By in large, 2012 was an extraordinary year for metal music. Countless bands released either their very best material (Malignancy, Spawn Of Possession, Cattle Decapitation, Hour Of Penance, Gorod, Kraanium, Dehumanized – even if they aren’t tech-death) or their best material in years. (Dying Fetus, Gojira, Meshuggah, Aborted, Putrid Pile – even if Shaun LaCanne doesn’t play tech-death) Of course, every year has their stinkers…
The albums that could have been great, good or even just passable but for one reason or another have ended up either hopelessly generic or down right awful. It’s time to go through the final 7 disappointments and abject failures of 2012. Get your boots on; it’s time to wade straight into the shit.
#7. Raped By Pigs – Gushing Orgasms 2
It’s hardly a secret that I’m a Slam/Brutal Death Metal junkie. Even the most grimy, lo-fi gore splattered noisewalls short of intolerable garbage like Artery Eruption or Acranius leaves me satisfied in a way that only brutal music can. Having heard quite a bit about Raped By Pigs from other insatiable gore fanatics like me, I decided to check out ‘Sores Of Affliction’ on Youtube. Knowing that the band hails from Peru, I figured their style of Brutal Death Metal would be somewhat similar to Colombian bands like Carnivore Diprosopus, Amputated Genitals or Goretrade, the kind of savage mile-a-minute auditory assault with production jobs filthier than a hillbilly torture basement. If only I had an inkling of how wrong I was…
First things first, the name of this EP makes zero sense. As a standalone title, ‘Gushing Orgasms’ is just thoroughly nondescript and generic but as ‘Gushing Orgasms 2’, I’m completely lost. The band’s only other material is called ‘Contamination Of Whores’ so unless I’ve completely lost the plot, how in the hell can their latest EP be called ‘Gushing Orgasms 2’? Unless of course the missing subtitle is ‘Gushing Orgasms 2: More Hopelessly Backwards Deathcore Tinged Bullshit’. That’s right, instead of playing straight Slam, Raped By Pigs decided that filtering any and all conceivably good ideas through the most generic single minded Deathcore imaginable was the way to go. The production of this EP has no depth or weight, (as Deathcore is apt to do) the vocals are piss poor inhaled garbage and worst of all, every song on the EP seems to have been written ass-backwards.
Whenever any kind of momentum is being built, Raped By Pigs completely ruin it by throwing in a completely unnecessary/unwanted breakdown, which are more prevalent than any actual SLAMS. This makes the faster, grindier bits act as poorly placed stitches between the next god-awful breakdown. More often than not, the band will combine the faster bits with slam rhythms which once again, is wrong unless those portions are building to a goddamn SLAM. Honestly, it’s not like the combination of Deathcore and Slam is impossible. Bands like Shattered Eyes, despite not being any kind of a revelation in either genre, have a clear understanding of how to balance breakdowns with slam style groove or vice versa. Shattered Eyes also managed to enlist the help of Angel Ochoa, who is a Brutal Death Metal legend. Raped By Pigs on the other hand is just shooting in the dark, even throwing out horrible breakdowns at the very BEGINNING of certain tracks and then following it up with a much faster portion. I can’t even quantify the number of ways this is completely contradictory to what makes the genre work. Suffice it to say that Raped By Pigs is a band that managed to fuck up playing Slam. To paraphrase Harry Plinkett,
“How the hell do you screw up SLAM? That’s like screwing up mashed potatoes.”
If you’re in the market for QUALITY modern Slam, stick to Cephalotripsy, Cerebral Incubation or Epicardiectomy, who’s debut full length is the best new school slam album of 2012 and then some. Avoid this Peruvian nonsense like the plague.
Should have called themselves ‘Raped By Deathcore’…
#6. The Faceless – Autotheism:
One of the many reasons I love Youtube is allowing me to preview any and all albums I want to review and/or purchase, even if they’re only out on iTunes. Too bad this preview session confirmed every previous intuition I had about this album; it’s hopelessly dull, irretrievably generic and rips so much off from better bands, it’s just insulting. Amongst all of the Opeth and Cynic pilfering, there’s one song in particular that never ceases to piss me off. ‘Hymn Of Sanity’ is the second to last track and undoubtedly the most infuriating. At only 1:34, The Faceless thought it would be a phenomenal idea to pretend they were Spawn Of Possession. Of course, they fail miserably but not content with almost stealing an entire riff from ‘Incurso’, the worst pseudo-slam I’ve ever heard kicks in at 1:10 and finishes the song.
Get fucked, Faceless. I’m not a fanboy you can swoon with cheap theft and bad impersonation. It’s clearer than ever that your band thrives on the ignorance of the uninitiated. I’ve heard people proclaim that the ‘three part movement’ that opens the album (how goddamn pretentious) is ‘among the best in metal history’. Apart from being entirely incorrect, that statement crosses over into personally offensive. Two albums I’ve loved for the longest time (‘Focus’ and ‘Blackwater Park’) were eviscerated to provide this overgrown entry level outfit with cheap novelties to woo the unthinking majority into accepting their otherwise soulless and unfeeling compositions. Not to mention everything stolen from Mike Patton and Devin Townsend. Hell, they almost even steal from ‘La Masquerade Infernale’, like the most shameless of cheaters. Maybe if the ideas Paul Masdival, Mike Patton, Devin Townsend and Mikael Åkerfeldt have had ruthlessly stolen from them aided some larger, original musical goal I could be a bit more forgiving. They don’t, so now I’m just pissed. This album deserves to be avoided as the unoriginal waste of time and money it is but unfortunately so many people just won’t see it. After all, who do younger metalheads care more about, an unoriginal, thieving yet entirely accessible modern band or the trailblazers that have to put up with their hard work being bastardized? That’s what I thought. Screw this band.
#5. Beneath The Massacre – Incongruous:
He-hey, look who decided to go from toxic to cookie cutter this year. It only took Quebec’s Beneath The Massacre two albums to go from one of the worst new tech-death outfits of the 2000′s to full-blown weedily deedily tech-death stereotype hater fuel. Now in 2012, they’ve finally crossed the threshold…of mediocrity. At this rate, maybe their very last album will have one good song, a final testament to their ultimate bankruptcy.
OK, OK, maybe I’m not being entirely fair with this album. At least Beneath The Massacre attempt originality, which is more than I can say for those autotheist bastards. All things considered, it seems like Beneath The Massacre really tried outclassing Brain Drill’s mind erasing technicality and Origin’s world consuming brutality, which shows some degree of ambition that I can’t say any of the other bands/albums on this list display. So why are they fifth instead of sixth?
Well, as lofty as their goals were, they still failed. Completely and utterly. Had one or two elements of this release succeeded, I wouldn’t have minded considering this a noble experiment and sparing it my wrath. As it stands, the tech-death band I’ve hated for the longest time is still incapable of creating an album I can appreciate in any musical sense. The drums are still way too triggered and high in the mix, the direction of any given song on the album is nonexistent and this so called ‘vocalist’ has gotten on my very last nerve. Honestly, all signs point towards Elliot Desgagnés holding this band back. While he gives a sub-Oceano performance on the mic, the rest of the band is trying to progress. Between being held back and going too far, Beneath The Massacre has no chance. My advice would be to ditch their vocalist and try to instill some degree of structure in their music. As much as they’d like to think so, Beneath The Massacre is not Brain Drill and lacks the capacity to make noodling into whole songs. Maybe they’ll get it some day. If Six Feet Under can release an album that doesn’t make me want to jam forks into my ears, anything is possible.
#4. Allegaeon – Formshifter:
Ahh Melodic Technical Death Metal, we meet again. Why is it that this genre of music fails so critically on so many levels? The premise of separating genuine melody from melodeath cheese and combining it with technical prowess is one hell of a proposition. So why is it that just about every incarnation of the genre after ‘Celebration Of Guilt’ sucks? Is this mixture really as sensitive as combining two volatile chemicals (as I’ve said before) or are the bands that attempt this merge unsuccessful only because they’re incapable of writing both technical and melodic death metal? With ‘Formshifter’, Allegaeon give the second possibility a weight I had heretofore never considered. This album is like In Flames on crack, taking all of the cheese, pompousness and sheer musical incompetence of Gothenburg putridity and wrapping it all in a thick layer of weedily-deedily nonsense. It’s inconceivable that I ever actually liked this band given what they’ve decided to drop on the metal world this year.
Some of these atrociously overproduced compositions border on intolerable At The Gates inspired ‘metalcore’ (sorry Converge) like As I Lay Crying or Derpswitch Engage, which for a so called Death Metal band is the same thing as ritualistically sacrificing whatever artistic credibility they ever had, minus any kind of wild ceremony. Allegaeon border so closely on mallcore with this release that I’d have good reason to put them at number one, were it not for the last few shitheaps on the list. ‘Formshifter’ evokes the same kind of nausea ‘Slaughter Of The Soul’ never fails to induce. Much like that incomparably awful opus, ‘Formshifter’ is overlong, pretentious, malformed and gives this particular Death Metal fanatic what can only be described as ‘the diabeetus’. ‘Post Mortal Coil Fixation’ is the only thing saving me from a full blown saccharine coma. Never before have I heard such a high concentration of simplistic, unfulfilling nonsense from a band so technically inclined. It’s as if Gothenburg’s slimy, disgusting tendrils have finally made their way to tech-death, which is simply unacceptable. Gothenburg poison belongs in Hot Topic or other such similar trendy dens of atrociousness, not legitimate genres filled with respectable (and genuine) musicians. If Allegaeon is actually satisfied with this effort, then my last few words should be sufficiently acidic; crash and burn like the talentless founders of the septic waste you’ve polluted your band with. Fade into complete irrelevancy faster than any of you can say ‘Sounds Of A Playground Fading’…or you can stop taking cues from bands that almost destroyed the Swedish Death Metal scene and start actually trying. Your call Allegaeon.
#3. Sentenced To Dissection – Between The Worlds:
I’ll just say this right now; ‘Between The Worlds’ is the worst EP of the year, the worst material from a new tech-death band in 2012 and just about the perfect indictment of all similar Russian Tech-Death like Genocide Of Prescription. It’s supremely obnoxious, inconceivably ill-formed and above all other mistakes treats Beneath The Massacre’s work as actually classic, instead of as a well laid blueprint of how not to make tech-death.
Quite honestly, everything here is wrong. The band’s inspirations are all crap, the vocals make third rate deathcore trash like Whitechapel look phenomenal by comparison, the production is completely ill-suited to this kind of music and the compositions themselves are the musical equivalent of being forced at gunpoint to bang a morbidly obese chick; Your tormentors win as you’re forced to survive layer after layer of suffocating filth.
Really, I could rant about how unbelievably terrible this release is for hours but I figure my actual review of the album is enough for most of you to comprehend the depth of Sentenced To Dissection’s failure. The only thing I have left to say to these people is shame on you. Shame on you for pretending that this derivative catastrophe is something to be sought out. Shame on you for wasting even a small fraction of the metal community’s time. Shame on you for making tech-death for all the wrong reasons. Most importantly, shame on you all for promoting following instead of leading. I hope you and every other band like you enjoys failure because that’s all you’ve managed to genuinely accomplish.
#2. Nile – At The Gate Of Sethu:
How in the hell did this album turn out so colossally awful? Nile has been of the US’ flagship technical death metal titans for years and instead of delivering another Egyptian ass kicking, the most Colonel Sanders and crew could give us is the complete and utter ruination of anything that ever made Nile worth listening to. You name it, its been entirely ruined here. George Kollias’ drumming has been triggered beyond all recognition, riff creation was taken out of the equation entirely, the once intriguing Egyptian mythology angle is now a cheap joke (Re and The Nau Snake can eat shit) and worst of all both Karl and Dallas seem to have come down with emphysema and complete feverish delirium. How the hell else can they explain making themselves and their once classic band into this hellishly awful mockery?
It hurts to say but ‘At The Gate Of Sethu’ is the worst fall from grace since ‘Unspoken King’.Worse even. At least Cryptopsy had been building to an inevitable downfall. Nile’s betrayal of everything that made them a force to be reckoned with came right out of nowhere, like a sucker punch to the balls. The more cynical side of me thinks that Karl purposefully ensured this album failed as much as it did, if only to see how much money he and his bandmates could make ruining a creative endeavor just shy of twenty years old. It makes me sick to think that the band who gave us ‘Black Seeds Of Vengeance’, ‘In Their Darkened Shrines’ and ‘Annihilation Of The Wicked’ ended up giving us this petrified shit. What’s worse is that some folks have eaten it up with a spoon and asked for seconds.
I can say this much however; Nile have forever lost a fan. Perhaps not the most dedicated or long standing fan but a genuine, honest and appreciative fan nevertheless. ‘Ithyphallic’ and ‘Those Whom The Gods Detest’ had problems here and there but they were still very solid releases that more than merit my respect. This abomination is worthy only of the deepest seething contempt and loathing. I HATE this album and everything it represents. I despise the notion of a band with no prior history of poor quality deciding to release this kind of unadulterated shit on their fans. I detest the idea of mangling what could have been the only saving grace of this worthless record in a vain attempt to keep him and his drumkit from moving on to greener pastures. I loathe the reality of trash like this being senselessly devoured by unthinking and uncaring fans. Cryptopsy was going downhill before deathcore was even a nightmare. Metallica was a joke before Lou Reed turned them into his table. Nile killed themselves selfishly and pointlessly, all in an effort to do as little actual work as possible. Everyone except George deserves far worse ostracism and blame than they will EVER receive.
…and the biggest disappointment/failure of 2012 is,
#1. Wintersun – Time I:
Eight fuckin’ years…for five tracks. Three if you count actual SONGS and not interludes.
Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of Wintersun. Even in my know-nothing melodic ‘death metal’ days I wasn’t impressed by anything the band had to offer except Jari Mäenpää’s planet sized ego. To this day, the band’s first full length doesn’t strike me as anything more than Children Of Bodom with even greater helpings of cheese and wank. Out of every sub-par band and release in the increasingly shittier melodic ‘death metal’ genre, Wintersun can put me into a diabetic coma the fastest with their over polished saccharine mental masturbation masquerading as ‘epic’ and ‘symphonic’. I wouldn’t even bother outright hating this band were it not for one, agonizing factor; the Wintertards, otherwise known as the most fanatical of this band’s fanbase.
(To be perfectly clear before I get a million more hate comments than I already will, I have no quarrel with reasonable, well mannered Wintersun fans, even if I disagree with them and their taste. I’m positive most of you hate Wintertards as much as I do.)
If these obnoxious pseudo-intellectual subhuman monstrosities didn’t exist, I’d be more than happy to automatically condemn Wintersun to the landfill along with In Flames, At The Gates and the aforementioned Children Of Bodom so I could keep enjoying my ‘Uterovaginal Insertion Of Extirpated Anomalies’, ‘Voracious Contempt’, ‘Utopia In The Eyes Of A Beast’ and ‘Dreams Of The Carrion Kind’ but of course, at every turn these insipid pestilent wastes of space feel the need to disturb me with their incessant prattling and condemnation.
“Wintersun’s given the world its greatest musical compositions since Mozart.”
“Jari Mäenpää is a god among men.”
“Wintersun is musical perfection.”
“How can you NOT join me and my wretched, septic brethren inside of Jari Mäenpää’s colon, unfettered by things like logic or differing opinions?”
OK, I made that last one up but I honestly can’t help myself. I’m no stranger to loving certain musicians with all of my blackened leathery heart but I wouldn’t be caught dead saying something as stupid as ‘(Favorite musician of mine) is on the exact same level as Mozart.’ Far from being a testament to the inherent quality of the music, saying something like this clearly singles out those among us who should be locked into portable toilets and set on fire. There’s an astronomical difference between saying something along the lines of ‘Suffocation is as important to Death Metal as Bach is to classical music or Miles Davis is to jazz’ (which is acceptable) and ‘DURR WINTERSUN ARE AS THE GOOD LIKE MOZART HUR-DUURRRRRRRRRRRR’. (which is not) Just to reiterate for those of you without higher brain function, Mozart was both a prodigy and a genius whereas Jari Mäenpää is a narcissistic Finnish snake oil salesman with a vastly over inflated sense of his importance and musical ability.
“Ohhh, Jari composed the band’s debut full length himself, what an accomplishment!”
You know who else composes all of their own material on a regular basis? Shaun LaCanne of Putrid Pile; and unlike Jari, Shaun consistently releases new and improved material while maintaining an active tour schedule. What’s Mäenpää’s excuse for ‘Time I’, the Jarimobile broke down and he needed the recording funds to fix it? Give me a goddamn break. Three songs and two interludes DO NOT take as long to write and record as it took the entirety of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy to be filmed and released. Imagine if Necrophagist pulled this kind of crap after almost a decade; everyone would go beserk. Even hardcore fans of the band/Muhammed Suiçmez would be out for blood and Necrophagist is 1,000 times the band Wintersun could ever hope to be…but wait, it gets worse. (What a shock)
As if my opinion of Wintertards couldn’t get any lower, somehow these empty headed mutants managed to piss me off even more. Instead of calling their lord and savior out on his false promises, botched ambitions and outright lies just about every established Wintertard is instead calling ‘Time I’ an even greater triumph than the band’s debut, which makes me want to stop writing about Wintersun and instead use the last few paragraphs of this article to write a step by step instructional guide for coat hanger abortions. Pity the parents of every Wintertard didn’t have that revelation themselves.
Of course it’s clear beyond a shadow of a doubt than ‘Time I’ is a massive, unrepentant failure somewhere between ‘St. Anger’ and ‘Chinese Democracy’. The first actual song on the album (‘Sons Of Winter And Stars’) starts off with an interesting if not slightly overdone Japanese melody before quickly devolving into a clusterfuck of paper thin guitar riffs, drumming that makes MIDI sound like George Kollias and some of the worst ‘symphonic’ elements I’ve ever heard from a so called metal band…and that’s only the first song, mind you. The other two manage to be even WORSE somehow, as if Jari thought,
“It doesn’t matter what I put on this album anyways since my idiot fans will buy anything I put on the disc. Hell, I could record myself taking an hour lung dump and they’d still pay full price. Say…there’s an idea for the next CD. I’ll tell them it has 1,000 micro tracks but instead of even the simplest, stupidest Wintersun material, it’ll just be an hour long shit. Jari, you magnificent bastard!”
Compare the outright failure of ‘Time I’ to another recent release years in the making; Dehumanized’s ‘Controlled Elite’. I’m sure every Wintertard thinks Dehumanized is beneath their oh so refined palettes but they can all get disemboweled with wooden cooking spoons at this juncture. For the rest of you intelligent, critical metalheads out there, (including the sane Wintersun fans) consider this; Dehumanized hadn’t released an album since 1998 before last year. Since that time, the band split up on at least two separate occasions and although a new album seemed like it would never see the light of day, Dehumanized fans were content with the amazing material on ‘Prophecies Foretold’. Faster than anyone could say ‘Holy shit, they’re BACK!’ Dehumanized had not only released a sophomore album superior to ‘Prophecies Foretold’ but was (and is) actively playing shows and corresponding with their lifelong fans…after 14 years. None of the former members of Dehumanized had to get the band back together. There was no obligation or expectation, only a faint wish from dedicated fans that they’d get to hear the follow up to one of the greatest old school Slam CDs of all time and after nearly a decade and a half, Dehumanized fulfilled that wish. Why? Respect. Respect for their fans and their craft. More importantly, the members of Dehumanized aren’t told what gods they are by ass-kissers on a regular basis, they simply love what they do and the people who can’t get enough of it. That’s the difference between a band who cares and a smug, self important sonofabitch deciding to goof off for 8 years before churning out the laziest excuse for a follow up album imaginable.
Also, when your made up genre (Extreme Majestic Technical Epic Melodic Metal) makes ‘Slamming Gore Groove’ look legitimate, you need to rethink your life.