Saturday, 25 August 2012

[ALBUM REVIEW] Death Strike - Fuckin' Death

Genre - Death Metal

1. The Truth

2. Mangled Dehumanization

3. Re-entry and Destruction

4. Pay to Die

5. The Final Conflict

6. Man Killed America/Embryonic Misconceptions

7. Pervert

8. Remorseless Poison

Death Strike need little introduction to anyone who would consider themselves seasoned in the realm of death metal, the legendary Paul Speckmann’s  debut foray into the genre has garnered pretty much cult status now as a genre classic and not without good reason. This reissue of 1991 album by Dark Descent compiles the debut demo from ’85 together with four other tracks for the rather aptly titled Fuckin’ Death, and being brutally honest, could you possibly have a more suitable description for the sensory annihilation present on this disc?

It’s that fact that half this material was recorded back in the mid eighties that really makes it stand out, death metal was still in its infantile stages back then with extreme metal making a transition between the crust influenced filth of Hellhammer and the ilk to a more brutal strain with bands like Possessed and Slaughter emerging out of the underground with a significantly more potent and brutal form of metal unlike anything heard before, and when you realise it came out at the same time as two monumental releases by the aforementioned bands you wonder why the fuck it never got quite as much attention as it was just as influential if not more so than those classics.

In case you’re one of the unenlightened still wondering who the fuck Death Strike are, Fuckin’ Death was essentially just the first Master album under a different moniker, and if you ask me, along with Master’s debut and possibly On the Seventh Day are the only things worth owning by Speckmann. The first four tracks as previously mentioned are from 1985 and astonishingly ahead of their time. It’s basically ‘Hellhammer on crack’, fast brutal and utterly primal Death Metal with that huge hardcore influence shining through. Paul’s vocals are a maniacal and wretched reverbed howl that just add to the chaos conjured with Kirk’s unbridled leads, the d-beat styled drumming and thundering, bowel shaking bass. Songs like “Pay to Die” and “Re-Entry and Destruction” are impossible not to like, it’s extreme metal heaven (or hell, whichever you prefer), straight-forward, catchy and downright punishing.

The next four tracks are noticeably different; “The Final Countdown” starts off with a doomy dirge and forgoes flat out speed for a suffocating heaviness that certainly hints at a change in thinking within the band, also evident in the increased length of the songs. “Man Killed America” follows much the same pattern while “Pervert” presses a little harder on the gas while closer “Remorseless Poison” reverts back to that ominous onslaught of bass driven death. And if like me you got your hands on the vinyl copy you also get a bonus 7” of rehearsal tracks which are a nice addition albeit nothing to write home about.

It’s the lo-fi shoddy execution and production of the whole thing which adds so much character to this release and so many others from the same time frame, a character and feeling which is sadly lost on today’s tech and blast obsessed bands. In my books Fuckin’ Death is pretty much a classic of primitive death metal and when you consider when it originally was released that makes it all the more spectacular, and now that it’s finally seen a re-release it makes obtaining a copy something that won’t cause your bank account to have a fit. 


Sounds like - Master, Hellhammer, Possessed 

Originally written for Dead Void Dreams

Monday, 6 August 2012

[ALBUM REVIEW] Nordwind - Wendehorn


Genre - Black Metal
1. Gazing from the Void  
2. Spear of Mastery  
3. Death  
4. Spirit of Ruin  
5. Chaos  
6. Fimbulvetr    

This album certainly came as a welcome surprise right out of the blue. Nordwind are a Canadian band with strong ties to another well known Vancouver act Godless North with Wendehorn being their debut foray into the imposing wilderness of black metal. And for a first album, it’s an extremely impressive effort which contains a lot more character than a lot of the Black Metal coming out of Canada at the minute, opting for a rather more stripped back and raw pagan themed approach than the separatist black metal movement emanating from Quebec at the minute which seems to be gaining momentum again.

It’s obvious from the monstrosity of a riff which splinters “Gazing From the Void” that Absurd play a considerable influence in their sound; ugly, obnoxious and in your face not least exaggerated by the thundering drums and Kveldulv’s reverbed roaring. The whole album in general is very much focused on the guitar work, it’s without a doubt the strongest aspect present anyway powering through the songs with enough force to level a skyscraper. It’s heavily influenced by the classic Nordic style as well, more than once bringing to the fore visions of Satanic Warmaster in its almost rock-like arrangements. “Spear of Mastery” contains some impressive lead work injected in among the chaos to help shake things up a bit.

The songs all generally follow the same basic pattern and it has to be said that the first half of the album is stronger than the second, but that by no means says that the rest is bad, indeed it’s still better than a lot out there at the minute. The pulverizing guitar and drumming is the unarguable highlight here though Kveldulf’s vocals are still very strong, opting for a lower guttural rather than harsh screaming. It also happens to be very well produced as well which is a bonus especially in the genre of NSBM.

So yeah, it’s in its simplicity that it really shines and their blend of raw, raucous and blistering black metal is as subtle as a fist to the face and will leave you with barely a chance to catch your breath. As stated though it does tend to lose steam the longer it goes, but I still find this act has a lot more personality and replay value than Godless North, containing an almost perfect balance between the raw and atmospheric. Nordwind will certainly be an act to look out for in the future. 


Sounds like - Absurd, Gorgoroth, Satanic Warmaster

Originally written for