ORDER FROM CHAOS — Stillbirth Machine (review)

ORDER FROM CHAOS — Stillbirth Machine album cover Album · 1992 · Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
UMUR
"Stillbirth Machine" is the debut full-length studio album US, Missouri based black/death metal act Order From Chaos. The album was released through Wild Rags Records in late 1992. Order From Chaos formed in 1987 and is often mentioned among the earliest and most influential US black metal acts. The band released three demos before releasing the "Will to Power" EP in 1990 (released through Putrefaction Records). Order From Chaos then signed to Wild Rags Records and recorded "Stillbirth Machine". Before the album was released the band and the label had split though, but according to the band Wild Rags Records opted to release "Stillbirth Machine" anyway, without the band´s consent. Order From Chaos then in desperation signed to Decapitated Records, but that label screwed things up even worse than their former label, as the Decapitated Records version of "Stillbirth Machine" features several misspellings and omitted words in song titles. Thus today the band consider the Wild Rags Records version of "Stillbirth Machine" as the official label version of the album (although they never saw a dime from the label for their efforts), and the Decapitated Records version as a bootleg (although both versions were as such bootlegs, as none of them were released with the full consent of the band). It´s interesting to note that the Decapitated Records version of the album features a warning that the Wild Rags Records version is a bootleg.

Complicated release history aside "Stillbirth Machine" continues the blackened death metal style of the "Will to Power (1990)" EP. Order From Chaos may be considered a black metal band by some, but to my ears the music is too riff driven and brutal to be considered black metal. It´s probably lead vocalist/bassist Pete Helmkamp´s aggressive snarling vocals, which put them in the black metal camp, but in my opinion this is at most blackened death metal (which actually features quite a few thrash metal elements too). But it´s the quality of the music we´re really interested in isn´t it? and not discussions about genre tags.

The material on the 7 track, 35:21 minutes long album is pretty well written and effective blackened death metal. The tracks are relatively memorable but the band´s style is generally not the most accessible or hook laden type of death metal. It´s the rawness, the chaos, and brutality which are the greatest assets along with Pete Helmkamp´s caustic snarl. That man possesses one of the most convincing and hateful blackened growls on the scene. I´m blown away every time I hear him sing. The instrumental part of the album is well performed too, although nothing out of the ordinary for the style.

"Stillbirth Machine" features a raw, dark, and brutal sounding production, which suits the equally raw music perfectly. So upon conclusion Order From Chaos have produced a decent quality debut release in the darker and blackened end of the death metal scale. It´s not a perfect relase by any means, but it should appeal to fans of the most raw and unpolished part of the early 90s death metal scene (and probably to fans of Helmkamp´s later band Angelcorpse too). A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.
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