Sunday, February 26, 2017

Slayer - Seasons in the Abyss (1990)

You don't get to have a metal blog, or even mention thrash metal at the most, without mentioning Slayer. So here's the only slightly overrated album that isn't half as played out as it's 80's older brothers. Seasons in the Abyss continues the American thrash metal sound that is notoriously recognizable as Slayer, and what's neat about this album is that they continue the lyrical content shift out of the "fantasy" themed lyrical content that the previous albums contained. Containing more visions of real life horror such as war or social criticisms; painting the then-current American era as a "cesspool of  corruption and cruelty". Slayer upholds all expectations with this album, reminiscing upon old  Reign In Blood  tones and speeds. "There were a lot of bands that had built careers by copying what we had done and we wanted to show everyone we could still do it better," King told Loudwire in 2016 interview about the 26 year anniversary of the albums release date. A true "THRASTERPIECE" of American metal.  

Kreator - Coma of Souls (1990)

While there are many levels of the sub-genre that is thrash metal, Kreator is undoubtedly known as one of the "Big 4" of " Teutonic" Thrash Metal, pioneering their way through the German regional scene in the 80's. Slightly more complex and more melodic than their predecessors such as Destruction or Sodom, Coma of Souls is the perfect "introductory" album for anyone who would be interested in dipping into Thrash Metal.
     Although often criticized as not as creative and more repetitive than their previous albums, such as Terrible Certainty, Coma of Souls still holds it's golden songs and melodic riffs that make the album surely memorable. On a personal level, I find the repetitiveness of the album noteworthy. And maybe it was because I was young and naive of other more respectable thrash metal bands. Either way, Coma of Souls beats the listeners with post-apocalyptic themes and notations of how fantastically shitty the human race is all while staying upbeat enough to surely break your neck throughout the riffs and outros. This is the last album Kreator released before they started "experimenting"with different sounds so it is without and doubt worth it as the last "hurrah"! This album is still a go-to for me when I'm wanting something familiar but still want to be yelled at by German Thrash Metal Gods.

Morbid Saint - Spectrum of Death (1990)

  Morbid Saint was formed in the early '80s, but it tooked for a long while until their debut album came out. Which was their last record as well, There were countless of great one album extreme bands  in the early '90s, who shortly disappeared after the golden age of these genres ended. Or like in their case, just played for fun and were more interested in personal life career.
  "Spectrum of Death" was an excellent very noisy, insane and aggressive thrash album, a bit close to the border of death metal. Even though they were less known, probably it was one of the heaviest and wildest albums of this style, and was also in the best hands at production too. The band didn't tried to follow any trends or rules, had no specific goals either, only showed some raw musical brutality. "Spectrum of Death" made their short active period very remarkable and became an important classic with Eddie's grandma on the cover.
   Morbid Saint surprisingly regroupped after a few decades and released a new album titled as "Destruction System".

Friday, February 24, 2017

Exhorder - Slaughter in the Vatican (1990)

   Exhorder appeared as a very heavy and wild thrash band in the mid '80s, but for sparking wider attention in the underground scene, they had to wait for a while.
   Their debut album had an unsual title and cover art as well, and with their aggressive hammering their name became well known soon. "Isn't this voice and vocal style familar from somewhere? Does it reminds maybe to Pantera?" This similarity marked that name too, and they couldn't get rid off being compared to them. Probably their music influenced Pantera's after it is known how much Phil Anselmo was fan of the main underground scene. The criticism wasn't polite either with the comparing. But it was always known that mainstream media never acknowledged underground music, and never was able to grow through their narrow borders. "Slaughter in the Vatican" shows forward from odrinary thrash metal to the lately more popular groove metal style. Since it's a very intensive album, the repetative, cathy bumping themes are also common. They were the pioneers of groove metal as well during their short active period.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Deicide - Deicide (1990)

   If people normally thinking about death metal and let's say, that they know what is this style is about, Deicide would be one of the bands they would mention as a better known example. On the side of Cannibal Corpse, they are the best selling band of the genre.
   Deicide became so infamous mostly because of their exaggerated concept about satanism and anti-christianity. Their scandalous,  blasphemous message was putting them into the focus of any sel-styled warrior wannabes of the proper faith in good Christian America, and later world-wide. And of course Glen Benton's attention seeking behavior was like oil on the fire. In truth their concept placed them into the center, not their music. They've done their best to make this album so evil and aggressive as it's possible, to fit well in intensity to the endless hatred and rage they volunteered to represent. Wild, and cathcy themes are usual at this debut, it's probably their best record. Musically Deicide wasn't worthy for their central position, because even the Tampa Florida scene had plenty of better bands, so internationally it could be imagined too. For the rising of this band the limitless aggression of their music combined with their satanic concept was responsible, and of course the big loads of morons who tried to cross them and to ban their gigs and appearences.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Obituary - Cause of Death (1990)

   The Floridan scene had plenty of infamous bands, and Obituary was one of the most successful ones. Before they stucked in a state of groovy, mid speed, retiredly bumping death metal, their early and fresh period impressed the whole metal scene.
  They experimented since the mid '80s already as Executioner with some very heavy music, that includes the heaviness of doom metal, inspired mainly by Celtic Frost. Fast hammering was never usual in their music, but "Slowly We Rot" and "Cause of Death" are likable exceptions, where their common comfy groovy themes were often interrupted. That larger diversity, catchier themes and extremely brutal sounding made "Cause of Death" even more impressing than their debut album was. And of course John Tardy's effective growling and screaming which sounded like from beyond the grave. The early Obituary songs don't even had lyrics, most vocals that could be heard are only John Tardy's improvisations, it was only his style to growl something that could fit and sound good to the music which was always in focus. Anyway, this improvisative, feeling-based album is and important classic of the genre.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Morgoth - Resurrection Absurd/Eternal Fall (1989/1990)

   I think Morgoth's first 2 EP's together were one of the most brutal and highest quality old school death metal acts. There were dozens of brutal music in the early '90s, but such insanity with high quality together was really rare.
   Morgoth's music was heavily influenced by Death, even in some of their themes on "Resurrection Absurd" some references could be found to "Leprosy" for instance. The intensity and aggressivity of that EP was really impressing, compared to that "Eternal Fall" may sound like a tiny step backwards, but includes more genuine themes, and have excellent Morrisound sounding. The lyrics, which are telling about the sickest and most gruesome aspects of human existence, are also could be taken as Death references. Alltogether both EP's are incomparable and genuine both in themes and vocal style. There was nothing that Marc Greewe's insane growling and screaming voice could be compared to. Morgoth was outstanding from the mass of the early '90s death metal scene, and "Ressurection Absurd/Eternal Fall" is maybe a less known, but very important timeless classic of the genre.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Protector - Urm the Mad (1989)

   Even though metal journalism and critics were not so nice with Protector, their name should be mentioned next to names like Sodom, Kreator and Destruction. Not only because they took piece from the German thrash scene, but their music had similar quality level as well.
   Their first full-lenght album, "Golem" was already heavier in sounding, than most of the well known German thrash bands, because they involved death metal influences too. But in speed and intensity they were behind the others, so maybe this way they "lost the brutality campaign". In musical themes they showed higher diversity too, not speed and brutality was the only thing they had interest to. Mid speed, societal and political topics were same common at them even from the beginning, so in some way they were not a typical extreme band in the '80s European thrash scene. International breakout came for them after "Urm the Mad", which album showed more interesting features of their developing style.

Sodom - Agent Orange (1989)

   The '80s European thrash scene was doubtlessly ruled by German bands, and on the side of Kreator and Destruction, Sodom was the part of that thrash trinity which had the strognest infulence to the genre.
   Their third full-lenght album, "Agent Orange" was a turning point for them in several ways. Musically they counted already as an experienced band with notable routine, the album had better sounding, and their themes became catchier. In lyrics they left behind the horror and occult topics, more serious lyrics were written instead about war and the hideous aspects of reality. I also think that "Agent Orange" is their most rough sounding album. They always seemed like to balance on a borderline, being close musically to black metal in their very early period, lately close to death metal. When this album came out, their name was well known, or better to say infamous already. This was their most successful period, they achieved all, that could have been achieved for an extreme metal band in the '80s.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Tormentor - Anno Domini (1989)

   After Bathory, the next significant event in the developing of black metal leads us to Hungary. To find anything connected to metal music had very low chance that time through the iron curtain, but to find something modern, a pioneer band of a metal genre was really exceptional for sure.
   The members of the band were very determined to play something unusal and new, so being inspired by the northern black metal scene, which was still in embrionic form that time, they started to evolve their own style. "Anno Domini" used to be demo tape, but as we know, in extreme genres (and especially in this one) the lower quality is mostly not a disadvantage. So they used up the common lyrical topics, like occultism, grim stories of Transsylvania and of course legends of Elizabeth Bathory. "Anno Domini" was very thrash influenced, noisy, raw, insane and atmospheric, it was like their own independent way to approach black metal. It became soon a cult and influental record between the fans of the northern extreme scene. Sadly the band had short active period, but their frontman, Attila Csihar was lately invited into Mayhem.

Pestilence - Consuming Impulse (1989)

   Pestilence had a remarkable influence on the European death metal scene. They were the first band in Europe who gained wide international success in this style.
   After the raw and very intense "Malleus Maleficarum", their second album, the "Consuming Impulse" gave them this success. Their music became mature, by cleaner themes, and much better, more aggressive sounding. Thanks to their contract with Roadrunner Records, they could record their albums in the US, so they were the first in excellent sounding quality as well on the continent. Their lyrics were much diverse, than at most bands. It was like a selection of various tormenting and destructive aspects of life. The suffocating vocals of Martin van Drunen describing them dramatically. The classical horror based topics were never usual at them. Musically they were diversive too, they always tryied to show something new, but probably "Consuming Impulse" was their most important album. An everlasting classic of the genre.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sempiternal Deathreign - The Spooky Gloom (1989)

   While most extreme bands were straining to play so fast as they could, and to sound so intensive, overwhelming and brutal as it's possible, a few bands tried another way. The opposite way, to slow down by keeping the death metal influences.
   Sempiternal Deathreign was one of the first bands who tried themselves in death/doom. This style was one of the most unpopular ones even in the underground scene, and the earliest bands didn't existed for long. "The Spooky Gloom" is a very raw album, and combines death and doom metal influences the rawest way too. It's not a well composed album, but a disharmonic one. They hammering fast and slowing down according to their mood. Probably it wasn't meant to be something revolutionary new, only to try something different from what the main scene did. So the rudeness and aggressivity of death metal having the leading part, while the doom themes coming unexpectedly and turning the main view more exciting. These extented parts are atmospheric as well, and doesn't seem to have any connection with the previous thrashing. These unusal features making "The Spooky Gloom" interesting, alongside it's pioneer role in death/doom.

Godflesh - Streetcleaner (1989)

   The period between the late '80s and the mid '90s was probably the most productive and fruitful in metal music. The influence of metal was wider than ever, and even electronic music couldn't avoid a fusion.
   Godflesh was the first project which mixed industrial with metal, and they did it on a level which counted as extreme already. Such as earlier very dark toned industrial projects (like Skinny Puppy), it was also not designed for the dance floor, and had even less common with ordinary industrial. It was based on heavier distortion, but not the demoralizing effects were in first line, but to find the balance between samplers, industrial noises, simply repetitive, but heavy guitar themes, and effective grunting. Anyway, Godflesh's music was still good in demoralizing and being sick. In the extreme progression of industrial their appearence was an important event, they were one of the most genuine spots in the British underground scene, and a new subgenre was founded by their influence.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Bolt Thrower - Realm of Chaos (1989)

   War is a frequently returning topic in death metal. In the case of Bolt Thrower - which is one of the earliest British death metal bands - it's the only possible topic, and they seem like interested in any kind of war.
   And in the case of "Realm of Chaos" probably the fantasy/science fiction world of Warhammer 40K was the most inspiring. Bolt Thrower have a typical flat sounding which became their main feature, and it's also usual at other old school British death metal bands. Even though it's extreme music, this sounding could somehow turn powerless even the wildest hammering, and kills all passion from the listener for any possible destructive behaviour. Like some sort of passive aggression. Always a middle speed was usual at the band, but no matter how diversive or brutally good they played, they mainly just sounded like the same. "Realm of Chaos" is one of those albums which may be an exception, where this incontrovertible law was weaker. The heavy, oppressive feeling they were into, prevails on "Realm of Chaos" the most.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

White Zombie - Make Them Die Slowly (1989)

   If horror fanatism is going by hand in hand with drug abuse, the outcomes could be often weird. Maybe even more weird than without horror fanatism.
   Before White Zombie was into industrial influences and would became famous, they had a longer struggle on a rough way in underground. That period produced 2 full lenght albums, an the second, "Make Them Die Slowly" had a feeling that wasn't so catchy, but definitely attention sparkling. It was more into heavy metal, but wasn't an ordinary style at all. Good and exciting themes appearing on this album very often, which were referring to heavy metal, but the ambitions to mix with a more alternative style, turned the whole music into a weird way. Sometimes it's very dark, but suddenly turns groovy, sometimes they sound miserable, and later more like chilling, than more intensive again. It could portray maybe the side effects and exaggerated mood changes of a self-destructive lifestyle. Whatever the inspiration was, it's an interesting album.

Terrorizer - World Downfall (1989)

   The extreme genres and their scenes just barely started to develop, but others were looking already for some even more brutal musical approachment. Grindcore was formed by mixing HC punk and thrash, so that means short and very simple, more melodic basic themes which are ending up in the most insane grinding as it's possible.
   Terrorizer used to be a short existing side project or power group of some members from Morbid Angel and Napalm Death. With this line-up they recorded "World Downfall", which became one of the very classics of grindcore. By involving death metal influences too, this style replaced the usual HC punk influence, and made the music more rough than old school grindcore is in general. So the catchy melodic parts are missing, no chance for calm down, there is wild thrashing instead. The songs are more complex and brutal, but the usual political and societal topics remained as a main characteristic. "World Downfal" had an important influence on the grindcore genre.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sarcófago - Rotting (1989)

   After Sepultura, probably Sarcófago had the strongest influence on the South American metal scene. But while Sepultura played later more acceptable music for the ears of the generic metal fans and became famous, Sarcófago kept it's exaggerated style and stayed underground.
   They always tried to show something new on their albums, a different aspect of extremity, by balancing on the border of thrash, black and death metal. The rate of these features was mostly changing, as it's possible to say that now about a past time period, when the differences between these styles were not really distinguished yet. Their music had maybe the darkest possible tone with the maximum level of insanity on the "Rotting" EP. "I.N.R.I." was already a big hit in their quest to create the most aggressive music ever, but they probably reached their goal with "Rotting". The intensity of that record was remarkable and formed the coldest and most cruel musical atmosphere, where it's folly to look for catchy melodies to guide. Chaos and insanity awaits here to cast down the listener into the darkest depths.

Death - Leprosy (1988)

   After the first quite underrated, but lately very successful "Scream Bloody Gore", soon the second Death album came out. "Leprosy" overmounted the first album in the brutality of the music and it's sounding as well, and became probably the most important record of the death metal genre.
   "Leprosy" defines all features of this style. After the previous albums putrid, echoing sounding we have a brutal powerup by Morrisound studios. So wild, powerful and effective sounding could be rarely found. The songs structure was fixed, which became the basic feature of Chuck Schuldiner's music lately. The same song structure could be heard on all Death albums in the followings. The lyrics stepped a bit forward from the world of horror, or better to say they trying to reach the horror from reailty. This approachment is not through zombies or other vile supernatural creatures, but the most shocking and hideous aspects of life, and because of that these lyrics are far more sick than the usual fantasy based death metal topics. The total of these features made this album a timeless classic.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Incubus - Serpent Temptation (1988)

   On the side of Death, Incubus was the second band which caused sensation with their impetuously aggressive music in the late '80s.
   Unlike other similar bands that time, they didn't concentrated only to perform the rawest brutality with their music, but also cared a lot about the quality of it. During their short active period, which produced only 2 full-lenght albums, they piled so a lot of awesome and catchy themes, which would be enough for twice more albums in this style. Their music was more complex than what other thrash or early death metal bands played, and this way they were one of the first ones who involved technical themes into extreme music. There is not boring moment to find on this album, everything's well composed, and the wild thrashing parts are like only serving a short break to get ready some exciting or unexpected change. The quality of their music was ahead of their time, bands with similarly complex ambitions were spreading later and not only in extreme undergound, but on the main metal scene as well.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sadus - Illusions (1988)

   To borders of thrash metal were reached quite early, before any constant scene would be formed for real. This was performed by Sadus, which was a less known, but I think important band band of the genre.
   Their main influence was probably Slayer, and from this point Sadus simply tried to reach the borders of the genre's main features, so they played so fast as it's physically possible. This insane speed mixed with technical themes wasn't usual even decades later, not many bands were able to do that after them. It's an exagerrated level already which is pushing forward their music on the borderline of death metal. With their common lyrical topics about death and horror, and vocal style together - which is like some wretched creature's voice fading after the lot of screaming -, they were also determined to follow the extremity of the music. So it's interesting how a band becomes the pioneer band of another style. Sadus' illusions of insanity became an ending chapter in the musical possibilities of thrash metal.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Death SS - ...in Death of Steve Sylvester (1988)

   Death SS is probably one of the oldest and most underrated metal bands from those who were inspired mostly by the horror genre and occultism.
   Their main influences were probably Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper because of their theatrical stage performances and appearence. They are active since the late '70s, so they could be an interesting example to see the development from hard rock to '80s heavy/speed metal. Of course it wasn't a plan. Stefano Silvestri only wanted to express the classical horror feeling of old comics and movies with their music, which is dedicated on this album to the most common classic characters of the genre. Similar to Exorcist, Death SS is filling a missing temporary period in metal music, and sadly they are similarly less known too because of their label's bad distribution. So they couldn't had huge influence on the main genre outside the borders of Italy, but their music could always cause exciting moments for the fans of horror based heavy metal.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Necrophagia - Season of the Dead (1987)

   Along the Tampa Florida scene, but independly from them, others tried to merge into deeper extremities as well. And this independence or isolation resulted a different way of expression.
   Necrophaghia was also one of the first death metal bands, and probably the most horror addicted one too. "Season of the Dead" is not only interesting because of this, or because it was the first full-lenght album on the side of Death's "Scream Bloody Gore", but this album is also a proof, that it's possible to do death metal vocals even if someone can't growl. The vocals sounding more like excited narratives which are sometimes ending up in moans by the pleasure that a gore fan could feel after the visuals of the bloodiest scenes. Killjoy's horror overdose added an ominous feeling by the calmer and melodic parts to the album, which is very typical at old horror movies. The music is more characteristic to express the "fun part", trying to convert the disturbing visuals into the language of music. The only difference is that the duration of suffering and the main plot line is reversed here. There are plenty of references to the classics of the horror movie genre. That gives the spirit of this band.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Chakal - Abominable Anno Domini (1987)

   Chakal also took a piece from the forming of the South American scene. They were on the side of Sepultura too at it's place of birth, and not surprisingly their music was also on the borderline of related genres.
   Before they became some sort of weird speed/thrash band, they had a quite harsh debut with "Abominable Anno Domini". It was already a pioneer of death metal too, by including wilder and more exaggerated sounding, horror inspired lyrics, and pretty insane vocal style. Their themes were raw all the time, and always suggested some sort of experimenting ambitions of a young band, especially on this first album, but in truth it was simply their own style. This weird style was a creative and genuine approachment, and it fits to insanity, which was their returning lyrical topic. The vocals increasing this rampagous sickness, by narrating even to anti-religious and societal critics. The raw brutality of this album had a big influence on the local scene, and made Chakal it's well known, genre-defining and notorious band.