Welcome to the April 1st edition of the Blast Radius column! After a few months of us receiving a good bit of interest from bands who want us to review their material for this column, I have decided to make it into a bi-weekly affair. Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept behind Blast Radius, then please allow me to explain. We take material from lesser known bands who think their hard work should be given a chance to be put out there in the press of the music industry. Maybe we can find a new ‘diamond in the rough’ that is destined for great things, but how would we know if we never give these smaller bands a chance? That is exactly why we started the Blast Radius column, to make sure musicians like that actually do have a voice and the opportunity to gain more of a following.
Can any of you guess what type of music I have in store for you today? Yup, that’s right! Lots of death metal; very brutal and gore-infused death metal. If any of these reviews get you wondering about the bands, I will be linking to their respective Facebook pages, as well as to where you can download their material if it is from a band-sanctioned source. I’m not going to waste anymore of your time, so let us begin.
I’m sure by just taking a look at that logo you can guess what type of death metal Pathological Abomination specializes in, and you would most certainly be right. This three-piece (plus a drum machine) has taken the pages of most slamming brutal death metal bands and blatantly plagiarized its work. In theory this is not a bad thing, except when the group is unsure of how to make those elements work for them in their own way. We all have seen those blunders before, and Pathological Abomination hopes to forego that ugly harbinger of death on “The Genesis Of Disfigured Biological Mass.”
Right out of the gate you are crushed with ‘Disfigured Biological Mass,’ and can hear that the band takes their largest influence from Russian-style of slam, particularly in the vain of Abominable Putridity (plus they did a cover of ‘Entrails Full Of Vermin’). Rotating between frantic blasts and guttural slams, Pathological Abomination are able to do their craft well. I particularly enjoyed the main slam about half-way through ‘Disfigured Biological Mass,’ which produces bludgeoning results. ‘Intracranial Evisceration’ is definitely the biggest slam-oriented track on this promotional disc, aside from the Abominable Putridity cover. I’m not sure if I would go on to say they are as infectious as most big slam bands, but these guys definitely have the chops to hang with them.
While “The Genesis Of Disfigured Biological Mass” as a whole is pretty good, I do have two complaints. First off, the vocals (specifically the higher gutturals) sound weak at times, particularly in ‘Intracranial Evisceration’ and ‘Entrails Full Of Vermin.’ Thankfully it isn’t so prevalent to distract you from the rest of the music, but there are a couple parts where you can’t help but cock an eyebrow and grit your teeth because of them. Second, the drum machine’s snare has the same weakness that the vocals have. It is easily drowned out in more of the slam-centric portions of the music.
Despite those shortfalls, Pathological Abomination do a good job of showing both an homage and original slant to their style of slamming brutal death metal. If you are already a fan of this style, then this band is definitely for you. From what I understand these three tracks are just promotional and is not entirely representative of their upcoming EP that will be released this year. Because of that I will definitely be keeping an eye on them in the near future.
Album: Entrails Fed To The Maggots
Location: Los Angeles, California
Label: Inherited Suffering Records
Hailing from the City of Angels, Rott sets out to destroy with their brand of California death metal that we are all very well acquainted with by now. They have shared the stage with quite a few illustrious names that some of us would kill in order to play next to, and that should speak to the quality of music they produce. I was given their 2012 promo, “Entrails Fed To The Maggots,” by none-other than Abel Garcia (guitar/vocals) and have conversed a few times over the past month or so, and he seems to have a good head on his shoulders. Seeing as how they played a show just last night, I felt it was time to do my part in helping get the Rott name out there.
Upon beginning with ‘Displayed In Decay,’ I couldn’t help but notice that Rott doesn’t play the usual brutal death metal that one would expect. While there are similarities with most known brutal death metal bands, they seem to play a less chaotic and more focused brand of it. There is no mindless blasting, wanton riffing, or random instances of guttural clamor. Everything has a purpose and is carefully positioned to make everything connect in a healthy fashion. The title-track, ‘Entrails Fed To The Maggots,’ is done in the same way and was able to get my head nodding along with the music. I dare say that Rott is very reminiscent of the now defunct Dissilience, except as mentioned before, more focused.
I can imagine Rott being pretty fun live, but I have to admit that I think the band would have benefited from a slightly less structured approach and let out their ‘wild’ side a little more. The way the songs are made is entertaining, but there were a couple of points where I felt myself nodding off. For that I can also blame the production being a bit weak, but I need to remember that’s a demo. Some how I very much doubt that these two tracks are going to be entirely representative of the sound they will achieve in the future.
Other than those tiny hiccups, Rott are a competent brutal death metal band that hearkens to the usual forefathers that we all know and love, but are able to add their own personalized spin. This is my first instance with the band, but it definitely will not be my last.
Album: Lepers of the Loathsome
Location: Illinois/New York/Texas, United States
Label: Razorback Records
Loathsome are what I refer to as a Razorback Supergroup because three of the four members have worked with each other in some capacity through bands such as Decrepitaph, Wooden Stake, and Scaremaker. Razorback Records has always been known as home to that type of dirty and horror influenced death metal, and Loathsome wants to continue that strong legacy.
Comprised of Vanessa Nocera (bass; Scaremaker, Wooden Stake), Wayne “Elektrokutioner” Sarantopoulos (guitar; Decrepitaph, Wooden Stake), David “Sinworm” Clark (drums; Decrepitaph, Sinworm), and just simply Nev (vocals; Kaiju), Loathsome take you on a disgusting tour of their decrepit death metal casket. For those of you that are already familiar with some of the bands I mentioned, then you will feel right at home with the “Lepers of the Loathsome.” The only thing that may through people off in a good way is the tinge of thrash metal that infests their brand of death metal, which helps in keeping the hooks energetic and catchy while the reverberated vocals and thunderous drums blow out your speakers. Tracks like ‘Into the Sanatorium’ and ‘Alone in the Woods’ are the true stars in this demo because of the vicious approach the band took with them.
Loathsome are the musical equivalent to that scene in the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre where Leatherface just pops out of no where and smashes that guys skull in with a hammer. The reason I say this is that the music has a bass-heavy quality to it, which is in full-effect in ‘Alone in the Woods.’ Hearing Vanessa’s low-end in that song really helps the melodies in my eyes. The guitar and drums are nice and thick, making sure that one is never confused about the type of death metal they are listening to.
If you are fan of any band that is signed to Razorback Records, then you will definitely enjoy the dirty death metal stylings of Loathsome. I don’t even know what else to say other than go support the band on their Facebook. Maybe they will get off their asses and get to work on an EP or full-length.
Facebook is an excellent place to both discover and network with bands when you’re in my line of work, and that is exactly where I had discovered Deprive The Deceased. Some of you are aware that I enjoy to speak with the artists who I am reviewing in these Blast Radius columns, which I did with vocalist Matt Neargardner. I like to learn more about the band so I can get a better perspective on what it is that I will be listening to. It turns out that this band was originally a one-man operation that was only Matt before he was able to find the other three guys to flesh out the full line-up. It’s good to take an interest in learning about these bands, because I never would have guessed that when listening to a lot of this EP/compilation.
Deprive The Deceased‘s base sub-genre is brutal death metal, but they try to add little nuances of other influences in every once in a while. As I mentioned before, this is more of a compilation than anything else, as it seems that some songs go from a straight-forward brutal death metal style to a more slam-oriented sound. Plus, the production quality varies depending on the track you are on. The good news about this is that I was able to hear different approaches throughout the album, and it just goes to show that Deprive The Deceased are not afraid to experiment.
Tracks like ‘Heathen Conquest,’ ‘Homage to Homicide,’ and ‘Morbid Realms of No Return’ are probably the most straight-forward brutal death metal tracks, which give me extreme Putridity and Umbral Torturer (who seems to have fallen off the face of the Earth; what the hell) vibes. The more slam/mid-paced brutal death metal songs are ‘Man-Made Pandemic,’ ‘Necro,’ ‘Whore Obsolescent,’ ‘Cranial Crusher,’ ‘Hide All Evidence,’ and my personal favorite of that bunch, ‘Full Moon Bloodthirst,’ which features Martin Funderud of Kraanium on guest vocals. Out of the 10 tracks on this compilation I enjoyed the more straight-forward brutal death metal tracks much more. Not because the other ones were bad, but I thought they lacked in the brutalizing atmosphere the other three songs had. However, I will at least say it was nice to see the band bring out a pitch-shifter in those other tracks.
Earlier I mentioned that Deprive The Deceased didn’t mind to experiment with their music. In theory that is a great thing to try in order to keep your material fresh. Note how I said “in theory,” because depending on the execution of said theory it can turn out to be a fatal mistake. What I am referring to is what I have dubbed as the “death metal ballad.” The easiest examples of these is to think of songs like ‘When Death Replaces Life’ or ‘Festering In The Crypt’ by Cannibal Corpse, which are excellent, to say the least. Well, Deprive The Deceased tried their hand at making a “death metal ballad” with ‘Obesession Possession.’ I was on board until I got about a third through the song, and then after that I couldn’t help but cringe the rest of the way through. I’m not sure if it’s just Matt doing these vocals because there are different approaches to them, and it is just plain awful. This is the only distinctive blemish that I can put on Deprive The Deceased, but for the love of all that is Good and Holy, please don’t make another one of these.
Despite that epic blunder, I think Deprive The Deceased have enough talent to turn themselves into a staple of the underground brutal death metal scene. I think if they mixed in the more straight-forward brutal death metal sound into the slam/groove ideas it would work out very well. However, I will say it was nice to hear the different ideas throughout each track, so it never quite felt like I was getting the same type of music repeatedly. Sure, the brutal death metal base will always be there, but the band was generally able to keep me focused and engaged. I certainly like where Deprive The Deceased could be heading in the future.
Note: The track ‘Man-Made Pandemic’ is not in this compilation but was supposed to be. I wish it was on there instead of ‘Obesession Possession.’ You can hear the track on the bands Facebook page.
My first run-in with Malodorous was way back in 2007 when they released their debut album, “Amaranthine Redolence“. That album was one nasty slab of slamming brutal death metal and I loved it. Since then we had been hearing little teases here and there from the Malodorous camp about new music finally coming out, but it was beginning to feel like waiting for the new Wintersun album. When I interviewed Mike O’Hara (guitar; Splattered Entrails, Suntorn) back in January about wanting to hear some new Malodorous, he joked that nobody believed that any new music was actually coming out, but he told us to stay calm. As it turns out, Mike was actually telling us the truth, because on March 12th the band released their brand new three-song EP, “Augury Of The Aborted.” I jumped at the chance to thoroughly digest the music, and I think by now I can come to a fair conclusion.
Now armed with a full line-up rather than it just being Chase Martin (vocals) and Mike, the band is hell-bent on destroying everything in its path. As the title-track, ‘Augury Of The Aborted’ opens you can easily tell that Malodorous has turned into a whole other beast that none of us could have seen coming. Gone is the grainy production, but like a phoenix rising from the ashes comes an incredibly crisp and sharp sound. You can clearly hear Mike’s trademark riffing on top of a drum machine that might as well be classified as a battering ram with a mixture of natural and pitch-shifted vocals. I very rarely say this, but songs like this make me glad to have long hair to headbang with, because holy shit does Malodorous bring the brutality.
With this new-found sound I can imagine it might scare some of you who think Malodorous has changed their music entirely. Fear not, for the band has kept what made “Amarathine Redolence” so damn good. Adding Joe Carrere (guitar), “T-R3X” (bass; Suntorn) and Alexander Eastman (vocals, programming) was an excellent move as it was able to provide an extra heavy sound to the already punishing elements of Malodorous. The second track, ‘Embolus,’ was actually penned by Joe and gave us a taste of some of the new flavor that has enhanced the overall sound. ‘Collector Of Flies’ felt like a joint effort throughout the whole band and was an excellent way to cap off this devastating release.
After about 4.5 years of waiting for new Malodorous material, I was absolutely blown away by what these guys have provided. If you loved Malodorous before then you are going to go nuts for this new and improved collaboration. If you don’t like it, then you may want to see a physician since you very well might be retarded.
Note: Here’s a video of Joe Carrere awkwardly teaching you how to play ‘Embolus’!
That is the end of this edition of Blast Radius! I would like to thank Pathological Abomination, Rott, Loathsome, Deprive The Deceased, and Malodorous for creating all of the music I was able to write about today.
I would be so pleased if you could join us again for the next edition of Blast Radius when we will be examining releases from Paroxysmal Butchering, Funebrarum/Undergang, Venomous Supremacy, Abhorrent Castigation, and Fire in the Cave!
If you have or know of any bands who would like to have a demo, EP, or split album reviewed in this segment, then please contact Jon Burkan via e-mail at jonburkan [at] metalblast.net with their band name, album name, location, and label it is released under.