Friday, August 5, 2011


Released: 2011

You can tell by the cover that Singaporeans Wormrot aren't ones to muck around. There's a sticker on the front declaring "This. is. GRINDCORE" and that's precisely what it is.

Busting through twenty-five tracks in eighteen minutes, Dirge is no more and nothing less than neck-breaking, bastard heavy bass-less grind and crust punk. Forget about silly samples and soundbytes from porn, Wormrot play unadorned noise terror. Songs roar by in seconds, some ("You Suffer, But Why is it My Problem") so short it takes longer to say their names. Each one is a brutal assault of ferocious percussive grind with an old school feel an lyrical approach like pre Earache-Napalm Death and ENT with no thought to melody and even less to structure. "Overpowered Violence" almost breaks into a groove for about three seconds; "Semiconscious Godsize Dumbass" very nearly becomes catchy. "Fucking Fierce So What" would give the late Seth Putnam a run for his money in savage, pointless brevity and "The Final Insult" could have been lifted off something by Nasum. If there is a criticism, it's that some of the tracks are just too short, but that's an accusation that could be levelled toward the entire scene, so that hardly counts. What counts here is the furious barrage of unrelenting, head-caving grindcore. You either get it, or get out of the way.

Wormrot are the real deal: pure, unadulterated grind. If that's your poison, Dirge is essential.

1. No One Gives a Shit
2. Compulsive Disposition
3. All Go No Emo
4. Public Display of Infection
5. Overpowered Violence
6. Semiconscious Godsize Dumbass
7. Spot a Pathetic
8. Evolved Into Nothing
9. Butt Krieg is Showing
10. Fucking Fierce So What
11. Ferocious Bombardment
12. Principle of Puppet Warfare
13. Deceased Occupation
14. Waste of Time
15. Stench of Ignorance
16. Meteor to the Face
17. Addicts of Misery
18. You Suffer But Why is it My Problem
19. Erased Existence
20. Back Stabber Mission Accomplished
21. Destruct the Bastards
22. Plunged into Illusions
23. Manipulation
24. A Dead Issue
25. The Final Insult

Rating: 85%

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Produced by Yayat Ahdiat and Burgerkill
Released: 2011

With my limited knowledge of Indonesian metal, I would hazard a guess that Burgerkill are somewhere near the top of the tree. Four albums into a fifteen year career and these Javanese lads have delivered something equal to anything you'd find coming out of just about anywhere.

Venomous isn't reinventing the wheel and is not the most original album you'll ever hear -- they wear their influences prominently -- but at the same time it is also something right out of the box. Ordinarily I would suggest that any band trying a mix of early Sepultura-style thrash, Morbid Angel, commercial metalcore and dashes of electronica would be doomed to fail, but not these guys. Somehow, they've managed to pull it off and do it very well.

Intro track "Through the Tunnel" incorporates snatches of techno to the point where I first thought I'd put in the wrong CD by mistake, but then "Age of Versus" erupts with a Beneath the Remains style attack and things only get better from there. The next three tracks all exhibit a furious, well-directed death-tinged thrash assault with enormous drums, mighty riffs and the versatile vocals of Vicky who allows himself some melodic singing in between burst of bellowing growls but never goes too far with it; I'd hesitate to call it "clean" singing the way it's come to be known these days.

Then, in the middle of the album they plunge into an amazing, beautiful acoustic instrumental called "This Coldest Heart". The shift is stark and dramatic, leading into the ominous opening of "For Victory", a melodic metalcore track that could sit comfortably alongside something by Shadows Fall. Then comes the hugely grooving "My Worst Enemy" that ends by dropping the album's biggest unexpected turn as the band breaks into about a minute and a half of something that's almost jazzy. But the surprises keep coming with the hidden track "An Elegy", a Killswitch-like metalcore song complete with strings that sounds like a totally different band. To top it all off it comes with stellar production and in a neat digipak with stylish, understated artwork.

Burgerkill has delivered a real surprise packet here, and with local distribution through Perth's Firestarter, Venomous is the perfect introduction to this chameleon-like band. An excellent release.

1. Into the Tunnel
2. Age of Versus
3. Under the Scars
4. Through the Shine
5. House of Greed
6. This Coldest Heart
7. For Victory
8. My Worst Enemy
9. Only the Strong

Rating: 90%

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

LACERATION MANTRA: Prolonging the Pain

Produced by Laceration Mantra & Joe Panetta
Released: 2011

Brisbane has a proud history when it comes to death metal and no band from that city stands out more than Misery and their bludgeoningly effective mixture of death, grind and doom. Featuring two of the people from that group in the shapes of guitarist Scott Edgar and drummer Anthony Dwyer, Laceration Mantra set to work in precisely the same relentless fashion.

Prolonging the Pain is non-stop bulldozing grind-flecked death metal from beginning to end. "Thrown to the Wolves" erupts with a brutal ferocity, with a stinging and savage guitar tone that is maintained throughout. Rob Rieff deploys some Benton-style double-tracked vocals and Edgar and second guitarist Michael Perry step up with some effective lead breaks in the likes of "Realisation", where a slower grind comes to the fore. "The Global Straitjacket" works in some tempo changes while Rieff's lyrics, unlike Edgar's previous outfit The Dead with their silly and occasionally non-sensical songs relating to gore topics, tackle themes like fear and manipulation. "Barney" shows the band's pure grind side as something of an ode to Napalm Death and there are also snatches of classic Morbid Angel apparent. Like the best bands though, Laceration Mantra don't merely ape their influences or regurgitate their history. They adopt them into a style of their own that is fast, brutal and menacing.

Prolonging the Pain is a fine addition to the local death metal landscape. The intensity of the delivery echoes the great Australian death metal tradition of bands like Misery and Psychrist and this can sit beside albums by those bands in comfort.

1. Thrown to the Wolves
2. Purveyors of Torment
3. The Innermost
4. Victims of Hate
5. Realisation
6. The Global Straitjacket
7. Surreal Reality
8. Prolonging the Pain
9. Barney
10. Blinders

Rating: 78%

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Produced by: VariousReleased: 2011

Those filthy Perth bastards are back with more of their puerile and perverted porn grind, and this time they've brought some mates along for the ride. Split My Bitch Up features four bands spewing out death and grind that is depraved, ugly and stupidly fun all at once.

Serial offenders Cuntscrape kick off proceedings with some brutally heavy and groove-infested death grind fused to their usual array of pussy-obsessed lyrics and samples from porn films (although there is also a well-placed Pulp Fiction one). The 'Scrape do exactly what you'd expect, but they also do it very well because they don't allow the music to suffer for the sake of a sick joke.

Goresluts from Kuala Lumpur follow along almost identical lines, although they do have more of a pure grind style. Again, porn samples are everywhere, infiltrated by blast drumming, raw, fast guitars and the roaring voice of (seriously!) Sperm in Gore. Their tracks start off with a hokey bossa nova beat like the one those cheap keyboards come with, making for a nicely humourous touch.

Bali's Rezume are also fond of the porn sample, and use them as much as possible. Their style is primitive and undeveloped, as you might well expect for a band from that part of the world. Rezume really don't differentiate much between songs, all of which are built around rather similar sounding thrash riffs and a terrible, terrible plastic drum sound as well as Rizky's incredibly gutteral and raw vocals.

Tokyo based reprobates Morbid Vision sound like the only band that used a human drummer, who they then mixed way too loud, all but drowing out the catchy death riffs in their songs. Vocalist Shogun has a very low growling style that really fits their style of pure underground filth well, and Morbid Vision has steered away from the porn-obsessed themes of the other bands, finishing up with a grimy cover of Sepultura's "Biotech is Godzilla".

All told, it's generally tasteless, butt-ugly death n' grind fun. Split My Bitch Up may be purely for fans of the style, but those fans will not be disappointed.

1. Cuntscrape - March of the V.A.G.
2. Cuntscrape - Vaginomicon
3. Cuntscrape - Giving Head to Mr. Ed
4. Cuntscrape - Armed Hold Up at the Wank Bank
5. Cuntscrape - Teddy Got Fingered
6. Goresluts - Triple Cums in Bossa Bukake
7. Goresluts - E.G.S.
8. Goresluts - Karma Pussy
9. Goresluts - Demoniac Sado-maso Fucking Sluts
10. Rezume - Distimulasi Payudara
11. Rezume - Fucking Every Hole
12. Rezume - Shoot My Fucking Ass
13. Morbid Vision - Koenji Love Story
14. Morbid Vision - Harayama
15. Morbid Vision - Jedi Butcher
16. Morbid Vision - Biotech is Godzilla

Rating: 65%

Monday, August 1, 2011

AUTOPSY: Macabre Eternal

Produced by Adam Munoz
Released: 2011

When Chris Reifert and Danny Coralles put Abscess to bed after last year's disappointing Dawn of Inhumanity, it was really just a matter of time before Autopsy would stagger to life once again. For their first album in 16 years, the California quartet has upped the production values to bring it into line with modern expectations, thus leaving behind the dirty, crusty sound of their early masterpieces, Severed Survival and Mental Funeral.

Macabre Eternal might sound a lot cleaner, but that doesn't mean Autopsy has forgotten how to be one brutal and evil band. The opening track rips out a path of relentless violence that sets a tone of furious and filthy death metal. Then "Dirty Gore Whore" goes into an almost-Abscess direction with a berzerk riff and a breakdown reminiscent of Slayer with Reifert sounding like he's gone completely insane. "Always About to Die" and the cuts that follow revert to vicious slabs of brutal death that shift almost imperceptibly between tear-your-face off speed and slower slab-like parts.

Enter then "Seeds of the Doomed", where Autopsy gears down into a doomy sludge with a surprisingly melodic riff. It's so different from everything else, but still unaccountably Autopsy and close to the album's best moment. Following this are some weaker, non-descript tracks of which only "Born Undead" stands out. It's almost as if the band has used up all their ideas on the first half. Until, that is, "Sadistic Gratification" enters the picture, a sprawling, sinister 11-minute plus exploration of human depravity. A slow, doomy intro builds towards sections of wildly thrashing death metal that recede and then explode again to a gruesome climax of purely evil vocals and slamming riffs underscored by the screams and pleas of a female torture victim. It's creepy, hackle-raising, uncomfortable, disturbing and insidious, exactly what death metal should be. Macabre Eternal should end there, but Autopsy adds a jarring coda in "Spill My Blood" that veers between blazing thrasher and sludgy drone before a sudden finish.

All told, it's a somewhat exhausting 65 minutes, making it about twenty minutes too long with the inclusion of the various filler tracks around the middle but even so it is a solid return from some true masters of real death metal.

1. Hand of Darkness
2. Dirty Gore Whore
3. Always About to Die
4. Macabre Eternal
5. Deliver Me From Sanity
6. Seeds of the Doomed
7. Bridge of Bone
8. Born Undead
9. Sewn Into One
10. Bludgeoned and Bloodied
11. Sadistic Gratification
12. Spill My Blood

Rating: 76%

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NECROPHAGIA: Deathtrip 69

Released: May 2011

For all their influence on death metal, Necrophagia is probably still best known for featuring Phil Anselmo as their guitarist for a few years in the 90s, and even then most people knew them just for that reason, without bothering to find out what they actually sounded like. Twenty eight years into their fragmented career, becoming a household name is probably neither an achieveable nor desired goal, but it is about time that Necrophagia is recognised as the true pioneering act they are.

Killjoy’s raspy shriek was the prototype for a thousand death metal (and black metal) voices and he hasn’t lost his touch nor his love of the macabre. With Deathtrip 69 he has probably made his best album ever. The production in reminiscent of Symphonies-era Carcass and the guitar tone is razor sharp. This is straight-up old school death metal the way only someone who helped invent the form could play it, with clever, deceptive arrangements that only unfold the more you listen to them.
In keeping with previous releases, Necrophagia sprinkle plenty of well-chosen horror film samples throughout, with “Naturan Demonto” opening on a snippet from Evil Dead as the song itself lurches in slowly like some benighted terror. Catchy riffs abound in the likes of “Beast With Feral Claws” and “Suffering Comes in Sixes” and “Tomb With a View” opens with a wonderfully spooky intro that could have been lifted straight off the soundtrack of a 70s Hammer classic.
The genuinely haunting ambient interlude “A Funeral for Solange” breaks the album up nicely, offering a creepy respite before the punkish thrash of “Kyra” – a tribute to Kyra Schon, the little girl zombie in Night of the Living Dead – featuring a guest appearance by Casey Chaos, and the death metal gallop of “Bleeding Eyes of the Eternally Damned” that ends on some cool double-tracked guitar harmonies. These in turn give way to the heaviest tracks, “Trick ‘R Treat (The Last Halloween)” and “Deathtrip 69” with its Charles Manson sample and storyline. It’s all killer.
Deathtrip 69 shows a real master at work, showing the young guns and their clone army of palm-muted, guitars-as-percussion bands how real death metal should sound.

1. Naturan Demonto
2. Beast With Feral Claws
3. Tomb With a View
4. Suffering Comes in Sixes
5. A Funeral for Solagne
6. Kyra
7. Bleeding Eyes of the Eternally Damned
8. Trick 'r Treat (The Last Halloween)
9. Deathrip 69
10. Death Valley 69

Rating: 82%

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

SYMFONIA: In Paradisum

Produced by Timo Tolkki
Released: February 2011

As the editor of Loud Online, you’d think that I’d keep all the cream and palm off the crap to other writers. But as it turns out I apparently love listening to terrible heavy metal because here I am reviewing the latest turd from Timo Tolkki. Once the brains behind the most over-rated and overblown power metal band in Europe, Tolkki eventually departed Stratovarius after a spectacular nervous breakdown. With the inglorious passing of his subsequent Revolution Renaissance project, his latest vehicle is a band featuring cast-offs from every other power metal band that’s ever existed. Also featuring ex-Angra/Shaman/Looking-Glass Self vocalist André Matos, keyboard player Mikko Härkin from Sonata Arctica, ex-Stratovarius bassist Jari Kainulainen and drummer Uli Kusch from every band in Europe, Symfonia is exactly what you’d expect from a group so named and containing such people. And it sucks.
In a word, In Paradisum is rubbish. In a sentence, it’s predictable, un-imaginative, uninspiring and bland, featuring the same ideas Tolkki ran out of more than a decade ago. If the name of the band isn’t warning enough, the cover art should suffice. Graphics like this belong on Final Fantasy games, not metal albums. The songs are dreary, without a single original element. Matos sings way higher than any human should be allowed and while it’s a credit to him that he does so without actually going off-key, a register this high becomes annoying very, very quickly – and this album is almost an hour long. Kusch phones in his tracks and Kainulainen does pretty much what he always did: stands around in the background of promo shots. Härkin is allowed some of the spotlight but, let’s face it, Janne Wirman he ain’t. Naturally, the real focus is Tolkki, which is sad because, like Yngwie Malmsteen, he’s simply relying on his name alone these days. But at least Yngwie retains the ability to make your jaw hit the floor once in a while, often when you least expect it. Tolkki can’t be bothered, instead content to merely serve up ten tracks of risably awful power metal pap. Every track on here could have come from any of the bands that these guys have been in before and Kusch alone has made this album dozens of times, and much, much better. No wonder he doesn’t seem interested. Neither should anyone else.
  1. Fields of Avalon
  2. Come by the Hills
  3. Santiago
  4. Alayna
  5. Forevermore
  6. Pilgrim Road
  7. In Paradisum
  8. Rhapsody in Black
  9. I Walk in Neon
  10. Don’t Let Me Go
Rating: 20%

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

MORBID ANGEL: Illud Divinum Insanus

Produced by Trey Azagthoth
Released: June 2011

It’s quite possible that Illud Divinum Insanus is one of the most anticipated death metal releases for some time, next to the new Decapitated set. And it’s equally likely that it will also rank as one of the most disappointing albums in the annals of metal. Indeed, it’s already begun. It isn’t even out yet and there is already at least one Facebook group mourning the passing of Morbid Angel. For many people, this is the band that not only perfected death metal, but defines it. Yet in less than an hour, Trey Azagthoth and David Vincent have taken that legacy and tossed it away like the photo of an ex-girlfriend smeared with shit.
Terrible Latin aside, Illud begins ominously enough, with the portentous, Mussorgsky-like “Omni Potens” full of drum fills, dark-sounding strings and chanting. But after such an epic build up, the whole thing falls immediately flat with six and a half minutes of totally misguided, half-arsed industrialised bullshit like a bad Front Line Assembly cover band fucking the Genitorturers and coming up with Marilyn Manson, but worse. Like the time Dave Rotten decided that the world really needed a remixed Avulsed album, “Too Extreme!” fails on every level, including the title, which is more like something Devin Townsend would call a song.
And there’s worse to come. “Radikult” is just terrible urban hip-hop that Trey probably found on the backseat of a cab after Rob Zombie had deliberately left it there. But even that pales in awfulness compared to “Destructos Vs. the Earth/Attack”, something else you’d expect more from Townsend, but only if he woke up one day without any talent. It’s too stupid even for him. And lame. Really, really lame.
The thing is that there are Morbid Angel tracks here. Both “Nevermore” and “Beauty Meets Beast”, stupid title aside, are as ferocious and filled with those typical Azagthoth slab-riffs as anything they’ve done in the past, and “Blades of Baal” has a killer breakdown groove. The real shame is that the first-mentioned pair of songs come in way too late, at eight and nine respectively, to be any real saving grace. Most of the band’s fans will probably have thrown it across the room in disgust by then, and the rest will still be picking themselves up off the floor from the fits of laughter induced by the idiotic “Destructos” and its ridiculous “Marching! We are marching! Destructos are marching on Man!” refrain like something out of an Ed Wood film written by a nine year old. Even the songs that aren’t poor attempts at cross-genre pollution are not very good: “I am Morbid” and “10 More Dead” wouldn’t have even been good enough to be on Heretic. And saddest of all, David Vincent’s voice has gone from sounding like a haunted tomb opening to the generic, unscary growl of the denizens he once inspired.
Some are already calling this the St. Anger of death metal, but that’s not accurate. St. Anger was the sound of a band trying to hold something together as their world went to pieces. Illud Divinum Insanus is that of a band crashing spectacularly and not even realising, and unlike Metallica, Morbid Angel don’t even have the rigours of immense fame to blame. Metallica spent three albums and more than a decade on devolving their sound; Morbid Angel has done it in one stroke, for no apparent reason.
Morbid Angel really only has one option now. They need to call the next album Just Kidding and come out with the most evil-sounding record of all time. But they won’t, because it sounds like they just don’t care.

1. Omni Poten
2. Too Extreme!
3. Existo Vulgor
4. Blades for Baal
5. I Am Morbid
6. 10 More Dead
7. Destructos Vs. Earth/Attack
8. Nevermore
9. Beauty Meets Beast
10. Radikult
11. Profundis - Mea Culpa
Rating: 25%

Monday, June 20, 2011

DEAD CITY RUINS: Midnight Killer

Released: May 2011

According to their bio, Melbourne's Dead City Ruins sound like a "hard rock mixture of Black Sabbath and Alice in Chains", which would be true if either of those groups sounded like AC/DC.
As it is, this album shows these rock n roll bastards to rock out with the same sort of gusto as Sydney's similarly-named and equally rock-as-fuck motherfuckers Hell City Glamours. Midnight Killer is basically eight tracks of blazing, hard n' fast rock 'n roll of the good old fashioned no-bullshit kind. "Where You Gonna Run" kicks things off with an impossibly catchy riff that actually recalls early 80s The Angels and from that moment the Ruins offer up a continuous feast of hooky choruses and kick ass songs.

The riff in "Damn My Eyes" is a killer; indeed it's hard to find one that isn't. The appropriately-named "Blues" is a nice slow burner toward total rock mayhem and drummer Drewsy gives "Highway Girl" a unbeatable pop swing. Vocalist Jake has an archetypal untrained wail that puts every song on the limit of control. Mix in a duck's arse tight rhythm section and Tommy's sharp lead guitar breaks and you can't go wrong. Dead City Ruins are the real deal. They rock, they rock hard, and Midnight Killer is a ripper.

1. Where You Gonna Run
2. Damn My Eyes
3. My Lai Massacre
4. Midnight Killer
5. Blues
6. Go to War
7. Highway Girl
8. Fallen

Rating: 80%

Friday, June 17, 2011

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME: The Parallax: The Sleep Dialogues

Produced by David Bottrill and BTBAMReleased: April 2011
Strap yourselves in. That’s what it should say on the cover of every Between the Buried and Me release, and on this new EP it should be bolded and underlined. "The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues" is the opening chapter of what is promised to be a two-part suite of their idiosyncratic uber-cerebral metal, and if you’ve been on one of their journeys before then you know that this is going to be some ride.
Teaming up with mega-producer David Bottrill – who’s worked with no lesser names than TOOL, Muse and Dream Theater – has helped pull together the various strands of BTBAM’s divergent influences and proclivities to make these three immense tracks rather more seamless than the occasionally too-contrived The Great Misdirect. The complicated twists and turns, genre- and mood-shifts and sweeping arrangements do, of course, remain and there’s no real telling where the band is likely to go as the EP unfolds over a mere thirty minutes. It certainly isn’t casual listening lyrically either, as the deep and elaborate concept of interconnected dream-lives is possibly even more complex than the music. With regards to that, the band is at the top of their game and appear to be pushing each other towards new heights of virtuosity every couple of minutes.
It’s probably just as well BTBAM has decided to make "The Parallax" only the first part of a larger concept, because after about half an hour of this, your head might explode.

1. Specular Reflection
2. Augment of Rebirth
3. Lunar Wilderness
Rating: 85%