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Wednesday 20 March 2019

Reviews: Vile Creature, Pissgrave, Body Harvest, Acid Death (Paul S & Paul H)

Vile Creature: Preservation Rituals (Prosthetic Records) [Paul S]

Vile Creature are a duo based in Ontario, Canada. The band, made up of Vic on drums and vocals and K.W. on guitar and vocals, have been making music since 2014. Vile Creature recently signed for Prosthetic records, and this double album is a collection of everything they have released before signing to the coolest of metal record labels. The band define their sound as Blackened Doom, which is a description that I’m not going to argue with, as it’s pretty accurate. The collection features Vile Creatures first album A Steady Descent Into The Soil (2015), and the EP A Pessimistic Doomsayer (2016) on the first CD, and the album Cast Of Static And Smoke (2018) makes up the second CD. A Steady Descent Into The Soil starts with the track A Constant Yearning To Leave, which starts with a slow buildup, before crashing into a huge, blackened doom riff the size of a planet. The track has very harsh, aggressive vocals, which, despite the anger are also deeply mournful. The aggressiveness of the vocals increases as the track goes on. The pacing is slow, but there is a huge amount of inertia in this; it’s slow but it’s also very powerful, and feels as unstoppable as continental drift. I listened to this album at work quite a lot, the title always resonated. Motivated By Guilt has the same slow but unrelenting quality that the first track had. The song has a huge build up, which is released in the second half.

The vocals are confrontational and in some ways deeply anguished. Next we get the title track A Steady Descent Into The Soil. This is huge slow and mournful. The vocals are initially harsh and feel like the singer is in pain. The track has a quieter section mid way through, with a simple, sad but beautiful melody brought forth by some very lilting clean vocals. The track gets heavy again, but this time those beautiful clean vocals carry on making the ending of this song cathartic and meaningful. The EP A Pessimistic Doomsayer is one (very long) song. The track has a slow build up before a huge and heavy riff kicks in, with clean vocals. The track moves into a heavier, harsher section before tempering all of the nastiness with some very tuneful clean vocals, that remind me a little of some of Sisters Of Mercy’s backing vocals. Again the band mix the heaviness with the beautiful clean vocals, giving the ending of the track a tempered mix of nasty with elegance. The second CD in this collection is the bands 2018 album Cast Of Static And Smoke. This is clearly a concept album, but unlike most concept albums, the band give you a spoken word short story as the last track on the album. I’m assuming that the album started with the story, and then they wrote the songs to fit in with the story, lyrically and thematically. 

The songs on this album are shorter than their previous work. All the song titles are taken directly from the short story, and most of the tracks feature sections of the audiobook that makes up the final track. Water Tinter Gold and Tainted Copper gets the album off to a huge and nasty start. Both members of the band are featured doing harsh vocals and the intensity of this track is off the scales. As the song goes on it feels more harsh and intense, before a climactic ending. Circuits Bending And Breaking opens with drums, before a minimal riff comes in. The vocals are harsh and the riff becomes increasingly discordant. In fact this track is all about the build, getting more and more harsh, intense and brooding. Forest Subsists As A Tomb starts with feedback before an enormous riff and bellowing vocals crash in to wash all of the feedback away. The hugeness couldn’t last, so we also get a section that is more minimalist, but is still as heavy as all fuck. Sky In Descending Pieces starts in a slow, soft intro before it gets crushingly heavy, harsh and nasty. This is the last track that is a song, and it batters and crushes the audience into submission. 

This is almost a definition of heavy. Final track is called Audiobook, which is also a description. This is the short story that all the songs have been based on. It’s a post-apocalyptic tale of self aware robots and sentient trees. It’s very well written, and read. In style it reminded me of the more intelligent sci-fi writers like Philip K Dick or Ursula Le Guin. The track does have some very minimalist musical accompaniment, but it’s mainly about the story. Vile Creature are making a lot of noise at the moment. They are going to be huge in the next year or so. This is not hype. They are every bit as good as the praise they have garnered. This collection shows that so well. They are innovative, breathtakingly creative, heavy as anything I’ve ever heard, and incredibly beautiful. This 2 CDs collection is well worth having, nearly 2 hours, and it’s all great. Vile Creature are going to be huge pretty soon, this double album shows why. 9/10

Pissgrave: Posthumous Humiliation (Profound Lore) [Paul S]

Pissgrave erupted on to the death metal scene in 2015 with their staggeringly savage debut Suicide Euphoria. The four piece, based in Philadelphia blew thousands of minds with their brand of ultra extreme death metal. Everything about Pissgraves debut was savage and breathtakingly over the top; production, guitar, bass and drum sound, insanely angry vocals, song titles, lyrics. If it was possible to push thing to ridiculous levels of extremity, then Pissgrave did. Now, four years on they are back, and if you are expecting them to have mellowed, well, you’re wrong. The album opens with Euthanasia, and we are dropped strait into a blast beat, and an extremely nasty spiky riff. Pissgrave haven’t mellowed at all, if anything they’ve got more savage, monstrous and bestial. The guitar sound is just as insane, bass and drums are even more ridiculously savage, the vocals are still soooooo horrifically angry. The other thing that is obvious from the first track is how good the solo’s are on this album. 

Imagine a solo played by Eric Cutler or Danny Coralles from Autopsy, then make it faster, squealier, and all round nastier in every way, and you are getting close to how insane the solo’s are on this album. Next up is Canticle Of Ripping Flesh, which is dense, fast and aggressive. It’s absolutely brutal and battering, ferocious and fierce. Funeral Inversion is slow and very heavy for the first half. Although slow, it is so intense that it doesn’t feel like a drop in extremity. There is a faster section, just for some variation in nastiness, before going back to the slow and heavy again. Catacombs Of Putrid Chambers is back to fast again, with a relentless, battering and driving feel. Into The Deceased is fast and attacking, with unrelenting savagery. The song has a slow and grinding ending, with some really nasty, putrid harmonies. Title track Posthumous Humiliation has some very nasty, spiky riffs, the vocals are particularly nasty and filled with rage. This track also boasts another great solo and a slow grinding ending. My god this is album is horrific. Celebratory Defilement is mid-paced, but is still aggressive and savage. 

The guitar, bass, drum and vocal sound is so extreme, and the overall sound is so intense that mid-paced is just as extreme. The album comes to a close with Rusted Wind, another unremittingly nasty piece of work. The song does have one surprise, the second half of it is all guitar harmonies. Don’t get me wrong, they are still vile, nasty and squalid harmonies, but harmonies nonetheless. Posthumous Humiliation is a staggeringly extreme death metal album. Only a few bands can manage this amount of extremity, Drawn And Quartered manage it, but I can’t think of any other death metal acts that are this extreme. Usually, the only place to find this level of ridiculousness is in the War metal scene. This album sounds a little like Revenge playing Autopsy covers, and as those 2 bands are 2 of my favourites, I’m loving this album. Metaphorically, this is like swimming in sewage, with your mouth wide open; it’s utterly putrid and vile, sickeningly disgusting, and totally wonderful. Pissgrave don’t have that much in the way of variety, they do one thing, but they do it very, very well. If you like that thing (and I do), then this album is essential. 8/10

Body Harvest: Parasitic Slavery (Comatose Music) [Paul H]

This album should come with a fucking health warning. Listen to it through noise reducing headphones at even a reasonable volume and you may well be unable to speak to people for the next week. I’m still dribbling now! If you don’t know about these guys, then check out our interview with them before they played the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock last year. Formed in 2011, Body Harvest have been delivering true old school Bristolian death metal for the past eight years with an aggression and trauma inducing style that shatters bone and destroys ear canals. Parasitic Slavery is their sophomore release, coming after 2014’s debut album Futile Creation. Whilst that album bludgeoned listeners with its sheer intensity of delivery, Body Harvest have moved up a level on Parasitic Slavery. Will Pearson’s drumming is relentless, driving the band forward at unbelievable speed, hammering away at his kit like Bob The Builder on amphetamines. The swirling, visceral guitars of Gareth Nash and Jake Ettle-Iles slash mercilessly, their intricate patterns surviving just above the bone crushing bass of Dan Shaw Odell. 

The album opens with a dramatic intro, The Wrath Of Ra, the Egyptian echo to the military drumming before Body Harvest hit accelerate and Global Decimation kicks in. Huge, machine gun drumming, swirling razor sharp guitars and the deathly rasp of vocalist Gareth Nash intense and powerful. Hierarchy Of Grief, the band’s single from 2018 follows, and if anything, the pace increases, multiple patterns churning as the band plough forward with unyielding force. Consumed by Tyrants is next, a wall of sheer brutality, the sound blistering the paintwork and cracking door frames, guitars firing full force and as for that drumming, it is unstoppable. There is no let up from start to finish, Body Harvest show no mercy as they destroy with a passion that few bands can summon up. By the time you reach closing track Apocalyptic Abomination there should be nothing left. 38 minutes of the most brutal death metal I’ve heard all year, the tank is fully emptied by the time this album concludes. It is a ferocious monster of an album which should catapult Body Harvest forward in deserved style. 9/10

Acid Death: Primal Energies (7hard Records) [Paul H]

Originally in operation between 1989 and 2001, the Athenians reformed and refocused in 2011, producing their fifth album Eidolan and sixth album Hall Of Mirrors for their new German label 7Hard in 2015. Five years have passed but the Greek quartet are back with a blistering seventh album that is crammed full of full, heavy riffs and massive grooves that are as infectious as an Amsterdam whorehouse. Seven-minute opener My Bloody Crown starts with some atmospheric female vocals before a huge riff kicks in, the band opting for a classic thrash tinged metal sound. It’s meaty, the groove addictive and the growling vocals of Savvas Betinis perfect. There is even some raging saxophone which whilst bizarre fits in perfectly. The pace intensifies with Godless Shrines, a blistering raging maelstrom of riffs played at a frenetic pace. 

The title track is a vicious all out death metal beast, with an unusual melody and hook adding to the interest. With several changes of pace, direction and style, Acid Death stomp their way through the middle of the album. Fire Of The Insane and the burning Reality and Fear both pulse with power, the latter diverting mid-song with some haunting keyboard to add atmosphere whilst the riffs still rage alongside. It’s groove all the way on Regret/Repent, a blisteringly fast track which has a clean singing section and is reminiscent of Trivium in its melody. Final track H.U.M.A.N is an industrial edged Rammstein style tune which brings a complex and intricate album to a fitting end. Well worth the exploration, numerous styles and approaches warrant several listens to grab what is really going on here; should you invest you are likely to be rewarded. 7/10

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