Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Album Review: Gruesome Stuff Relish: "Sempiternal Death Grind"

I review a lot of grindcore here on Needs More Noise Gate, but I rarely get to review any goregrind bands. Most grind bands I get to listen to are based more in the Napalm Death and Repulsion school of grindcore, rather than that of Carcass. The groovy, heavy, d-beat riffs. The pitch shifted dual vocals. The gore and horror lyrics that are so extreme they're cheesier than the World Cheese Convention down in the Canary Islands. What's not to love from Carcass-clone bands? After the almighty Carcass started putting their grinding days behind them, the world dropped to it's knees, begging for a new band to take up the bloodsoaked and innards covered mantle. Luckily, over the years we got a fair few that not only continued Carcass' beloved goregrind sound and style, but actually did it damn well and gained a bit of recognition for it. While the more popular of the bunch like General Surgery and Hemorrhage come to mind first, today we'll be looking at the new rising stars of gore, Gruesome Stuff Relish.

Gruesome Stuff Relish are a four-piece that hail from Spain, who have just released their third album, Sempiternal Death Grind just last month. They dropped Horror Rises from the Tomb back in 2004, and Teenage Giallo Grind more than 10 years ago in 2002, as well as a whole whack of splits since.

The first thing I notice, right off the bat, on Death Grind are Noel Kemper's vocals. They're putrid. They're disgusting. They're slimy-assed, grease drenched, boil-and-wart covered vocals, and I fucking love 'em. And no goregrind vocal delivery is complete without the addition of gnarly growls pitch shifted down a couple octaves. The guitars and bass make for something really interesting here too, taking from British and U.S. hardcore riffs, but played through a gnarly '90s Swedish death metal tone, a la Dismember or Entombed. Some of the patterns get a little death metally on us, and it sounds good, but Gruesome Stuff Relish are on the top of their game when they're pounding out simple, groovy riffs. There are a couple lead lines here and there on the album, but honestly, I don't find they add too, too much to the overall effectiveness of the album.

I find that the drums really keep everything sprinting forwards on this album. Whether he's pounding out breakneck blast beats, mosh-inducing d-beats, or plain grooves, drummer Paolo Deodato holds together this  filthy, bloody mess of an album. Something a little different that Guesome Stuff Relish pull off is more of a horror theme than a gore theme. Now, the horror they incorporate is gory as hell, but songs like "S.O.S." and the intro to "They Follow Your Scent" really drive home a creepy and disturbing atmosphere. Traditional to classic goregrind, Gruesome Stuff Relish toss in a whole bunch of audio samples throughout their album. I don't recognize any of the bits used, but they all seem to be from horror movies or TV shows. They're all really well chosen and really drive home the gore and horror theme.

Now, all this gore and horror and Carcass-worship is fine and dandy, but what really sets Gruesome Stuff Relish apart from the herd is how damn catchy everything is. Sempiternal Death Grind has you wailing, headbanging, and air guitaring along to it the entire time, and each song is filled with distinct hooks that latch onto your brain and just won't let go. As gruesome as the subject matter is, these are songs you blast while you're with your buddies drinking some beers. You can tell the guys in Gruesome Stuff Relish had tons of fun with this album and put a lot of energy into their music, and you definitely get that fun and energy out every time you spin it.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Desecrated, S.O.S., They Follow Your Scent, In Death We Breath

On a Playlist With: General Surgery, Hemorrhage, The County Medical Examiners

Overall Score


Carcass meets Dismember meets a Lucio Fulci movie. Gruesome Stuff Relish are slicing, dicing, snipping, and carving their way to the top of the goregrind scene, one bloody victim at a time. If you're into catchy, groovy grind with some truly horrendeous vocals (and I mean that in the best way possible), Sempiternal Death Grind is for you.

Sempiternal Death Grind came out January 25th, 2013 on FDA Rekotz. You can also check out the band's Facebook page here.

Look out for the song "Desecrated" off of Sempiternal Death Grind coming up on the Needs More Noise Gate compilation album, Grindhouse Vol. 1! This will be a free compilation of the best grindcore, hardcore, and powerviolence that I've come across with Needs More Noise Gate, and it'll be available on Bandcamp sometime in 2013! More details as I slowly figure out what the hell I doing.

That's all for now, folks!

-Grave Dave

Monday, February 25, 2013

EP Review: Cryptodira - "Recursions"

Hey everybody! It's been like fifty thousand years since my last post, and for that I apologize. I had some intense school work cut out for me, and then reading week (read: sleeping week) happened. None of that matters anymore though, because I'm back, and I've got a bunch more reviews (and some special new stuff!) lined up for you guys!

Let's cut the crap and get this old ball rolling again with a good one.

Cryptodira is a four-piece progressive death metal band from Long Island, New York who've combined Between the Buried and Me levels of progginess and Intronaut levels of spacey mindfuckery into an unholy beast of wonky, off kilter metal.

Even though I call them a death metal band, I wouldn't describe their music as "brutal" or "crushing". Everything sounds open and feels like it has a lot of room to breathe. Even though the actual music can get really chaotic sometimes, the production keeps it sounding like a raging storm, just looming on the horizon. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this. When the band isn't going full steam, things sound great. The guitars, drums, and bass all sound organic and natural. A couple of the guitar riffs here and there, as well as a fair few bass lines have some chugging in them, and it's really nice to hear the guitars and basses sound like guitars and basses. Y'know, instead of massively high gain, noise gated, super-compressed shit, like most chugging bands do nowadays. So in that aspect, I love the production here. The only killer is the heavy parts. They sound like they could be wicked mosh parts. The music is all there, I think they just need to thicken everything up to make it really sound like you're suffocating in the slams.

Production aside, this EP is freaking great. There's some room for improvement (I'll touch on that later), but it's a damn solid effort from Cryptodira. Songs fly all over the place on Recursions, ranging from just under two minutes to about eleven and a half minutes. There are odd time signatures, polyrhythms, brutal growls, squeaky clean singing, massive grooves, and everything else that a BTBAM/ Intronaut mashup would sound like. I know I already compared Cryptodira to those bands, but seriously, the BTBAM/ Intronaut vibe I get from these guys is immense. Check it:

Yeah. I know I'm right. Apology accepted.

Cryptodira send you to space and back over Recursions' 35 minute run time. Their heavier moments are the aural equivalent of a colossal killer robot mechanically lumbering towards you, with only coldblooded murder in its lifeless eyes. They can shift gears and turn on a dime though, turning you away from this soulless crushing machine and throwing you into a sea of shimmering star clusters and warm, embracing light. These sparkly chords, floating basslines, and swerving drums make you feel at comfortable, at home, and at peace. I find that these dudes are at their best when they mix these two extremes together. It only happens a couple times on Recursions, but when it happens, it'll blow the shit out of your ass.

I honestly really only chose to include this picture because of the dude creepily hugging the speaker in the corner and the other dude that's just standing there, creepily watching him.
So, the couple things I think need improvement on this EP are mainly with the vocals. Both the clean and the dirty vocals are for the most part great, but I've just got a couple suggestions. As far as the dirty vocals go, I'd love to see some more variation. For the most part, it's a mid ranged throaty growl, and although I like it, I'd love to be able to hear some higher register screams and deep gutturals thrown in there too. I just want to say though, at the end of "Either Fly or Fall Faster", the vocals sound like they belong in a '90s powerviolence/ hardcore band. And that's awesome. As far as the clean singing is concerned, there's only one bit I have a problem with. On the final track, "The Affirmation", they fall just ever so slightly out of key during the same part of chorus every time (the word "measure"). Now, because it happens each time, I don't know if it was planned or not, but either way, I don't like it. It's honestly only one word of the chorus, but it hits such a sour note for me that it pulls me out of the immersive song that it is.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Either Fly or Fall Faster, On Sleepwalking

On a Playlist With: Intronaut, Between the Buried and Me, Cynic

Overall Score


Cryptodira have laid down some freaking great progressive metal with Recursions. It's a blend of two beloved styles of prog fused together with the band's own characteristics and traits, making for some truly awesome music. I'm going to keep an eye on them, and you should too.

Recursions is a name-your-price download over at Cryptodira's Bandcamp. You can pick up a CD and a t-shirt there too if you're so inclined. These fine bros also have a Facebook page and Twitter account.

That's all for now, folks! Praise be to Basedgod.

-Grave Dave

Friday, February 8, 2013

EP Review: Warseid - "Where Fate Lies Unbound"

A massive snowstorm is hit us last night and the university has closed down so, much like before, this grim, frostbitten, and snowy day deserves another black metal review.

I'm cheating a little bit here, because Warseid (pronounced Way-sayd) have a big folky flare to them, but I think I can pass off by calling them a symphonic black metal band. These Madison, Wisconsin natives include everything from acoustic nylon-stringed guitar passages, to synths emulating flutes, strings, and horns, to great clean singing, all rolled together with the dark speed and aggression of the traditional black metal we've come to know and love.

The guitar playing is absolutely phenomenal on Where Fate Lies Unbound. My favorite parts are easily all the classical guitar passages, which follow some engaging and unusual chord progressions mixed in with some excellently phrased lead playing, also on classical guitar. That being said, guitarists Steve Hoff and Andre Cailliet's electric chops are no laughing matter either. The riffs can rage from big sweeping black metal-esque chords to more melodic and harmonized riffs executed with the precision of an Elven archer. Hoff's leads and solos are absolutely facemelting, but they're also tasteful enough not to leave you bored by the time you reach the end of the EP. While the chordal riffs could potentially have been played by every Darkthrone and Emperor worship band from here to Norway, the more technical riffs and especially the acoustic playing definitely give the band a sound unlike any other that I've heard.

I have to admit, Warseid's EP is exactly the direction I would love to see Guelph folk metallers Unbowed take with their future releases. The percussion  done by Kellan Hilscher is varied and constantly engaging. He gets some cool passages like the very first thirty seconds of the EP where he brings some foreign sounding tom work, as well as showing off some big fills and rhythmic variation like on the constantly shifting and changing "Frost Upon the Embers" and "The Vengeance Pact". Even Hilscher's traditional black metal drumming is unfuckithable. The man can let rip some crazy double bass and blizzardous blasts whenever he wants, but much like Hoff, keeps his technical playing tasteful.

I've already said that Warseid use clean vocals a little bit on the EP, and they're used with some great vocal harmonies as well, but there are still no viking gang chants to be found on this EP. Warseid play a bit more of a dark and solemn type of folk/ black metal, unlike the gang vocal heavy bands like Ensiferum, Turisas, and Wintersun, who definitely have a much more lighthearted tone to their music. Still, something akin to the Misty Mountain song from The Hobbit would sound absolutely awesome mixed into Warseid's sound.

If there's anything I have to criticize Where Fate Lies Unbowed with, it'd be the length. Four songs over half an hour is a bit excessive I think, and while some bands have managed to pull off long folk metal albums with little songs (I'm looking at you, Wintersun), I find that when your shorted track is about five and a half minutes, and your longest is over eleven, things start to drag a bit.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Shackles Through Sand, Farewell

On a Playlist With: Unbowed, Arkona, Agalloch

Overall Score


Warseid are a force to be reckoned with. Everybody sounds great and plays great on Where Fate Lies Unbound, creating a really enveloping atmosphere that brings you back to a time of swords, heroes, and sorcery. Any fans of folk metal should definitely keep an eye on these fellows. Odin knows I am.

Warseid has their own personal website, and all of their releases as well as merchandise can be found on their Bandcamp page.

That's all for now, folks!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bandcamp Chronicles: Vol. 2

Bandcamp is an awesome site. It lets artists host their music to stream for free, and lets them sell (or give away) digital copies of their music as well as physical CDs, vinyl, or other merch. Bandcamp is stupid easy to use (even I use it), and keeps the musician's focus where it should be: on the music. Anyways, I'm not here to slobber over Bandcamp itself, but over some awesome artists I've found on Bandcamp. I'll try to briefly introduce the artists and then get straight to shutting the fuck up so you can check out their pages and let their music do the talking.



I'm normally not a fan of djenty progressive metal. I stick mostly to sonic power-titans Meshuggah, and not much else. In my eyes, the genre is starting to come to a standstill, but there are still a couple wicked bands that trudge onward in this sea of noise gates and compressors to drop some sick tunes. Disfracture a bunch of U.K. boys who keep things rolling really smoothly between all their ridiculous time signatures and song structures. You'll barely even notice that you're headbanging in 27/16 time.


Think a heavier, more guitar driven version of Coheed and Cambria. No, seriously. Their vocalist sounds so exactly like Claudio Sanchez that I'm concerned that Mandroid Echostar kidnapped him and forced him to sing on their new EP. These proggers are from Guelph, which is something I can brag to my out-of-city  friends about as these guys blast through some awesomely tight playing and spiraling song structures.


Check out these dudes if you get a chance! Hopefully it'll be worth your time. I know it was worth mine.

Do you have a Bandcamp? Want to be featured on the next Bandcamp Chronicles? Shoot me a link to your page and if you melt my face off, you could have a chance to be on the next post!

That's all for now, folks!


Monday, February 4, 2013

EP Review: Unbowed - "EP 2013"

I've been in Guelph for almost three years, and it's taken me this fucking long to start getting into the local metal scene. Three goddamn years. I'm almost ashamed of how long it's taken me, but hell, better late than never, right? The first band I was able to get in touch with are local folk-metallers Unbowed. I thought Guelph was one of the least likely of places to find folk metal (just behind North Dakota), but fuck me if we don't have at least one awesome folk metal band kicking around here.

Above: One awesome folk metal band kicking around here.
If I were to describe these guys in only two words, it'd be "fucking solid". Unbowed kick out five tunes in just over 20 minutes, and each of them are tight as hell. For a local band's debut EP, you expect something along the lines of four shitty songs and one alright song recorded with what sounds like a tin can telephone, right?

Wrong. Nothing of that sort is found here. This EP has five distinct and enjoyable tracks that are surprisingly produced damn well for a band this early in their career. For the heavy and visceral music that they're playing, everything sounds nice and raw, but still huge sounding. The guitars have a great thick tone to them, crunching away with headbangable as fuck riffs and air-guitar worthy leads. While I wouldn't call any of the riffs mind-blowing or game-changing, guitarists Alex Snape and Trevor Rice and bassist Zack Kasman dish out some seriously memorable guitar and bass work which make for some pretty addictive songs. I find Unbowed to be at their best when they're riffing out their faster and thrashier bits (see "March of the Giants"), but being an avid thrash, grind, and hardcore fan, I can't help but think my opinion on speed is somewhat biased.

Even the slower and midpaced songs and passages are handled really well by the band. Keyboardist Connor MacPherson is the main purveyor of Unbowed's folkiness, bringing lush strings and classic Ensiferum style synth into the mix. While it's a shame you never hear him show off his chops with a solo or some lead work, he does get to shine in spots such as the bridge of "The Prophecy Foretold" and the beginning to the intro track "Shadow of Dark Decay". Other than that, he's usually floating around in the mix bringing in cellos, violins, and choirs. I have to say that even with MacPherson's place within the music, I think the band would sound terribly empty without him.

As much as I love this EP, there are a couple things I'd like so see on Unbowed's next release, whether it be a split, another EP, or a full length. I'd love to have more technical and more varied drumming. While the drumming wasn't bad in any way, I felt like most of the time, their drummer Nick Lennox was there only to keep time. Now, I know. Drummers are supposed to keep time. Take your fingers off the goddamn keyboard before you comment on how little I know about how music works. Read this first, then comment on how little I know about how music works. Got it? Good. So, yes drummers need to keep time, but they also deserve some spotlight time here and there. I'd love to hear some monstrous fills and unorthodox rhythms next time around, and maybe if they're feeling adventurous, even a solo.

Another thing I'd like to have shaken up on their next release would be more variation with the vocals. While vocalist Ioan Tetlow is an absolute demon behind the mic, we only get his demonic prowess across this entire release. I think Unbowed's music would benefit from expanding to include not only just deep, guttural growls, but clean vocals and maybe even some gang vocals. Y'know, get a little viking chant going on. I think that's be sweet as fuck.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: March of the Giants, Gwyn Ap Nudd, As Winter Claims My Soul

On a Playlist With: Eluveitie, Frosthelm, Equilibrium

Overall Score


I'm proud to say Guelph's metal scene forged a band like Unbowed. These dudes may not be long in the tooth, but they've pieced some damn good metal together for their debut EP, and they show great promise for whatever they'll be up to next. This is a band you're going to need to keep your eyes out for.

Unbowed have Ferceberk, YouTube, and Last.fm pages and use Bandcamp and BigCartel. If you're frequently on the Twittershpere, check 'em out there, too.

That's all for now, folks!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Album Review: Sulphur Aeon - "Swallowed by the Ocean's Tide"

FDA Rekotz has slowly been gaining more and more respect from me. From Carcass clones Gruesome Stuff Relish (look for their song "Desecrated" on our upcoming compilation album!) to old school death metal masters Chapel of Disease, they've been putting out some of the best records and artists in underground extreme music over the past little while. Newest to the list of bands on FDA Rekotz that give me raging metal boners are Cthulhu-worshipping death metallers Sulphur Aeon.

Rising out of Germany, Sulphur Aeon just dropped their debut album Swallowed by the Ocean's Tide in the final days of 2012. It's as dark and crushing as the ocean depths and dreadfully doomy, drowning you in an unstoppable torrent of thundering blast beats, stomach churning riffs, and unholy growls. It's death metal through the darkest of lenses, as deep and black as the ocean floor itself.

Ocean's Tide wouldn't be what I call a melodic death metal album in the traditional sense. It's got more of a focus on creating an engulfing atmosphere similar to a raging storm out at sea rather than creating thrashy Gothenburg style riffs and hooks. That's not to say there aren't melodic riffs or harmonized leads across this brutal 45 minute offering, but the album's sound is more similar to Deathspell Omega rather than At The Gates or In Flames. Songs ebb and flow, tangling and untangling themselves with crushing brutality and majestic melodies that slosh around in your head as your ears get pummeled straight down to R'lyeh.

Not only are the songs beautifully atmospheric, but the playing itself is nothing to be scoffed at. This isn't an album where minimalism and fragile beauty offer up their qualities to help the overall engulfing feeling. The riffs are visceral and vicious, ranging between tremolo picked melodic lines to slower, doomy power chords that trample all over you without a second thought. There's even some awesome mosh riffs across the album, with my personal favorite being the galloping at the beginning of "Those who Dwell in Stellar Void". There are no clean passages here, no down time, and certainly no forgiveness. There is only non-stop decimation fueled by absolutely unfuckwithable songwriting.

The album starts with an intro track aptly named "Cthulhu Rites", which acts as a sort of calm before the storm, with the sound of crashing waves and blasphemous chanting setting the mood for the rest of the album. As the track builds and builds, it finally explodes into "Incantation" which along with the next eight songs waste no time swallowing whole and not letting you go until they've finished  leading you through their dark and twisted journey. Finally, after the destruction has ceased and the dust has settled comes the instrumental anthem "Zombi", the soundtrack to a certain Great Old One, now content with the havoc it has just wreaked, returning once again to the deep, dark watery depths it calls home.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Incantation, Those who Dwell in Stellar Void, Zombi

On a Playlist With: Deathspell Omega, Septicflesh, Dissection

Overall Score


Swallowed by the Ocean's Tide is a perfect pairing of dark and regal, something I can only describe as "beautifully disgusting". Sulphur Aeon are a band that entertain and enthrall, that blend brutality with excellent songwriting and playing.

Swallowed by the Ocean's Tide is out on FDA Rekotz, and you can contact Sulphur Aeon directly on their Facebook page.

That's all for now, folks! Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.