Blast Radius – May, 2012

Welcome to this month’s Blast Radius column!  I know I may be over a month late with this article, but I was busy with many things, so sue me.  Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept behind Blast Radius, please allow me to explain.  We take material from (not always) 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.

Today we will mainly focus on the world of death metal as usual, but there will also be an interlude of doom and sludge, too, which will be handled by my comrade known as Sam.  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.

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Artist: Venomous Supremacy
Album: Articles Of Defilement
Location: Houston, Texas
Label:  The Dread Lair

On their debut EP, “Articles Of Defilement“, we see Venomous Supremacy doing their best to bring some blackness to the sub-genre of brutal death metal.  Taking leads from bands such as Nailed and Deception, Jose Vidal (guitars, backing vocals; Christ Malformation, Christgrinder) and company are keen on wanting their name to be synonymous with the aforementioned groups.  We all know by now that Texas has some of the best brutal death metal to ever be recorded, but can Venomous Supremacy continue to carry that tattered and torn banner with pride?

When I listen to ‘Removal Of The Flesh’ I can’t say I hear “blackened brutal death metal” at all.  To me it just sounds like your standard brutal death metal, and while it isn’t bad, it isn’t exactly good, either.  The music is rather ho-hum most of the time, but there are nuggets of greatness that are strewn about, namely the leads in ‘Transcending Divinity’ and ‘Severing The Legend’.  Unfortunately, the rest of the music just fails to make that big of an impression, leaving me rather speechless for the most part.

However, there is an upside to this.  “Articles Of Defilement” was Jose’s first attempt at writing death metal songs, and I know for a fact that Venomous Supremacy is hard at work on writing new material.  Now that the band has some more seasoned members within their ranks, as well as Jose improving his song-writing, I can expect something much better in the future.  Like I said, there were some parts I enjoyed, and now it is just a matter of cutting off the fat and getting into the juicy death metal meat.

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Artist: Funebrarum/Undergang
Album: The Dead Of Winter
Location: Clifton, New Jersey/Copenhagen, Denmark
Label: Cyclone Empire/Xtreem Music

Funebrarum.  Fune-fucking-brarum.  That is the very first time I have cursed in one of my articles, and if there is one band that deserves it, it is the darkened old-school death metal goliath known as Funebrarum.  They are one of my favorite U.S. death metal bands because of their penchant for making such depressing and emotive music.  Each release they have done has always been nothing short of spectacular, and I expect nothing less from them.  This time around they have partnered with the Danish crusty death metallers known as Undergang for a split of unimaginable crushing death metal.  I’ll admit that I know nothing about Undergang, but if they are appearing on a split with Funebrarum then this is a band that I must get to know.

The split known as “The Dead Of Winter” opens on side A with ‘Delusions in the Sheltered Womb’ by Funebrarum.  That song name speaks volumes to me and lets me know what I am going to get.  Rusty chainsaw guitars ring out as the dirty recording does its job of placing the listener in an all consuming vortex of misery.  This is Funebrarum; slow, dreary, and as old-school as can be.  ‘Delusions in the Sheltered Womb’ plays for over six and a half minutes, and with each rotten note or regurgitated lyric is magnificent.  As usual, the band delivered big time.  It is going to be exceptionally difficult for Undergang to compete with that.

Despite my assumption of Undergang not being able to top the previous song, the band comes out swinging a sledgehammer.  Much like the band that appeared before them, ‘Kloakkens Afkom’ is ridiculously raw.  This three-piece sounds incredibly tight and play an old-school style of European death metal that the Gods would be proud of.  I can’t help but think David Torturdød’s (guitars, vocals; Wormridden) vocals sounds remarkably close to that of Jaro (formerly) from Polish goregrinders Dead Infection, and it is making me enjoy the rotten instrumentation of ‘Kloakkens Afkom’ more.

While Undergang‘s contribution wasn’t as enjoyable as Funebrarum‘s, it was still really damn good.  If you want a death metal split album that makes you think you are listening to death metal from the late ’80s and early ’90s, then you cannot go wrong with “The Dead Of Winter“.  I already love Funebrarum to a degree that should be considered illegal, but I was also really impressed with what I heard from Undergang, and make sure to keep an eye on them for the future.

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Artist: Fire in the Cave
Album: Fire in the Cave
Location: Orlando, Florida
Label: NK Tapes

“To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.”Socrates

Any band that takes their name from a Platonic theory of philosophical thought is A-OK in my book, and the debut double-tracker from Orlando doomers Fire in the Cave certainly lives up to the name.  This is slow-building post-sludge in the vein of Neurosis, Rosetta, and Thou – it’s a subgenre that’s now easy to dismiss with so many cookie-cutter bands completely indistinguishable from each other doing it nowadays, but Fire in the Cave easily manage to stay fresh by switching up their arrangements on a dime throughout the course of a song.  The band ping-pongs between disparate styles and influences with an almost calculated finesse, making an eight-minute long song interesting and arresting without seeming too contrived, or as if it were written by an Arcturus-worshiping avant-garder with a severe case of genre ADD.

The opener “Civilized Swamp” flies between sludge, black metal, stoner rock, and a full-on death metal gallop without ever seeming like too much to swallow, and the B-side “Aeden Carr” is very much in the same mold, with high-speed sludge (yes, it’s possible!) giving way to something almost black metal before lapsing into blistering hardcore.  Along with excellent musicianship on the part of all the band members and such a brilliant ear for genre melding comes an impressive sense of harmony, as the occasional bass fill or harmonized double-guitar riff works wonders in keeping the listener engrossed.  Where most post-whatever metal bands are content to languish and stagnate in a well of “atmospherics” to mask their lazy songwriting, Fire in the Cave reaches out, grabs you by the throat, and drags you down into the abyss along with them.  If a full-length’s not on the way, I’m going to be pretty disappointed.

-Sam

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Artist: Abhorrent Castigation
Album: Enthralled By Abysmal Delusion
Location: Bremen/Albstadt, Germany
Label: New Standard Elite Records

Abhorrent Castigation are a two-man brutal death metal outfit that came upon my radar through discovering one of their tracks being linked in a group on Facebook.  After taking a listen to ‘The Dead Shepherd’, I liked what I heard and ventured over to their band page and found their four-track demo “Enthralled By Abysmal Delusion” was up for free download.  It seemed like good Disgorge and Deeds of Flesh worship, so what harm could be done?

What type of harm, you may ask?  The type of harm where you will be forced to go see chiropractic and massage specialists for weeks down the road.  This is your standard “gotta go fast” brutal death metal that really isn’t too original in its own right, but there is just something about how these two Germans go about creating music that I don’t want to stop listening to.  The three original compositions are well-thought out and make sure to never play on one portion for too long, making sure to keep your attention.  They even covered ‘Into Morbid Obesity’ by Spanish brutal death metal stalwarts Cerebral Effusion.  I can’t speak to whether it is better or worse than the original since the only exposure I have to Cerebral Effusion is through their album “Smashed and Splattered Organs“, but I’m assuming it would come very close to its predecessor.

While Abhorrent Castigation may not be the most innovative brutal death metal band around, they do their craft very well.  I would have to say that ‘Injecting The Falsehood’ and ‘The Dead Shepherd’ are the best of the four tracks.  If they can come up with material like that for their upcoming album on New Standard Elite, then I can see them being a household name in brutal death metal.

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Artist: Paroxysmal Butchering
Album: Supreme Revulsion
Location: North County, California
Label: Show No Mercy Records

Just look at that cover art.  Look at it.  How could you not love one of those giant fat hand-pincer dudes from 300 holding a severed head on top of several more decomposing corpses?  I have been a fan of Paroxysmal Butchering for a while now and have finally took my head out of my ass long enough for me to write about the compilation album known as “Supreme Revulsion“.  According to Tim Bee (vocals), all of the material here within was recorded before Floyd Winters (bass), Nacho Venegas (drums), and Josh Alvarado (guitars) had joined the band, to which I was shocked to hear that.

The reason why I say that is because Paroxysmal Butchering is a hybrid of older Gorgasm and Severed Savior with a hearty helping of guttural slam.  How in the hell could you ever go wrong with that type of combination?  “Supreme Revulsion” has a ton of energy running through it in every single track.  Tim’s vocals range from low growls to high-pitched wailing that help complement the riffs very well.  This is not “just another” brutal death metal band in my book.  Paroxysmal Butchering has something going for them that not a lot of bands can do, and they have “it”.

Normally at this point I would be listing off what are the best tracks on the album, but I just can’t do it, or else I would be including all of the eleven songs.  There is just so much worthwhile material here that it upsets me that this band isn’t bigger than they currently are, but they have managed to cut out a rapetastic niche of fans for themselves.

If this is the type of material that was being written before the rest of the band has come along, then I am eagerly awaiting to see what this strengthened beast known as Paroxysmal Butchering is truly capable of.  Now that they have a recording contract with Show No Mercy Records and are on the cusp of finishing the recording phase of their upcoming album, I can only hope that they will be giving us little tastes here and there with new material.  In the mean time, contact the band and grab yourself a copy of “Supreme Revulsion“.  Seriously, if there is one underground brutal death metal band that you should pay attention to, it’s Paroxysmal Butchering.

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That’s it.  You’ve made it to the end of this months Blast Radius column.  You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.

We here at Metal Blast would very much like to thank Venomous Supremacy, Funebrarum, Undergang, Fire in the Cave, Abhorrent Castigation, and Paroxysmal Butchering for putting your material out there and giving us a chance to give our thoughts about it.  Also, a big thanks goes out to Sam for taking the time to help me out with this column!

Do you know what would make me really happy?  The answer is if you would join us for the next Blast Radius column on June 1st, which will feature Apoplexy, Unbound, Iniquitous Deeds, Flesh Throne, and Animals Killing People/Andromorphus Rexalia!

P.S. I swear to Zombie Jesus that I will get back to doing bi-weekly Blast Radius columns.

-Jon Burkan

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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.