Ripper Releases Sensory Stagnation

Chilean speed metal revivalists Ripper tear into their fusion of Destruction and older Sepultura that makes for an energy-infused listen full of the high-contrast riff changes that defined the speed metal genre. While this continues the past influences, it shows the band developing more of their own voice while remembering to cue in enough genre conventions to address the nostalgia crowd.

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Flames of Hell – Fire and Steel (Draconian, 1987)

As much as we want to think otherwise, our reception, enjoyment and evaluation of music is not strictly dependent on the pure act of listening. A truism perhaps, but still something that is worth reflecting on from time to time. Especially for collectors of cult metal vinyl – the modern-day personification of the emperor’s new clothes syndrome (or should we say old clothes?). If you invest a disproportionate amount of time, effort and money in reading about and eventually acquiring a record – as collectors of obscure metal tend to do – your judgement is likely to get clouded to the point where it’s hard to assess the quality of the work in question. And this includes both positive and negative judgements. Case in point: the hype surrounding the Icelandic proto-black metal band Flames of Hell and their sole full-length album Fire and Steel (1987).

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Brief Analysis: Possessed – “The Exorcist”

The opening song of Seven Churches starts off with The Exorcist theme taken from Tubular Bells but performed by producer Randy Burns. This emblematic introduction played on a cheap organ synth with its muddy timbre is the perfect introduction for this innovative band that managed to reconcile underground metal with the blossoming Speed metal movement into a vicious piece that carries on towards a much darker path.

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ASSESOR – Invaze (Globus International, 1990)

Donning their debut album with a medieval-styled, black-and-white cover that looks more like a qualified sketch than a finished statement, Assesor went into music history as the first underground metal band in Czechoslovakia to score a record deal. Spearhead-status notwithstanding, Invaze stays firmly rooted in 1980 death/thrash extremity rather than tapping into the burgeoning death- and black metal movements. What ultimately makes Invaze a rewarding listen is not so much a question of stylistic preferences, but how the band expand upon an established form in order to transform it qualitatively from within.

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Richard Brunelle Dies at Age 55

It is with sadness that we mourn the passing of Death metal legend Richard Brunelle who passed away on Monday. His sister in law delivered the following message.

“This is Richie’s sister-in-law. This devastating post is at the request of my husband and his mother. It is with deep regret and sorrow that we inform Richie’s friends and fans that he passed away. Please feel free to visit the link to share memories and condolences. Rest in peace, Richie. You were so loved and will be forever missed.”

Though much debate has been sparked about the extent of his role in Morbid Angel but considering how the band declined after he left, it is safe to assume he had an essential role and more importantly had a much more classic style that was able to reign in and concentrate some of Azagthoth’s crazier ideas. Conjecture aside it is well known that he created by himself this beautiful piece of music found on Blessed are the Sick

Rest In Peace Richard, your legacy will never be forgotten!!!

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Darken – Darken (Defiled, 1998)

Although it might disappoint some readers, it’s probably advisable to begin this review by stating that this is not a lost recording by a well-known Polish musician. However, the music does fall somewhere within the black metal sphere. Darken is a three-track EP released by guitar-virtuoso Toby Knapp, presumably conceived as an attempt at writing and performing music in the language of mid-to-late-1990s melodic black metal. Joining the multi-instrumentalist on vocals and as lyrical contributor is a certain Necrotriton, while drums are obviously computer-generated.

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Carcass – “Reek of Putrefaction” Introduction Analysis

On Symphonies of Sickness Carcass integrated a stronger Death metal influence into their music in regards to structure as the unorganized noise was given a clear vision and the short blasts of vitriol now communicate sickening short tales that have a greater sense of dynamism and progression. With these added tools, Carcass now had the ability to make the greatest gore related of all time. Though many band would use all the elements present here with varying levels of success as the style fell into the joke genres of Porno and Goregrind. Carcass remain the masters of this through meticulous arrangements as seen in one of the greatest introductions in metal.

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