Before I ever heard even a single note from Scotland’s Party Cannon, I loved their shtick. With their Toys ‘R’ Us-esque logo and song titles like “There’s a Reason You’re Single” and “Tyrone, You Put that Sugar Down,” everything about them seemed to fly in the face of slam’s established gore-drenched norms, and it was refreshing to see a band poking fun at the genre from within. One might argue that this approach could cause them to be labelled a “joke band,” but it only takes a few listens to Party Cannon’s debut EP Partied in Half to know that these Scotsmen are dead serious about their slam.
Underground metal is a land of extremes. Bands playing so fast that a human drummer can’t keep up, bands playing so slow they make a glacier look speedy, bands trying to play the heaviest, the most technical, the most brutal, the most… ah, fuck it, you get the idea. What I’m attempting to get at is, there’s typically no such thing as subtlety in the circles we travel in. This is what makes Emptiness’ Nothing but the Whole such a refreshing album. Where other bands seek to crush your soul in the first thirty seconds, Emptiness would rather watch it slowly wither and die.
As much as I’ve championed brutal death metal here at THKD lately, I’d be remiss not to review the latest album from Cannibal Corpse, the proverbial granddaddies of ‘em all. I mean, I think we can all agree that this entire subset of death metal wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the boys from Tampa, who’ve now been at it for an unbelievable twenty-six years. A Skeletal Domain is the thirteenth album in their lengthy, storied career and even after only being out for a few weeks it has already garnered opinions ranging from “it’s the best thing they’ve done since 2006’s Kill” to “it sounds like Cannibal Corpse.”
As Caligari Records continues to pick up steam, it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep up with the avalanche of quality cassettes. Fifteen releases deep and not a single dud in the bunch is a hell of a track record, and you can pretty much rest assured at this point that anything Caligari puts its name to is going to be excellent. Case in point: the label’s three latest releases are all very different from one another, but all well worth your time. So without further ado, let us investigate the latest from Caligari’s cabinet…
Brutal death metal bands often get accused of promoting misogyny and violence. I was thinking about this the other day while listening to Abusing Dismembered Beauties, the third and most recent album from Italian slammers Vulvectomy. Here I am, enjoying an album adorned with cover art that features a variety of gruesomely murdered/mutilated women and song titles such as “Deformed Tits Collection” and “Orgasmic Sensation Through Fecal Ingestion.” I guess at this point my fondness for slam and brutal death metal is no secret, but surely many fellow metalheads would call it in extremely poor taste, ignorant, hateful, misogynistic or some combination thereof.
“Mature” probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of brutal death metal, hell it probably isn’t the five-hundredth word one thinks of. But I’ll be damned if Parables of Umbral Transcendence, the debut full-length from NY/FL-based project Swine Overlord isn’t a shockingly mature slab of BDM. The band has largely shed the slam leanings and cartoonish visual imagery of their earlier recordings in favor of a more pure brutal death metal sound accompanied by science fiction-influenced artwork, and as a result have released one of the genre’s best albums of 2014.
My second show in Sacramento was in some ways a throwback to my younger years in Des Moines; I used to walk down to Hairy Mary’s by myself to see shows because my sorry ass didn’t have a car and to make matters worse I didn’t know anyone else who gave a shit about the underground. Not being much of a grindcore fan, my wife decided to sit out Sunday’s matinee at the Midtown Barfly, and as a result I found myself flying solo once again, which is always a delightfully awkward experience given that I’m not exactly the most outgoing person out there. Also, many of those shows I hoofed it to back in the day were heavy on grindcore bands such as Black Market Fetus, Strong Intention, Catheter, Entrails Massacre and Phobia, to name but a few, so I was excited to experience a show in a similar vein in my new city. A complete and utter lack of social skills doesn’t matter much when you’re being pummeled at a million miles an hour by some of the most vicious and unrelenting music out there.