About Sebastian Gregory

Just another bio-drone running on pig shit and tiger blood.

Entombed: Crawl EP

Entombed: Crawl EP

Entombed: Crawl EP

Just three songs here, and the only three Entombed songs with Orvar Säfström (Nirvana 2002, an early death metal band on par with Nihilist) on vocals.  Lars Petrov wasn’t around, so Orvar stepped in to record a teaser for the upcoming Clandestine album, which listed Johnny Dordevic as the singer but in reality all the songs were sung by Nicke Anderson.  Confused yet?  Welcome to the revolving door of Entombed’s vocalists.

So yeah, a teaser with one song off the previous release Left Hand Path (“Bitter Loss”) one song from the upcoming album (“Crawl”), and one song (“Forsaken”) that was originally done for a compilation and had been the last thing L.G. Petrov sang with Entombed until his return on Wolverine Blues—but here obviously it’s with Orvar on vocals.  “Forsaken” is a real steam roller, and “Bitter Loss” does sound different than the Left Hand Path version, more underground, if that’s possible.

One of the cool things about this EP is that one time performance on vocals, though Orvar doesn’t sound that much different from L.G. or Nicke; these guys were all drinking the same death metal brew.  The new song “Crawl” is a step above the first album, more dynamic and therefore heavier.  The “Entombed” guitar tone is still gutsy, gritty and grinding, solos are relatively short and to the point.

Hard to believe it’s been twenty years since this was recorded.  These dudes (along with Dismember, Unleashed, etc.) lit a fire which has yet to burn out.  I wonder how many BROOTAL PIT BOYZ are aware of what Entombed was doing back in the late 1980’s, when Jesus turned the dinosaurs into oil to save America.  If I smack my head hard enough I can remember ripping the cellophane off this cassette and playing it in my car.  At that moment I thought there could be no heavier.  I was wrong, but “Crawl” is still a crushing blow.

Defiance: Beyond Recognition

Defiance: Beyond Recognition

Defiance: Beyond Recognition

Man I’m struggling to think of the last time I even LISTENED to this tape, because nothing on here sounds even vaguely familiar.  This isn’t Defiance the punk band, or the acoustic protest duo, or whatever—this is the thrash metal band.

No death metal here but some very fine technical thrash with a high level of musicianship, shifting time sigs, clean vocals, jazzy interludes, trussed up in a bunch of furious riffing.  Now these dudes are from that bastion of metal, the Bay Area of Kalifornia; which isn’t to say they sound like Testament or Forbidden, but they do.  Still, it’s all quality, and frequently sounds better than the aforementioned namechecks, which makes me wonder why Defiance never seemed to rise above the second-tier rating.  Guess they weren’t pretty enough or something.  They certainly had the hair for thrash, though.  “Beyond Recognition” is the third album, on RoadRacer.

The opening guitar shred of “The Killing Floor” sets the table and when the band kicks in you just know these guys practiced their fingers to quivering bits coming up with this crazy shit.  I guess this isn’t everyone’s bag o’ nuts, but this is the kind of metal I used to get really sweaty over.  I love how “The Killing Floor” dips and dives, time sigs lurching around like drunken, blood spewing unicorns.  But it’s “Perfect Nothing” that makes me think they worshipped at the altar of Testament a tad too often.  Still, I love the bass drum battery and the leads are ripping.  “Dead Silence” (which sounds suspiciously like Dead Toilets) has some more of those jazz leads that sound so good spread on a bed of hot delicious thrash.  And you even hear the bass every once in a blue weevil.

Now on vocals you’ve got Steev Esquivel, a guy you’ve probably heard of, because he went on to do Skinlab, who were wildly famous.  No?  Well, better known than Defiance, at any rate, at least among the young ‘uns.  But back in the day Steev was a good old thrash metal howler.  And he did reunite briefly with the reincarnation of Defiance a few years back.  Yeah, it’s the return of yet another thrash band from the golden age!  They’re still out there.  They can’t be bargained with. They can’t be reasoned with. They don’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And they absolutely will not stop, ever, until we’re told old to hear them anymore.

Here’s a vid of them in the good old days doing the first song off the second side (!) of the tape, “Inside Looking Out”.  This featured Dave White (Heathen) on backing vocals, at least on the album.

Defiance \”Inside Looking Out\”

Obituary: The End Complete

Obituary: The End Complete

Obituary: The End Complete

According to someone who knows more about this shit than I do, this is the Obit’s biggest seller to date, having moved more than 100K copies since coming out in 1992.  There was a glut of good releases that year: Napalm Death (Utopia Banished), Cannibal Corpse (Tomb of the Mutilated), Nocturnus (Thresholds), etc.  Of course this was also when Whitney “Wack Crack” Houston tore up the charts, Varg burned a church, Hetfield walked into the fire, and Nirvana dropped some big turd that mercifully brought an end to Lite Metal (everything you liked about metal but so much less).

Enough with the history lesson!

I remember thinking John “Gorgeous Golden Locks of Hair” Tardy’s vocals were so sick and brutal; funny how they sound somewhat clear and comprehensible after all the subvocal grunting I’ve heard over the years.  There’s a bit of punk/thrash in his delivery and he’s damn nearly singing in spots.  I love it when they layer his voice, with the tortured bellows acting like a harmony track; that’s freaking classic.  Now the lyrics aren’t quite as interesting, but mostly I don’t care because Tardy just bludgeons me about the head with the words and it just doesn’t matter after a while.  I know there are lots of fanboys out there who memorize every single line of this trite shit and sing along in the front row like good little doobers.  At least someone’s doing it.

Can’t help but like those downtuned guitars and the Scott Burns/Morrisound aural signature, it’s like eating a favorite old shoe.  Frank Watkins tub-thumping is audible and not completely lost in the wash.  The drums on this bastard are pretty much tits up, Don Tardy hittin’ ‘em like he was trying to kill something.  I don’t think the production gets the most out of his playing, but it is what it is.  Those guitar riffs are like sweet, sweet asscandy to an asscandy addict.  Allen West’s leads make me feel all Slayer inside.  Trevor Peres’ rhythm tracks are brutal and gimp-suit tight.  Listen to the opener “I’m in Pain”, where they toss the whole fetid ball into your earhole.  “Back to One” has that same hardcore/punk feel but then they hit that half time thing and it’s a whole new war.  “Sickness” is fantastic.  Hell that whole first side is classic death metal.

That’s the thing with the Obit’s.  When they slow down and grind it for a few bars, then speed it back up, it creates this great tension and release thing. When you’re in the pit, it’s nice to have a part that allows you to catch your breath, check your teeth, and wind up for the next go.  I’ve run this tape by a few times (it’s a short album) this morning and my instinct is to run around and kick the crap out of everything.

I dug through a pile of dinosaur crap and unearthed this little gem:

 

I’m fairly sure this was for “The End Complete” tour.  I remember this night because I jumped on stage with Fear Factory, sang “Suffer… bastards!” into the mic and was promptly elbowed sideways by Burton C. Bell right off the stage.   My moment of tangential glory!  Even though this was (gasp!) eighteen years ago, I remember Obituary putting on a killer show and being very, very sore and tired at work the next day.

It was worth digging this out of the tape grave and violating it one more time, I’d give it two thumbs up… in the eye socket.

Demolition Hammer: Epidemic of Violence

 

Demolition Hammer: Epidemic of Violence

Demolition Hammer: Epidemic of Violence

In the spirit of the old school, I pulled out some tapes from a box labeled “Open only in case of musical emergency”.  Now I’ve got a stack of interesting nuggets to nosh upon.  I’m just grabbing at random with no plan of attack.

So first up is Demolition Hammer with Epidemic of Violence, their second release after Tortured Existence, which I thought was bad ass at the time.  I have that one in this pile as well.  I think I bought this in Houston, at the Cactus Records and Tapes on Alabama, next to the old Alabama theater, about the time it was released in 1992.  Loved the cover art, which I’d seen before on the cover of a H. P. Lovecraft compilation I read to pieces as a kid.  These dudes were from New York but hardly Suffocation clones; this was more like a weird crossover of thrash and death.

The thrash is the vocals and the arrangements.  But there is a hint of something darker in the instrumentation; not so much downtuned guitars and blast beats, but a death metal attitude.  The song titles read like a death metal album: “Skull Fracturing Nightmare”, “Carnivorous Obsession”, “Pyroclastic Annihilation”.  So do the lyrics, generally; it’s slightly more Carcass than Slayer.  And there are moments when they slow down a tad, hit a groove before a vicious breakdown (like in “Aborticide”) and I think, yeah, I know why two of these guys went and joined Solstice, a death metal band from Florida.

This is some pretty furious thrash.  Great guitar work from James Reilly and Derek Sykes, Steve Reynolds holds down the bass and singing, and Daze is a beast on the drums.  Daze died of globefish poisoning in 1996 while traveling in Africa, at least according to the dweeble dorks over at Wiki-wiki-pa-tang. (“Ni!”  “Ssshh!”)

I remember thinking this was all tits when I got it and listening to it a bunch while driving around Houston.  It was good Houston driving music; fast, relentless, brutal, but listenable.  Once you learned the lyrics to “Aborticide” it was a real sing-along joy fest.  At least for me!  Others in the car might not have been so high on good old Demolition Hammer.

So after this came out, they changed members and made Time Bomb, which I have a PR copy of somewhere.  It failed to deliver on the death and went in a nu-metal direction, and then they were done.  So Epidemic of Violence and Tortured Existence are the only record of a band that flirted with death but never quite made the jump.  Too bad.  I’d love to hear these songs with a good grunter hamming it up.

 

 

 

 

Death… is a new beginning.

Back into the maelstrom, back into the fray, once more into the breach, to stare unflinching into Death’s gaping maw!  How could I return from the endless incarnadine seas to once again yakkety-yak about death metal? It didn’t take much. Muxlow dug my corpse out of the earthen grave (!), kicked it in the ass and I was ready as ever.

I was very interested when death metal began to appear on the scene, back in the late 1980’s. I was a slavering Slayer fanboy but the true underground had shifted to this wicked sounding metal that upped the ante in every conceivable way. Crazier vocals. Guitars tuned so low the strings were flapping like fat asses in a wind tunnel. Add a fascination with all things decayed, rotten and dead, and I was all in.

Clearly I’m not the only one worshiping at the altar of the old school, which makes me feel sticky all over.

Let the good times roll!