In addition to tape trading, compilation albums back in the day allowed a label to sell you one track from each of its most promising bands for a few dollars total, making them both a good way to find new bands and a cross between the mix tape and a radio show when you wanted varied listening.
Keeping up with the old tradition, Horror Pain Gore Death Productions unveiled its 2021 compilation album as a way to check out some of its bands in small doses, sort of like speed dating for death metal.
- Putrisect – “Descent of Abomination”: Very much inspired by Immolation, this slightly plodding mid-paced track keeps a better mood than most, balancing linearity against ambiguity as if reflecting on the neurotic duality between logic and impulses in the human monkey brain.
- Anatomia – “Abyssm”: These guys love their old Godflesh, and make a track out of three dirge/doom riffs with background melodic vibrato guitars and feedback melodies, converting the boring into the fascinating.
- Cemeterian – “Eroded Altar of Mortality”: As one might expect from the name, this track starts off as Swedish-archetype death metal, then veers into Asphyx-styled primitive riffing and a few riff which could have come off a Blaspherian album; this band does presentation riffs well but then falls into verse-chorus loops which are less inspiring.
- Nominon – “Wrath of Shiva”: This track feels like something every local band did in the 1990s, lots of expectation-based rhythm riffing and vocals guiding a track that is basically a surge with interruptions and influences from Sinister Hate.
- Infamous Glory – “The Funeral Horde”: Nice energetic band combines Swedish death metal with Iron Maiden dual guitar melodic lead riffing and American death metal style riffs pushing the edge of being groove, creating a comfortable experience that is too predictable for its own good.
- Leprophiliac – “Platonic Disease” (Obituary cover): Seems like a faithful cover of Obituary emulating its first and third albums in a simpler form, executing without flaws and with an understanding of the original material.
- Reckless Manslaughter – “Tales of Cremation”: This starts out as a mid-paced death-doom band and then builds in a Demigod-style melody, perhaps a bit linear, but the song holds together despite pushing the envelope as it picks up the pace.
- Ruin – “Catatonic Vomit”: Despite some initial grinding trudge riffs, this song mutates into its core through a lead melody similar to middle period Death, and then goes back into a tour of American and European death metal riff patterns.
- Undergang – “Dødskunst”: An attempt to make an atmospheric track, this song builds on linear riffs contrasted with groove, and builds layers over time to imbue the trudging patterns with intensity, but ultimately simply circles around an idea, making a decent listen but no sense of revelation.
- Coffins – “Carnal Leftovers” (Nihilist cover): This rendition brings out many of the Slayer influences as well as the pure d-beat energy, making a rewarding new view into a faithful tribute to a classic.
- Inisans – “Satan’s Supremacy”: Storming death metal that almost approaches war metal simplicity, this track sticks to a straightforward theme in a powerful fast rhythm, then works in melodic texture but stays with the charging mood for the duration with some nods to Possessed and Hypocrisy.
- Mortuary – “Holy War”: Keeping with their Slayer-inspired ripping death metal approach, Mortuary make a semi-melodic but powerful track that uses internal contrast well, letting epic patterns emerge from evocative riffs that sound like mechanized combat.
- Cadaveric Incubator – “Torso”: This band uses internal pauses in its riffs well, then gangrushes them with fast textural patterns, causing the song to constantly shuttle between forms of intensity, allowing slight introductions of melody to expand the theme, but ultimately stays in a circular pattern despite good intensity throughout.
- Ribspreader – “The Bone Church”: These guys love their old Deicide for rhythmic structure, but also bring in a type of Malevolent Creation speed metal hybrid, giving this track some bounce which then traps the rest of the music in its loop.
- Sacrifixion – “Genocide Scythe”: Sounding like Pentagram (US) sped up, this band mixes the proto-black era (Merciless, Necronomicon) with fast-paced heavy metal, giving nods to Cirith Ungol and early Swedish death metal.
- Seraphic Disgust – “Dreams of Sulfur”: Bringing up the goregrind end of the spectrum, Seraphic Disgust launch layers of chromatic riffs at a simple cadence, then add riff variations for texture, but the song stays remarkably consistent in ratcheting between its themes.
For those looking for a glass bottom boat view of what is going on in the murky sub-surface world of contemporary old school death metal, Death Metal Power From Beyond provides a revelatory glimpse, with standouts from Mortuary, Anatomia, and Cadaveric Incubator leading the way.