Those Who Bring The Torture – Piling Up (Review)

those who bring the tortureThose Who Bring The Torture are from Sweden and this is their fourth album of Death Metal.

This is the latest album featuring Rogga Johansson, who we’ve met before in Megascavenger. This should already tell you a little something about the quality levels on this release.

According to the promo text, Those Who Bring The Torture play their Death Metal in a style that will suit fans of Grave, Hypocrisy and Malevolent Creation; it’s hard to argue with this description.

This is Swedish Death Metal at its core but with a few additional elements that prevent it sounding generic. Imagine Hypocrisy if they created a Swedish Death Metal album but with their own, older sound.

The songs are heavy and strong, and like its Swedish Death Metal heritage it’s strong on melodies. These melodies are memorable and provide a focus point for the songs to move around. There are some great riffs here and each track demonstrates a band who are capable of combining Death Metal brutality with sterling melody and songwriting.

Vocally the deep growls are bowel loosening and very satisfying. Higher screams are added to this when necessary and it’s a faultless performance all round.

This timeless and classic approach to Death Metal pays real dividends and Piling Up is an easy album to like. The songs carry themselves with an air of familiarity but just enough to evoke a smile and not enough to roll the eyes like you’ve heard it all before.

Those Who Bring The Torture have got their killing style down to a fine, bloody art. Anyone who’s into Old-School/Classic/Swedish Death Metal will have no cause to complain when they hear this.

Time to raise the flag for proper Death Metal once more. Let the slaughter commence.

Vastum – Patricidal Lust (Review)

VastumVastum are from the US and play Death Metal; Patricidal Lust is their second album.

How’s that for some album artwork, eh? What’s all that about then? Top work.

Vastum specialise in Old-School Death Metal with a dollop of Doom and Crust thrown in for good measure. Incantation and Autopsy should be your first reference points. Vastum are their own entity of course and they play this style of Classic Death Metal remarkably well.

The songs are harrowing tales of the dark side of humanity and the music is the perfect representation of this.

Each track is well-written and everything on this release sounds powerful and ancient. The singer bellows with fervour and the music rages and dirges in equal amounts.

The solos are well executed and add spice to the Doomy riffing. Leads add colour and overall these songs have a lot of substance to them, with the longer length of the songs allowing the band to cram a lot in.

As the Classic Death Metal style goes this is a strong album full of good songs. Put this on your list of albums to get this month, you won’t regret it.

Cemetery – Enter the Gate (Discography 1991-1993) (Review)

CemeteryCemetery were a German band who were active between 1986 and 1993.

This reissue is two discs of Death Metal, played with passion and interest. This compilation holds all of their recordings between 1991 and 1993, including their lost album that was recorded but never released.

There is an hour and 40 minutes of music here and all of it is top quality. With more exposure this band could easily have been a leading light in the Death Metal scene.

This is powerful material, played and written very well; it shows up a lot of bands these days who have half the creativity that Cemetery display.

The longer songs show that the band were pushing the boundaries of standard Death Metal at the time. Who knows what they could have released eventually?

What we have here though is ample evidence to show that they knew what they were doing. Occasional effects and acoustics are combined with brutality to make interesting songs that all have that special secret ingredient; these songs satisfy, deeply, in ways that only the best Metal can.

Solid playing, melodics, solos, riffs; all of the necessary elements to make a strong album.

It should be noted that the sound is surprisingly good. Everything sounds balanced, clear and crushing.

This is a lost gem of an album; 20 years buried and now unearthed to give pleasure to all who would listen. Forget whatever latest flash-in-the-pan nonsense you’re thinking of buying this month, invest in Cemetery and listen loud.

Nihilo – Dum Spiro Spero (Review)

NihiloThis is the second album from Swiss Death Metallers Nihilo.

First off I have to say – what a stunning piece of album artwork!

After a sample-heavy intro, the bass-heavy sound thuds out of the speakers with explosive chugging and heavy riffing. The underground recording allows the band to sound earthy and natural. It’s a case of less polish, more spit.

This has an Old-School feel but the main vibe is one of Classic Death Metal played well and with a love of the genre.

Swedish Death Metal is incorporated into their sound but there’s more than just this stylistic reference point.

The singer has a great voice which sounds utterly feral and seems to have serrated edges. High shrieks add colour and there’s no fault to be found with the vocals.

The songs are well written and there are some good choices in riffs. The drumming in particular is enjoyable – no messing around; he provides a strong backbone to the tracks while adding in some nice fills and rolls to mix things up a bit.

Near the end of the album they get bolder and start to experiment a bit more; the extra instrumentation and orchestration on Shields of Justice is as unexpected as it is masterful; the final track Dum Spiro Spero is a 20 minute Doom-filled behemoth. Maybe areas to further develop in the future?

A solid album.

Favourite Track: Last Man Standing. Mid-paced, chugging and demolishing combined with blasting brutality.

Morbo – Addiction to Musickal Dissection (Review)

MorboMorbo are from Italy and this is their Death Metal début album.

Born in the Death Metal underworld, the sickening, diseased hulk that is Morbo has slowly been crawling and scratching its way towards the light for some time. It’s now finally ready to burst through in sprays of ichor and gore.

They embody belligerent Death Metal that is uncaring of what anyone thinks of them but still retains a surprising amount of festering melody and an ear for a good riff.

This is played in the classic style, where songs mattered and a good chorus or catchy verse was more important than speed-for-the-sake-of-it or ultra-technicality.

The sound is strong but not over-produced, and you can even hear what the bass is doing. It retains legibility and coherence whether the band play blast beats or whether they are playing crushing mid-paced riff-monsters.

The songs have character, propelled by the vocals that have the same kind of gravitas as those from the classic era where you immediately had your attention held by the sheer force of the singer’s will.

So listen to Addiction to Musickal Dissection and get swept up in the riffs and the general foetid aura of traditional Death Metal played with passion, integrity and an aura of pure sickness.

Funest – Desecrating Obscurity (Review)

FunestFunest are an Italian Death Metal band and this is their début album.

After a perfunctory intro the band have at it; they specialise in Old-School brutality from the likes of Dismember, Autopsy, etc. This is primitive and heavy with a firm nod to the Swedish school of Death Metal but also acknowledging classic Death Metal in general.

The vocalist deserves special mention as he has a great voice; a firm, deep growl that’s as expressive as it is bellowing and cavernous.

The band make the most of their rich heritage by focusing on the value of each song and not neglecting substance for style. Each track contains what it needs to be an effective Death Metal beast and doesn’t ruin itself by wondering off into areas unsuitable or ill advised. There’s no fat here, just a lean Metal machine.

As followers of this site will know, I have a soft spot for Swedish-influenced Death Metal. It’s just so very satisfying and timeless. The grooves, rhythms and riffs all pound along with that chainsaw sound and the end result is Death Metal that hits the spot.

This is also a good description of Funest. This is an enjoyable album that I’ll be happily blasting out for some time.

Have a listen and see if you agree.

Sabbatory – Endless Asphyxiating Gloom (Review)

SabbatorySabbatory are from Canada and play Death Metal. This is their début album.

Sabbatory have an Old-School sound that recalls Celtic Frost if they were a Death Metal band.

The production has that classic timeless feeling and the songs maximise this, playing their morbid Metal with enthusiasm and intensity.

The vocals are deep and disturbed, but remain legible for the most part. They have character and are instantly differentiated from most modern Death Metal vocals by this and by borrowing some Old-School quirkiness from the likes of Celtic Frost and Venom.

Each song has its own identity. There are only 7 of them but they each have a role to play in making up the 33 minutes playing time. There is not a filler in sight.

Like the best of the classic Death Metal bands Sabbatory are interested in songs and know how to write a good tune. They play the riffs well and even push out the odd solo. I hear a healthy Death influence here and there.

Recommended listening. After all, this is Death Metal through and through, what’s not to like?

Embalmed – Brutal Delivery of Vengeance (Review)

EmbalmedThis is Brutal Death Metal from this US veteran band, although after all their years this is actually their début album.

Embalmed are a riff-heavy, song-focused band, which immediately means that this album has the potential to be very good indeed. It all depends if the songwriting is up to par of course. Thankfully the band have had plenty of time to refine their songcraft and the results are satisfying to say the least.

This is classic Death Metal. I hesitate to label this Old-School, as although it is, (if only by virtue of not belonging to the New-School), the Old-School label can imply to some people a dredging up of past glories, etc., whereas this is more resolutely timeless and still very relevant. Think Cannibal Corpse USDM.

The songs rampage along with the right amount of belligerence and restraint, content to smash enemies apart but then moving on to the next with brutal efficiency.

Embalmed have a selection of good riffs in every song, and know how to lock into a good groove when the need arises. In addition to the standard blast beats and the more mid-paced sections, they can also be quite dynamic and inventive with the drum beats; they have the same kind of infectious hooks to some of the songs that bands such as Konkhra and Avulsed do so well.

This is a quality USDM album that any Death Metal fan should be able to get on board with.

Morfin – Inoculation (Review)

MorfinMorfin are from the US and play straight-up classic Death Metal.

We get 10 tracks, including a Death cover; which should give you a good idea of where Morfin’s loyalties lie in the Death Metal hierarchy. In fact if you like Death, (and who doesn’t?), then you should like this also.

From the album cover to the album production this screams Old-School at the top of its diseased lungs and then falls to the floor to devour a fresh corpse once it has done so.

Somehow Morfin appear to have captured and bottled early Death Metal and are swigging liberally from it regularly. Rather than sounding derivative, tired and old though it somehow has a rejuvenating effect and this sounds as fresh as it did back in the day. Morfin may have a bit of Death hero-worship going on but when they have the formula this right who cares?

Importantly it’s not just the feel and style of the album that they have the secret ingredient for, but they also have the songs to back it all up. The tracks rumble away one after another and before you know it all 45 minutes have expired and you’re sitting there with a rictus grin on your face wondering where you got the blood on your hands from.

So join me now; shout it loud and proud – MORFIN!!!

Megascavenger – At the Plateaus of Leng (Review)

MegascavengerThe latest Megascavenger album, (a project of Rogga Johansson), contains quite the list of guest vocalists – just have a look at the line up, (taken from the promo blurb) –

1. At The Plateaus Of Leng (Vocals by DAVE INGRAM of Bolt Thrower/Benediction)

2. The Festered Earth (Vocals by KAM LEE of Massacre)

3. And Then The Death Sets In (Vocals by AAD KLOOSTERWAARD of Sinister)

4. The Mucus Man (Vocals by MARTIN VAN DRUNEN of Asphyx/Hail of Bullets)

5. Like Comets Burn The Ether (Vocals by DAVE ROTTEN of Avulsed)

6. When Death Kills The Silence (Vocals by FELIX STASS of Crematory)

7. The Hand Of Bereavment (Vocals by ILKKA JARVENPÄÄ of National Napalm Syndicate)

8. Back To The Ancient (Vocals by BRYNJAR HELGETUN of Crypticus)

9. Night Of The Grand Obscenity (Vocals by ROGGA JOHANSSON)

If that’s not enough to get expectations running high I don’t know what is.

This album is full of melodic Old-School Death Metal goodness, but also a few unexpected turns such as the clean vocals/keyboard side of The Festered Earth, or the cleans of The Hand of Bereavement. Variety is a good thing however and these little flourishes and touches just enhance the album as a whole.

At the Plateaus of Leng is crushing and without mercy, stomping and stamping on all who oppose. But more than brutality these songs are surprisingly melodic and succeed well in hooking the listener. The tracks march along easily enough, propelled by the mid-paced barrage of the drums and carried aloft by the tuneful guitars. Each song is well-written, being identifiable from the last and not just because of the different vocals. This is an album of songs rather than just a collection of tracks, and there are catchy moments in great supply.

All of the vocalists do a sterling job and add their own personality and character into each of the compositions. Each song may have a different vocalist but the album flows nicely and doesn’t sound disjointed or like a compilation album, even when they veer into more Heavy Metal territory with clean singing it still holds together well as a package.

A very accomplished release, chock full of classic Death Metal songs, each one as enjoyable as the last.