Cannibal Corpse – Torture

Cannibal Corpse

Metal Blade
Let’s get one thing straight before we continue here; one given with ‘Torture‘ is that there’s no real surprises to be expected. Everybody knows what Cannibal Corpse brings to the table, and that’s brutality, riffs, blastbeats and buckets and buckets of gore. That they’re still doing this on their twelfth studio album and still remain at the top of the death metal is testament to their merciless delivery time and time again.
Torture‘ quite up there with recent albums ‘Kill‘ and ‘Evisceration Plague‘, but those two albums were mercilessly brilliant and that doesn’t mean ‘Torture‘ is a slouch in comparison. Far from it. There is an ever so subtle shift in dynamic without dramatically cutting at what Cannibal Corpse do. There’s more than one occasion where they’re almost in groove territory, which, if you’ve not heard the new album yet, is not something to be alarmed by – the riffs are still ultra heavy and George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher delivers his guttural vocals in much the same fashion too. There’s also some sterling bass work by Alex Webster on here, the highlight being a ripping bass solo during ‘The Strangulation Chair’. 
Cannibal Corpse – Encased in Concrete (official video)
To sum it up with various tracks is futile because Cannibal Corpse is Cannibal Corpse. But once again, Erik Rutan’s has turned out a sterling production job and captured Corpse’s bloodthirst on record supremely well again. One or two outlets have proclaimed this album as a career best although, once again, I would still take ‘Kill‘ from their recent output, but even if you’ve heard everything they’ve had to offer before, this is still a worthy pick up, and you’re one of the few people on this planet to have never heard Cannibal Corpse (where have you been?), now is as good a time to start as any.
Peter Clegg

Hesper Payne – The Strange Tale of Samuel Gonzalez

Hesper Payne

The Strange Tale of Samuel Gonzalez
Works of Ein
This release missed my roving ear by some distance – ‘The Strange Tale of Samuel Gonzalez‘ was released by Newcastle-Upon-Tyne’s Hesper Payne right at the beginning of the year, and it wasn’t until towards the end of last month, following some slightly earlier but nonetheless late buzz on another metal site that I chanced upon this band. I’m glad that I did, because Hesper Payne are another well kept secret that the U.K. north has churned out in recent years.
The Strange Case of Samuel Gonzalez‘ consists of only three songs, timing at least seven minutes a time, and for anyone not initiated into Hesper Payne’s world – they’ve been going since 2004 – this is a wonderful, dark, unearthly introduction. Their potent brew stirs up a powerful mix of doom and death metal, the latter styling largely reminiscent of ‘Covenant‘-era Morbid Angel. This particular EP stomps and steamrolls through its entirety, serving up delicious grooves, daemonic beats and a journey into an underworld inspired by all things mysterious and Lovecraftian. The EP as a whole displays their incredible range, the title track a meandering nine-minutes of doom grooves, horror-styled atmospherics and an otherworldly tale, and the closer, a reworking of one of their older songs ‘Litany of the Drowners’, indulges itself in some incredible gloomy foreboding atmospherics that wouldn’t sound out of place during Cathedral’s most crushing moments. Inbetween all that, they do show some incredible death metal nous, not focusing on speed or blastbeats but on churning grooves and charging drum patterns that rightfully obliterate.
One of the awesome things I’ve discovered about the foundation of ‘The Strange Tale of Samuel Gonzalez‘ is that the band ran a competition where the winner got a Hesper Payne t-shirt and a song on this EP. Mr. Gonzalez is the (un)fortunate soul upon who the title track is based, while ‘Ospreys’ Jar’ was inspired by a fan’s short prose that is soon to be posted on the band’s official site. That, ladies and gents, is fan service.
I don’t know what it is about the north of the UK that leads to our country cranking out cracking bands time and time again – maybe it’s the whole ‘grim ‘oop north’ philosophy. But seriously, Scotland are spoiling us with their extreme scene and we have Newcastle to thank for doom/drone punishers Bong in recent years, and now one of the better kept secrets, Hesper Payne. In a day and age where the record industry is falling apart, constantly struggling to keep up with modern developments, metal will always stand strong having long got the knack of being self-sufficient. That it’s hidden a band like Hesper Payne from me until now is something it ought to explain to me though. This is quality stuff and should be consumed by everyone, at once.
Peter Clegg
Stream it below:

Visions: Flayed Disciple – The Shrine of Dahmer (NSFW)

The serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer isn’t exactly new ground for metal artists to cover – Japanese stoner boogie overlords Church of Misery didn’t miss the opportunity to add him to the list of killers they’ve based songs on, and grind legends Macabre had a whole album on him (‘Everybody do the Dahmer!’). Even so, it hasn’t stopped Flayed Disciple from tackling the subject of Dahmer head on. More so, they’ve only gone and created a downright nasty video to accompany it – plenty of shaky camera movement and grisly imagery make this an assault of depravity, occasionally cutting away to shots of the band, who pummel away at their instruments while their vocalists emits agonized brutal howls doing his best Chris Barnes impression (visually).

In all seriousness, we recommend you check out said video, after the jump, obviously. Flayed Disciple have been one of the leading lights of the UK extreme metal underground for a while now and their debut album ‘Death Hammer‘ is released on May 28. On this evidence, they’re going to tear the scene a new one.

Peter Clegg

Flayed Disciple – The Shrine of Dahmer (official video)

Oblivionized – Nullify the Cycle


Nullify the Cycle EP
Grindcore Karaoke
Guildford mentalists Oblivionized have been skewing metalheads’ faces a new one for the last few years with their brand of molten brutal technical deathgrind, and following some impressive live shows of late, they’re back with a new EP entitled ‘Nullify the Cycle‘. Oblivionized’s initial output showed promise, but ‘Nullify the Cycle‘ is but a taste of not only what they are capable of, but how far they can branch out too.
The first two tracks are an all-out assault on the senses. ‘The Nullification of Philanthropy’ fades into focus in the first few seconds, menacingly building into a full-fledged attack, which upon its arrival leads to all kinds of dizzying chaos. ‘Cycle of Deprivation’ follows straight-up and again smashes your face six ways from Sunday. Anyone loyal to Oblivionized from their earlier material won’t be surprised, though it’s a definite step-up from ‘Abhorrent Evolution‘. The major surprise here comes on the final song, the EP’s title-track. Beginning at first with some deep growls warped over an ambient, dark industrial noise, the remainder of the song is played out with a slightly trepidating piano melody before clean, haunting vocals sing out the rest of the song. It’s in stark contrast to Oblivionized’s usual sound but it works. The only criticism I would perhaps have is that on a three-track EP, with the first two playing out a tech-death apocalypse, it feels slightly out of place, though you can’t fault the quality of the song.
Oblivionized certainly have the tools to reach the head of their pack. ‘Nullify The Cycle‘ displays a level of brutality and maturity present in bands twice their age, and on this evidence you’d have to say one or two of the bigger extreme labels ought to be having a sniff. And seeing them so willing to spread their wings (on this occasion at least), the prospect of a full-length from these guys is tantalising.
Peter Clegg

Napalm Death – Utilitarian

Napalm Death

Century Media
Robin van Persie. The Klitschko brothers. Rahul Dravid. Valve. Eeyore. The one thing all these names have in common is reliability. In the case of all but Eeyore (for whom I can’t vouch ‘performance’), quality is another synonymous trait. These people, companies and indeed characters possess an unbelievable ability to produce striking results again and again and again. And again. And yes, again.

I could use other musical examples, but where’s the fun in that? Everybody knows AC/DC deliver good riffs, Ramones great three-chord melodies and The Wildhearts deliver cracking choruses again and again. I don’t need to go over them all the time. So to get to the point, on their fifteenth studio album ‘Utilitarian‘, have Napalm Death’s standards slipped? Not a chance. The Birmingham grindcore legends post-millennium renaissance continues on its constantly rising boom in stark comparison to the world economy’s bust, and, even in a genre where is in rude health at present, one of the scene’s forerunners is back to rightfully reclaim their throne.
‘Circumspect’, an instrumental intro’, ratchets up the tension nicely before exploding in the form of ‘Errors in the Signals’. The ‘Death rear up with their blaring racket in full force, Barney Greenway’s vocals still as vicious as ever. Its evident already at this point that their ability to get in your face with forcible intent is undiminished, and the remainder of ‘Utilitarian‘ goes about in pretty much the same manner. Even as nothing much is done to greatly reinvent the way, its quality that counts all the way with this release.
Napalm Death – Analysis Paralysis
The tools mastered by their many years remain as effective as ever. The slight tempo shift during ‘Protection Racket’ has been utilised many a time over the years, but is as reliable and effective as the aforementioned Ramones’ three-chord policy, and you’d be a fool to not be circle-pitting as it kicks in. Their years of experience shine through, with Mitch Harris stepping up to provide lead vocals on ‘The Wolf I Feed’, evoking the soul of Killing Joke with ominous vocals on songs such as ‘Fall on Their Swords’, and simply wanting to make you go absolutely nuts during tracks like ‘Quarantined’ and ‘Blank Look About Face’.
Unquestionably Napalm Death have delivered the goods again. Rarely do they fall on their own swords, and even in an era where grind has risen back up to prominence and is chock full of pretenders to the throne, Napalm Death still claim the seat, and particularly in a world full of injustices and moral, ethical and political quandries, could well still be there for years to come.
Peter Clegg

The Chisora-Haye Brawl – a musical analysis

[Credit for above picture unknown. Apologies]

Dereck ‘Del Boy’ Chisora probably wasn’t known to many people outside boxing circles before his clash with WBC Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitchko a couple of weeks back. So its safe to say, this was a huge opportunity to make a name for himself. And that he did. For all the wrong reasons. Slapping Vitali at the weigh-in. Spitting water at Vitali’s world champion brother Wladimir. Trying to get at Vitali after the result was announced. All this, yet he’d possibly redeemed himself a little bit following a gallant performance in defeat to the elder Klitchko. Of course, that wasn’t the end of it. David Haye, former world heavyweight champion and somewhat tarnished by his defeat to Wladimir, which he infamously blamed on his little toe. Haye was at the post-fight press conference and heckled from the back, angling for a fight with Vitali. Chisora threw insults at Haye. Haye retorted back. Chisora got up and went eyeball to eyeball with Haye in the middle of the media scrum. The rest is now history.

 Above: The brawl that shamed boxing

At this point you may be asking, what has any of this got to do with this blog, or rock and metal music in general? Well…

Gorerotted – Only Tools and Corpses

(from ‘Only Tools and Corpses‘, Metal Blade, 2003)

OK, so now you may be wondering, really what has this got to do with boxing at all? Well you’d be right. The title track from UK goregrind/death metal nasties Gorerotted’s definitive opus hardly screams out as a boxing anthem a la Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’ or LL Cool J’s ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’, with it’s macabre and tongue-in-cheek lyrics about carving up the dead. That said, the song doesn’t half pack a punch and it doesn’t mess about in assimilating everything that stands before it.

Gorerotted – Only Tools and Corpses

Think about it symbolically instead. In Chisora and Haye, we have a couple of proverbial tools whose actions that night shamed the sport they love. The corpses in question are potentially Chisora’s career – though I expect his remorse will ensure he still has one – and almost certainly Haye’s legacy, which could have been something great but will instead now be something of a joke. Plus, this choice of song is more than ironic, given its obvious tealeafing of the classic TV series Only Fools and Horses’ opening theme tune drumbeat, and dear old Dereck’s love for the show (whose theme tune he normally walks to the ring to). Whatever happens, its certain that Chisora and Haye might have some wheeler-dealing of their own to if they’re to salvage anything from this mess.

Peter Clegg

Also in the series:

The trial of Conrad Murray – a musical analysis
The 2011 England Riots – a musical analysis

Beneath the Massacre – Incongruous

Beneath the Massacre 

The metal scene is absolutely flooded with bands of a technical variety, and it goes without saying there’s a fight to get to the very top. Based on their previous record, ‘Dystopia‘, I wouldn’t count Montreal, Canada’s Beneath the Massacre in that upper echelon, as my expectations for that record were somewhat dampened by a lack of creativity that stifled the promise shown on their debut effort ‘Mechanics of Dysfunction‘.

Still, that hasn’t stopped this brutal crew from ploughing forth. New album ‘Incongruous‘ is another 11 tracks of brutal technical death metal from the French-Canadians, and long time fans and indeed those who simply have BTM on their radar shouldn’t expect anything different to before. The guitars weedle, squeal and dizzy more than ever before, as the quartet blast their way through eleven punishing tracks. Songs such as ‘Hunted’ and ‘It’ breathe menace and punishing complexity. It’s still the same old same old, a problem in that everything risks bleeding into one another, but Beneath The Massacre have wisened up a little, showing improved intelligence and less reliant on breakdowns, which were too numerous on ‘Dystopia‘ and too one-dimensional. Even when they do go for the chug there’s a little more invention, giving them a sharper edge.

All said and done, ‘Incongruous‘ is a step up from ‘Dystopia‘, despite being largely more of the same. There’s still a few kinks here and there but for the large part, there’s improvement. It won’t set the world alight, but its a positive sign of a band maturing into an effective killing machine. They’re not such a known name over here, especially with so many tech heads about and after two full lengths as well. ‘Incongruous‘ ought to at least ensure that doesn’t stretch to three.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘Incongruous‘ here