Brutal Death Metal

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Brutal death metal emphasizes brutality in music and lyrics. The guitar distortion often has a lot of bottom, and the players make use of pinched harmonics, heavy riffage and very fast palm-muted picking, while the drumming typically incorporates blastbeats and fast double bass drum work. In terms of composition and performance, brutal death metal is often complex and technical, as one tune typically contains several, often difficult-to-perform, sections. The vocals typically consist of low pitch growls, sometimes combined with screams and shrieks, and the lyrics typically deal with violence, mutilation, violation and murder, described in gory detail. Slam death metal is sometime considered a distinct subgenre of brutal death metal because of its focus on heavy breakdowns and moshpit-friendly midtempo brutal riffage at the expense of speed and intensity. Examples of brutal death metal bands are Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Hate Eternal, Severe Torture, Infernal Torment, Benighted, and early Illdisposed.

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SUFFOCATION ...Of The Dark Light Album Cover ...Of The Dark Light
SUFFOCATION
4.39 | 5 ratings
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DYING FETUS Reign Supreme Album Cover Reign Supreme
DYING FETUS
4.28 | 5 ratings
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FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE Agony Album Cover Agony
FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE
4.11 | 17 ratings
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NILE Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka Album Cover Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka
NILE
4.06 | 29 ratings
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DYING FETUS Descend Into Depravity Album Cover Descend Into Depravity
DYING FETUS
4.11 | 9 ratings
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HOUR OF PENANCE Sedition Album Cover Sedition
HOUR OF PENANCE
4.05 | 12 ratings
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SUFFOCATION Despise the Sun Album Cover Despise the Sun
SUFFOCATION
4.12 | 4 ratings
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SUFFOCATION Effigy of the Forgotten Album Cover Effigy of the Forgotten
SUFFOCATION
3.96 | 18 ratings
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DYING FETUS Destroy the Opposition Album Cover Destroy the Opposition
DYING FETUS
3.97 | 10 ratings
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SUFFOCATION Souls to Deny Album Cover Souls to Deny
SUFFOCATION
3.96 | 9 ratings
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SEVERE TORTURE Misanthropic Carnage Album Cover Misanthropic Carnage
SEVERE TORTURE
4.00 | 5 ratings
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DYING FETUS Wrong One to Fuck With Album Cover Wrong One to Fuck With
DYING FETUS
3.97 | 6 ratings
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Era Of Omniscience
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SIGNS OF OMNICIDE
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The Level Above Human
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INGESTED
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Slavery Code
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PUTREFACTION
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Savagery
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SKINLESS
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Decomposition of Existence
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FECUNDATION
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Hideous Revelations
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NECROSADIST
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brutal death metal Music Reviews

INGESTED The Level Above Human

Album · 2018 · Brutal Death Metal
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Nightfly
Things have been a bit quiet lately on the new release front from my death metal favourites. Whilst I’m always looking to check out bands I’ve never heard before this current dearth has encouraged me to look a bit wider. One such album I’ve recently come across in my search is The Level Above Human by Ingested. It’s the fourth from this brutal Manchester bunch but the first I’ve heard by them.

Whether there’s any musical growth from their earlier releases I couldn’t say and maybe I should have done my homework and found out. What I can say though is while it doesn’t offer anything original, something that’s not necessary anyway if you’ve got the songs to back it up, if brutal/slam death metal and deathcore is your thing then you probably will find much to enjoy here. The playing is tight and pretty complex at times with tempos ranging from the expected breakneck blasts to slower breakdowns and slam death parts. There are plenty of strong riffs throughout though the opening riff of Invidious sounds like a rip off of Iron Strengthens Iron from the last Dyscarnate album, With All Their Might. Individually each song sounds fine but nothing jumps out particularly to distinguish it from the rest despite the bands efforts to inject plenty of changes into individual tracks. After a while one song tends to blend into another and after the full 44 minutes I was feeling like I’d had enough. The more melodic instrumental Obsolescent offers some welcome respite from the overall bludgeon and alternating growl/shriek vocals making a good choice for closing the album.

Overall then, The Level Above Human whilst certainly no classic is a pretty good album. I’m sure plenty of people will love it but my own preference for my death metal being served straight up makes it more an album I admire rather than love. One that I’ll be happy to give a spin from time to time though for sure.

NILE Black Seeds of Vengeance

Album · 2000 · Brutal Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
While NILE hit the ground running on their debut release “Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka” which found the band utilizing the Egyptian mythology that Iron Maiden flirted with on their “Powerslave” album, it was their second album BLACK SEEDS OF VENGEANCE where they really started to take the ideas laid down on the debut release and organize them into a more cohesive package that began their slew of epic feeling death metal releases. In the lineup department, this was a volatile period of the band’s existence with band leader Karl Sanders having to replace percussionist Pete Hammoura because of injuries sustained during touring. In to save the day was Derek Roddy who was a seasoned drumming veteran at this point after playing in several bands including Hate Eternal. He would fill the role in the drum department only for this one album before he would be replaced by the great George Kolias. Another great change in the band’s sound came with the addition of the second guitarist /vocalist Dallas Toler-Wade who added a new heft to the band’s already heavy sound. The new two-guitar lineup granted the expansion of rhythm and lead counterpoints which the band exploited superbly.

While “Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka” found NILE with a relatively unique sound in the burgeoning death metal camp that glutted the 90s, one aspect of that release that was missing was a true sense of cohesion with well laid out concepts that flowed in a rather logical manner. The album was more simplistic in the composition department and retained an element of the punkish innocence that was a leftover from the demo days. On BLACK SEEDS OF VENGEANCE, the twelve tracks on board take all the disparate elements present on the first album and arrange them in a more logical and seductively pleasing manner. Firstly the lush Middle Eastern orchestral parts are no longer separated from the brutal death metal bombast and the two are allowed to mix and mingle at various points of the album. The technical aspects have also increased as the tracks are not only more varied in sound but the unorthodox song structures take more liberties to twist and turn in myriad directions superimposing the ritualistic serpent marches with the atonal caustic freneticism of the lightning fast guitar riffs and blastbeats. Likewise Derek Roddy delivers a more technical percussive workout offering more variation in the jaw dropping drum rolls and percussive bombast.

While the death metal orotundity has exponentially increased its technical virtuosity, it too diverges from the power driven speed of the debut and offers crushingly slow death doom passages that allow sustained chords to sustain in unison with Turkish gongs as well as creating thrash palm muted passages to parade through the serpent’s temples as the compositions are more infused with an exotic Middle Eastern flair and finds the band expanding their use of musical scales and experimental string tunings in various keys. Likewise the orchestrated exotic flair of the Conan the Destroyer soundtrack parts exhibit more variation this time around as well with extra musicians on board to offer tastes of exotic instruments and eerie choral vocals that conspire to create one of the most surreal death metal experiences of the turn of the millennium. The attention paid to the atmospheric possibilities in conjunct with the portentous ferociousness of the growled vocals and instrumental death metal assaults is quite artfully achieved. Tracks such as “To Dream Of Ur” offer up the full potential of these cross-pollinating aspects with strange growly chants, exotic Middle Eastern stringed instruments and death doom tempos that allow the tracks to build up to crescendoes before transitioning to more aggressive passages.

BLACK SEEDS OF VENGEANCE is rather unique in the NILE canon as it is the perfect transition album that finds the band shedding their old school brutal death metal skin and dressing it all up in their tech tuxedo of death in which they would continue to perfect on future albums but something about this second release continues to draw me back for returned visits more than any other NILE album. I believe that it is the album that most uses the death and doom metal elements to emphasize the Ancient Egyptian musical feel rather than the other way around. Every aspect of BLACK SEEDS OF VENGEANCE seems to revolve on keeping the listener anchored in the fertile pharaoh ridden shores of the river that sustained the ancients and all their mysterious ways. This one has more time dedicated to these non-metal aspects including chants and periods of eerie mummy raising rituals. The bombast of the metal simply reinforces the themes and mythology that the lyrics and exotic scales construct. For my money, BLACK SEEDS OF VENGEANCE is one of the best NILE albums in their discography and while albums like “Annihilation Of The Wicked” may be more technically advanced, they are still simply variations of the syncretic ideas laid out on this sophomore album. This album is EXCELLENT!!!!

NILE Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka

Album · 1998 · Brutal Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
It was bound to happen eventually. When Iron Maiden released their landmark album “Powerslave” in 1984, it not only displayed a classic metal band in full form in the midst of their long creative peak that would span the rest of the decade but it also sowed the seeds that fertile imaginations could take several steps further. In other words, “Powerslave’s” album cover imagery insinuated a fully developed concept album about the world of ancient Egypt and the mythology and power structures that enabled it to endure for centuries, however in reality the album was a collection of unrelated tracks ranging from military airplane maneuvers to medieval sword fights. After the years went by, Iron Maiden never revisited the Egyptian themes again and finally in the 90s a young death metal band from South Carolina would release the mummies from their chambers and resurrect these themes and create an entire career based on the squandered opportunities of Maiden’s voyage into the land of the sphinx and Alexander The Great.

NILE started out as a mere old school death metal band and as evidenced from their demos were nothing out of the ordinary in the beginning. However somewhere in their nascent years the band discovered not only the fruitful possibilities of cross-pollinating Egyptian themes with intense and brutal technical death metal, but went several steps further and added orchestral segments to their music that incorporated the feel and musical scales of the far away lands where the pharaohs once roamed. NILE debuted with a bang on AMONGST THE CATACOMBS OF NEPHREN-KA where they immediately set themselves apart from other old school death metal clones and established a fascinating hybridization of the brutal death metal genre with music and lyrics inspired by Ancient Egypt history, mysticism, religion and arts coupled with healthy doses of H.P. Lovecraft sci-fi veneration.

The title of the album is a reference to Lovecraft’s “The Outsider” where NEPHREN-KA was a fictitious Egyptian Pharaoh who committed horrendous atrocities to fuel his cult worshippers that ultimately resulted in his actions to be erased from the historical records only to be unearthed in the CATACOMBS where he was buried. The music on the album mostly exudes the brutal technical death metal that NILE has become synomous with but also displays their knack of developing the orchestral instrumental parts that originated on Morbid Angel’s “Domination” and put an Ancient Egyptian spin on them. There are also classical inspirations such as the intro of “Ramses Bringer Of War,” a clear references to Gustav Holst’s “Mars Movement” from his best known works on “The Planets.” The Middle Eastern sound is quite strong with additional musicians lending a hand on bona fide thigh bone flutes, Turkish gongs, Damaru human skull drums and eerie sounding choirs. In fact, the whole affair somewhat comes off as a more technically developed Morbid Angel death metal album making an appearance on the Conan The Barbarian soundtrack as the orchestral parts remind me of that movie.

While NILE would continue to hone and craft their sound and ratchet their complexity and sophistication up several notches on the ensuing albums, their debut AMONGST THE CATACOMBS OF NEPHREN-KA is an excellent album in its own right with heavy distorted death metal chops blastbeating their way into your nervous system while Karl Sanders pummels away on the guitar with his death growl vocal style. In this early lineup of NILE, it was Chief Spires on bass and Pete Hammoura on drums and while he didn’t quite match the intensity of George Kollias’ speed, he more than displayed the adequate stamina to churn out satisfying death metal chops. This debut perhaps does not stand above the more accomplished albums that follow but is still one not to be missed. True that the tracks are generally shorter and more to the point without the compositional prowess of albums like “Annihilation Of The Wicked,” but AMONGST THE CATACOMBS OF NEPHREN-KA delivers the goods in a totally satisfying way that adds the mystique of the tales of another time and place with brutal death metal outbursts fortified with lush excursions to a feel of the silk road.

LEHAVOTH Hatred Shaped Man

Album · 2003 · Brutal Death Metal
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UMUR
"Hatred Shaped Man" is the debut full-length studio album by Israeli death metal act Lehavoth. The album was released through Fadeless Records in April 2003. Lehavoth was formed in 1995 and initially played black metal. They went on a longer hiatus towards the end of the millenium as a consequence of the members serving their 3 years of military service (which is mandatory in Israel), but came back together in 2000 and recorded a demo, which resulted in them getting signed. "Hatred Shaped Man" was recorded at Soundlab Studios in Sweden with producer Mieszko Talarczyk (Nasum, Genocide Superstars).

The music on the album is brutal and technically well played death metal. There´s great rhythmic variation throughout the album, which includes everything from mid-paced brutal grooves to blast beating. While the music is predominantly old school death metal oriented, Lehavoth incorporates other more contemporary influences to their music, which makes "Hatred Shaped Man" quite a different sounding and adventurous release for the genre. This is definitley not your average Cannibal Corpse or Suffocation clone although Lehavoth is equally extreme and brutal sounding. Usually with artists from the middle east you´ll be treated to some native instrumentation or sections, but there´s none of that on "Hatred Shaped Man", and Lehavoth could as such have been from any place in the world. They have what I´d characterize as a universal sound.

The vocals vary between brutal growling and more aggressive tinged growling. They are delivered with fierce conviction and are relatively intelligible. The fierceness of the vocal attack, is equalled by the instrumental part of the music which is also delivered with furious aggression and brutality. In many ways "Hatred Shaped Man" is a very extreme release (probably even for seasoned death metal listeners).

The sound production on the 10 track, 29:45 minutes long album is harsh, powerful, and detailed. A very suiting sound for Lehavoth´s raw sounding music. So "Hatred Shaped Man" is in every way a successful release feauturing great material, high level musicianship, and a professional and well sounding production. Add to that the above mentioned adventurous element and the fact that even though they are rooted in old school death metal, they are not retro sounding. On the contrary their sound is pretty refreshing. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

DYING FETUS Wrong One to Fuck With

Album · 2017 · Brutal Death Metal
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UMUR
"Wrong One to Fuck With" is the 8th full-length studio album by US, Maryland based death metal act Dying Fetus. The album was released through Relapse Records in June 2017. It´s the successor to "Reign Supreme" from 2012 and features the same three-piece lineup as the predecessor: John Gallagher (guitars, vocals), Sean Beasley (bass, vocals), and Trey Williams (drums). In fact Dying Fetus has featured this trio lineup since "Descend into Depravity (2009)", and it finally looks like the endless lineup changes of the past are behind them. A stable lineup for three albums in a row is definitely some sort of a record for the band.

Stylistically almost nothing has changed since the inception of Dying Fetus in the early 90s despite of the many lineup changes throughout the band´s history. Band leader/guitarist/vocalist John Gallagher has steered the ship through various storms with a clear musical vision of playing the most crushingly brutal and groove laden death metal he could possibly produce and has for the most part succeeded in doing just that. Every release up until now has been high quality death metal, although some albums stand out more than others. That trend is continued on "Wrong One to Fuck With", which is another example of how one of the elite artists of the genre deliver brutal and technical well played death metal on a level that only few similar styled contemporary artists can dream of reaching.

No compromise is the first thing I think when listening to "Wrong One to Fuck With", which is a vicious attack on the ears. Given a few listens, hooks begin to appear and there are definitely some pretty catchy moments here and there on the album, but initially you´ll probably be blown to pieces by the ultra brutal music and uncompromising nature of the material. Dying Fetus are not the type of band to cater to accessibility and you´ll be hard pressed to find anything resembling a melody on the album (which of course is a bit of an exaggeration, because there are actually brief hints of melody featured on the album). Fast blasting, sharp riffs and rhythms, and those trademark ultra brutal groove laden breakdowns, paired with the brutal growling vocals of Gallagher and Beasley (who compliment each other with a deep unintelligible growling type and a slightly more intelligible aggressive growling type), are the basis of the band´s music.

It´s not album where it makes much sense to mention one track over another, because all tracks on the album are consistent in quality and style. It´s both a strength and a weakness. A strength because you know that you´ll be exposed to high quality brutal death metal played with great technical skill for the duration of the album, but a weakness because the album is a bit of a one-dimensional listen. It´s more or less the premise of this particular style of death metal though, and it´s a matter of locking on to the brutal hypnotic grooves and enjoying the sharp riffs and precision drumming, rather than expecting stylistic variation and development.

"Wrong One to Fuck With" is a well produced album. It´s raw, powerful, and detailed, and the sound production suits the material perfectly. The triggered bass drums are maybe a bit too "thin" and "clicky" sounding, but it´s not a major issue, and overall the album sounds great. So upon conclusion "Wrong One to Fuck With" is yet another high quality brutal death metal release by Dying Fetus. They are still one of the elite artists of the genre, and prove it once more here. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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