Death Metal Underground
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30 years ago: Dirty Rotten LP

February 8, 2013 –

driA lot of the death metal gems we listened to (and still listen to) during the heyday of the genre would probably never have been possible if it weren’t for this 22-song, 17-minute 12″ crossover piece of awesome.

Dirty Rotten LP is “as punk as it gets” some would say, and, indeed, structurally it’s hardcore punk all over. But D.R.I. (or Dirty Rotten Imbeciles), hailing from Houston, Texas, managed to do something fruitful with heavy metal riffs in this furious punk context and paved the way for the devilish energies emerging in bands like Slayer. The rest, as they say, is death metal history.

30 years after its initial release, it’s surprising to hear how potent these short bursting songs are. While some of the lyrics are dated, the project as a whole nevertheless seems relevant enough to this day. Inventive and playful, this album will still take you places: the music moves like a bulldozer on speed through a tangle of asphalt, and suddenly the bitter-sweet destruction of society becomes a playground where artifacts of modern society just wait for us to smash them to a pulp.

Now go grab your abstract baseball bat and thrash your way through to sanity!

20 years ago: Nespithe

January 29, 2013 –

Demilich-NespitheAlmost exactly two decades ago, Nespithe, the sole full-length album of Demilich, was released, like a snake swiftly escaping its cage. That simile is not entirely off: trying to explain what this now classic death metal album sounds like, one almost inevitably comes across likenesses to slippery serpents or, considering the “cut-off” melodies played, to dismembered slimy worms twisting and turning. And growing anew.

What about the vocals? Metal fans seem divided and either hate those belching croaks or love them to death. In any case, I think they fit the idea of the album pretty darn well. The world of Nespithe seems like a cavernous microcosm of life and death, an evolutionary breeding ground hidden away from the rays of the sun, where Antti Boman‘s murky vocals comment on developments like a detached god. Penetrating those underground worlds (that are surprisingly free from tremolo riffs) feels like being thrown down a dark hole, and, after hitting the ground, you realise the floor is “moving”. And the listening experience is much like that: the mind is forced to pay attention to every single movement in the dark despite its complexity. Challenging, terrifying, beautiful.

23 years since its conception, the band Demilich is no more (it now seems definite), but Boman, the mastermind behind it all, is involved in other interesting projects (e.g. Winterwolf and Jess and the Ancient Ones) and we will always have the ever so generous Demilich download page.