Death, “Leprosy” (1988)


Art by the phenomenal Edward Repka.

Some years ago (1998) in Atlanta, upstairs at the venerable Masquerade, I saw Death on what would prove to be their last show. If I’d known this would be the last time I’d see Chuck Schuldiner live, I would have paid more attention to the show instead of hunting down the slimy dickhead who’d punched me in the kidneys during Hammerfall’s opening set. Continue reading

Cannibal Corpse, “Eaten Back to Life” (1990)

I’m at work far too early this morning because some fart-knocking network engineer (less of an engineer than a hapless offspring of Booji Boy, created in a tube from genetic material scrapped off the wall outside Booji’s crib) made me get up at this unholy hour just to stab a console cable into a firewall server. I’ve spent 15 years in this industry aggressively resisting any learning opportunity but I came dangerously close to “figuring some shit out” this morning. Couple that with a cup of coffee that tastes slightly worse than boiling the liners out of last seasons cleats and I’m in a foul fucking mood.

I could listen to Katy Perry singing “Bicycle Built For Two” to complete the Trifecta of Enduring Misery but I’m not quite ready to suck down a red Solo cup of hemlock so instead I dialed up some Cannibal Corpse: specifically the first album, Eaten Back to Life.

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Entombed, “Left Hand Path” (1989)

Entombed - Left Hand Path

Artwork by the mighty Dan Seagrave!

Nostalgia is a wet dog. I still love her, she’s my dog and all that, but she smells like the bottom of a zombie port-a-potty and insists on drying out by rolling on the couch of Corinthian leather. One of the cool things about listening to these old albums is getting that weird feeling that comes from taking a deep, long hit of pure nostalgia. Mmmm, so good! Yes, yes… remember? I was in college studying Medieval English Literature when Entombed’s debut came out! I was skinny! I wore glasses! Everyone else was listening to Jane’s Addiction!

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Unleashed “Where No Life Dwells” (1991)

1991; let the sink in for a moment. Fuck that was a long time ago. Like, pre-cell phone era, when people had “mobile phones” with batteries that could fry bacon or produce a cancerous brain tumor that whispered evil shit in the subconscious. It was so long ago, I was a wee grub of a collegiate human, feasting on the excrement of those higher up the academic food chain. The world was consumed with fear and fire as a war started in ancient Mesopotamia which is, beyond all logic and reason, still going on today. The bloated corpse of the Soviet Union continued to explode and spatter the region with a bunch of piss-ant countries. Everyone’s favorite cannibal Jeff Dahmer got caught with his dick in someone’s skull, “going postal” became a thing, people thought Pearl Jam was cool, and Starbucks opened in California. Lots of deliciously stupid shit happened that year!

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Pestilence, “Testimony of the Ancients” (1991)

pestilence_testimony of the ancients

I feel like the Andy Rooney of death metal at this point and if I start complaining about how today’s kids don’t respect their death metal elders, shoot me full of lethal cocktail and roll the corpse into the river.  Wait… is that too soon?  No disrespect meant to one of the great curmudgeons the world has ever known.

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Righteous Pigs, “Stress Related” (1987)

Righteous Pigs: Stress Related

No fucking clue when this entered my life, it was that fuzzy time in the late 80’s early 90’s when Bush Da First was still in power and all seemed bleak and cold in the world.  But maybe that was just the roofies.  So this is Mitch Harris on guitar and vox, better known these days as a stalwart member of Napalm Death and Defecation and side projects galore. On Stress Related we’re also treated to Alan Strong on drums, Stephen Chatovich on bass and Joe Caper on vocals.  This would be the Pigs second album after Live and Learn. No one I ever knew heard of that one at the time; they still don’t, the bastards.

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Dismember Disband

Very sad news from Blabbermouth:

Bassist Tobias Cristiansson of Swedish death metal veterans DISMEMBER has released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET:

“After 23 years, DISMEMBER have now decided to quit. We wish to thank all our fans for your support.”

At least they went out on a high note.

Thursday Three: Keyboard Death

Death metal and keyboards are natural enemies, but sometimes they can come together in interesting ways. I thought this playlist would be easy to compile, but finding real death metal with keyboards is tougher than it seems.

Tampa’s Nocturnus is the obvious first step  and I went with “Gridzone” from their highly underrated “Thresholds” album.

But where do you go from there? It very quickly devolves into two camps: cheesy wanking over melodic “death metal” (i.e.: Children of Bodom & pals) and big pads under slow, atmospheric sections. I dabbled with The Gathering, Dan Swano’s excellent Moontower project, Edge of Sanity, God Dethroned and a few others to no avail but everything was either way too melodic or surprisingly keyboard-free.

Luckily, Hypocrisy has always made excellent use keys, so even if “The Final Chapter” falls into the “big pads” camp, it’s such a great tune that it hardly matters. Two down, one to go.

For the final track, I tried to find a band from a third country but ended up with more Swedes, this time Cemetary with “Dead Red” from their twisted first album, “An Evil Shade of Grey”.

Didn’t any bands play more traditional death metal with keyboards? Post your suggestions in the comments!

FREE DOWNLOAD: Immolation, “Providence”

Immolation, "Providence" - 2011

Immolation, "Providence" - 2011

Scion A/V may be corporate marketing scum, but at least they’re pimping some good bands. Hot on the heels of the surprisingly good Enslaved EP comes “Providence”, another free EP, this time from our very own death metal legends, Immolation. Production is right in line with the glorious “Majesty & Decay”, the download is fast and flawless and it even comes with 800×800 artwork. Can’t really ask for more.


Immolation / Jungle Rot / Gigan — Live, October 10, 2011

First, a bit of disclosure. There was a black metal band on first. I only caught maybe one song and frankly cannot recall their name to save my life. This isn’t nearly enough of a sample for me to discuss them fairly so I’m going to decline comment. Sorry guys, I was running late and needed to get dinner.

Gigan followed this and it was the second time I’d seen them in a month as they also opened for Grave. I was going to do a writeup for that show too but I ended up getting drunk which did not help my already faulty recall. First of all when you have a really technical band like Gigan you need very good sound to be able to appreciate them and for a few songs it sounded like the club forgot to turn the guitar on. I’m not all that big on this sort of thing but trying to handle that sort of music with terrible sound and you have no chance. I’ve listened to their records a bit and this isn’t my brand of Scotch. They just seem like yet another band who can write a ton of riffs and not write an actual song.

Jungle Rot followed them up and I was impressed in the wrong way. I was never really a fan and I haven’t even heard anything they’ve done in over a decade. That said I knew every note they were going to play before they even played it. They managed to make AC/DC sound unpredictable, they were that generic. They had good energy on stage and seemed like good enough guys but that was some of the least interesting music I’ve ever heard. If the set had been shorter it might have been fine but it felt like they went on forever.

Finally Immolation took the stage and all of the earlier stuff I couldn’t have cared less about went away. They were to put it mildly, CRUSHING. The sound was pretty good and they clearly wanted to devastate the hometown fans in a good way. The crowd, which was shamefully small, wasn’t ultra-violent but they were definitely into it in a big way. I can’t remember song titles worth a damn so don’t ask me for a set list in the comment section but they did play a little something off the whole discography. I do wish they would have broken out “Higher Coward” to start but I have no complaints about anything from Immolation. I just hope next time they bring along better support.

I totally recommend catching this, but it’s probably a good idea to show up kind of late.