Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Gutted - Bleed for Us to Live (1994)

   While the death metal scene had it's final strain by progressive and technical tryings before it's downfall, in the latest period of it's dark resplendency also featured some bands which didn't let the most notorious old school fans to be disappointed.
   One of these bands was Gutted. The two interesting thing about them was that they came from a region that was more or less isolated from the metal scene in general (Ohio), and it was a project of three brothers. Who said that death metal cannot stick families together? Middle speed, simple, basic themes and very rude  impression were their main musical characteristics. After almost everything was done in this style already, Gutted wasn't in an easy situation to sparke interest with their gore based massive aggressiveness, but simplicity was a successful way. Partly because of the plenty of  references to the big names of the genre, and partly because it could be always refreshing to return to the main roots. By assumed influences "Bleed Us to Live" was like the mix of Brutality, Obituary and Baphomet.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Infester - To the Depths, in Degradation (1994)

   After the biggest death metal classics probably many may thought that the scene was exhausted. And it couldn't shock the metal audience anymore cause everything was made already that could be done in this genre. And then Infester came.
   Their one and only album redefined what disturbing sound is. Since death metal is like a musical version of horror, and it's based on exaggerated features, it's not an easy mission to show something extraordinary. But this album made it by it's inhuman brutality. Not the intensiveness was mainly responsible for that, but the dark and demoralizing atmosphere and the endlessly animalistic vocals. It really sounds like rageful screams from a hellpit by the most wretched demons. The combination of the two was something less common that time, since atmosphere rarely had important role in death metal. The main impression was something like the mix of the sound of gory brutal death, the heaviness of death/doom, and the putridness of the crypt reeking old school classics. It's not an easy album because of it's disturbing effect, but definitely a remarkable one.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Acid Bath - When the Kite String Pops (1994)

   In every genres have to be a black sheep band, that doesn't followed strictly the basic features of the actual style, but still it had reasonable influence on it's development. Or from another view: there always have to be a band which is more genuine or experimenting than the others. In sludge metal that band was Acid Bath.
   Their music had more melodic parts and was more diverse than the other classical bands of the genre. In general it thad an aggressive impression and sympathized with the same lyrical concept based on violence and drug abuse, but the melodies, doom-like influences and occasionally romantic lyrics gave a gloomy, gothic touch to the main view. The same time they involved extreme elements that are more common to hear into death metal. Of course the sick, morbid and scandalous section was also not skipped, that's already shown by the self-portrait of John Wayne Gacy used up for album cover. So it was quite wide scale which Acid Bath pulled together for self-expression, and that high diversity made "When the Kite String Pops" an interesting classic.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral (1994)

   "The Downward Spiral" by Nine Inch Nails was probably one of the most influental albums of the '90s. A reasonable masterpiece that determined the late direction of many related genres.
   The most exciting feauture of the early NIN albums is that they are far different from each other, but still there is something common in them that's leaving no doubts about that all of them came from the same source. That's what happened on "The Downward Spiral", the same diversity appeared in one album. All songs could be sorted to a different style, having a different impression, but still one by one they are the essential parts of a great whole, and introducing a method how a disturbed personality goes deeper into consuming itself. This self-torment goes through on personal desires, disappointments, anger, greed, depression, pain, and of course self-destruction. The way how simple rhytmic noises, repetitive industry sounds and primitive melodies building on each other and creating an exciting main view, is definitely a genuine feature of the album. It shows that even the tiniest components could have important role in the main musical view if everything is well composed. What else could be the most genious aspect of musical minimalism, if not to show how to tell more by less? Exactly that made "The Downward Spiral" an everlasting classic: complexity by simplicity.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Fear of God - Toxic Voodoo (1994)

   After the endless amount of extreme metal it could have been refreshing to hear some music with a bit older references, and different concept. Some metal bands which didn't try to join to the brutality contest.
   The main scene was changing in general, but Fear of God still had it's own way. While technical and progressive features started to spread, predicting the upcoming end of the extreme wave, they turned back to their basics, into thrash metal. While "Within the Veil" was quite diverse in influences, "Toxic Voodoo" may seem one-sided compared to the previous album. The gothic, doom touch was almost gone, and intensiveness took the main role. Only the disturbed vocal style of Dawn Crosby kept the two different aspects on the same ground by it's gloomy, atmospheric impression. That was like a reference to D├ętente, but this album was much wilder musically, while by the vocals a sharp contrast was created. It's not easier to catch the feeling like on "Within the Veil" was, but the heavy riffings and excellent themes are very helpful. Unfortunately the bad omens which were just flowing from miss Crosby's performance, soon became reality, and by her death, "Toxic Voodoo" was the swansong of the band.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Mayhem - De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994)

When you manage to dig into the history of Black Metal further than all of the pop culture references and riddles of band members stabbing and eating each other, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas holds a solid spot as one of the most influential Black Metal albums of all time. The entire album serves as a demonstration to the raw power behind the Norwegian Black Metal scene as a musical entity. The grim circumstances surrounding the album certainly draw those who are curious about the bands history into a closer look at the album- when it comes to Mayhem, if you haven't at least seen the album cover to Dawn of the Black Hearts, you've at least heard  De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. It's classic monocromatic cover is almost as haunting as the details surrounding the completion of the album. And while some will argue that only the versions that Per "Dead" Ohlin recorded are worthy enough of the name, the studio album is both a well mixture of raw atmospheric and symphonic speed that is raw from the pits of hell all in the same recording.
     While Mayhem's previous vocalist had been Swedish, Csihar was from Hungary. His style was somewhat atypical for Nordic black metal then, and provoked a mixed reception from fans, some giving him the nickname Attila 'Fingernails' Csihar. This tortured vocal style continued to influence a plethora of black metal bands, such as Dissection, Immortal, Carpathian Forest, and Behemoth.

Cannibal Corpse - The Bleeding (1994)

As the 4th studio album for death metal band Cannibal Corpse, The Bleeding holds value in metal history not only for it's musical context and lyrical stigma, but for it's progression for the band and it's members. The Bleeding would be the last album with founding member Chris Barnes, and the first for guitarist Rob Barrett. While Barnes was no doubt an extraordinary force behind what made Cannibal Corpse the controversial death metal band that they are, Barnes left the group in 1995 because of "personal differences". Fans of Cannibal Corpse were torn once learning of the singers decision to leave, and arguably, the early records with Barnes on vocals are often considered by long time fans the best albums when it comes to lyrical content and musical diversity throughout the songs. 
     The Bleeding is easily Cannibal Corpse's most successful album to date, and it's often the choice album for death metal collectors, even if they aren't the biggest CC fans. Most people notice the different musical angle the band took with The Bleeding, being called more of a "groove" feeling throughout the album and more technical speed in guitar and drum beats, as opposed to blast beats on previous albums. Vocally, Barnes took a slightly more decipherable approach than previously before. Refreshing riffs, such as those in "Stripped, Raped, and Strangled"are a refreshing break from the extreme brutality of the previous albums, and the true talent of bassist Alex Webster is highlighted in this top notch, mid-90's death metal must have.