Before you go ahead and call me a sadist by looking at the title, no, I do not enjoy watching people die (duh!). What I do enjoy is some good, solid death metal that makes me go wild. I am not the type of person that likes his death metal to have a specific flavour. But I know there are some of you out there who like it old school and some others who like the modern stuff. So for this article, I’ve tried to include bands from both sides of the fence.
Misery Index – The Killing Gods
If you know the band, Misery Index, then chances are that you are already a fan of their death metal / grindcore hybrid sound. As far as their full lengths go, they’ve never made a bad album in my opinion. After a four year absence, that statement still holds good with the release of their fifth, ‘The Killing Gods’.
Hitherto, the band has always been about creating straight up, no frills, in your face kind of metal. While all these adjectives can also be used for this new album, there are definite signs of progression in the song writing. These are but subtle tweaks to the sound that wouldn’t upset even the parochial diehards. Some of the changes for example are as subtle as having a couple of extended instrumental intros.
The grindcore element of Misery Index’s sound is less pronounced on ‘The Killing Gods’ when compared to their works like ‘Heirs of Thievery’ and in its place, one can hear a more dominant death metal influence, with some thrashy moments thrown in as well. Despite this, song writing continues to carry that peremptory quality and raw energy that has characterized this band over the years. Mention of the drumming by Adam Jarvis is imperative as the guy is an absolute savage behind the kit.
Is ‘The Killing Gods’ Misery Index’s best album yet? Absolutely not, but it comes very close just like every single one of their release so far. Subtle evolution on the band’s part imparts a certain freshness to the music, without alienating the fans with drastic changes.
Rude – Soul Recall
Rude is a band you might not have heard of. If you’re a fan of old school death metal though, then Rude’s music would probably sound very familiar to you. Hailing from California, USA, this four piece pays homage to the (g)olden days of death metal. Though there are a lot of bands in the scene who try desperately to emulate that sound of the late 80’s and early 90’s death metal, few bands like Rude are actually good at it.
To get an idea of Rude’s music, take early Morbid Angel type thrashy death metal and mix it with the vocal delivery of Martin Van Drunen of Asphyx. What sets apart Rude from the generic death metal bunch is the way their execution makes the music enjoyable, despite it having a very familiar feel. Not only the music, but even the production has a dated feel with that rough tone.
As you would expect, the song writing is pretty simple yet effective in delivering the blow. The familiarity of the music acts both for and against Rude. If all one expects from the album is some solid song writing reminiscent of the great death metal bands of the late 80’s, then ‘Soul Recall’ will prove to be an absolute delight. On the other hand, if something new is what one expects, then this may not be the best album.
Vomiting Corpses – Coma, The Spheres of Innocence
It is quite sad how many bands with great potential have been overlooked through the ages. Vomiting Corpses is one such band from Germany, who when they were active in the early 90’s did not get the attention that their talent deserved. Good news is that the band is back together and their earlier material got a recent reissue courtesy of upcoming label, Wardead Records.
Originally released in 1995, ‘Coma, The Spheres of Innocence’ was the band’s last release before they split up. Hearing the bands material now, it is quite evident that the band was doing something new for their time. Their brand of death metal is technical and somewhat similar to the later Death albums, but not as accessible. The music has a good mix of aggression, technicality, progression and a good measure of melody as well.
There are hints of clean vocals too, which for a death metal band in the early 90’s must have been a bold move. Despite sounding similar to other bands of the era, the originality in the band’s music is undeniable. It is not the type of death metal that gets one instantly hooked. Rather this record takes a little time to settle in, which is absolutely fine because once it settles in, it mesmerises.
The re-issue also contains tracks from the bands 1994 demo, ‘Cold Blood’. The tracks here are rougher versions of the tracks on the main album and a couple of tracks that didn’t make it to the album. It gives an idea of the band’s evolution from demo to full length. There are very few parts in the demo section, where synth is used to good effect.
‘Coma, The Spheres of Influence’ is one of those rare gems that have been overlooked when originally released. This reissue is a fantastic effort to bring the world’s attention to record which might have faded into obscurity.