2012 has been one of the greatest years for Death Metal in the new millennium. Sadly, with so many amazing bands all releasing masterworks in one year, things can get rather cluttered for newer or even certain well established bands.
It’s high time the albums everyone’s either overlooked or didn’t react NEARLY as strongly as they should have to got their day in the sun.
#5: 7 H. Target – Fast Slow Demolition
Russia; renowned the world over for vodka, communism and especially (for me at least) Brutal Death Metal. In the last several years, the Death Metal scene in Russia has exploded with quality bands coming out of the woodwork one after the other. Many have speculated as to why Russia is such a hotspot for quality Death Metal but really the answer is quite simple; if you lived in a country where alcoholism isn’t so much a disease as it is a social jumping off point, infertility and skinheads were active hazards and venturing too far into the wilderness could result in being eaten by your fellow man, wouldn’t you think to make brutal music too?
7 H. Target is one of the latest Brutal Death Metal acts from Russia and undoubtedly one of the very best. Unlike the majority of their peers, 7 H. Target chose to take both of the most prevalent traits of Russian Death Metal and combine them instead of settling on one; bone crunching slam goodness and mind boggling technicality. The result is a savage record, every bit as harsh and uncompromising as Brutal Death Metal needs to be in order to succeed. Released all the way back in February, ‘Fast Slow Demolition’ is still one of the very best Brutal Death Metal records of 2012, albeit one without as much press as certain others.
7 H. Target’s guitarist Aleksey Menshov perfectly balances the frenetically technical riffs with the slower, sludgy slam grooves that make up the other portion of the guitar dynamic, often times in the same riff. It’s not very often that a Brutal Death Metal band can successfully pull that off without one or both of the elements dipping in quality just a tad. Konstantin Korolev bass work acts as the perfect stringed counterpart to Aleksey’s superb guitar performance and Mikhail Panphilov rounds it all off with a drum performance that’s equal parts insane, lightning fast and wonderfully raw. As if the core of the band wasn’t talented or extreme enough, Ramon Mercado of Pencil Lead Syringe guest stars on ‘Fast Slow Demolition’ as the album’s vocalist. Pencil Lead Syringe has always been an excellent band, even if I like ‘Suffocated And Embalmed’ more than their latest EP and Ramon continues to completely deliver as one of the best modern guttural vocalists in Death Metal. Although he isn’t the focus of the band’s sound or this album, his contribution is nonetheless indispensable as the last element of destructive brilliance.
Put all of these elements and musicians together along with some appropriately twisted samples and fascinating industrial elements and ‘Fast Slow Demolition’ ends up as close to the twisted Brutal Death Metal genius of albums like ‘Planisphærium’, ‘Slowly Peeling The Flesh From The Inside Of A Folded Hand’ and the aforementioned ‘Suffocated And Embalmed’ as Russia has ever gotten. A must have for even the most hardened of Brutal Death Metal skeptics. (Not like those bastards know what they’re talking about anyways)
#4: Omnihility – Biogenesis
I’m going to be as straightforward about this as I possibly can; if you aren’t a fan of Omnihility by now, you should be ashamed of yourself. This album (and indeed band) is (ultra) technical death metal’s new hope in a year without Origin, Brain Drill, Viraemia or Monumental Torment. In fact, Omnihility gives most of those bands a serious run for their money; if they don’t watch out, Omnihility’s gonna be calling the shots from now on. In fact, as much as I love Origin’s ‘Entity’, ‘Biogenesis’ kicks its ass seven ways to Sunday. It isn’t even a contest as far as I’m concerned; the riffs, speed, brutality and sheer venom of this album outclass ‘Entity’ in every way. Hell, even Origin’s very best isn’t safe now and that comes from someone who’s been a die hard Origin fanboy for years.
Since I wrote my initial article about Omnihility for this website, I’ve felt kind of strange about it. I’m very happy (and honored) that Omnihility have chosen my article to use as blurbs from the press on several occasions but I also knew that when I wrote about ‘Biogenesis’, I had to clear something up from my initial article; Omnihility is not just Origin squared. In some ways it’s almost impossible to not mention Origin in reference to Omnihility given how inspired the latter is by the former but they’re by no means a knock off, cheap copy or simple ‘second coming’. With the release of ‘Biogenesis’ Omnihility has gone even farther than I thought a tech-death band could in the post Brain Drill/Viraemia era. Unfathomably fast but with more cohesion that most modern tech-death bands ever care to instill in their music. Technical licks that are both brutal and melodic. Vocals that annihilate the competition. The only way someone can talk about Omnihility in reference to Origin now is as their immediate competition and potential successor if those Topekans don’t pay attention.
It breaks my heart that such a phenomenal tech-death record can go so unnoticed in favor of garbage like The Faceless’ ‘Autotheism’ or Wintersun’s latest bout of pretentious explosive diarrhea. Omnihility deserve far more recognition and acclaim than they receive and if you as a metalhead care at all about the future of quality Death Metal, skip out on crap for the impressionable masses and pick up ‘Biogenesis’ instead. This is the kind of album that makes me proud to love Death Metal, crafted with care and precision by musicians of the highest caliber. Thank you Omnihility. If I ever make it down to Oregon one of these days, I’ll be sure to come to one of your shows and have my mind erased.
#3: Epicardiectomy – Abhorrent Stench of Posthumous Gastrorectal Desecration
Epicardiectomy have done the unthinkable. They’ve managed to record the thuggiest new school slam LP of all time. Vulvectomy’s ‘Putrescent Clitoral Fermentation’ is ‘Apocalyptic Feasting’ in comparison. Cerebral Incubation suddenly feels high brow and sophisticated. Even Cephalotripsy, the band everyone was convinced had separated slam from death metal (almost) entirely has nothing on Epicardiectomy. If ‘Uterovaginal Insertion of Extirpated Anomalies’ is the sonic equivalent of PCP, ‘Abhorrent Stench of Posthumous Gastrorectal Desecration’ is musical bath salts…and as strange as it may sound, I love every single low brow, idiot savant, wiggertastic second of this record.
In almost every respect, Epicardiectomy is the exact opposite of what many would call a groundbreaking Death Metal band; their entire musical ambition is the celebration of brain cell destroying brutality, every single one of their songs tap dances on the practically non-existent line between thuggy slam nirvana and the most retarded thing ever recorded and as if that wasn’t enough, in a single full length release the band has definitively proven that there is no such thing as ‘too much’ in new school slam.
That’s the beauty of this record though…Epicardiectomy stumbled onto genius by embracing full on mental retardation, which has been the musical ambition of new school slam since about 2006/2007. This isn’t just a stupid slam CD, this is THE stupid slam CD, the pure, unadulterated peak. There are only 7 seconds on this entire album (excluding the samples of course) where the band isn’t slamming. 7 seconds. No other band in the genre has ever achieved something like that. Epicardiectomy deserve boundless praise not for any groundbreaking progressiveness or trailblazing originality but for the single minded pursuit of everything that separates the new school slam of Devourment from the slam of bands like Cephalotripsy, the kind of slam completely unhindered by any actual Death Metal stylings.
There are no actual riffs on this album beyond the slam grooves. The vocals are a single unintelligible monosyllabic grunt. The drums dutifully pound away to hammer in the impact of the nonstop groove and manbearpig vocals. The song titles are ridiculously convoluted medical/gory babble. The guitars are tuned just above a frequency meant for dogs and the drums sounds delightfully trashy. Essentially, this is an album that revels in every criticism someone could possibly level against it while simultaneously utilizing all of those conceivable criticisms to achieve genre perfection. ‘Abhorrent Stench of Posthumous Gastrorectal Desecration’ is both delightfully absurd and absurdly great. An album destined to be hated by more metalheads than it’ll ever please. For those of you who can understand what I’ve been trying to say though, primitive, boorish uncouth music has never sounded this excellent. Well done Epicardiectomy, you barbarically brilliant bastards.
#2: Abiotic – Symbiosis
It’s no secret that I love Abiotic; they’re one of the greatest (if not the greatest) bands in Deathcore’s sordid history, making almost every other release in the genre trite and irrelevant. ‘Symbiosis’ is no exception. In fact, ‘Symbiosis’ is so good, I feel entirely comfortable calling it Deathcore’s ‘Effigy Of The Forgotten’. Much like Suffocation’s full length debut, Abiotic have henceforth set the standard for any and all Deathcore to come. You want to start a Deathcore band? Abiotic should be your primary reference and if they aren’t, give up now because you’ll probably just end up embarrassing yourself in your sister’s skinny jeans.
‘Symbiosis’ is destructive, intricate, mind boggling and beautiful. It makes me want to mosh myself into a full body cast and write an epic science fiction story about the destruction of mankind simultaneously. Sure, the majority of the album is rerecorded material from ‘A Universal Plague’ but that doesn’t matter. Every new incarnation of their previous material annihilates what was featured on the EP, which is exactly how it should be. I’ve listened to this album through and through at least three times now and I plan to listen to it many more times in the future. There are great full length debuts that astound and amaze new and old fans alike and then there are legendary full length debuts that secure a band’s place in metal history. ‘Symbiosis’ is the latter rather than the former. Nothing on this album ever left me disappointed. The mix, my only real quibble with ‘A Universal Plague’ has been redone masterfully. Alex, Ray, Matt, John and Andres sound better than ever, which isn’t easily done after an EP like ‘A Universal Plague’.
Really, the only other thing I can say is buy this CD right now. Don’t even think twice about it…and Abiotic? If you guys make it out to Seattle in the next few months, you’ll see me there. I’ll be the guy sporting the Internal Bleeding shirt going ape shit in the front row and mosh pit. \m/
#1: Malignancy – Eugenics
I’ve been waiting for this album for at least the last year and a half. When I first discovered ‘Inhuman Grotesqueries’, I knew I had found one of my new all time favorite Death Metal bands. Digging into Malignancy’s back catalog only re-enforced that initial impression. So I waited in breathless anticipation for ‘Eugenics’ to hit so it could blow me away all over again…and it has. Sweet radioactive christ, it has.
Before going any further, I have to say without a doubt in my mind than ‘Eugenics’ is not only Malignancy’s best record to date but by far the best technical death metal record of 2012. Think about that for a second; this year has seen some indisputable masterpieces from Aborted to Spawn Of Possession, from Cattle Decapitation to Dying Fetus…and yet ‘Eugenics’ manages to outclass them all for one reason or another, be it Danny’s inhuman growls and shrieks, Roger’s legendary bass work, Mike’s drumming extravaganza or Ron’s untouchable guitar riffs. This is an album that has singlehandedly made mincemeat of neo-classical death metal perfection, groundbreaking vegetarian deathgrind madness and Dying fuckin’ Fetus…and yet I’ve heard almost no one talking about it. I don’t mean the press mind you, I mean metalheads in general.
How the hell is that even possible? This album is as close to perfect as a tech-death album has come this year. Nothing, and I literally mean nothing is wrong with this album. The mix is the best I’ve heard all year. The songs are all technical brutal masterpieces and even at a surprisingly brief 31 minutes, it feels like not a single second of this record was wasted or cut off prematurely. There are bands who work their whole careers to reach five seconds of the Death Metal ecstasy Malignancy have crafted an entire album out of. I really don’t know how else I can say this; if you don’t love this album, there’s something wrong with you. Maybe you listened to it in a brief pocket of insanity, maybe you’re just too jaded for your own good or maybe you’re just a fuckin’ poser. I hate pulling that term out on a regular basis but if you as a Death Metal fan can’t even respect ‘Eugenics’ in all of its glory and triumph, there’s no other explanation. Fuck off back to your Children Of Bodom and In Flames and leave real Death Metal to the folks who aren’t pants on head retarded.
In short, Malignancy have not only outdone themselves but they’ve completely outdone just about every other band this year. In fact, there’s only one other band whose release is looking to be on the same level as ‘Eugenics’ (stay tuned for that article) and even then, trying to choose the better album between them is like asking me to choose between Scarlett Johansson and Adriana Lima for the title of ‘Hottest Woman Alive’, it can’t be done! Therefore, more than likely, my end of the year #1 is looking to be a tie.
If that’s upsetting to you for any reason, soak your head in a bucket of piranha fish…or just buy these every single one of these albums. Your call.