altars of Madness”). Few years after I saw this album Mosh Tuneage has re-released it on CD, so I thought “OK, I’ll buy it, as usually British bands were awesome, even those less known like Impaler, Burial or Decomposed, so maybe Desecrator will also be good”. So, I got the CD, gave it few listens and I can say that I wouldn’t lose anything, if I’ve never heard this music. “Subconscious Release” belongs to those totally mediocre and quite forgettable albums from the old days… I don’t want to sound like I didn’t find anything worthy in their music; no, it is not so bad, it is just very, very mediocre and I am afraid that with 43 minutes of music plus additional 20 for the bonus tracks the whole CD turned out to be just boring.
Technically speaking there should be nothing wrong about “Subconscious Release”. Desecrator played some nice, chunky, aggressive death metal riffs, with a slight thrash metal touch here and there and generally their style reminds me Death a lot, from “Leprosy” and “Spiritual Healing” era; even the production is quite similar (just listen to how the drums and guitars sound). There may also be occasional similarities to some other, more known and certainly better, British bands such as Cancer (my eternal favourites!) and Benediction… and as I said there’s nothing really wrong about the whole “Subconscious Release”. But I don’t know whether it is the sound of the album, what makes it so unpassionable or maybe the material just isn’t that strong and is too unoriginal and repetitive what makes it sound so damn boring…? I don’t know. There are some really nice riffs here and there (for example in the title song or in the very Death-influenced “Repressive Acceptance”), I generally like such style of death metal, but somehow Desecrator is not able to excite me totally. I would mainly blame the production for it, as it certainly lacks the spark, the aggression and brutality, it isn’t powerful enough, being also quite rough, so it is almost lifeless and I hate how they’ve done the whole mixing and mastering, as the guitars are so quiet, especially when compared to the drums… I can imagine that if only the album had the sound comparable to the mighty "Dreams of the Carrion Kind" or “Spiritual Healing” for instance then it would definitely be much better, I think. But the songwriting also isn’t perfect here. Sure, there are many solid, fine moments, I like love some of these riffs, the material certainly sounds very old school, but also incredibly archaic nowadays… I like also these longer instrumental parts here and there, but I am afraid that for the 40 minutes of music and each song being quite lengthy (up to eight minutes, what for sure wasn’t something common among death metal bands at that time…) it feels like there’s just too much of everything and the music isn’t effective enough and straight forward enough, especially as the whole albums has constantly the same mid paced tempo. That monotony doesn’t help this music at all. There are no real standout or classic tracks there, Desecrator didn’t compose their “Pull the Plug” or “Hung Drawn And Quartered”… So in the end the album isn’t terribly bad; it is listenable and decent, but nothing more than that.
Nowadays many old albums or demos are being re-released. And I have nothing against it, as the prices of some old pressings are ridiculously high and it crossed the limits of common sense long time ago, so having so many old items re-released is good thing definitely. Maybe not everything what has been recently repressed deserved it, but who cares… I am not going to lose my money on some utter shit. But I certainly can say see why Mosh Tuneage has decided to release “Subconscious Release” once more. All in all originally the album was released in small quantity of 500 copies on vinyl only, by R.K.T. Records in 1991 – and that label wasn’t too prolific, having such third league thrash metal bands as Metal Duck (fuck, what a name!) or Hydra Vein… Well, I am afraid that “Subconscious Release” was also a third league death metal album… Nowadays the price for original vinyl pressing goes up to even 150 dollars, so it was a wise decision to reissue the album, there will definitely be many maniacs, who will want to have it in their collections and I also purchased the CD. I did hope to get some high quality death metal, so I feel slightly disappointed with this mediocre album… but I will keep it and give it a listen once every decade. Sadly the booklet for this CD hasn’t been done the way I like – without any liner notes from the band members or band’s history… Since the band authorized this re-release then it would be nice to get something extra from them, you know? OK, there are these four bonus tracks from “Demo 1993”, which was recorded already after Desecrator changed their name into Consumed… this demo sounds very much like a proper continuation of the album, the sound is slightly better in my opinion, heavier and more brutal… I wonder what would happen, if Consumed released an album, but that never occurred, as sadly all of a sudden Consumed changed their music style for punk in 1994 and even recorded two punk albums, before splitting up in 2003 (you can listen to them on youtube, if you want – to me they sound like that shit pop punk similar to Green Day or Offspring, so I can see these guys were just chasing the trends!). I could never understand all these sudden changes in musical directions of some old bands, like Disgrace for instance, but that’s a history now. Desecrator history finished two decades ago, quality wise “Subconscious Release” is not on the same level as “Death Shall Rise”, “Transcend the Rubicon” or so many other death metal albums… So, it is not a legendary, cult album, but just a mediocre effort. I can recommend it to all diehard death metal collectors, but if you’re more picky then you can forget about it, as this album isn’t really anything special, to be honest. But if such albums as “Subconscious Release” has been reissued, then I hope that someone will also finally re-release Sororicide’s “The Entity” and their split with Chorus of Ruin – do it now!
Standout tracks: “Subconscious Release”, “Repressive Acceptance”, “Killing Joke”
Final rate: 65/100