Destruction / Krisiun / Exmortus @ Wooly’s, Des Moines, IA 04/09/14

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When it comes to metal shows in Des Moines, it’s either feast or famine.  The month of April is proving to be quite the feast, boasting tour stops from genre luminaries such as Broken Hope, The Lurking Corpses and Embryonic Devourment.  But the show I’ve probably been looking forward to the most was a three-headed beast; a headlining set from legendary German thrashers Destruction, supported by Brazilian brutal death metal trio Krisiun and SoCal up-and-comers Exmortus.

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Demon Head – Demo 2014 (Caligari Records, 2014)

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When traditional/proto-doom is done right, there are few things finer, and few if any bands are doing it better than Demon Head.  The Copenhagen-dwelling quintet recently had a demo tape released by the venerable Caligari Records, and it’s a slow-burning scorcher that quite frankly blows recent big-name practitioners of the style such as Kadavar and Orchid out of the water.  It really is that damn good.

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Bandcamp Band Crap #2: Bandcamp Slamcamp

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I have a growing obsession with slamming death metal.  Yes, I know its visual and lyrical imagery tends to be crude, tactless and in all-around poor taste.  Yes, I know much of the metal community considers it to be the lowest common denominator of death metal.  But there is good stuff here amongst the flying limbs and bodily fluids, and the good stuff is just so goddamn heavy.

Here’s the thing, slam appeals to me because it features two things I love: gore and groove.  I’ve always liked slow and heavy more than fast and heavy, and when these bands slow down to a dying man’s crawl and bring forth the slams for which their chosen genre gets its name, there’s absolutely nothing heavier.  As for the gore, like lots of metalheads I’m a horror film freak, and I have to admit to still getting a childish kick out of the ol’ blood ‘n’ guts as seen in the various slasher and zombie films that make up a good chunk of my DVD collection.  Slam is the best of both worlds; the heaviest parts of death metal and the gross-outs of a good splatter flick.

Compared to other subgenres, there isn’t a ton of slam on Bandcamp.  But there is some of that aforementioned “good stuff” floating around out there, and some of it is even free.  So let’s dive on into the gore, shall we?

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Broken Hope @ Vaudeville Mews, 04/03/2014

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Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to finally check a few bands off my old school death metal bucket list.  The likes of Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel and Grave (I sadly missed Deicide and Suffocation when they were here :( ) have violated the asshole of the Midwest with their unholy presence, and it’s always gratifying to finally experience these bands in the live setting after having coveted their studio albums for all this time.  On a cold, rainy Thursday night in Des Moines, I was happy to add Chicago’s original overlords of brutal death metal Broken Hope to that list, and goddamn if they didn’t deliver the goods and then some.

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Fuoco Fatuo – The Viper Slithers in the Ashes of what Remains (Caligari Records, 2014)

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When I reviewed Fuoco Fatuo’s suffocatingly heavy EP compilation late last year, I stated that we’d likely have an absolute beast on our hands whenever the band got around to releasing a full length.  I hate to say I told you so, but it turns out this is one of those extremely rare occasions where I was right; the Italian trio have at last unleashed The Viper Slithers in the Ashes of what Remains, and you can rest assured that this crawling king snake of an album is every bit the monster you’d expect it to be.

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Weightlessness – Of Lachrymose Grief (Graceless Recordings, 2014)

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What’s in a name?  I’ll tell you what’s in a name, or rather, what’s not in a name in the case of California doom mongers Weightlessness.  After listening extensively to the band’s Of Lachrymose Grief, I’ve decided that their chosen moniker couldn’t possibly be any more of a misnomer.  You see, “weightlessness” indicates an absence of weight, but this debut EP wields enough down-tuned heft to sink their entire home state into the sea and then some.

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Vampire – s/t (Century Media, 2014)

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With a name like Vampire, you might expect this mysterious Swedish quartet to be some kind of sappy, quasi-gothic nonsense, but fortunately for you, dear headbanger, nothing could be further from the truth, as evidenced by the gritty, greasy metal of their self-titled Century Media debut. Indeed, the infernal racket found here recalls the likes of Venom, Bathory and perhaps Darkthrone’s more recent work, but the vamps instill the tunes with enough of their own punky, garage-rocking fervor to distinguish themselves from the retro-metal hordes.  Imagine Cronos, Tom G. Warrior and Fenriz jamming in said garage and you’re getting pretty damn close to the hellbound underground sound of Vampire.

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