Terrorizer/Nausea – Split Demos (1991)

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For those who did not get a chance to own the original demo tapes, or simply desire them on a newer and more robust medium, this disc consisting of the Terrorizer demo from 1987 and the Nausea demo from the following year reveals the grindcore and punk giants at approximately the time when the classic World Downfall was released. These two bands share personnel, but take radically different approaches: Terrorizer adopts the angular riffing and cadenced percussion of metal, where Nausea keeps the syncopated guitar rhythms and open initial intervals of punk. For those who have heard the Terrorizer release, few surprises await on the demo, which essentially showcases the same tracks in a slightly less focused form with less vocal savagery. However, these songs also have more space to breathe, which makes this demo often a better listening experience than the album, which in the Morbid Angel style concentrates on hard-hitting tight composition and production, at the expense of some of the organic restlessness of the original.

Nausea on the other hand provides simply what every person wishes their punk bands would sound like, much as Slayer did the same for metal. This unruly music spills out of boundaries and transgresses every convention while remaining simple and keeping songs focused around a rhythm and vocal hook that makes them hummable while remaining savage. It sounds more militant than the Euro-punk of the day and more like the Cro-Mags from New York, but like a metal band zeroes in on the changes between riffs to achieve a kind of theatrical-Wagnerian effect, which takes punk from the verse-chorus loop into a kind of presentation that gives depth to its alienation. Full of energy and yet pointed toward a goal that is more personal artistic outrage than ideology, Nausea takes the basic outlook of punk and turns it up while making it more listenable than the spotty, erratic and often haphazard bands of the later punk era, or worse, the “post-hardcore” bands that combined random riffs in carnival music or dinner theater style.

Released as a split demo tape in 1991, these recordings see the light of day again with this 2012 CD re-issue by forces unknown. Sound quality remains good although thankfully the re-issue has not been remastered or had volume fiddled with in any way, which preserves the tone and room sound of these demos. This means the listener must adjust the dial; you suffer (but why?) because this is a better outcome than sterile reproductions which are more convenient but destroy depth of sound. These do not sound like a nostalgia trip, but more a journey inside the inner 17-year-old of every listener that likes intense music that sounds like it came from a garage or backyard party with a message that perhaps few will understand but many will enjoy.

Terrorizer “Hordes of Zombies”

The first thing people say, almost like a spell to ward off mistaken appreciation, is that this band is not the same band who cranked out “Fear of Napalm” and “Corporation Pull-In.”

That’s true — and it’s a good thing.

While the old material is as classic as a castle on the Rhine, and will inspire grind-heads for many generations into the future, times have changed and grindcore is trying to adapt to a modern (post-1994) era of metal.

Most options for this are bad as they are limited by strict genre constructions. For example, one can try to be “tr00” kvlt d-beat, or even blurcore, if not falling into the randomness trap that produces carnival music like metalcore, in which no part resembles the others and no sense is made; you’re supposed to appreciate it like the sample platter at your local seafood place. But it’s not fulfilling.

The new Terrorizer album instead wisely takes after Napalm Death’s Fear, Emptiness and Despair, which acknowledges the maturation of the genre by streamlining it and thus giving it a bit more room to grow. It reduces the genre to a minimum but with clear boundaries so that experimentation, not of the surface kind that consists in adding jazz solos and a bassoon and playing the album live on a basketball court, but of the inner kind where melody and form are explored as an emulation of the sounds and emotion of life.

Intelligently, this Terrorizer aims to be a blast of energy that rivals any 5-hour stim supp or purple drank you can find. It’s pure pulsing percussion kinesis, driving forward like the pumping of a panicked heart transitioning to ‘kill’ mode during combat, but without the darkness or cruelty of intent of death metal or black metal. Instead it’s like punk crossed with techno, using the mixture of crust and death metal riffing that has always made grindcore easy to grasp but hard to appreciate in depth.

Within this framework, there’s a lot of variation, including a fair number of melodic hooks that provide emotional content. Anthony Rezhawk’s rasping voice is back in monotone mode, where he sounds impatient and dismissive, as is appropriate for an album about the zombiefication of the human species slowly destroying the planet (whether that’s metaphor or not awaits a detailed reading of the lyrics). Pete Sandoval provides excellent percussion, and under the guidance of these two seasoned songcrafters, the raw power of the new bassist & guitarist is shaped into compelling songs.

This will be one of the best of 2012. People are unwilling to admit this fact now because that requires bucking a social convention in that, (a) “it’s not the old Terrorizer” and (b) it’s rather “pop” in its own sense of not attempting depth, or jagged self-drama, but instead making songs to stand on their own as objects of revelation of the world. The old Terrorizer could not exist now because its members have moved on but also because the world has moved on, in circumstance and in music, and this new album rises to incorporate those changes and make of them an interesting and paranoid tale.

1. Intro
2. Hordes of Zombies

3. Ignorance and Apathy

4. Subterfuge

5. Evolving Era

6. Radiation Syndrome

7. Flesh to Dust

8. Generation Chaos

9. Broken Mirrors

10. Prospect of Oblivion

11. Malevolent Ghosts

12. Forward to Annihilation

13. State of Mind

14. A Dying Breed

15. Wretched (bonus track)

16. Hordes of Zombies (demo)

Napalm Death “Utilitarian” & Terrorizer “Hordes of Zombies”

Napalm Death – Utilitarian

In rock ‘n’ roll, it’s better to die young. Even that is a cliche, but so is rock itself. Formed when corporate investors found a way to combine blues, country, folk and pop into a single product, rock has no real soul and so it pretends. The result is a parade of cliches and you hope that if you change the order enough, you become the next Jim Morrison or Morrisey. The sad truth is that rock bands come in two types: the ones who have three albums worth of good ideas and then burn out, and the ones who make the same song over and over again when they run out of energy. If a teenage version of yourself ever walked into a record store and spotted the guy with thinning hair, faded tattoos, and a bunch of stories and even more excuses but no accomplishments, you know what the new Napalm Death is. This is the sound of exhaustion pretending it has vitality for long enough to sell the slop to the kids and move on. The songs are built around the same tired chord progressions, which are barely even progressions in any sense except chromatic patterns at convenient places on the fretboard. The rhythms and riff ideas come from past Napalm Death albums, with a few influences borrowed from older death metal scattered throughout. On top of this, the aged suit-wearing corporate rock Napalm Death throws a single “outside” nuance per song. One tries to imitate the noise/avant-jazz of the early 1990s. Another is halfway to being a Rite of Spring tune. Still another apes the blur-core aesthetic of the new style of grindcore. Others try to return to the bouncy glory days of Fear, Emptiness, Despair or Utopia Banished. Underneath the skin however there is a total lack of ideas or even the guts to just go ahead with something that feels right. This is a cynical, manipulative album hiding a plastic soul which just wants your cash. In aging into oblivion instead of dying young as rock heroes, Napalm Death have made a mockery of everything they stood for. By wrapping this in a trendy surface and trying to pull the works of classic death metal over them like a camouflage mantle, Napalm Death have created a gateway into this genre from the soulless and burnt-out. You have made us all hipsters. Avoid this horrible album.

Terrorizer – Hordes of Zombies

Melba toast has a crunchy exterior, yet turns soft in your mouth. Lightly toasted, it is sweet upon contact with saliva, and will never upset your digestion. In fact, it is like baby food, except that it is crunchy. The new Terrorizer is baby food, true, but it’s awesome baby food. The band have focused not on innovation, not on a nifty surface, and definitely not on topic, since they’re beating the dead couch of the zombie album. What they did do was make something that’s easy to digest but unlike almost all metal released at this time, it’s coherent. Riffs fit together and make sense, even if a kind of pidgin. Rhythms mate effortlessly yet have enough variation to give depth to the compositions. Much of this is pure chromatic, but it captures the momentum of a good riot or fistfight. As a result, it’s easy to listen to and yet maintains its intensity throughout. If you can get over expecting something of emotional profundity like World Downfall, and instead look for the Terrorizer equivalent of Napalm Death’s Fear, Emptiness, Despair (or even Aura Noir’s Black Thrash Attack), you will find in this album a guilty pleasure. It throbs with aggression and yet by not attempting anything too complex, always manages to deliver. There is no attempt here other than to make an energetic, fun, musically-competent grindcore album and Hordes of Zombies rages supreme in this area. Oddly the only new influences seem to be a later Swedish death metal melodic tendency, and a study of riffs from the recent post-death metal era in which the punk riff and the recycled speed metal riff have crept back in. Wisely however Terrorizer keep their music extremely basic, along the lines of the first Brutal Truth album, but give it compelling rhythms and an underlying furor that makes us tune in to see how such violence can also be so much fun to listen to.

Terrorizer – Subterfuge

New Terrorizer seems very good on the first listen. It’s designed to be liked, which may set some of you off. However, it reminds me of a stripped down version of Napalm Death’s “Fear, Emptiness, Despair” with more urgent rhythms. These are not lovemaking rhythms either. These are trying to cram everything into your bug-out bag because society has collapsed rhythms. Looking forward with an open mind to the full thing.

TERRORIZER – Subterfuge by Season of Mist

Terrorizer to release new album in 2012

From the Morbid Angel myspace:

TERRORIZER is back with a new album and the line-up consists of Pete on drums, Anthony Rezhawk, David Vincent on Bass and Katina Culture on guitar. The new album is in its final stage of production and will be out early 2012.

No word on whether they’ll do a 28 second cover of “Radikult.”

Sadistic Metal Reviews 1-22-2017

Everything you love is eventually butchered, emulsified, digested, and squeezed out by lesser life forms ranging from head hunters to bacterium to mediocre metal bands. Here are some Sadistic Metal Reviews for our readers’ pleasure:

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Sadistic Metal Reviews 12-06-16

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Congratulations! Your society continues to squeeze out lumpy, furry, greasy and fragrant turds into the fresh bedding. Your government is corrupt; almost everyone in business and society is a robotic zombie; your mass culture is garbage and your jobs, jails. People are miserable inside but refuse to acknowledge it for fear of seeming weak.

On top of all of that, your future is grim as you slip further into third-world levels of filth, disorder, promiscuity, corruption, disorganization, perversity, crime and rotted infrastructure. How’s that whole modern society thing — consumerism, democracy, mass media — working out for you?

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Morbid Angel Promise to “Ascend Once More”

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Morbid Angel (Trey Azagthoth and Steve Tucker) released a crazy press release on their Facebook page yesterday claiming to be “working on some super Inspired Over The Top Shit” and stating that they have signed a contract with German label UDR Music. Despite needing a drummer, the band promises to strike “a consistent chord of dark, dissonant death-metal empathy with their loyal fanbase.” Hopefully Trey and Steve’s new collaboration will be more Formulas Fatal to the Flesh than Gateways to Annihilation.

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Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness Full Dynamic Range Edition

Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness cover

Morbid Angel recorded what was supposed to be their debut album in 1986. Compositionally excellent and novel, Abominations of Desolation was a Manhattan project of death metal as a truly musically distinct sub-genre. However, band leader Trey Azagthoth and then producer Dave Vincent were unhappy with the recording. Azagthoth quickly fired drummer/vocalist Browning and bassist John Ortega, and shelved the album, which Ortega later released as a bootleg. Vincent and Azagthoth had a point though: Browning’s drumming was shaky and he sounded like a wimp. His drumming lacked power, never making use of blast beats while his vocals could have come out of a whiny fourteen-year-old.

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