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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DYING FETUS Destroy the Opposition Album Cover Destroy the Opposition
DYING FETUS
3.97 | 10 ratings
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SUFFOCATION Effigy of the Forgotten Album Cover Effigy of the Forgotten
SUFFOCATION
3.95 | 18 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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brutal death metal Music Reviews

DYING FETUS History Repeats...

EP · 2011 · Brutal Death Metal
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Vim Fuego
It can be a bit risky covering some of your influences, particularly when they are also your contemporaries. After all, some of these bands are still going, and it would be inevitable for the Dying Fetus crew to cross paths with them. What happens if you’ve covered one of your idol’s songs and fucked it up?

Fortunately, there’s no worries here. Brutal death metal doesn’t get much more brutal than Dying Fetus, and this is a nice indicator as to where some of that violence came from.

First track “Fade Into Obscurity” was originally recorded by Dehumanized. Most musicians have a local scene they grew up with and were a part of, and Dehumanized inhabited the same part of the world as Dying Fetus. It’s tight, deathly as fuck, and if you don’t know the original (I don’t) it could easily be a Dying Fetus song.

“Unchallenged Hate” might seem an unusual choice of song. The anti-racism song from Napalm Death’s legendary “From Enslavement To Obliteration” album is more grind oriented than the usual Dying Fetus fare. However, grindcore and brutal death metal are probably the two closest related major genres in extreme metal, and have often cannibalised each other. This version has more of a groove than the original, although the vocals retain a bit of Lee Dorrian’s screech and growl.

“Gorehog” is a cover from Broken Hope’s 1991 debut album “Swamped In Gore”, but is given a 21st century make-over here. It’s still just as guttural and gloriously gory, but the sound is fuller and Fetus-ized.

“Rohypnol” is a 43 second rape revenge original, not to be taken too seriously, although it has a seriously good blast beat at the end of the song.

Bolt Thrower is a band not often covered, or at least, not often enough. “Unleashed Upon Mankind” is a song with a relentless mid-pace riff, like a rumbling tank, and is punctuated with faster passages. Bolt Thrower didn’t use traditional blast beats, and it would have been tempting to add a few here, but no, this is a faithful cover. John Gallagher’s vocals use a different tone to Karl Willett’s electronically lowered voice, but it seems to suit the song.

“Twisted Truth”, originally by Pestilence, is another less obvious choice. Something from Pestilence’s more brutal Martin Van Drunen era would have seemed more likely, but this came from the more melodic Patrick Mameli-fronted “Testimony Of The Ancients” album. And ya know, Dying Fetus might be famous for brutality, but there’s nothing wrong with their ability to produce a melody either.

Final track “Born In A Casket” in a Cannibal Corpse classic, so of course, it sounds like a chorus of vomiting zombies wreaking havoc in a malfunctioning iron foundry, like it should.

Like most covers collections, there’s nothing stunningly surprising, although the injection of a bit of groove and melody here and there can raise an eyebrow. This was an appetizer while the band prepared a new album. It serves that purpose perfectly, leaving you looking forward to your next feed of ‘Fetus.

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.

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