Monday, 27 January 2014

A Split Worse Than Death

Grindscene Records 2013
A Split Worse Than Death brings together 5 death metal bands from the UK, all relatively well known on the current underground scene.
First up are five tracks from Bury sickos ‘Foetal Juice’. Their style is probably best described as old school grind. There is a real catchiness to their music, each song tending to bounce along at a really good pace. Their intro track “Introjuice” is actually one of their longest and sets the tone perfectly for the remaining four tracks. The production the band use is dirty and suits their music perfectly and is well balanced with an ‘unpolished’ feel, but anything different wouldn’t have suited their style, they have it bang on. Their songs aren’t overly complex, but they don’t need to be, the catchiness and simplicity is what is so appealing about Foetal Juice. They are playing old school influenced grindcore and are playing it really well. The Vocal delivery is a real highlight, the ultra-guttural vocals complimented very well with higher screamed backing vocals. Genre standard yes, but executed extremely well here. Its nasty, its brutal, its old school and its very impressive.
8.5 out of 10
 Next up is everyone’s favourite gore obsessed, serial killer worshipping sickos ‘Basement Torture Killings’. The London boys don’t hold back at all, from their opening track ‘Tapestry Of Putrid Genitalia’ through to their closing song ‘The White Chapel Murders’ the pace is an absolute frenzy. In fact everything about their music is frenzied, the blast beat laden drum work and schizophrenic guitars prove to be absolutely devastating and definitely the soundtrack some sickening murders. Playing at a faster pace can be a problem for some bands, finding the balance between speed and writing a memorable song, but BTK does this perfectly. Think older Carcass mixed with the likes of Impaled and Exhumed and you’ll not be far off the mark. Manic, brutal and utterly pummelling, BTK once again prove to be utterly devastating and their five tracks cannot be faulted at all.
9 out of 10
Brutal death metallers ‘Decimation’ follow on and offer four tracks of brutal as fuck death metal. Their style of death metal is relatively straightforward, sounding akin to modern day Cannibal Corpse. What really stands out is the production the band has opted for. The guitars are so heavy and every instrument has been mixed and balanced very well to the point where every song wouldn’t sound out of place on a Cannibal Corpse album, such is the professional standard attained. Their songs do sit firmly in the “mid-paced” bracket with forays into faster blast beat sections with equal measure. But, this mix of paces suits their brand of bludgeoning death metal very well indeed. All very impressive. 
9 out of 10
Ireland’s 'Zombified' are a different beast altogether, their style of death metal harks back to the early nineties when death metal was raw, nasty, conceived in the gutter and belched out in sub-human fashion. Offering up three tracks of dirty and nasty old school death metal, they really bludgeon through every track with real menace and don’t let up at all, blast beats; frenzied guitars and ultra-guttural vocals really mix well together and provide some extremely nasty music. The band have an almost ‘Finnish’ sound to their music, or maybe old school Swedish death metal, but the early European influence is definitely on display. Stand out track must be ‘The Immolation Race’ as it offers up everything you’d want from horrible old school death metal – faster catchy Swedish influenced riffs; slower Autopsy influenced sludge laden sections and an uncompromising vocal delivery. Utterly nasty, but purely perfect!
9 out of 10
Closing this split cd are ‘Nailed’ who with three full length albums under their belts are the releases ‘veterans’ and don’t let down at all. Brutal death metal with a slight thrash influence, all four tracks from the band absolutely crush and demolish the listener. Not the heaviest production in the world, the band more than make up for it in the speed and blistering delivery they offer up. Each song is an absolute whirlwind of brutal and technical death metal which definitely pummels the listener at every chance. If any comparisons were needed, then Malevolent Creation springs to mind every now and again, although when Nailed let loose with the blast beats they sound much more effective. A great band to close what is a great split release
8.5 out of 10
Overall: A Split Worse Than Death is an excellent introduction into the UK extreme metal underground and each band offers up something different to the other giving the listener a really good insight into the varying styles and bands currently ‘out there’. If you’re a newcomer to the scene, or a seasoned veteran, this release is a varied and extremely enjoyable listen and comes highly recommended
8.5 out of 10
Buy It:Here

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Cognizance - Inquisition & Cognizance (Demo 2014)

Self Released 2013
1.Clones of the Night Sky 2.The Perennial Struggle 3.Epistemology
4.Defying a Natural Process
Yorkshire based duo Cognizance are a studio based death metal project that utilises the efforts of countless guest musicians. Debut e.p. ‘Inquisition’ starts with opening track ‘Clones Of The Night Sky’ and what an introduction to the band this is. Blasting drums accompany brutal and technical guitars which when combined absolutely pummel. There is a melodic edge to the guitars which really stands out when compared to many brutal death metal bands. The band come across as a ‘Unique Leader Records’ style of band, brutal and effortlessly technical with a melodic edge all extremely well produced and balanced – great start! ‘The Perennial Struggle’ follows on in suitably brutal fashion with more of the same except there is more of a technical edge on display, the guitars switching from dazzling and technical riffs to brutal and pummelling sledgehammer sections with great ease. There are a lot of guitar solos utilised which in places are reminiscent of Cynic, not that the band sound in any way like that, just the way the solos are phrased and played. ‘Epistemology’ is another short, sharp and technically brutal lesson in how to play technical death metal and play it well. More speed used this time round; the blast beat sections really show the band at their best. The mix of these faster sections and the more technical and slower melodic passages works extremely well, not necessarily unique in the genre, but definitely unique to the UK. Closing this short e.p. is ‘Defying A Natural Process’ which begins life very technically, the song structure really been mixed up and showing the bands talents off brilliantly. It almost sounds out of control but you just know these guys know exactly what they are doing such is the standard of musicianship on display. Musically there’s a touch of Atheist, and again Cynic, to their sound. However, the brutal and guttural death metal vocals really set them aside from such bands. Four tracks of technical and brutal death metal; this is a highly impressive introduction to the band. The standard these guys have set is very high and it would be fair to say you’d be hard pushed to find a brutal death metal band in the UK playing to such a standard. Comes very highly recommended.
9 Out Of 10
Self Released 2014
1.Assemblage of Ancient Authority 2.Deep Geological Disposal
2014 sees the band release a two track demo and again, the band utilised the talents of guest musicians to help out. One of the better known names to appear being drum god Romain Goulon. Opening track ‘Assemblage Of Ancient Authority’ shows a marked improvement in the bands ability. There’s more of a technical edge to their sound and approach to song writing and the addition of such a well renowned drummer has boosted the overall effectiveness of the music. It really adds new bite to their songs and gives them a much darker and sinister sound. Having said that, the melodic solos are still being used and the comparisons to the likes of Atheist and Cynic still stand true. ‘Deep Geological Disposal’ again blasts open unmercifully and again the improvement in the bands playing and song writing is more than apparent. The stop start technical passages are mixed brilliantly with the faster blast beat heavy sections and move from one to the other seamlessly and effortlessly. It’s a real shame there are only two tracks on offer, and listening to them it’s hard to believe these have just been produced for a demo. The standard in the production and playing is so high that there’s no faulting this at all. Hard to believe these guys are unsigned, surely that won’t be the case for too much longer? Another master-class in technical and brutal death metal, only two tracks but they again come highly recommended. If you haven’t heard these guys, get on it now, you won’t be disappointed!
9 out of 10