Bay area speed metal band Epidemic, which had touches of death metal hybrids like Kreator and Merciless mixed into its Exodus-style speed metal, released Pandemic: The Demo Anthology on Divebomb Records. The label reports:
Bay Area thrashers Epidemic are probably best known for their two classic Metal Blade albums, Decameron and Exit Paradise, released in 1992 and 1994 respectively, but what fans have been truly clamoring for is what we present now as Pandemic: The Demo Anthology.
This 2012 collection compiles all three self-released demos (Immortal Minority, Demo 89 and Extremities ’91) in one 19 track set. The newly remastered audio is accompanied by a 16-page booklet full of band-supplied archival photos and show flyers to give their fans the ultimate experience. For the fans, by the fans!
For those who like the more Metallica side of the bands between speed and death, this may offer something of interest.
Agonized’s 1991 demo, “Gods…”, has been restored at the local professional studio. Noise has been removed and worst odd tape anomalies filtered but the demo has not been remastered or has its sound changed in any other way. It sounds as muddy and bad and sinister it ever was in 1991.
Quick review: sounds like first album Sentenced combined with Belial, with vocals like Demilich (deep, burpish). For additional sound samples, see the band’s MySpace page.
This release is a CD-R copy of the demo on a JVC-Taiyo Yuden Premium branded CD. 5 euros+shipping. Contact directly for shipping details, payment information and/or other questions via Jari’s email.
The term “melodic death metal” has lost all meaning with the rise of its postmodern form, which is essentially heavy metal or power metal (speed metal + later heavy metal) with death vocals, played at twice normal speed and using tuning and mode to achieve a melodic sound. The genre often fails because in an effort to deliver lots of those sweet ripping melodic moments, it renders itself uniform and thus passes like sonic wallpaper.
The best of the genre either takes after early Dissection, which is essentially heavy metal, or early At the Gates, which is essentially death metal. In the middle, there are those who combine the two, making what sounds like a cross between early Dissection and early Necrophobic. In this area, bands like Unanimated, Sentenced, Cemetary and Sacramentum made their great works. Desultory fit into this picture as well but was always just a bit more predictable and catchy than those bands would admit into their own music.
Some call it obvious, but the history of art shows us that the person who makes the most evocative form of obvious basically states what everyone is too neurotic to think clearly, and becomes a winner. For that reason, it’s a terrible shame that this album has been overlooked since it is better than almost everything to come out in the genre recently. Opeth and BloodBath fans in particular might enjoy this album which is equal balanced parts beauty and virulent darkness.
Riffs are catchy and strike a good balance between melodic hook and infectious rhythm with some aggression to it, a form which is downplayed but provides a good internal counterpoint to the sweet spots (in contrast to most bands, who do this externally by playing the verses as grinding madness and the chorus as undistorted or sickeningly over-harmonized AOR riffs). In song structure, this album is more like older death metal of the melodic type, but its soul is pure heavy metal of the type that dominated the airwaves in the 1980s, just with twice the complexity and technicality.
In many ways, this album fulfills the promise of melodic metal. It’s like a cross between Iron Maiden Number of the Beast and Slayer Reign in Blood. This is a hard mix to get right, and it’s fair to note that there’s more hard rock in this than even in Iron Maiden, but the end result is very pleasant listening that maintains a sense of longing and beauty in its atmosphere, while simultaneously raging against the darkness.
There is so much to appreciate about this album, starting with its technicality, but most prominently extended to its sense of a notched lock between a good rhythm and a good melody. The problem is that this release is infected with the post-modern-metal fascination for the carnival music style of intense variation, which ends up creating a lack of narrative, which must be substituted with primitive means like repetition and hook, pushing these out of place. The result is listenable but too busy; it turns everything up to 11 and as a result, almost nothing stands out, and its careful inventiveness in riff and variation becomes textural background. However, like Neuraxis — to which it is a close relative — this is at least a listenable form of metalcore-influenced late death metal.
From the storms which tear the earth, haunting the skies at night, empowering chaos and embracing vampyric magick, the cult USBM horde Black Funeral return from the abyss with this morbid spell of blood lust and darkness! Raw, vampyric & occult Black Metal.
Worm Gear Zine has officially relaunched, with 19 reviews and new interviews with Agalloch and Forefather! We know it has been a long time, but we are excited to have revived this stalwart bastion of extreme music. Expect more frequent updates and more of the quality writing you’ve always depended upon. We welcome all readers to this resurrected endeavor, and are eager to hear your thoughts and to get your participation in our ongoing discussion of the underground. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter as well!
From our original review of Worm Gear zine back in 1998:
Professional layout belies the depth to which this magazine sinks into the underground, asking up-front questions in a variety of reviews, features and interviews. Excellent coverage on an individual basis of those bands and individuals lucky enough to be featured in this solid zine from Michigan.