CD REVIEW Relapse Records special, part 1

Label: Relapse Records
Distribution: Rough Trade Benelux - Tone

I know, it’s Spring 2012 in mean time, and here we are, with an Autumn 2011 special…
…lately received material, don’t blame the messenger, but keep in mind: in case you were not aware of what to come (or better: of what did just came), just shut the f*ck up. Relapse Records have what (some of) you are waiting for!
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Band: Anäl Cunt
Title: The Old Testament (1988-1991 a.c.)
Release date: November 22nd 2011
Review: compilation-DCD

Shortly before he traded his earthly life for eternal rest, Seth Putnam collected all old stuff ever done by one of his many bands or projects, Anäl Cunt. This early-years anthology covers the band’s period as from their creation (end of the eighties) till 1991, compiling rare and hard-to-get stuff, live material and previously unreleased recordings. The two-disc set includes ‘the usual shit’ (pictures etc.), liner notes done by Mister Putnam, as well as an epilogue once created by their original drummer Tim Morse.
For the interested ones: check out the review on Fuckin’ A, done by colleague Nick Tronckoe, posted on December 12th 2010.
As a matter of fact, The Old Testament 1988-1991 a.c. is a collection of demos (back then, stuff got recorded on demonstration tapes), EP’s (among which their part of several split-vinyl material too) and live registrations. It first brings me to the quality of the sound, which is a few times, of course, beneath any level (this especially goes for the live registrations), yet who the f*ck gets sadistically weltered by that?
The compilation includes several multi-title efforts, yet back then it wasn’t that unusual. Napalm Death or D.R.I., or acts like Agathocles, W.B.I., Smegma, Decomposed or Terror Scum, you know… Besides, the band was known for its controversial songs (especially the sometimes really explicit lyrics were subject to many discussions), and the (sort of) promotion for extreme violence and hateful destructivism still is painful to some (and therefore released with parental advisory warning messages all over this putrefying globe).
I don’t know whether you are waiting for this material. I guess only in case you are a hardcore-fan of sleazy, dingy and old, very old schooled no-nonsense Grind-Aggression, then you’ll like it. Otherwise you better skip it.
But: inspirational and influential for sure…!...

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Band: Black Tusk
Title: Set The Dial
Release date: October 25th 2011
Review: CD

Black Tusk hail from Savannah, Georgia, and were formed in 2005 by Andrew Fidler (g, v), Jonathan Athon (b, v) and James May (d, v) - mind the vocals thrice. Besides some demos and splits, the trio recorded two full lengths before, 2008’s Passage Through Purgatory (Hyperrealist Records, re-released through the band’s current label Relapse in 2011 [review of the re-issued edition still available in last year’s Relapse May Special, posted September 18th 2011]), and their Relapse-debut, Taste The Sin, in 2010.
For the recording of their third full length, which lasts for thirty four minutes, Black Tusk entered the studio with producer Jack Endino, known from his studio work with ‘huge’ yet very various, diverse acts like High On Fire, Toxic Holocaust, Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Nirvana or Skeletonwitch. After a promising instrumental opener (Brewing The Storm), Black Tusk continue their path of massive Doom-laden Sludge’n’Roll and Metal-edged Punk / Hardcore. It’s primal, it’s essential, it’s stripped of any fake sonic gadget whatsoever. The approach still is prehistoric: the seventies and eighties dominate; only that rushing production gives the truth of age away. And the highly energetic power has not given in at all in comparison to the past.

75/100
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Band: Brutal Truth
Title: End Time
Release date: September 27th 2011
Review: CD

The origins of Brutal Truth go back to 1990; back then, Dan Lilker (think: ex-Exit 13, ex-Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, ex-S.O.D., The Ravenous, NunFuckRitual [with one of my favourite albums from 2011, In Bondage To The Serpent, posted February 11th 2012 - ivan] and many, many others) formed this act in Rochester, NY. The band released several demos, EP’s, split-contributions and a handful of full lengths, sometimes highly interesting, sometimes stinking of freshly-produced faeces. The band split up in 1998, but for one reason or another, the need / necessity to reform was too manifest, so the band resurrected in 2006. Nothing special… New material for EP’s or splits, and then, suddenly: Evolution Through Revolution, their 2009-full length… Their best thing ever, much more mature, serious (yet don’t focus on a lack of humour ‘noir’ and sarcasm, because painfully inherent it is), professional, anyway, the band’s highlight for sure. …even though mostly differing from the past, exploring newly explored directions, widening an open-minded, open-eyed, open-eared identification / vision / audition on deadly Grind-madness from the core.
End Time was recorded by Dan and some guys he works / worked with for a long time (defunct and active acts like Exit-13, Nuclear Assault or S.O.D., besides this act): vocalist Kevin Sharp, (returned) drummer Richard Hoak, and guitar player Erik Burke, who joined the band since their resurrection.
When I listened to this album for the first time, the first song out of twenty three, Malice, sort of disturbed me. Why? It differs completely from what I’d have expected. Technical and Doom-injected psychotic Sludge with a sardonic wink to early Godflesh or Scorn…?... Rather bizarre, yet undeniably tasteful! As from the second piece on, Simple Math, the ‘old’ Brutal Truth are back in business with some razor-sharp, high-tech, chaotic and skull-crushing assaults, yet with more experiment than before. The path once entered with Evolution Through Revolution gets pursued, with even more neurotic madness, and therefore the band’s stiffest middle-finger ever in humanity’s behind. Another evolution (through experience, creativity, or just revolution?) is a more considerable injection of elements from Sludge, more slower passages, and a mostly open-minded view on what Grindcore could sound like.
And then, keep in mind that all songs last between just a couple of seconds to a few minutes, with as final track a fifteen-minutes long piece of utter Jazz-Grind / Noise / Minimal Industrial / Power-Violence malignancy…
One remark: the sound. It gives me a headache. Guitar leads much too sharp, drums too loud, bass lines too hollow, mix and equilibrium too often too under-produced... As said before, it does give me a headache… It does influence my final opinion.

84/100
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Band: Death
Title: Individual Through Patterns
Release date: October 25th 2011
Review: DCD / 3-CD-box (compilation / re-release)

Another Death-re-release by Relapse Records – see also The Sound Of Perseverance, posted March 27th 2011 by undersigned; or Human, written by colleague Jeroen and posted September 18th last year; and the live-registration Vivus!, which will feature within the ‘early 2012’-special in a few days / weeks; and don’t forget the re-issue of Control Denied’s The Fragile Art Of Existence, still available on this mag-ni-fi-cent site’s December 31st 2010-update.
Individual Through Patterns was recorded and mixed at the famous Morrisound Studio and got originally released through Relativity Records – we’re talking about the year 1993 (indeed, almost two decades ago). There was a former re-release through Century Media, but this one comes as a 2- and even as a rather limited 3-disc deluxe edition (the latter limited to 2,000 copies only), and the whole got remixed and re-mastered by well-known master Alan Douches at West West Side (think: Aborted, Hate Eternal, Cannibal Corpse, Beneath The Massacre, The Bridal Procession and many, many more). And most important, with two or three discs in mind: much rare and previously unreleased stuff!
Disc one comes with the re-mastered edition of Individual Through Patterns itself. The album stood for another, let’s call it ‘logical’ link within Death’s continuously progressing evolution. It did pursue the path the band went with Spiritual Healing and, especially, Human, translating the basic and elementary characteristics of ‘true’, ‘pure’ Death Metal (and since this act can be considered the inventors of Death Metal’s essence…) into a modernised, experimental and open-minded approach of extreme music – a primary search for continuous reinvention, I guess… The album did open certain gates that lead to rather unique and ingenious / intelligent compositions that finally came to quasi-perfection through Symbolic or The Sound Of Perseverance. Even though I do prefer the band’s first three albums (or the demo-period, as well as the Mantas-era), an album like Individual Through Patterns proves why Death are KULT.
The second disc consists of the band’s performance in Germany on the 13th of April 1993. Early ’93, so it means old stuff… And indeed, this live registration consisted / consists of tracks from Death’s first albums and, of course, some from the ‘upcoming’ album (at that moment, Individual … wasn’t released yet), performed by some of America’s Death Metal worlds’ best musicians. The sound, well, sweetly stinks (but not too much, believe me, at least for such old live recordings), but do you care? I do not, for this stuff comes with such persuasion and craftsmanship. Tasteful melancholy for those who can appreciate deadly qualities… On top of this live disc (ten songs), this second part of the re-issue brings a studio outtake version of Possessed’s The Exorcist, which didn’t get the final mix of the album.
Concreteweb’s head office received the two-disc edition of Individual Through Patterns’ re-release, but the three-disc version might please some fans for this piece consists of demonstration and rehearsing stuff done during the pre-recording sessions.

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Band: Fuck The Facts
Title: Die Miserable
Release date: October 11th 2011
Review: CD (part of a split)

Quebecois formation Fuck The Facts were formed at the end of last century by Topon Das, formerly or currently known from acts like Fourth Dimension, Vile Intent, Time Kills Everything, Deamon or Merdarahta. In mean time, the band did record loads of material: almost two hands full of studio recordings, different live registrations, and uncountable amounts of splits.
Die Miserable sort of is new, yet did appear in a very limited edition as a split with the conceptual recordings of Snake Charmer / Towers by Merdarahta, one of Topon’s other projects which includes some other Fuck The Facts members, or colleagues from other bands Topon is involved with (like Mathieu Vilandre sharing duties in Time Kills Everything).
…distinctive, differing from the average, and extremely varied, a combination of groovy (Death) Metal and Punk-injected Grindcore, penetrated with elements from Doom, Thrash / Heavy / Doom Metal, darkened Sludge, Traditional Rock and noisy interruptions. Very bastardised it sounds…
Each song is an experience and an experiment, even though not post-modernistic of nature. Nature? No, this is sub-clinical, post-nuclear and abstract Post-Art. Joy meets joylessness, a non-arguable expression of cynicism and angry emotions, Die Miserable is nothing more (and for sure nothing less) than the sonic translation of masterly defined grinding creativity.

90/100
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Band: Rwake
Title: Rest
Release date: September 27th 2011
Review: CD

Rwake were formed about fifteen years ago in Arkansas, and throughout the years, they did record four (highly interesting) full lengths (and a split with Sloth, by the way, in 2004). This time it took four years for the release of the new studio recording.
Rest, recorded by C.T. (v), Reid Raley (b) and Gravy (g), lasts for fifty three minutes, and mainly goes on in the vein of highly acclaimed 2007’s Voices Of Omens. The album brings a powerful and pounding symbiosis of stomping Doom Metal and progressive Sludge – ‘progressive’ does not mean, in this case, modern or avant-garde. It refers to an experimental approach, which does not necessarily sound the modern way, yet rather like an out-of-the-box outlet. It is, but that’s just personal, one of those approaches that exceed the grey masses. More than before, the band turns somewhat ‘epic’, and more than once I do hear a twenty-first century’s version of Amebix, the dark-spaced way.
The six hymns last for fifty three minutes, but despite the long average duration, all of them are a unique experience to, well, to experience. Throughout their years of experience (he, what about experience?), Rwake did develop an own sound, and their eccentric approach is not only unique, it is purest craftsmanship, yet somewhat trans-spiritual in (almost) all aspects.
I’m not impressed all the time, yet most of Rest will hopefully not come to rest. Without any doubt, Rest is the strongest, most mature Rwake-recording to date, and if this evolution will go on, this band will reach the top very soon!

87/100
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Relapse Records were protagonists in the past, yet still (or maybe better: again since a couple of years) they provide the hungry listener with satisfying stuff, both fillers and gourmandises pur sang. This special, even though all of it was released some months ago, and you might have bought, or stolen, it, but anyway, I was trying to say: Relapse Records were protagonists in the past, yet still they provide the hungry listener with satisfying stuff, both fillers and gourmandises pur sang! Bon appétit!

Ivan Tibos.