KRABATHOR - Lies (MAD LION CD 2014 / MONSTER NATION LP 2014)
I am listening to an old Krabathor album titled “Lies” and I am just thinking that it seems like this band, with their awesome albums, is quite forgotten / or at least underrated nowadays. Hardly anyone mentions them when listing the best 90’s death metal bands… Is it because they just weren’t one? But for sure Krabathor was – along Vader – the best band from the old communistic block. I wonder why then they never achieved more attention? Vader did! Well, maybe it’s because albums like “Lies” came out in quite unfortunate times for death metal bands… The glorious old days were gone, the underground was tired with this sort of playing and focused on the eruption of black metal or on the softened doom / gothic crap – to which (funny idea!) many previously death metal bands also got attracted to, with hope that this way they won’t rot forgotten. Not many old death crews really survived this time unharmed. Anyway, the underground of mid to late 90’s was still filled with killer death metal bands, the only problem is that their albums were getting much smaller attention! I’m not gonna even mention their names, too many! But I feel like Krabathor was amongst them. So, in case you never heard or never cared about Krabathor, here’s an opportunity to bring this name to your attention as some of their old classics were just re-released. And “Lies” is one of those albums. It has a new digipack version, issued by Mad Lion, but also a nice vinyl edition, released through Monster Nation. How nice! And I got both of these reissues! I am really damn happy to have Krabathor on vinyl, but also to have the CD version of “Lies” finally, as previously I only listened to Krabathor from tapes.
And after all those years, “Lies” still sounds cool. This is some really great, brutal death metal with that old school feeling, which you may remember from the early recordings of Deicide, Hate, Vital Remains, Sinister, etc. Their songs are aggressive as fuck, often relentlessly fast, but at the same time Krabathor does not avoid being melodic, with some almost thrash metal guitar solos and simply being catchy and memorable. Honestly speaking, the album today sounds quite uneven for me. There are some killer songs, but also some, which are maybe too mediocre... I like the brutal side of Krabathor the most, while not all of those slower and more melodic tracks are something I particularly enjoy; sometimes I feel like they don’t have that powerful sound. Anyway, it doesn’t change the fact that as overall “Lies” is damn good album.
They kick off with a killer track titled “The Truth About Lies”, which reminds me “Liquid” from the next album – similar aggression, merciless riffing, fast drumming… what a nice song it is, truly devastating piece! And I really like the production of the album! Then we have “Unnecessarity”, which is again a very good song, even though it has one of those slow and melodic mid-parts, with completely not death metal style guitar solos. But it is, like so many other tracks here, a very good song anyway. And later take a listen to “Short Report From the Ritual Carnage”, “Imperator (Strikes Again)” (which has such an old school thrash / death feeling that I can’t resist… But no surprise, as this song is originally from the old Krabathor demo)… But I mentioned that the album has its ups and downs, and the latter for me are slower songs like “Tears, Hope and Hate” and “Pain of Bleeding Hearts” – they are simply not Krabathor’s best, but only decent tunes, lacking a bit of that aggression and power. Luckily, when these two songs end, then the one afterwards, “Rebirth of Blasphemy”, is nice, heavy and aggressive motherfucker… also slow, but so much heavier! And finally “Stonedream”, which is probably the best combination of fast death metal and epic, melodic stuff here; really nice one!
Both Mad Lion’s CD version and LP contain “The Rise of Brutality” EP 1995 as a bonus. Would love to have the original EP in the collection... Anyway, it’s nice to have it on these reissues. It may not be something particularly impressive, as all songs from it are also featured on “Lies”… but it’s good addition, especially that actually I like these versions more than those from the album haha. They just sound more savage and raw, which I like a lot. And that’s it. It’s great to have “Lies” on LP and CD finally; I really recommend you this and also other Krabathor’s albums; support this Czech force!
Standout tracks: “The Truth About Lies”, “Unnecessarity”, “Short Report From the Ritual Carnage”, “Imperator (Strikes Again)”, “Stonedream”
Final rate: 70/100