Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Revolting - Hymns Of Ghastly Horror

When it comes to schlocky horror fun, you can't go wrong with '70s slasher films. The modern musical equivalent to these is Rogga's Revolting, or pretty much any band that was featured at some point or another on Razorback Recordings.

Perhaps one of Rogga's more consistent groups, Revolting have released their fourth studio full-length Hymns Of Ghastly Horror. Even if you're not familiar with Revolting, their cover art is pretty telling. What else can we expect from these guys but more of the same? Nothin'. That's exactly what we get: d-beat death metal romps filled with wailing whammy solos and horror-themed lyrics.

Revolting is the definition of hook-laden death metal. Literally everything these aficionados of terror (primarily Rogga) pump out is catchy and deserving of some replay value. Riffs are chunky and beefed up with a classic Swedish-sounding distortion. It is a bit more compressed than the classic Sunlight Sound but it still carries with it a degree of brutality. The opener "The Mother Of Darkness" begins with a synthesizer effect that wouldn't sound out of place in a '70s B-horror, and instrumental "The Thing That C.H.U.D. Not Be" is a groovy reference to a long-forgotten cult film. Occasionally Revolting will throw some samples in there to further that vibe too that I'm sure the devoted horror fan will enjoy.

There's plenty of quality melodic riffing on Hymns Of Ghastly Horror. "The Black Queen" is a lead-heavy mosher with a fun triplet breakdown in the middle. "Prey To Katahdin" and "The Hatchet Murders" are both potent tracks with catchy melodies as well. The silly "Kinderfeeder" feels more like a Jungle Rot track but it does add some variety to an album that sticks to its guns. There's only one weak track on Hymns Of Ghastly Horror and it's "Psychoplasmics." The track is completely serviceable but boring death metal. When Rogga isn't blaring his leads the quality of the music really takes a dip.

For fans of Revolting, this is more of the same goodness. For people who've never heard Revolting before, this is as good a place to jump into their discography as any.

7.5 out of 10


1. The Mother of Darkness
2. Their Thoughts Can Kill
3. Ravenous Alien Spawn
4. Lair of the Black Queen
5. The Thing That C.H.U.D. Not Be

6. Psychoplasmics

7. Prey to Katahdin

8. Kinderfeeder

9. The Hatchet Murders

Listen // Buy

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Putrevore - Macabre Kingdom

Roger "Rogga" Johansson has always been a hyperprolific musician. He's a member of quite a few bands, including but not limited to Bloodgut, Bone Gnawer, Demiurg, Paganizer, Putrevore, Ribspreader, The Grotesquery, and the obvious Revolting. With Halloween right around the corner, who doesn't want to celebrate with some horror-schlock themed death metal? Nobody. That's why I'm going to review some of this guy's 2012 works.

Putrevore comes first as one of his more interesting, slightly (I stress slightly) less traditional acts.

Macabre Kingdom caught me off guard. This is a punishingly dark album. Remember the first time you heard a blast beat or a dirty chromatic riff littered with well-placed pinch harmonics? You can actually get a bit of that feel on this album with how pummeling and aggressive the drumming and production is. The vocalwork is deep, guttural, and not unlike Chris Weber's in obvious old school influences Rottrevore. Macabre Kingdom goes well beyond the simplicity of being a revival effort though if just in its modernized intensity.

As a complete experience, Macabre Kingdom will take you through hurdles of death metal ferocity. There's a degree of subtlety in the dense sound as well. From time to time a synthesizer harmony pops up that is properly utilized to enhance the sound and add texture, such as during the tremolo riffing at the end of the second track "The Mysteries Of The Worm (Part II)." Other tracks are more blurry but immersive, keeping you actively engaged with little flourishes and nuances. "Beyond Human Comprehension," "The Mysteries Of The Worm (Part I)," and "Universal Devourer" all play like this and are some of the more blistering on Macabre Kingdom.

Macabre Kingdom takes a turn for the chuggy during it's second half, and Putrevore often falls into groove-laden sections that do work well with the potent production. "Awaiting Awakening Again," "The Tentacles Through Time," and closer "Tattooed Skin Map" all feature sections of down-tuned chugging or bends. It could be seen as a breather from the more speed-oriented tracks of the first half, but the speed is irrelevant to Putrevore. The second half smashes like a hammer before descending into a berserk frenzy and they often compliment the occasional doomy passage with a good double bass session.

The heaviness of this album is attributable to the production and mixing. Harmonics split eardrums, the kicks actually have bass, and the distortion is all-enveloping. The guitars are mixed to carry the weight of the music, the cymbals are low-key, the snare is pummeling and always present, and well...the bass is just there Rottrevore influence be damned.

Macabre Kingdom is a death metal titan in the year 2012. Even for old school death metal which has seen plenty of great albums over the past few years, this album stands head and shoulders above the majority as one of the few worth actually giving a damn about. Also it doesn't sound directly like fucking Incantation.

8.75 out of 10


1. The Mysteries of the Worm Part I
2. The Mysteries of the Worm Part II
3. Beyond Human Comprehension
4. Universal Devourer
5. Awaiting Awakening Again
6. The Morbid Mass of Swarming Entities
7. The Tentacles Through Time
8. Tattooed Skin Map

Listen // Buy

Blut Aus Nord - Cosmosophy

Now for a more serious review...

put a new spin on old Blut Aus Nord material from 2003, The Work Which Transforms God, and borrowed heavily from popular countrymates Deathspell Omega. I enjoyed the winding guitarwork, interesting dynamics, and even the minimal industrial elements. This album was a hit with me that really made me wonder where they were planning to go with the sequels.

The Desanctification was a bit different and featured more atmospheric, plodding tracks that were also heavier on the industrial elements. It had it's moments, but felt uninvolved at times.

Now Cosmosophy concludes the trilogy with dominant clean vocalwork. The plodding guitarwork and industrial drones of The Desanctification make a return and once again some listeners will be alienated by these elements and the lack of the whole black metal aesthetic. Others like me will be put off by the dominant and forced-sounding clean vocals, and the fact the tracks never really seem to go anywhere.

I went into this album expecting a grandiose, layered, and powerful conclusion to the '777' trilogy. Initially I can't say I was disappointed. "Epitome XIV" is well a well-conceived opener that builds atmosphere without stealing the thunder from the later tracks. "XIV" subtly builds on its own drones and it sounds like the track culminates without realizing it. This is a recurring habit of the tracks on Cosmosophy. They all seem to reach their apex without feeling like they've gone the whole way, leading to some disappointing build-ups.

It's not really bad since the journey is a decent one if you can handle the weak clean vocals. They reach their lowest point on the second track ("Epitome XV") which sounds like an ambient or synth spoken-word track for most of its six-minute span. To me it is frustrating, tough to get through, and really breaks immersion. An unnecessary waste of album space. There are some harsh vocals at times, most notably during the apex of "XVI." For the most part though, Blut Aus Nord stick to low-mixed cleans.

The production and drumming on here is as it sounded on The Desanctification and its predecessor. Clicky and a little off-putting in its electronicness. The guitarwork is still just as chromatic as you've come to expect from these guys, and the wonderfully atmospheric ascending / descending pattern they abuse is back. The instrumentation reaches a sort of climax on "Epitome XVII," which is also one of the catchier tracks on the album. The riffing is simple and easy to hum along to in its slow-paced, high-register development. "Epitome XVIII" is the darkest track on the album, borrowing from the later tracks on The Desanctification for it's drum beat and serving as the conclusion to the trilogy.

I found Cosmosophy to be the weakest of the three in the trilogy, but that doesn't mean it's a bad album. Definitely recommended if you enjoyed the other two and want to hear some (very) iffy clean vocals.

6.75 out of 10


1. Epitome XIV

2. Epitome XV

3. Epitome XVI

4. Epitome XVII

5. Epitome XVIII 

Listen // Buy

Disfiguring The Goddess - Sleeper

Why am I reviewing Disfiguring The Goddess? I feel like I should at least look into one of the posterchilds of wigger pseudo-slam. I mean slams are fun, so maybe Big Chocolate can bring them to the masses with catchy hooks and hi-fi production.

It was an obvious mistake to bother with Sleeper. There's not much in the way of slams here. Hell there's not much in the way of music here. It's just the same shitty "djent" monotones played over one of the worst sounding drum machines ever with a no-balls, no-bass production. That's not to mention the most humorous aspect of the album: the synthesizer.

So how can I make this more fun? Let's do a track by track breakdown (pun intended) of Big Chocolate's latest fecal disgorgement.

Opener "Sleeper" begins with some absolutely forgettable riffage and cupped-microphone vocals done by none other than everyone's favorite dubstep-producing asshole. On a sidenote I'm sure he's a nice guy. I mean he did work on Burning The Masses, but honestly I have to say I prefer their debut that I was gifted over their material with him. Anyway as "Sleeper" drags it's self-deprecating carcass along, Chocolate breaks out the synthesizer to remind us that his music can get worse, and it's literally one of the most fruity and cheesy sounding things ever. I literally couldn't stop laughing at the synth melody that becomes the focal point of the track.

"Queen Kingdom," the unfortunate sequel to "Sleeper" is a disappointment. Too many djent tones, too little synthesizer. Zero laughs out of ten. Perhaps one of the few listenable tracks on the album if you can muster the strength to handle the monotone guitarwork. I think you'd have to be deaf though.

"Daughter of Depths" is a much more engrossing track. The synth line that develops out of the breakdown at 1:44 sounds like a Syfy channel original horror movie track. Eventually the track goes to revisit this very developed and very nuanced melody, but only after a bunch of palm-muting bass drops and an odd turntable-esque sound.

"Lady Epicenter" is a completely unmemorable track save for the last forty-five seconds where ridiculous noodling on the synthesizer takes over from the breakdown. It sounds like Chocolate's playing minor arpeggios on a Casio keyboard. I wouldn't be surprised if that's actually what he's doing. Keep it up guy, it's making me laugh.

Now "Vines Of Aftermath" isn't entirely bad. You get some harmonics and an actual melody! It might be fleeting, but it is there right before another breakdown that eventually segways into a synthesizer segment. It crops up near the end of the track too. Definitely the highlight of the album from a musical perspective, and one that I'm sure many fans will be listening to for years to come.

"Mountain" is dumb but at some points it reminds me of other genre greats like Dimmu Borgir. Yeah, silly "evil" symphonic metal is exactly what slam should sound like. "Ocean Tomb" is just a djent-static-djent-borefest. Nothing to hear there.

I feel like my scale can't do this comedy masterpiece justice. Normally I would say that an album of this caliber is a ten out of ten, but this album transcends the scale entirely, hitting an eleven out of ten.

1.0 out of 10

Oops I think I missed a 1 there. Oh well.


1. Sleeper
2. Queen Kingdom
3. Daughter of Depths
4. Lady Epicenter
5. Vines of Aftermath
6. Mountain
7. Ocean Tomb

Laugh on.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Swans - The Seer

Maybe I'll extend this "weekend" into the week. Music is surprisingly back on my mind with a few new releases, and a let up on my workload means I can finally check in more often. Coming down to the end of the year, it's about time to start covering all that I want to and haven't so far. Here's The Seer.

Swans is a challenging act that has a long and intensive backlog of records, although their breakup in the late '90s left a big gap in their discography. Other than Filth and a few tracks here and there, I can't say I've really gone out of my way to listen to them. The hype for Swans' return and the whole post-punk aesthetic and the DIY marketing of their releases led me to look into their material. The Seer doesn't impress. Before you aneurysm, let me explain.

The Seer is a unique album. There's plenty in the ways of instrumental variety, atmosphere, and layering that make it a standout release. I was absolutely floored by "Avatar" and "The Apostate." Both are marvelously droning masterworks and will have you enthralled from beginning to end. The bells and chimes of the former evoke an eerie atmosphere of nostalgia combined with the theatrics of a funeral procession. Like it should sound by that description, the music on these tracks is immersing and powerful. It is something I wish The Seer had more of.

The Seer is an ambitious album, and a good portion of the album comes off as flat. That's a big deal when the album is two hours long and best enjoyed while actively listening. With the variety comes a wide range of emotions, sounds, and arrangements that some people will undoubtedly applaud. Each track on The Seer seems to express some new feeling through it's droning simplicity and layering. The title track embodies this wide range of ideas itself, yet really doesn't explore any of that range in full. To me, this is both a blessing and a curse. The album doesn't tend to explore familiar territory, but sometimes it passes over new ground without taking a stop to admire the scenery. "Song For A Warrior" and "Mother Of The World" in particular come across as underdeveloped. The first being nearly akin to an early '90s bubblegum-pop throwback is particularly painful to listen to (coming from someone who enjoys Sorrow) while "Mother Of The World" is a song that never really goes anywhere over it's ten minutes. Both are hackneyed lyrically and there's really nothing "deep" or remotely interesting to hear here.

The post-rock and post-punk elements are alive and well on The Seer even if some of the atmosphere falls flat. Guitars are often distorted and low in the mix, drums are immense, and the overall feel of the album combined with the atmosphere is one that weighs down on your shoulders after listening. When Swans wants to, they work instruments together in a layered drone pattern, weaving soundscapes that leave you entranced. They manage to properly apply it to the odd dissonant tracks like "93 Ave. B Blues" and the more ambient "A Piece Of The Sky"where screeching and static are reminders of the noise scene Swans came out of. It's wonderful when done subtly on the second part of the title track "The Seer Returns" too. Definitely a piece I overlooked on my first listen. It really goes to show not all droning music is dull and sometimes repeated listens can change your opinion of an album like this. I'm sure the rock and punk elements make it more bearable to listen to repeatedly as well.

After all that, I still feel like this album is one that really missed the mark with me. Perhaps I was expecting too much, or perhaps I was hoping for something a bit more engrossing. The Seer's few uncompelling tracks really bring down the whole, and I have to take a step out of the atmosphere to find the 'next' button on repeated listens. Basically it's hit or miss as a contextually compelling album, but strong in it's individual tracks if that makes any sense.

I can definitely see why Michael Gira expressed his feeling that The Seer was unfinished.

6.0 out of 10


1. Lunacy
2. Mother of the World
3. The Wolf
4. The Seer
5. The Seer Returns
6. 93 Ave. B Blues
7. The Daughter Brings the Water
8. Song for a Warrior
9. Avatar
10. A Piece of the Sky
11. The Apostate

Listen // Buy

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chordotomy - The Precious Ideal

Hello everyone. You should be used to my sporadic checking-ins of The Disgust by this point. I'm really busy as of late and all you extreme music fans may have heard, the great JGD at The Living Doorway is taking a break from posting for awhile. His hiatus inspired me to come back from my own hiatus, but chances are it'll inspire me to take another in a few days considering I left for the same reasons he did.

Anyway since I haven't been posting or checking my email too regularly, I've decided to dedicate a majority of October 7th and 8th to writing reviews on albums I've been listening to or have listened to in the last few weeks. There's a lot of shit to cover, and our first album of the day is Chordotomy's The Precious Ideal.

Chordotomy is a brutal slamming death metal band from Deutschland that lacks any semblance of originality. Cheesy samples and monotonous vocalwork plague The Precious Ideal from beginning to end. But nobody gives a fuck about that: these slams are diabolically catchy and make up for all the genre-pandering bullshit that tends to pervade this sort of music.

Tracks like the "Structures Of Inexistence" and "Hostile Annihilation" are relentless, high-speed tracks that devolve into cavemen-beating-each-other brutality. The slams are mid to slow-paced and absolutely addicting in their simplicity. Others begin simple and gradually reach higher tempos like "Bludgeoned Into Demise" where the track culminates in a gravity blast about halfway through. Rhythmically speaking, The Precious Ideal serves as great entertainment. If you like hearing two guys give it their all by chugging away on palm-muted chords in arrangements that'll have you humming (headbanging) along, then this album is for you.

Despite playing to stereotypes there's a few standout moments. "Human Derangement" is oddly melodic and features some vocal pitch-changing, and the production being heavy in low-end makes the part after the melody feel earth-shakingly brutal. "Structures Of Inexistence" reminds me of "Lashed To The Slave Stick" by Nile, but it quickly gets stuck in a slam-rut that makes Nile look like flower-power hippies in comparison. A few of the later tracks are more forgettable bar the stupid samples (isn't it sad when the only memorable feature of a track is the sample?), like "Implements Of Natural Selection." The majority of the album is solid enough to make up for it and you can always pick and choose from your favorite slams.

The Precious Ideal is a great example of an album that doesn't have to do new things to be entertaining and although I'm sure I'll forget the album in a few months' time, I thoroughly enjoyed everything on here.

7.25 out of 10


1. Einklang
2. Philosophy of Suffering
3. Structures of Inexistence
4. Systematic Extermination
5. Cassandra Effect
6. Bludgeoned into Demise
7. Human Derangement
8. Hostile Annihilation
9. Implements of Natural Selection
10. A Mind in Ruins

Listen // Buy