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.