Friday, August 20, 2010

The Demo's Rebirth

I am going to be totally honest for a minute: despite owning literally hundreds of actual demos (not mp3's), and even more if you count dubbed demos from the days of actual tape trading, I've never really been that keen on the cassette format, for a number of reasons. For starters, I can't even begin to count the number of awesome demos I've lost due to a shitty tape player over the years, and there is really no way to repair a broken cassette. Secondly, I wish I could begin to count the number of times I spent good money on quality chrome high-bias cassettes with painstakingly written track lists sent off to what I thought would be reliable traders only to get back in the mail some shitty-ass dollar store generic tape with track lists scribbled out in some chicken-scratch-ass-hieroglyphics that even a Rosetta Stone couldn't help me decipher in reciprocity. And let's not forget sending off some well-hidden cash stuffed between ads from the Sunday paper only to receive some poorly-dubbed demo from some obscure-ass band with a shitty "looks like Jim forgot to replace the toner cartridge at Kinko's again" xerox cover.

Overall, I just got burned, and since vinyl has always been my preferred format, I just kind of forgot about them over the years. Plus, who could forget the magical 1995 era revolution wherein bands just dropped doing demos altogether in favor of the shitty first release/self-released Cd by where the time-honored conventions of quality control where abandoned completely. This was compounded a few years later by the widespread availability of Cd burners and downloaded cracked programs, which meant ANY band could record ANY shitty ass song and slap that shit onto a sharpie-scribed Cd-r and BOOM! a widespread hit. With the advent of high-speed internet this phenomena only got worse. It simply became too easy to give in to the morass of mediocrity, and besides, EVERYONE is doing it, so why not your piece of shit band? I mean, who could ever forget the stunning impression a Memorex Cd-r with a band name scrawled out in marker, tucked away in a shitty plastic bag, could ever bequeath?

Fast forward to about a year ago: I thought that my venerable receiver with its dual tape decks was out of commission. As stated before, I have always given my listening priority to records, and given my years-long disdain of tapes, I never cared to verify this "fact." Well, one day, I decided to put in a tape just to see how bad it sounded through my system, as some sort of BDSM ritual. It turns out the shit played fine on deck a, it was only deck b that was fucked. So I unearthed all the jewels from years gone by: Demigod, Headrot, Phlegm, Corpse Molestation, Disgrace, Paineater, Traumatic, BloodDuster, Impetigo, Necrony, Rottrevore, Disembowelment, Exit 13, Asystole, Splattereah, Eternal Darkness, Bloodsoaked, Shub Niggurath, Exulceration, Warsore, Magus, Funebre, Church of Misery (Illinoize, NOT Japan), CopOut, Gasp, Altar, Matrikhore, Embrionic Death, et al...FUCK! So many years of thinking I didn't have the capability to play a decent chunk of my music collection and now I could! Oh joyful day, oh sweet mystery of life!

Realizing I had regained a seemingly lost ability, I set about finding more demo cassettes from the modern age, only to find that the aforementioned proclivity towards self-released Cd albums, demo Cd-rs, and such still pervaded. But in that search, more and more jewels turned up eventually, and with that over-arching rubric in mind, I present you with three finds most worthy of your attention. That's right, three actual, factual, demo cassettes from mind-blowing bands for you to snack on and chew.

Let's get this party started with Australia's own Grave Upheaval. Members of the venerable Portal and Impetuous Ritual (who, by the way, released one of my top 3 fave records of last year in the form of their Relentless Execution of Ceremonial Excrescence full-length) playing insane death metal that plays out like a more stripped-down IR. Raw, restless, blasting as fuck, and a general slap in the face to all that is modern, weak, and false. Those of you who found a correlation between older Bestial Warlust in the IR sound will find it even further refined on this 4 song outing of absolute musical nihilism. Any student of ancestral death metal knows that Australia has always had such an angular take on the style, and its statesmen serve up such blasphemous and hedonist takes on the genre. Perhaps it is the inordinate amount of anti-human life plaguing this former leper colony (piranha? check. barracuda? check. more poisonous genus of snake than any other continent? check. sea wasp jellyfish? check. salt water crocs that thrive on the taste of human flesh? check. irukandji? check. ad infinum.), or perhaps it is their geographical isolation, I don't know. But every great Aussie band has possessed such a violent and scathing assault (ever heard of Rupture?) that you can't help but NOT want to ever go there. These 4 songs serve as a primal discourse in all that was ever great about death metal to begin with, and that they are a new band, releasing one of the freshest-looking pro-duped demo cassettes instead of a half-assed self-released album or something equally vacuous speaks tomes of their character. I can't wait for a full length from this band, and upon one listen, you will most likely feel the same. Until then, order their demo with your hard-earned Obama-bucks here, and thank us later. No downloads, because fuck man, you can't have everything for free, can you?

Exhibit B in the state's case of the power of modern-day demos lay in the hands of some Portland, Oregon freaks with the nomenclature of Ritual Necromancy. Jesus titty-fucking christ, does this band do the goddamn thing with their 4 song assault upon the face of all that is decent, law-abiding, and trend-hopping. Released by Parasitic Records, who you simply MUST be aware of as one of the best and most underground labels releasing all that is relevant in the U$ scene, this demo is no fucking joke. Perhaps my favorite of the 3 demos discussed in this missive, this is ferocious death metal played with some doom metal and even some black-ish stylings that simply cannot be ignored. Their cover of some obscure band from Brazil that no one has ever, ever, EVER heard of's Troops Of Doom outclasses and outshines the original by leaps and bounds, but it is in their original compositions that we are treated to some truly down-trodden, death-laden hymns of pure and utter fucking depravity. This is one that is most assuredly NOT recommended for those weegro slam riff and technical death metal minded dickheads that call themselves "celebrants": no, this is for those of you who steal, shoplift, and vandalize everything in sight, and who "pray" for the downfall of decency. THIS is a deathcry from the throat of the fallen christ as nailed for the final time, and for the ones that wish to set the "good" on fucking fire, and piss upon it's flames. Again, no download link, because even in these difficult post-Bush Reich U$ times, this merits the purchase via space bucks.

The last entry in this missive of mass destruction is dedicated to the Polish horde known as Doombringer. Sharing members from the aptly-named Bestial Raids, this is more thrash-oriented than the previous mentions in this digital a(n)nal, but the fact remains: THIS IS DEATH. 5 songs of pure aural blasphemy that annihilates all in its path, leaving the weak'n'meek to wonder how they ever found out about such chaos consecrated to tape. Recently re-released by Bird Of Ill Omen, this demo seriously should make you want to go arsonize the nearest building to your domicile, and then go and desecrate the most proximally-located place of holy standing. For as much as Australia as mired in deadly surroundings, Poland must indeed be a place of bleak and utter despair, if for no other reason than it's long standing tradition of economic futility. When you have mouths to feed, your own or otherwise, and you fail, you come to a plateau of understanding: fuck EVERYMOTHERFUCKER alive. When I listen to this demo (as I have uneasily multiple, MULTIPLE, times) I get the feeling that these dudes want to jack off on my tombstone and fuck my mother. Goat bless them for that. Strong drumming, excellent guitar work, and vocals from the very depths of Utumno itself, this thing reeks of brimstone and graveyards. Very highly recommended, and I can't wait to see what tricks they have up their collective sleeve for a full-length. Only 300 of this bad dude has been pressed, so don't fucking hesitate and order this masterpiece. And yes, there is no download link, so suck my taint.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

On sludge...

If you don't worship EyeHateGod, not only do you need to question and reestablish your entire world-view, but you are also at the exact opposite of what we consider a "friend." If you don't agree, feel free to download my fucking balls into your fat mammy's mouth.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Finland, again, shows us how it's done

It's funny how entire countries can follow musical trends, especially in the underground scene. Example: Sweden discovered Kiss, far too late in the game, and the entire populace followed suit. If this were not the case, Entombed's triumphant return with original vocalist LG Petrov wouldn't have been Wolverine Blues. And Dismember would have never recorded Massive Killing Capacity. And don't get me started on Disharmonization and Screaming Machines. Quit making excuses for em, these records all fucking sucked. As did tons of other releases from their statesmen around the same time, and the following years. Death n roll equals a giant "no fucking thanks" from me.

Finland didn't fare much better. Once Xysma discovered The Doors, everygoddamnone of their contemporaries followed suit. Convulse, Disgrace, Amorphis: you should all be ashamed. You released cutting edge demos and Lps, and then turned around and snowballed us all with a mouthful of psychedelic-influenced nut, when we just wanted to kiss and cuddle. Fuck you. And to the members of Pakeni: if I ever find you, I will beat all of you into a coma for that bullshit you released and tried to piggy-back on the success of the formerly mighty folks from the land of a thousand lakes. Which brings us to this...

The creative nucleus of Amorphis, before they resided under said moniker, first started making noise under the name Abhorrence, and what a sweet, sweet cacophony it was. First deathcalls were initiated with the Vulgar Necrolatry demo, and then they signed an ill-fated (who could have guessed it?) deal with Seraphic Decay records. The results? 4 blasts of Carcass-influenced death metal that reeked of foul atmosphere and morbid darkness. Yes, folks, the self-titled 7" is indeed a relic of a day long, long gone, with reverence for chainsaw guitars, blasting drums, and an overall aura of depravity. This is an undeniable classic of Scandinavian death metal, and a true testimonial to the power and fastidious nature of young Finns, locked up in the practice space, and left to their own devices.

This is death metal, played the way it should be, by dudes who didn't know better and who didn't care. This was also way before they got the text message from Lee Dorian giving the okay to flannel shirts and bell bottoms. Don't just take my word for it, get caught in a vortex of the holy laws of pain by downloading this bitch and blasting it immediately.

For you quality purists, this is ripped from the Seraphic Decay Records sampler Cd, into FLAC, then transcoded to V0 using dbpoweramp. Sure, I could have ripped the original 7", but why? The Cd sounds better, and there is less room for ripper error by bringing it to you this way. Besides, you don't own the original 7", and you sure as shit don't own the Cd sampler, so lick my taint, this is free and on my dime. Enjoy bastards.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

mother, mother, MOTHERFUCK Attila Csihar AND Maniac

You know, as someone who loved Mayhem well before the whole 2nd wave of black metal cash-in and pre-Grishnack bitch move, I really, really, REALLY fucking hate the whole persona of this band post-Euronymous. Burzum can suck my taint in hell, and so can the rest of Aarseth's former homies-turned-assholes. Mayhem minus Euronymous equals zero. Maniac wasn't that cool when he was singing "Eighteen and Life" and "Youth Gone Wild" the first go-round, and Attila? Um, yeah, I love Too Dark Park as much as anyone, but it wasn't a black metal album, so no I won't Fire Walk With You, Laura Palmer, or anyone else. And why in the fuck are you croaking like Alice The Goon on a fucking Mayhem record? Seriously? Why did you fuck up The Freezing Moon for us? WE DEMAND ANSWERS!

But to take it back a step further, let's be completely honest: Mayhem died with Dead. Sure, Morbid were awesome, but Mayhem was the band Dead was birthed to join, and their material with him stands as a true testimonial to one of the most blasphemous unions ever to walk the material plane. If you've heard the only 2 studio tracks that Dead graces with his supra-ethereal vocal presence (originally on the Cd version of Projections of a Stained Mind compilation: the Lp only has Carnage, The Freezing Moon is exclusive to the Cd) you already know the infernal majesty he was capable of conjuring with his vocal incantations. He was THE definitive Mayhem vocalist. Fuck, he buried his drawers until they were overwrought with maggots, and then wore them, and he huffed dead creatures fumes from a brown paper bag. He cut his wrists and THEN blew his domepiece off with a shotgun. His suicide note read "Please excuse the mess." You? You check facebook 10 times a day or more. Do the math.

So fellow filth celebrants, if you worship at the altar of Dead-fronted Mayhem, then you are seriously fucking up right now if you don't go to Hell's Headbangers or your preferred metal retailer and buy either the Cd or the Lp of Of Lord Satan's Mysteries. This is a rehearsal with Dead on vocals that was sent out to only a handful of contacts and has remained buried (by time and dust) ever since. This was recently issued on Cd and Lp with exclusive drawings, photos, and artwork that Per "Dead" Ohlin did, and it's fucking incredible. Featuring (then) new and classic tracks from the Mayhem catalog, these 7 tracks are well, well, WELL worth your money if you are an older Mayhem fan. The Lp has a poster the size of Hellhammer's hair/ego/musical affiliations, and the whole package is presented with the justice and the care that it merits. This one, unlike the glut of other non-official Mayhem garbage-ass releases, is worth the loot.

And don't worry: you haven't heard this before. I own no less than 12 Mayhem rehearsals from this time frame, and none of them are this one. There are no copies of this floating around on a message board or someone else's blog unless they are taken from this release. It sounds really, really, REALLY fucking good for what is obviously a live rehearsal recorded to analog tape. A/B the version of any of these tracks with their respective studio counterparts, and you cannot possibly say that modern Mayhem is better unless you are a Trivium fan. So if you are an old Mayhem fanatic, you cannot allow yourself to expire without owning and banging this release non-stop.

We won't be uploading this one yet as it's still in print, and well worth your scarce discretionary income to purchase. Follow the fucking freezing moon and cop this one before it's too late, and your paypal account is overdrawn on Ebay.

Divine Eve-As The Angels Weep

In a time where domestic (ie-United States) death metal was busy ripping off Baphomet, then Cannibal Corpse, then Suffocation ad infinum, comes a true gem that any fan of the true school Scandinavian style could easily back. Hailing from the infernal wastes of Plano, Texas, Divine Eve roared out of obscurity with a deathcall to all things ghey in the form of their 4 song attack The Last of the Sunset Faded. With the exception of Splattereah and Crucifix, there weren't a whole lot of bands doing shit from Texas at the same time frame, and Divine Eve couldn't have been more different from their statesmen, or the rest of pretty much the entire US scene, with this release.

Steeped heavily in Hellhammer/Frost style attack, with a guitar sound straight out of Sunlight Studios, and with equal amounts of fast blasting and slow lumbering doom, Divine Eve were for sure an anomaly. These days tons of bands blend a myriad of styles to devastating effect, but they were for sure one of the first to do it so seemlessly, and so lethally. They were first made known to be when I did an interview for a zine I was running at the time with Lars Rosenberg from Entombed, and I asked him what bands he could mention that folks should check out. His answers: Merciless, Furbowl, and Divine Eve. Pretty good company, if you ask me. So you know the drill: a letter was composed, cash stuffed inside of colored paper, and I waited and waited until it arrived. And when it did: jesus titty-fucking christ, did my jaw ever-drop.

Apparently the demo had the same effect on Nuclear Blast, who reissued the demo, albeit with a different title, track order and cover, on a MCd within a few months of its release. This new release was dubbed As The Angels Weep, which brings us to this fine, fine upload. Expect nothing but unrelenting death, played at alternate breakneck and dying grasp tempos, with pure power, fury, and conviction that only death was real. And it's true. These 4 songs have yet to be surpassed by many and most bands, and it's doubtful they ever will. DE went on to record a handful of other promos and some cover songs, and then changed their lineup and name to Crimson Relic. That Cd, also hard to find these days, was pretty fucking good, but nowhere near the Kraken-like intensity these 4 jewels held. And while they have since reformed, and have a decent-ish new MCd out, well, this may very well have been the last of the sunset faded. They were just so ahead of their time, that after an almost 15 year break some might consider them to be an anachronism. I still think they show promise, and back fully their new outing, but this demo will always hold a special place in my heart, and also many a Scandideath maniac, I presume. So without further adieu, I present you with the As The Angels Weep, ripped first into FLAC and then into 320 using dbpoweramp. Enjoy!

Demigod-Unholy Domain demo

What better way to introduce myself, as well as the new name and title of this very blog, to the digital ether than with one of, if not the best, Death Metal demos of all eternity right here. Yes, folks, this is Demigod, with their classic Unholy Domain demo.

I first heard these dudes in late 1991 from a local tape trading buddy who assured me this would be my new favorite band. He was correct. In a time when demos were still the order of the day, not the hastily recorded/packaged/released full-length Cd that became the rage a few years later, or the overnight myspace success stories of today, Demigod stood head and shoulders above their competition. Upon first listen, I immediately hit him up for their contact address and mail-ordered this masterpiece for myself, and wore this thing down to nothing. So what made these dudes so special for their time, and helped them to solidify their place in history?

I assure you it wasn't the cover. No, it was the music. These dudes were all pretty young when they recorded this, mean age being around 17. For a 3 piece, they were very tight, and had a very direct style of playing. Imagine a more musically adept Boltthrower with a Scandinavian style guitar tone, as well as a drummer who knew more than 3 beats, and you are getting close. Esa's vocals are also a real treat, as they are deep and heavy but still being intelligible. Plus Demigod just evoke darkness, not relying upon imagery, gimmick, or crafty photography to swathe their lacking music in a cloak of illusory brutality: they were the legitimate article.

Sure the playing on Slumber of Sullen Eyes, their first full-length record released on Drowned Records in late 1992, was much more polished and rehearsed, and the sound much cleaner. But this is fucking death metal, played the way only some young and hungry cats could do it, and they certainly did the damn thing. All these years later this is still one demo I will reach for above and beyond damn near anything else, and in my opinion it has yet to be topped. Slumber of Sullen Eyes is one of my all-time fave records, but the rest of their recorded non-demo/reh output doesn't do a goddamn thing for me.

3 notes regarding this demo. 1-they sold almost 2,000 copies of this. How many bands could dare to do that now? 2-they wrote (in my opinion) the best track Succumb to Dark literally the day before they went into the studio. 3-this was also released as a split Lp with Necropsy by the legendary (and rip-off to all get out) Seraphic Decay Records. If you are a fan of old school death metal, that name surely rings a bell. In fact label owner Steve O'bannon still owns the master tapes to this, so if you find him snag the tape from his crib and send it to me.

Being a fan of quality, first and foremost, this is ripped from the Xtreem Music reissue, which contained a remastered version of Unholy Domain, and it is by far the best sounding version of this you will find. I ripped that shit to FLAC, transcoded it into V0 using dbpoweramp, and voila. Enjoy friends, and allow yourself to Succumb to Dark.

Monday, May 10, 2010

changes coming soon...

This blog has been dead for awhile, but is in the process of being revamped. Expect interviews and some reviews, as well as some rare metal gems. Keep checking back for updates and sign up to follow 'UNHOLY DOMAIN'.