Suffer surface on Bandcamp

One of Sweden’s many underrated bands of the early ’90s, Suffer released a short burst of excellent material from ’89-’94, almost all of which has languished in relative obscurity. The band’s best known releases are the Global Warming EP (1993) and Structures LP (1994), both released on the then-fledgling Napalm Records (NPR 002 and NPR 006, respectively).

Working almost exclusively out of Sunlight Studios with Thomas Skogsberg at the boards, Suffer produced choppy, grinding, somewhat technical death metal with tortured vocals, and a subtle dose of the off-kilter weirdness unique to early Swedish death metal. If you’re down with the first Affliction LP, you’ll dig this. The exceptional mix on Structures — a shared credit between Skogsberg and Fred Estby (Dismember, etc.) — highlights drummer Perra Karlsson’s (Nominon, Bergraven, Heathendoom Records, etc.) combustible performance, and makes for a terrific headphone listen.

Neither those releases, nor any of the band’s demos or 7″s have been reissued, and originals have become rather pricey. Fortunately, Napalm has made lossless digital downloads for Global Warming and Structures available for purchase via Bandcamp.

Continue reading Suffer surface on Bandcamp

“Death…is Just the Beginning” is also a tour

This was announced way back in April, but bears repeating now that we’re a bit closer to the dates and NUCLEAR BLAST has announced the resurrection of the Death…is Just the Beginning compilation series this tour is taking its name from.

From Nuclear Blast:

Montréal based melodic death metallers KATAKLYSM announce that they will be teaming up with Swedish death metal legends HYPOCRISY for a European co-headline tour! After several years without any touring activities, the band with Peter Tägtgren (PAIN, LINDEMANN) is back in business; Kataklysm will release their upcoming studio record, Meditations on June 1st, 2018 through Nuclear Blast. The tour’s special name traces back to Nuclear Blast’s popular sampler series and promises nothing but evenings of moshpits and endless devastation. Don’t miss out on this outstanding tour and secure your tickets now!

From Kataklysm’s Maurizio Iacono:

“It’s been in talks for over two years and finally both Kataklysm and our brothers in Hypocrisy can make the schedule work to join forces once more. It’s been almost 15 years since we toured together and the last time we did the tours became instant classics. It‘s that time again folks… Kataklysm & Hypocrisy team up once more for a world tour beginning with Europe this fall. To make things even greater our record label Nuclear Blast has come on board and baptized the tour “Death…is Just the Beginning”, a homage to the old classic compilations that made so many fans discover both bands back in the day. This will mark the return of this classic compilation with this tour and maybe give other artists the chance to get discovered like we did. DO NOT MISS THIS TOUR, YOU ONLY GET ONE CHANCE!”

From Hypocrisy’s Peter Tägtgren:

“I hope that you are just as excited as we are, because we are very happy to announce that we are finally warming up the Hypocrisy engine again and that we will be back on the road in fall! We will be touring Europe together with our friends in Kataklysm! The tour will be an overview of the chaos and confusion created by Hypocrisy over the years. See you out there!”

While the tour is the big news, seeing Hypocrisy up on two feet again is a good sign. It’s about time for another album from them.

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Latest Albums

 

“Death…is Just the Beginning” returns

Nuclear Blast are reviving their old Death …is Just the Beginning death metal compilation series and for anyone old to remember geeking out over the first few installments of this series (before they turned it into video compilations and started putting power metal bands on it) or Roadrunner’s similar At Death’s Door series, it looks like they may be doing it right.

Right off the bat, the cover art is solidly in line with the early entries. It’s a painting in a single dominant color with a cross and a graveyard and a church and a spooky monk…check, check, check. Not sure who the artist is, but the style is appropriately Wåhlin-esque. And they got the logo & typography right. So far, so good.

But the best thing about the early comps were the slightly offbeat track selections. They didn’t always just pull a track from the album; they would often use a remix or an alternate mix, an unreleased track or sometimes a demo from an upcoming release. For the revival, we’re getting the following:

  1. Benediction – Tear Off These Fucking Wings (demo)
  2. Kataklysm – The Awakener (re-recorded)
  3. Hypocrisy – They Lie (The Exploited cover)
  4. The Spirit – Illuminate The Night Sky
  5. Memoriam – The War Rages On (demo)
  6. Insidious Disease – Soul Excavation
  7. Possessed – Abandoned (demo)
  8. Thy Art Is Murder – The Son Of Misery
  9. Immolation – Morbid Visions (featuring Max Cavalera) (Sepultura cover)
  10. Nailed To Obscurity – King Delusion
  11. Bleeding Gods – Beloved By Artemis
  12. Decapitated – Sane (Meshuggah cover)
  13. Aenimus – Before The Eons
  14. Paradise Lost – Frozen Illusion
  15. Carcass – A Wraith In The Apparatus
  16. Brujeria – Viva Presidente Trump!

A couple clunkers and a few bands I haven’t heard of, but overall this is pretty dead on.

The release is out September 10, 2018 on the following formats:

  • Boxset — Atomic green 2xLP in a gatefold sleeve with CD, patch, and poster. Limited to 500 copies worldwide.
  • Green & black splatter 2xLP in a gatefold sleeve. Limited to 200 copies.
  • Green & red splatter 2xLP . in a gatefold sleeve.
  • Black 2xLP in a gatefold sleeve.
  • Jewelcase CD
  • Cassette

There’ll be a tshirt and longsleeve as well.

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The Golden Years of British Extreme Metal: The Other Guys

Bolt Thrower, Live in the '90s
Bolt Thrower, live in the ’90s. Courtesy of boltthrower.com

Much ink has been spilled about the blossoming of extreme metal around the world. The United States – particularly the Florida scene which spawned so many great bands – has been well represented. Sweden/Norway gets plenty of love, from the chainsaw guitar tone to the unchained hedonism. That’s all fine and good as those were the blood-stained birthing grounds of our beloved genre.

What about England, then? In those glorious pre-Internet days of tape-trading and DIY promotion, metal wasn’t bound by geography: it spread like a sickness over the entire world. Let’s consider that in the last fifty years, those fog-bound island dwellers have had a serious impact on music, especially music that has a bite to it, a little edge, or my favorite: a fucking massive overload of steam-powered jackhammers pounding the earth. Black Sabbath. Black Sabbath! Just, you know, four guys from Birmingham who altered the very foundations of rock and helped create a genre. Led Zeppelin. Deep Purple. Motörhead. Judas Priest. Iron Maiden. Venom. Carcass. Anaal Nathrak. It’s a progression forward from one extreme to the next, the next band in line doubling down on what had come before them.

When extreme metal began to violate the ears of the world, the Brits were ready to step up and prove they could do guttural vox, grinding guitars and blast beats as well as anyone. This was a wonderful time for extreme music, as musicians were constrained only by their imaginations, genres were still being defined, and labels weren’t afraid to take chances on bands that had cobbled together a demo. Venom, Carcass and Napalm Death have earned a spot in the top tier of the golden era, when extreme metal was poised to move from the grave to the living room.

But what about the others guys? The names you might have heard bandied around in conversation standing around the beer keg, and you nodded your head and said, “Oh yeah, they’re awesome,” without having a clue what they sounded like? Then let us pry open the Sickening Vaults and get elbow deep in the guts of British metal.

Continue reading The Golden Years of British Extreme Metal: The Other Guys

Thursday Three: Cadaver & Friends

Here’s a three of mid-tempo death metal-bordering-on-thrash that exchanges brutality and violence for something a bit more cerebral. There’s something to be said for taking your time.

  1. Cadaver — “Into the Outside” from …in Pains (1993)
  2. Coroner — “About Life” from Mental Vortex (1991)
  3. Inner Thought — “Words” from Perspectives (1995)

Cannibal Corpse, “Butchered at Birth” (1991)

cannibal corpse butchered

Imagine for a minute that you grew up in the musical suburbs, in an unpretentious little subdivision called Death Metal; you know, right down the road from Thrash Town but a long way away from Rock City and on the other side of the freaking country from Country Burg and the glittering excess of Discolopolis.

Just a few houses down from where you live are the guys who like to play a lot of fantasy-based role playing games, who read lots of H. P. Lovecraft and swear the paperback copy of the Necronomicon they bought at the B. Dalton Booksellers (in the same strip mall with the Baskin-Robbins where everyone got a free cone after Little League games) is totally the REAL THING and spend a lot of time attempting to dial up Pazuzu only they always seem to get it’s answering machine.

One street over are the foreign exchange students who all sport Mjölnir tattoos and always have plenty of beers and bottles of some vile liquor from “the homeland” which you could swear is fruit juice they fermented in the unused bathtub upstairs. These guys are like, educated: they’ve actually read Nietzsche and Kierkegaard and don’t mind discussing it with you, at least until the booze kicks in and they get real quiet and start glaring at you through forests of dirty blond hair, which is your cue to get the fuck out of there.

Mother always said not to trust boys who had more hair than she did.
Mother always said not to trust boys who had more hair than she did.

Then there is that house your mom doesn’t want you to visit. “I don’t trust those boys,” she says as she whips up another one of the Devil’s Own Rejected Fruitcakes from Hell. “Where are their parents? I never see them come to Desolation High School Parent Night.” That’s the house you like, though. Those dudes are intense. You’ve smoked meth with them sitting around the living room while some obscure Fulci flick is on the TV, or maybe a documentary about Albert Fish. They’ve got porn mags all over the place that would make a street magazine vendor from New York blanch interspersed with old copies of Fangoria, Gore Magazine, Playgore, and Horror Classics. They’re nice enough but you make it a point not to fall asleep around them. Where are their parents, anyway? And there’s that one room you are strictly forbidden to enter for any reason… and that smell…

“Sure Mom, whatever,” you say, “I’ll stay away from the Cannibal Corpse house.”

This is how I feel when I listen to old Cannibal Corpse; like I’m violating some rule that says I shouldn’t like this and yet I totally do. Butchered at Birth was the second release from the boys from New York and of course this was essential listening during those heady days of the early 1990’s. Even though I was in Florida at the time (a breeding ground for the new deathly sounds), I knew almost no one who was into death metal, so when someone got into my car I would naturally say something like, “Hey have you ever heard Cannibal Corpse?” and hit play on “Meat Hook Sodomy”. Reactions were mixed at best, as I recall. The girls didn’t get it (well one young lady did but that’s another story) and the guys couldn’t understand why I didn’t like Pearl Jam.

The personnel on the second album is the same as the first, and the cover art is another fantastic job by the inimitable Vince Locke. As usual, this was banned and banished in countries severely lacking in a sense of ironic detachment (Germany… really, Germany?) and freaked out a bunch of others who just don’t see the humor in two half-undead vivisectionists extracting a baby from the mostly skeletal remains of a woman.

"Somebody set this thing to evil!"
“Somebody set this thing to evil!”

It’s another Scott Burns production job, recorded at Morrisound Studios (for better or worse… I’ll get to that) and this time the thrash elements that informed Eaten Back to Life have been pushed a bit into the background. Much of this has to do with Chris Barnes’ vocal delivery: someone flipped Chris’s switch to “EVIL” and he hits those fantastic, incomprehensible low end grunts which push the songs into new territory. Once again Alec Webster and Paul Mazurkiewicz (bass and drums) deliver impressive and solid performances. I tend to prefer the songs that don’t over stay their welcome, like “Gutted”, “Covered with Sores” and the title track. That’s just how I like my death metal: hit it hard, hit it fast, and get the hell out of there.

Now the guitar tone… damn, people are picky as shit. It isn’t as weak as some of the trolls under the internet bridge claim, but it’s ridiculously thin, especially if (like I am now for the old school feel) you listen to the tape on a world-weary jam box. I’m sure Jack Owen and what’s his name, Rusay, didn’t intend for it to come out like that. The riffs, the rhythm parts, the solos, there is nothing wrong with any of it. Listen to “Covered with Sores” or the staggering ferocity of “Vomit the Soul” and try to imagine those guitars thick and meaty instead of sounding like they need a fucking sammich. I mean, in comparison, give a quick listen to the Eric Rutan produced Evisceration Plague; now that’s how Cannibal Corpse guitars should sound. Look, for what it was at the time, I had zero complaints; who cares if the guitars sound a tad bit weak when you’re listening to a song called “Rancid Amputation”?

An all around solid release and certainly a harbinger of things to come for the Cannibal Corpse guys. It was hard to imagine they’d get heavier than this but they totally did and would eventually, almost, kinda-sorta, flirt with something other than underground notoriety. But that, like my death metal lovin’ gal, is a story for another time.

Memoriam sign with Nuclear Blast

Memoriam 2016

This slipped under the radar! Apparently, back in January, Karl Willets (vocals; Bolt Thrower) and Frank Healy (bass; Benediction, Sacrilege) started a new band with Andy Whale (drums; ex-Bolt Thrower) to “jam out some cover versions of old classic songs that had influenced us in the past along with some cover versions from the bands we had played with over the years, and maybe eventually do a few low key gigs” in the wake of Martin “Kiddie” Kearns’ death and all Bolt Thrower activities being put in indefinite hold. When Benediction’s live guitarist, Scott Fairfax came into the picture, he brought with him a bunch of music and things turned more serious.

The band just announced their signing with Nuclear Blast. CEO Markus Staiger says in the press release:

“Being a lifetime fan of both Benediction and Bolt Thrower, it is with great pride that I announce that the new band of Frank Healy and Karl Willets has now joined the Nuclear Blast family! Following the first news regarding the band, I have been keeping a close eye on them and was very curious to hear their material. After hearing their first demo songs I was completely sold and knew that I had to get in contact with Frank and Karl to seal the deal. Memoriam will please all the fans of old school death metal and especially the worldwide fan base of Bolt Thrower and Benediction!

This is all very promising stuff and it’s great to see some old dogs back to their old tricks.

Memoriam released a 7″ called The Hellfire Demo with the songs “War Rages On” and “Resistance”. Take a listen to the B-Side of the 7″ below and check out their various sites:

Gruesome are visiting the (un)holy land!

GRUESOME TOUR FLYER 2016

DEATH worshippers GRUESOME are hitting the road to support their new EP, Dimensions of Horror, out now on Relapse Records. Their 10-date European run is preceded by what will no doubt be 3 suitably swampy August shows in the home of gators, sweltering humidity and inexplicable behavior: Florida.

North American Dates

  • Aug 4 Tampa, FL New World Brewery
  • Aug 5 Winter Park, FL The Haven
  • Aug 6 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Kreepy Tiki

European Dates

  • Aug 10 Jaromer, CZ Brutal Assault Fest
  • Aug 11 Schlotheim, DE Party San Open Air
  • Aug 12 Leeuwarden, NL Into The Grave
  • Aug 13 Ieper, BE Ieper Hardcore Fest
  • Aug 14 Essen, DE Turock
  • Aug 15 Karlsruhe, DE Substage with EXODUS
  • Aug 16 Colmar, FR Grillen with EXODUS
  • Aug 17 Dornbirn, AT Conrad Sohm with EXODUS
  • Aug 19 St. Nolff, FR Motocultor Fest

Caribbean Dates

  • Aug 21 Santurce, Puerto Rico Club 77

If you can’t make a show, check their new video and maybe pick up of copy of the new shit?

New Centinex available for preorder

After nearly a decade on hiatus, Sweden’s CENTINEX rebounded with 2014’s more than solid comeback, Redeeming Filth. Two years later and their next full-length slab, Doomsday Rituals is scheduled for release in July 2016 on Agonia Records. It’s available for preorder with 3 promising tracks streaming on Bandcamp.

Centinex, "Doomsday Rituals"