Music Review: DERACINATION – Times Of Atrocity (2 CD Re-release)

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deracination times of atrocity 2 disc releaseDERACINATION
Times Of Atrocity(2 CD Re-release)
Dark Descent Records

So, back in January of this year, I made mention in the review of the first Australian Metal Compilation that the seven-song demo that the one Deracination song was taken from needed to be given the re-release treatment, possibly along with their 1992 full-length, Times Of Atrocity. As a recap, I came across Times Of Atrocity back in 1995 at a used CD shop in Omaha, Nebraska. How that rare independently released album made it all the way to one of the last places you’d expect to find underground death metal from Australia, I’ve no idea. And while I never regretted snatching that rarity up, the one complaint I had was with the rather thin and low-volume mastering. For years, since several labels have been remastering and re-releasing properly demos and out of print releases, I’ve always hoped and prayed that both the full-length and the four-song demo would be given that treatment.

Fortunately, soon after I posted the compilation review, a guy named Brad commented that, lo and behold, there has been a remaster and re-release of those two albums, and were available at Boone’s Overstock. Imagine my elation. Unfortunately, for some reason, there was a glitch that prevented me using my credit card to pick it up from that site. But, soon thereafter, copies of that 2-CD re-release became available at Christian Metal Distro, where I had nothing but great experiences ordering stuff from*. So, I did something I haven’t done in a very long time: I purchased a physical CD.

So, here we are. Finally. After eagerly popping this in the disc drive on my lappy, and giving both the discs a good spin or five, I can say I’m rather satisfied with how this turned out. The two-disc set comes with both the full-length Times Of Atrocity and the seven-song self-titled demo that came out in 1993 that was previously only available on cassette, along with demo versions of a couple of songs from the full-length. The mastering on Times Of Atrocity is markedly better than it was on the original release; it’s not what you would call pristine, but I don’t have to max out my volume level to feel the punch of the music. The quality on the self-titled demo is better sounding, again possibly because of the demo, but I never heard the demo itself beyond the one song on the aforementioned compilation. Point is, I now have the long out-of-print demo, and now my collection is complete.

But wait, that’s not all. Disc two contains the entirety of the Mosh For The Master demo release, back when the band went by the name Holy Rite and played thrash metal. Would you believe I actually have an MP3 rip of that cassette only demo? Yeah…this sounds far better. Which reminds me, I’m going to have to get around to reviewing that release soon, here.

Anyway, this 2-CD re-release seems like a major answer to prayer, had I not thought that this kind of thing would be a frivolous thing to pray for. Regardless, though, I am more than happy with the purchase, and for $13 for a double-disc release, I’m not complaining one bit. Well, this was limited to a small quantity, so if you’re planning on getting this, jump on it as soon as you possibly can. Recommended.

[* – again, I hasten to mention that I am in no way, shape or form on Christian Metal Distro’s payroll, nor am I endorsing them in any official capacity; just stating a fact, they’re a great place to get your metal fix without headaches…so far…]


Music Review: DECAYED EXISTENCE – Eulogy

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decayed existence - eulogyDECAYED EXISTENCE
Rottweiler Records

Quite recently, Rottweiler Records released the Eulogy EP by a band called Decayed Existence. As with the other bands and artists on the label’s roster, Rottweiler had been teasing this release for some time, and on the day of said release, I went ahead and purchased the download from Amazon, pretty much sight-unseen…in this case, sight-unheard. It was less than four bucks, so I figured why not? First, though, because I’m pedantic about finding out the details of the band that I’m going to listen to and review, let’s see what I can find out about Decayed Existence…

After a cursory search, the basics on the band is that they’re from California, had been a unit since 1990 (with a bit of a stint between 2000-2002 going by the name Desecrater), and have released several demos and EPs and a couple of full-lengths before landing with Rottweiler and releasing Eulogy. Having been in the Death Metal game for this long, surely they’ve honed their sound to something unique.

So now, the EP. Eulogy opens up with the title track, which is basically an instrumental intro of sorts, featuring sounds of rain and a tolling bell, with a riff fading in for a bit and then fading out again at the one-minute-eight-seconds mark. So, right off the bat, Eulogy is technically a three-song-with-an-intro track EP, instead of four. That’s not a complaint, mind you, just an observation. We move into the second track, “Poetry Of The Dead”, and we’re given a nice heavy, mid-paced Death Metal hook, some technical riffs and the use of synths as a means to create atmosphere. Pretty impressive, there. “Human Debris” continues on with the really good hook and riffs, this one being a bit darker with the atmosphere and featuring a fantastic technical guitar solo. The EP ends with “Cursed”, which hits you hard, fast and continuously with a brutal monster riff, a great solo and some interesting vocal effects.

Overall, I would have to once again hand it to Rottweiler Records for once again giving us some good, quality Death Metal. Eulogy was far more enjoyable than what I was expecting, and the quality of the metal here did make me want more than the three proper songs on here. Here’s looking forward to more in the future…mayhaps a full-length…anyway, recommended picking up as soon as possible.

Music Review: BEHOLD THE KINGDOM – The Eyes Of The Wicked Will Fail

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behold the kingdom - the eyes of the wicked will failBEHOLD THE KINGDOM
The Eyes Of The Wicked Will Fail
Rottweiler Records

I’ll start things off by stating that my first impression of Behold the Kingdom’s only full-length release — The Eyes of The Wicked Will Fail — was not too favorable. Or fair, if you want to get right down to it. When I first attempted to listen to this album, I was…in a mood, let’s just say. Thus, when I popped The Eyes Of The Wicked Will Fail into the NEKRON-7’s stereo system, and the opening intro track “We Are Zion (Prayer Of The Messiah)” began, I immediately shut it off, as I was not in the mood for another pretentious cheesy metalcore album. I didn’t get beyond the first track. But, now I have, and now I have to say, whoopee.

After getting past the intro track (still not a fan of that, by the way), the first proper track — “Restoration” — manages to lay one flat with some straight-forward face blasting deathcore. Turns out, the majority of the tracks on The Eyes Of The Wicked Will Fail feature the brutal blastbeats, heavy rhythms and some good riffs with your standard breakdowns, with some Djent influences here and there, and a couple of cuts verging into death metal territory. The standout cuts for me were “El Shaddai”, “Cut You Down” and “Prideful Demise”. “Fall Of The Philistines” is another short, 50-second instrumental with spoken word and an ambient movie soundtrack type music, while “The Valley Of Elah” has a good technical-sounding riff to end the album with.

Overall, I wasn’t expecting much with The Eyes Of The Wicked Will Fail, but I did find it more enjoyable than my low expectations were letting on. It was straight-up deathcore with some texture, rather than your standard paint-by-numbers metalcore I was expecting. Pity Behold The Kingdom has called it a day after releasing this one. Regardless, The Eyes Of The Wicked Will Fail is worth checking out.

Music Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS – Hard And Heavy From Down Under

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hard and heavy from down underVARIOUS ARTISTS
Hard And Heavy From Down Under
Rugged Records / Rowe Productions

So, since I finished up the reviews of the remaining Australian Metal Compilation releases, I felt it was appropriate to do a review of the American release that featured cuts from Australian metal bands, Hard And Heavy From Down Under. I’ve only seen this CD once, at a small family owned Christian bookstore tucked away inside one of the malls in Omaha, Nebraska back in the mid-1990s, within their paltry “Rock” section of the music wall. Hardly any information as to the history behind this release can be found, although there are entries on the standard music archive sites that I use for research.

Hard And Heavy From Down Under was essentially a collaboration between Rowe Productions, which released the original Australian Metal Compilations, and Rugged Records, which started up as a label in the early to mid-1990s as a place for old 80s metal bands to retire to, originally. Then it turned into yet another alternative type label, but that’s for a different rant. Anyway, from what I could gather, this was released here in America as an easier way for us Yank metalheads to check out the bands on the Rowe Production label from Australia, without paying exhuberant shipping prices.

The compilation starts with a cut from Mortification, “Peace In The Galaxy”, which first appeared on the EnVision EvAngeline release. Interesting way to kick things off. Next is two cuts from the band Cry Mercy, “Time To Go” and “D. A. M.”, both from their self-titled release. Then, it’s some death metal goodness from Metanoia — “Acute Obliteration” and “Dimensions Of Life” — both from the In Darkness Or In Light release. Then it’s the three-part Plague suite by Screams Of Chaos (“Fighting For Breath”, “The New World” and “Destroy The Plague”), which was lifted from the second Australian Metal Compilation release, Raise The Dead. But, that’s not all this compilation lifted from that release, as there are two cuts from Embodiment that were found only on the Raise The Dead compilation (“Loophole”, “Incorporate Body”). And we’re not done pilfering from the Australian Metal Compilation series, as these are followed by a couple of cuts from the hardcore band Callous that appeared on the third Australian Metal Compilation (“Hate” and “The Mind That Rots”), and then two cuts from Ethereal Scourge that appeared on the second Australian Metal Compilation (“Death Of Hades” and “Tombthroat”).

Back in the day, when I first encountered this CD, I held off purchasing it because, save for the two Cry Mercy cuts, I already had all the songs on here. And even though I didn’t have the two Cry Mercy songs, I did have one, “Shut Up And Listen”, from the first Australian Metal Compilation. I was good. Even now, I just picked it up as a curiosity. To me, this wasn’t that big of a deal, as I mentioned, I already had everything this sampler featured. But, if you’re not really up on the global Metal community, here’s a good crosscut of what used to be on the Rowe Productions label back in the day. Worth a look, if you can find one at a good discounted price somewhere.

Music Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS – Falling On Deaf Ears

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falling on deaf earsVARIOUS ARTISTS
Australian Metal Compilation IV: Falling On Deaf Ears
Rowe Productions

The final entry in the Australian Metal Compilation series from Rowe Productions, and here it’s more of a solid release than the previous one, in my not-so-humble opinion. This, too, was picked up at the same place I got the other three in the series, albeit not along with the others at the same time, mainly due to financial reasons. Anyway, here’s the rundown.

Falling On Deaf Ears kicks things off with the band that would go on with some notoriety themselves, Virgin Black, featuring three songs from their self-titled demo (“Veil Of Tears”, “Mother Of Cripples” and “Anthem”). Again, this being my first exposure to the band back in the day, I didn’t know what to make of them at the time. Fortunately, they’ve grown to be one of my favorites of the Gothic doom metal genres. Then, it’s two more cuts from the properly spelled Embodiment, “If God Exists” and “Meantime Saviours”. It looks like these were recorded specifically for this compilation, as I cannot find evidence that they appeared on an official release or demo beyond this. Fun Fact: Embodiment then changed their name to Embodiment 12:14 and went in a more hardcore direction than the death metal they played before. Anyway, next are three cuts from the band Teramaze, here in their more thrash metal leaning days, from the Doxology release (“Generation X”, “Ever Enhancing” and “Emancipator”). Then three cuts from death metal band Disparity — “The Truth”, “Manipulator”, and “Refine The Fire”. Again, this seems to be their only appearance anywhere, as there’s no other releases from the band listed that I can find. And finally, the collection ends with thrashy death metal band Rageflower, featuring three cuts from their Awaiting demo release (“Prepaid”, “Do Not Destroy” and “Set Apart”).

As a whole, Falling On Deaf Ears falls along with the second in this compilation series as far as frequent listens go. It’s pretty solid with the metal on here, but really the big selling point is the first appearance of Virgin Black outside of Australia.

Sadly, this was to be the last in the rather solid series of Australian metal compilations from Rowe Productions. It may have been due to Steve Rowe getting diagnosed with cancer around this time. While there have been other contenental-centric compilation releases also on the label, they too have dried up. Either way, if you can find this, pick it up and enjoy some rare exports.

Music Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS – The Extreme Truth

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the extreme truthVARIOUS ARTISTS
Australian Metal Compilation III: The Extreme Truth
Rowe Productions

Third entry in the Australian Metal Compilation series from Rowe Productions. When I first picked this one up with the others back in 1997, I didn’t think too much of it at the time. Not as much as the first two, at least. Over time, though, like a lot of other releases that I didn’t like when I was younger and much more stupid, The Extreme Truth‘s roster has grown on me.

The disc starts off with four cuts from hardcore punk band Callous (“Why”, “Hate”, “Stop”, and “The Mind That Rots”, no info on if they came from a specific demo, but the band went on to be called Three Times Fire), moves on to three cuts from the death metal band Sanhedrin (“Not Worth”, “Creation” and “Gates Of Death”, from their self-titled demo from 1994), only one Screams Of Chaos track, which is evidently titled “Screams Of Chaos”, and is nothing like what I expected, three tracks from the doom metal band Desolate Eternity (“Without Time”, “Graveyard In The Snow”, and “Wastelands”), and the entirety of the Karrionic Hacktician album from old school grindcore band Vomitorial Corpulence. I’m not going to type out the entire track list here. You can find it on the Metal Archives site if you’re wondering about that.

Again, like the others in the Australian Metal Compilation releases, The Extreme Truth serves its purpose well by exposing Midwest Americans like myself to various talents that otherwise would have never been heard from before the internet became much more accessible. Even now, it’s hard to get information on some of the bands listed, outside of either the aforementioned Metal Archives site, or the Firestream Music Vault site. Of the bands listed on here, I gravitate more towards the cuts from Sanhedrin, Desolate Eternity and Vomitorial Corpulence (this being my first ever exposure to old-school grindcore, I found myself saying “Wait…that’s it? That’s the entire song?” more often than not). Callous is serviceable, and the Screams Of Chaos track is…well, I tend to skip over that one, mainly because of how it doesn’t seem to fit with their output previous and since then.

Really more of a split CD than a compilation, if you really want to be pedantic about this (and I normally do), The Extreme Truth is worth a look, if you come across this sometime.

Music Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS – Australian Metal Compilation: Godspeed


australian metal compilation - godspeedVARIOUS ARTISTS
Australian Metal Compilation: Godspeed
Rowe Productions

Back in 1994, Steve Rowe — the founder of the band Mortification — started up his own indie label named Rowe Productions, as a means to help promote the underground Christian metal bands, not only in Australia, but all over the world. As such, the first release on the fledgling label was a rather ambitious compilation of Australian metal bands called Godspeed.

I purchased my copy back in 1997, at a much-missed record shop that specialized in Christian metal. I figured it was time to get about doing a proper review for this one, as I’ve already reviewed the second in the compilation series. Here goes, then…

Cry Mercy – “Shut Up And Listen”
Decent groove metal tune, good hook; this one seems slightly different than the version that appeared on their self-titled release…

Mortification – “Time Crusaders”
This is the studio version of the song that originally first appeared on the Live Planetarium release. This is the first time the studio version showed up, as it wasn’t included on the Blood World release, like “Symbiosis” did, for some reason. Anyway, good cut regardless…

Nu Humans – “Shattered”
Decent heavy metal cut, good riff, bit tinny on the production, but listenable…

Discarnated – “William Melancholy”
Melodic death metal with a pretty good groove and some doomy bits hither an yon, good cut…

Doxology – “Fight”
Melodic heavy metal with a good riff and decent, if muddled, production…

Deracination – “Fourth Dimension”
Rather good straight-forward death metal tune, from their four-song demo that came out after the full-length. You know, it’s really high time that and the four-song demo get the remaster/re-release treatment. But, I digress…

Harbinger – “The End Is Near”
good NWOBHM riff going, builds up to a rather good straight heavy metal cut…

Krioni – “Black”
Melodic metal cut, female vocals, bit of a poppish veneer to it. Catchy hooks, not too bad for what it is…

Screams Of Chaos – “Eyes Of Chaos”
Interesting industrial cover of the Light Force song. This was my first exposure to Screams Of Chaos, by the way, one of the better finds to grace my collection…

Beheadoth – “Mine Heart Doth Beseech Thee (O Master)”
This cut is actually an early incarnation of the better-known Black Metal project Horde. This song is in keeping with the blistering, face melting second wave Black Metal sound, and is one of the best cuts on this compilation…

Rockin’ Rabbies – “Be Alert”
Representing the quirky hardcore punk genre is Rockin’ Rabbies. The sound is befitting the name, really, as it’s straight forward and snotty…

Embodyment – “Dishallowent Grounds”
Not to be confused with the American post-hardcore band Embodyment, this Australian Embodyment (they would go on to change the “y” to an “i” later) features a doomy death metal cut that is pretty good…

Justice – “Proven Infallible”
Straight-forward hard rock cut, good hook and riff going, but rather bland in the execution…

Metanoia – “Ripped In Two”
Really good Death Metal cut, originally from the Screaming Fetus demo; this also was my first exposure to this great Death Metal band, who fortunately didn’t just release one full-length like Deracination and Discarnated did…

Ignite – “Sanctuary”
Now, this is a good doom metal cut, with a raw and heavy groove and baritone vocals…

Thrash Puppies – “Fastest Song In The World”
Crossover thrash, again with the interesting name choices. This one is decent, if a little standard, if you get what I’m saying, here…

Rosanna’s Raiders – “Mr. Magic”
And ending the compilation with something of a wet splat is this early cut from Rosanna’s Raiders, which is an odd addition to the collection, as the band was more commercial rock than actual metal, per se. Regardless, kind of a weak cut to go out on…

So, here we are. For a compilation, it’s a pretty decent collection, running a good portion of the Metal spectrum with the styles and genres represented on here. For the most part, there’s nothing too bad with the production quality with each song, as I think Steve just took the songs directly from the demos and didn’t do much tweaking. But, I could be wrong about that. Overall, the Godspeed collection is something to get for the fact that there are some good rare cuts on here, including the first instance of Mortification’s “Time Crusaders” studio cut, with only a couple of cuts I’d skip over.

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