Monday 30 December 2013


I have been a Saint Vitus fan for a long time I have already posted some on here when I had the original posts of the first 40 or so SST releases but those were unfortunately lost (along with around 3 months of write ups and uploads) when 4shared FUCKED me! I had owned all of their stuff on vinyl but as you readers will know I no longer have vinyl playing equipment and in a recent vinyl for CD trade i did with a friend of mine i received their "V" and "Live" albums which in turn inspired me to ignore the high price of their SST releases and replace my long gone vinyl with CD's! So i figured a re-post of the "Lost" SST stuff and a proper post on Saint Vitus was overdue (That and the fact i can now give you everything in glorious 320kbps direct from CD! now). Onwards....

I came to Saint Vitus simply because they were on SST and i had heard a lot of good things about them, I picked up their "Thirsty And Miserable" 12" as one side was a Black Flag cover however (In my opinion at the time) the burnt out looking California hippies and one of those wearing an Alice Cooper t-shirt on the cover kinda put me off and the music itself well didn't immediately grab me lacking reference points for their gloomy rock I kinda wrote them off as one of the "crap" SST bands, however for some reason i felt compelled to keep going back to it and after a while the 2 originals on the flip of the 12" "The End Of the End" and "Look Behind You" just started to seep into my brain to the point where I became utterly addicted! I sought out what else there was at the time (around 1986 i think all there was then was their debut, "Hallows Victim",Born Too Late" and "The Walking Dead" EP) And as i said before became a BIG fan

A quick history... Saint Vitus began life as Tyrant a 3 Piece Of Dave Chandler - Guit/vox, Mark Adams - Bass and Armando Acosta - Drums (These three would remain the core of every Saint Vitus line up tho having 3 different singers over their existence these three guys ARE Saint Vitus (until Acosta's death in Nov 2010) but they soon added vocalist Scott Reagers and changed their name to Saint Vitus (Taken from Black Sabbath's song "Saint Vitus Dance" from their "Vol 4." album) This original line up of Saint Vitus would make their recording debut with their 1st self titled album on SST records in 1984 and would follow with "Hallow's Victim" album and "The Walking Dead" EP in 1985 all of which are fucking great solid Saint Vitus recordings however in 1985 vocalist Scott Reagers quit the band to be replaced by the total colossus that is Scott "Wino" Weinrich on vocals (See my post on the massive and amazing career of Wino HERE )and from this point on this is the line up of Saint Vitus that would go on to define genres and garner their reputation as THE original doom/stoner band and would be the line up that would record their most important and revered albums. There have been several twists in their long career and even a break up however lets deal with these era's individually....

Inception - 1985 - Well we've already covered the history and members so let's start with the first line up. Signing with SST in 1984 and making their debut album "Saint Vitus" shortly after, it's a pretty stunning debut as well, opening with a squal of wah-wah effected guitar noise first track "Saint Vitus" is a fairly uptempo number which is reminiscent of the kinda stuff Black Flag were doing at the time (Albeit less skewed and off the wall as Flag and with a far more retro 70's Rock/ Sabbath influence Note - Both Black Sabbath and Black Flag were a big influence on SV by their own admission and they toured with Black Flag a LOT in the 80's) However as the album unfolds you start to see the seeds been sown for what would be the trademark Saint Vitus sound gloomy riffing, slow motion drumming and heavy bass! It has to be said that Dave Chandler's guitar sound is unique and is most definitely the defining feature of Saint Vitus whilst their albums went from strength to strength it has to be said that their actual instrument sounds never really varied throughout their career sure the songwriting skills got better and better as did the bands playing but from album to album the sound had been set early and never really changed! Second album "Hallows Victim" and EP "The Walking Dead" (Both recorded at the same session in 1985) follow a similar pattern to the debut however the opening 2 tracks of "Hallows Victim", "War Is our Destiny" and "White Stallions" would remain in the bands set for the rest of their career and both make an appearance on the "Live" album some 5 years later! I would say this is testament to the strength of their material and the consistency in good writing however "White Stallions" is probably one of the most uptempo songs in their back catalog clocking in at the speed of your average SST hardcore band at the time! However these releases are not without their trademark doomier tracks see "Mystic Lady" Or "Empty Love" for evidence of this and the titanic near 12 minute ultra slow burn of "The Walking Dead" is an exercise in doom mastery! It has to be said that Scott Reagers was a great vocalist and has not received enough credit in this write up so far he was easily the equal of his peers at the time and easily as good as the likes of Eric Wagner of Trouble or Bobby Liebling of Pentagram (Both bands doing a similar if completely different take on what was later to be called "Doom" metal) Why he chose to leave the band I don't know it's something I've never really looked into but his replacement was a more than a stroke of genius for Vitus.....

Saint Vitus (84) - Mediafire

Hallow's Victim (85) - Mediafire

Walking Dead EP (85) - Mediafire

*NOTE* "Hallow's Victim" link is taken from the expanded "Hallow's Victim/Walking Dead re-issue CD and contains a bonus of "Look Behind You" from the SST comp "Blasting Concept Vol 2" and is the original version with Scott Reagers singing (Later re-recorded with Wino for the "Thirsty And Miserable" EP) and there is also a short outro as an extra bonus also from the same session.

1985 - 1989 So next phase for Vitus after Scott Reagers left the band they recruited a fairly unknown new vocalist a member of then also fairly unknown band The Obsessed a fella by the name of Scott "WINO" Weinrich! As I said before this was more than a stroke of genius/luck for the band because for me Wino just fitted the band perfectly not having the histrionic "rock" type of voice of Reagers, this was a far more "heavy" style whilst still having the ability to hold a tune Wino's doom laden vocal style was as much unique as the sound of Saint Vitus themselves and to say that he fit in with that sound well is a MASSIVE understatement when Wino wails "I was born Too late and I'll never be like YOU" on the title track of that album you fucking known he means it! To me this is where Saint Vitus hit the sound they were best known for the slow motion super heavy groove that would spawn entire scenes! First outing with Wino at the helm was the sheer fucking leadweight beast that is 1986's  "Born Too Late" less than a year from losing their original vocalist and NO momentum has been lost in the slightest and they are back with a new album and probably one of the most revered of their career, Opening with the slow crawl of the aforementioned title track "Born Too late" is a hymn to the dispossessed of society with Wino intoning Dave Chandler's lines about not being able to walk down the street without being laughed and pointed at or called a "Hairy freak" over a groove that is so damn sludgy and slow you wonder how it all doesn't collapse hideously upon itself, This new revitalized line up would become the masters of this slow groove and "Born Too late" is not an album I would choose to listen to if i was in a slump but at any other time it's utterly stunning music and there's not a bad track of the 6 on there. The following "Thirsty And Miserable" EP contains a great Vitus take on the Black Flag original seeing as it's probably one of the most vicious songs in the Black Flag discography for Vitus to slow it down and give it their unmistakeable groove is just brilliant! The 2 B-sides I mentioned at the beginning of the post are no "filler" either "Look behind you" being a re-recording of a Reagers era track but it's new song "The End of the End" that is the star of this EP whilst being more uptempo than anything from "Born..." it's main spiraling riff has an eerie creepy kinda groove but will have your head nodding in a second and once again Wino is faultless here! The Doomy theme would continue through onto next album 1988's "Mournful Cries" (Their last for SST) The doom and gloom is still prevalent here but the songwriting has come along leaps and bounds and also there is also more of a "tuneful" tone to the songs whilst still being fairly slow and sludgy they are not without memorable groove! Also Wino's performance here is epic obviously having gained confidence in his position as frontman as his vocals really fucking SOAR here, whilst i use the word "Tuneful" before It also contains some of Vitus most crushing riffs just take a listen to "Dragon Time" or "Looking Glass" for evidence.

So leaving SST for Germany's Hellhound records this incarnation of Vitus would see another two releases before the end of the 80's These being the "Live" album (An almost full set recorded live in Germany in Nov 1989) which is a damn good warts and all run through their back catlog and one of the few Live albums i actually own and like! However of more interest is their 5th and debut album for Hellhound the simply titled "V" many people consider this album to be their finest hour and the peak of their career whilst I would kinda agree with that i personally feel that though the production and sound is far superior to all the preceding albums I feel it is simply another great Saint Vitus album in a run of great Saint Vitus albums however it has to be said the opening 1-2 punch of "Living Backwards" and the mighty "I Bleed Black" is utterly flooring even by their own standards! There's still sludgy bleak grooves by the bucketload and believe me on this album the formula is perfected especially with the superior production and there's even a little acoustic and female vocaled interlude ("When Emotion Dies") it is all in all a fucking great album and easily the equal of it predecessors and most definitely a fitting epitath to the end of this era of the band.

Born Too Late (86)Mediafire

Thirsty And Miserable EP (87)Mediafire

"Mournful Cries" (88)Mediafire

"Live" (89)Mediafire

"V" (89)Mediafire

( "V" & "Live" taken from the Southern Lord remastered reissues not Hellhound versions)

1990 - 1996 - Well as i said 1989 and "V" marked the end of the "classic" era of Saint Vitus, Hellhound Records (Saint Vitus home at the time)  had, with Wino put together a retrospective of The Obsessed material and it was at this point Wino decided to Leave saint Vitus  and reform The Obsessed whilst this yielded some great material (see Wino Post linked in 3rd paragraph of this post) and The Obsessed were a great band in my opinion this was not the shrewdest move on Wino's part after an ill fated spell on Columbia the band folded in 1992.Wino's musical endeavors are chronicled elswhere.... So after losing Wino Saint Vitus went on hiatus for more than 2 years and I have to confess I don't know a great deal about what went on during this 1992-95 period, however in 1992 they returned with Christian Lindersson ex vocalist of heavyweight Swedish doomsters Count Raven and a new album "C.O.D." make no mistake Lindersson is a great vocalist falling somewhere inbetween Scott Reagers more high end "Rock" style and Wino's trademark wail however after a succession of great albums with Wino he had some big shoes to fill. Whilst this is a totally solid album by any standard compared to past glories i really feel that much as i enjoy this album and as I say it is a great album with stellar production it's just not quite "there" Lindersson does a great job of the vocals and his haunting style adds to the sound well but Dave Chandlers guitar seems to have cleaned up a lot and whilst still heavy and still uniquely his own has lost a little of the muffled Vitus fuzz of previous albums. As i say there are some solid songs and writing on this album but you have a listen for yourself and see what you think.... FFWD to 1995 and Lindersson is gone and shock of shocks Scott Reagers original Vitus Vocalist is back in the fold for 1995's "Die Healing" now this is a pretty good album the muffled fuzz tone of Chandlers guitar is in full effect on this album and Scott Reagers puts in a GREAT performance although he seems to have lost his ability to hit the notes as well as 10 years previously and tends to veer into a sorta shout/scream here and there however it adds a welcome touch of agression to his usual smooth vocals! I never hear mention of this album much from Vitus fans and i don't understand why whether it's the lack of Wino or the fact that the band were on their last legs here (Although the quality of this album would dispute that fact) but it is a solid a Saint Vitus album as any of it's predecessors there's the return of some more uptempo grooves harking back to their earliest work but there's also sludgefests aplenty and some killer riffage throughout but unfortunately this original line up reunion was not to last Reagers quit again in 1996 and it's at this point that Saint Vitus Folded permanently. The 2 albums here from this era are both great albums but seem to be kinda overlooked by the hardcore fans however i see it as Saint Vitus have always been a core trio of Chandler/Adams/Acosta despite their vocalist troubles and throughout their career Chandler wrote the bulk, in fact almost all of their music with Wino weighing in here and there and it's the Chandler penned pieces that have remained fan favourites throughout the years and to my mind they continued to make quality music right up to the end no question. See for yourselves

C.O.D. (92) - Mediafire

Die Healing (95) - Mediafire

1996 - Present - So having called it a day on Saint Vitus in 1996 the band would not be heard of again until well into the millenium where they would reappear sporadically in 2003 and again in 2008 with the classic line up of Wino/Chandler/Adams/Acosta playing live dates and even headlining the mighty Roadburn festival in Holland but in 2009 due to health problems Armando Acosta had to leave the band and later died in 2010 and was replaced By Henry Vasquez of Blood Of The Sun, however also in 2010 rumours began to fly about the possibility of new Saint Vitus material could it be possible? the reunion and touring was to be expected due to their enduring popularity and the fact that Wino was back but new material some 15 years after the last album?? However the rumors were true, in 2012 Saint Vitus released their latest album confusingly titled "Lillie : F-65" i remember reading about what the title meant and i'm sure someone will comment however the music... after a 12 year lay off and some 22 years since last recording with Wino would it be any good? Hell yeah!! again no momentum has been lost the production is clean and sparkling however this time it does not detract from Dave Chandlers trademark muffled fuzz guitar new drummer Vasquez fills Armando Acostas shoes well and as a band they all play well together there's blistering chandler solos and sludgy grooves thorughout and Wino does what he does best and with whom he does it best with. It could have very been the next day after "V" when this was recorded (if you disregard the obviously 2012 production sound) A worthy end to this post oN one of the mightiest bands to exist on earth Saint Vitus

Lillie - F-65 - Mediafire

And as an added bonus here's the free live download EP that was available from Scion A/V last year 3 BLISTERING live tracks from their appearance at the 2012 Scion A/V fest in Tampa Florida 2012

Scion A/V Fest Live EPMediafire

So does the story end there I hear you cry? Well I'll leave you with this quote from the man himself Dave Chandler when asked "Would Saint Vitus make another album after "Lillie : F-65"? "

"Right now we're just taking it step by step to see how people respond to "Lillie...". There would be no reason not to because when you're constantly playing you get a lot of ideas. We're not going to say yes or no now. There are a lot of people talking about the record so hopefully it will live up to everybody's expectations."

Here's hoping! in the meantime here's all The Saint Vitus you could ever need! Hope you enjoy it as much as i do!

*NOTE* It has been brought to my attention by an astute anonymous user that Armando Acosto was actually ousted from Saint Vitus before suffering his health problems due to tensions between himself and guitarist Scott Chandler and various bad mouthing on the internet! So there you go. thank you anonymous user.

Thursday 19 December 2013


I have been wanting to do this post since i started this blog but unfortunately though i had ALL The Rites stuff on vinyl I had no rip of their final EP "Fuck Em If They Can't Take A Joke" so a discography post was not possible however just this morning I found that the label it was released on Six Feet under Records have a Bandcamp page and had it up for download! So what better way to return to my blog than with a post that's been on the cards since I started it!

So a bit of history there was a hardcore band called Dead Nation who did a few EP's and one album and broke up in 1999 this band evolved into Tear It Up who were hugely popular in the early millenium but during the time Tear It Up were around (2000-2003) various members were involved in 2 side bands, Cut The Shit and The Rites the history of the 3 bands is confusing it would appear that aside from the vocalist of Tear It Up every other member of Tear It Up was involved with either Cut The Shit or The Rites at some point and also various Cut The Shit and The Rites members that were not originally in Tear It Up also played on various Tear It Up releases! Plus Cut The Shit and The Rites both continued after Tear it Up broke up!!! Even with the aid of the inlays from all their various releases due to the penchant in hardcore for in-jokes and pseudonymns and minimal photos it's all very confusing however all 3 bands were ploughing the same thrash hardcore furrow!!! So onwards...

As I said The Rites were originally a side project of Tear It Up they released 3 EP's a 7",2 x 12 EP's and a live 1 sided album and they were gone! I have tried and tried but cannot find any information about what any of the band members are doing now however the last The Rites EP came out in 2006 so I'm assuming they have split!

Their debut EP "Your Last Rites" from 2002 is a raw blast of fast hardcore thrash that is not vastly different to what Tear It Up were doing, tight fast guitar lines, speedy drumming etc but the production is a bit rawer and the vocals to me are way better than Tear It Up they have more aggression and belligerence which i think is why i always felt they had a slight edge over the other bands playing this kind of music at the time 7 songs in barely 6 mins this is high speed hardcore fun at it's best!. However it's on the next two 12"s "The Rites" and "Wish You Never Knew" that where these guys really hit their stride! The production on both these 12"s is far superior to the EP the guitars are nice and thick (but not heavy) and everything is way clearer in the mix and here you can start to see them showing their influences a bit more, There's shades of Black Flag, Poison Idea and because of the high speed guitar lines it also reminds me of the early Boston hardcore sound (think Jerry's Kids and early Gang Green) and even a bit of chunky metal riffage here and there, this time round the songs are given a bit less of the raw feel of a new band and more of a sound that is big and loud and in your face! Also it's not all thrash although these guys are masters of flooring the accelerator pedal there's a lot of really great mid-paced and slower parts that shows they have their feet planted as much in hardcore PUNK territory as they do thrash see "Pissing On Your Grave" from the "Wish You Never Knew" 12" or "Asshole City..." from "The Rites" 12" for evidence of this! The thing I like about The Rites is that their songs while mainly fast and fairly short are totally memorable with great riffs and they really have worked hard to get a great sound for the band in both the writing and the sound of their instruments and above all these guys can really play they are VERY tight and never miss a beat!

The Rites were consistent throughout their short existence as far as the sound goes I can't say that any of their releases from "The Rites" 12" I mention above through to their last EP "Fuck Em..." are startlingly different from each other however with a sound as great as these guys had then why would you fuck with it? What i'm saying is if you like the sound of my description then you WILL like The Rites

I think unfortunately that bands like The Rites and their cohorts like Tear It Up and Cut The Shit are bands that were very popular that is, as far as popularity in hardcore goes, but were "of their time" so to speak, for example, when i got into these bands around 2002/3 and i tried to backtrack their records (when i still bought vinyl) as many of them are very limited the prices were sky high for example the debut Cut The Shit 1 -sided 7" had only been out 6 months when i got onto them and when i tried to buy it on vinyl it was priced around the £20/£30 mark, now you can pick it up for around £5 same goes for The Rites Their "Fuck Em..." EP  had 3 different pressings each with a different cover song on the B-side i have the most limited one which has a press of a mere 145 copies you'd think this would drive the price sky high? Nope you can pick it up for around £2.50! Their debut EP which has been out of print for 11 years goes for 83p for Black vinyl or £2 for green vinyl limited version Now while i think this is good that if you want the vinyl it's available at a reasonable price at he same time i think it's shocking that these brilliant records are so unwanted that they are dirt cheap, it also illustrates the fickle nature of Hardcore fans that a band as great as The Rites were and their records are in no demand at all and there's hardly any downloads available online either it seems no one is interested now

So there are 2 links below one contains all their 7"'s the other contains their 2 x 12"'s and the Live LP here's what you get...

Rites Sevens

"Your Last Rites" EP (2002)
"Pissing On Your Grave" 7" (2005)
"Death Of The Party" EP (2005)
"Fuck Em If They Can't Take A Joke" EP (2006)

Rites Twelves

"The Rites" 12" (2003)
"Wish they Never Knew" 12" (2004)
"There Shall Be No Encore (Live)" 1 -Sided LP (2006)

That's their full discography "Pissing..." 7" and "Death Of.." EP were both recorded at the same session but released seperately these and the Live LP are ripped from vinyl by me so are decent quality, the rest are ripped from my own CD's and "Fuck em..." EP is taken from a pay download so great quality also "Fuck Em..." contains all 3 covers songs they did for all 3 pressings of the 7" I mentioned above and a short bonus track so that's the whole session there!

So that's it a discography of one of the best kinda "lost" bands of hardcore no one i mention them to now has ever heard of them even though they toured the UK in 2005 ( I traveled to Liverpool to see them and turned up a day late and missed the show due to bogus info online) Unfortunately much as i love this music I really do lack knowledge as far as hardcore is concerned it's a genre that I have barely any interest in for me it was really exciting back in the 80's and again for a while in the early millenium but in the interim there seems to be a real lack of any kind of progression and most of it in fact nearly all hardcore really leaves me cold however occasionally if you follow it long enough you do get the odd gem unfortunately these are few and far between and I've yet to hear something since the early millenium that has really impressed me! So go check out some GREAT hardcore below as you know if it wasn't good it wouldn't be on this blog!

Here's your links Enjoy....

Rites Sevens

Rites Twelves

Before i go I'd like to thank and credit a friend from back in the early millenium hardcore days a fella named Ellis who took the picture of The Rites playing live in Brighton UK at the top of this post I've lost touch with him now but if you happen to come across this post Ellis leave a comment, I have a full set of pictures he sent me of this night and after the show where the picture at the top of the post was taken The Rites went back to one of Ellis friends houses and played another set in their basement for the assembled crowd and Ellis band at the time also played, absolutely brilliant so here's some pics from the basement show too, wish I'd be there. Hope this post finally makes up for a lack of internet presence for this great band!

Saturday 2 November 2013


Whilst playing with Skitvarld i noticed that the guitarist Mik had an Iron Witch sticker on his guitar and I don't know why but whenever the word "IRON" is used in a band name it always gets my attention I did mean to get round to checking them out but it took me a month and a couple of other people to mention the name before I finally got round to doing it and FUCK! was I kicking myself for waiting that long!

First off I had not realized that Iron Witch were a local band based in Liverpool and to have such a great band on my doorstep for about 2 or 3 years and only be finding out about them now!! ARRRGGGHH!!
Iron Witch have given themselves the "sludge" tag, whilst I would agree with this in part because this is dirty,heavy,nasty music with some seriously gnarly vocals I personally find the majority of "sludge" to be boring repetitive and generally just washes over me and leaves me yawning! However this is not the case with Iron Witch because whilst the music is obviously rooted in that style what lifts Iron Witch above the majority of "sludge" bands is their sense of groove and their memorable songs what I mean by that is whilst most of the "Sludge" type stuff moves at a crawling pace and is content to let a riff hang in the air for half an hour whilst you nod off to sleep Iron Witch do not! Yeah sure they have slow songs and fucking mountainous slabs of heavy riffage by the bucketload but they also have the sense to give some of the songs a groove that gets your head nodding in the best tradition of something like classic Ozzy era Sabbath or "Our Problem" era Iron Monkey before laying the hammer down and pounding your head in! I would hesitate to use stoner to describe these guys as they are way too nasty but that's the kinda vibe i get from the groovier riffs although when i say stoner I mean stoner that is distorted to fuck and dragged through the swamp kicking and screaming all the way!

I hear all sorts of bands in the sound of Iron Witch as well as the aforementioned Sabbath and Iron Monkey I also hear little bits of the likes of Eyehategod, Grief, 13, Sleep, St Vitus etc in there as well as the fact these guys have definitely listened to Side 2 of "My War" often! Whilst these are only my small reference points to give you an idea of what to expect at least they are putting me in mind of the absolute cream of sludgy bands and not all the fucking send you to sleep boring ones and i do think Iron Witch have something more to offer than just a combination of influences Re-interpreted and really are bringing something new and great to this type of sound! They recently posted a version of Discharge : "State Violence,State Control" on soundcloud and along with the nod to the Black Flag bars on their "prospect" T-shirt to my mind shows that they have good influences outside the sludge scene which is no bad thing!

I would be hard pressed to single out any one release by these guys for extra praise as they are all good and though there is obviously a progression in writing, playing and sound with each release they are all consistently great Although I am a sucker for the awesome riffing in the title track of their "Single Malt" EP (not only cos it's a great song but also it's a tribute to the finest export of my home country!) and "Gunshot Residue/Exceeding The Dose" from the "Post Vegas Blues" 7" just makes me grind my teeth and want to wreck shit, there's not a bad song out of the 13 tracks across their 4 releases.

 All of the the music I've below are available at bandcamp for £1 a piece but I was very generously given permission to link them up for you free here which I'm happy to do but I would really be pleased if you would go show these guys a bit of support and go buy some from bandcamp or get one of their shirts or buy a record because although they were kind enough to let me put this post up for you, recordings cost money and if we don't show some support to great smaller bands like these guys then they will cease to exist! And i paid for all these downloads so that i could put them up for you here and it was £4 well spent and most of you would probably spend that on your damn lunch!

I Cannot recommend this band highly enough not just because i love the fact that they are a local band but also because they are really fucking good! if i had come across these guys with no prior knowledge their great music would have had the same effect as it did anyway which was to totally floor me! Go get em folks I guarantee your satisfaction!

Demo - HERE

Single Malt EP - HERE

Post Vegas Blues 7" - HERE

Hangover Suicide 7" - HERE

There's your free music but here are some more links for you go show them some fucking support don't just take the music and flip them the bird!

You Can Buy Shirts/Patches etc. here -

Bandcamp page is HERE you can contact the band to find out if the 7"'s are available or actually pay them some money for their music.

Facebook page HERE

They also have a new song on a split 7" with Atrocity Exhibit which is out real soon you can stream it at the bandcamp page but I'm sure you will want to buy one so make your enquiries/pre-orders here - these guys also sell their "Single Malt" CDEP

Thursday 10 October 2013


So this was a little bit of a surprise for me I recently met a thoroughly decent chap at work called Ged Ward (Pictured above 2nd from left) after working with him first time we discovered we had both grown up through the same musical scenes and we both shared a vast knowledge of old school Hardcore/Death Metal & Grind etc and knew a lot of the same people from the late 80's/early 90's scene  so we eventually got talking about bands we'd been in and Ged told me he had played bass in a band called Ballpein with another recent friend of mine Piggy (Dr Aids, Bonded By Bundy Pictured above far left) but he only had some blown out sounding live vids on youtube to play me but what they were doing sounded really good, he said there had been a demo done by the band and wanting to hear it i tried to help him source it through facebook then lo and behold their ex Guitarist just one day decided to upload all 4 tracks from the demo as youtube videos!

So Being the trainspotter geek i am I took these vids and ripped the music from them tagged them up etc and here I present for you the lost Hardcore gem that is the Ballpein demo! Now first off bear in mind these 4 tracks were taken from an old tape ripped to mp3 uploaded to youtube then ripped back to audio by me sorted out and uploaded! So considering the journey these files have done they have come out prettty good quality! Onto the music considering these tracks are from 1999 they sound surprisingly contemporary whilst still retaining a feel of the scene at the time what surprises me is that these guys were not given way more attention then because this is really tight and well played stuff all the way and they have managed to combine a range of influences from different underground styles and blend them together into a cohesive sound without the sound getting messy or overly complicated! This demo would definitely fall into the Hardcore category but I hear a lot of classic Death metal in some of the riffs particularly the intro riff to "Kurten"  and the middle 8 of "Unstable" which are straight out of the Autopsy school of riffage!

Overall the sound mainly feels like a blend of Death/Thrash riffage with the heaviest and best of NYHC and being honest I would never have pegged this band as British if I hadn't known beforehand! There's some great little flourishes on the demo too that are right off the wall but fit in with the sound perfectly for example the funky bass runs at the end of "Unstable" and the nice bass and guitar intro to "Low Life Cleansin" which kinda spin you upward towards the fast part! They have a good handle on their pace as well it's not all fast fast fast and the drummer uses a variety of beats not just sticking to the 1-2-1-2 hardcore beat giving plenty of room for the chunky fat breakdowns there's also good variety to the vocals there's growling, screaming, shouting (provided by both Ged & Piggy) and even a bit of that nasally sorta vocal you'd hear from proper old school hardcore bands  like Sick Of It All or Straight Ahead!

All in all this short demo really is a lost gem I was really surprised by how good it actually is! Generally you would feel obligated to tell a friend that their band/project was good even if it wasn't!! This is definitely not the case with me here! If someone had got these guys into a decent studio with someone who knows how to record this kind of music I have no doubt the end results would have utterly destroyed as it is this demo is all that remains of this band, Go check it out it's well worth 10 minutes of your time!


And you can find some live videos of the band in action HERE

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Burning Ripper Leather Metal!!!!

So I have never made a secret of my love of 70's rock but this is not a new thing to me my first musical love at the age of 11 was heavy metal the 80's was a great time to love metal and I utterly worshipped bands like AC/DC, Kiss, Motorhead, Sabbath, Twisted Sister, Saxon etc etc that was until one summer i discovered Punk and the rest is history!!!

There is a reason that in it's formative years that it was called Punk ROCK now as dismissive and sneering as the original punk rockers may have been towards the old guard of stadium rock dinosaurs one listen to any classics by The Damned or even something as contemporary crust punk as the last couple of Disfear albums and you would find as much rock as you will punk. and over the years we have had many hybrids of punk and metal/rock etc but there's always been a sort of "shame" of having a love of heavy metal if you're serious about your punk! However one band have always been the exception to this rule and still to this day are worshipped by many punks myself included and that would be MOTORHEAD!!!! And this is where this post comes in here I present 2 albums I have discovered recently that feature some veteran players from the crust and punk scenes that are 100% unashamedely balls out fucking ROCK! let me begin....

First up we have Burning Leather this band features people who have played/play in such crust heavyweights as Detestation, Hellshock, Atrocious Madness, Nux Vomica, and Fall Of The Bastards to name just a few and their album being mastered by Brad Boatright of From Ashes Rise/Audiosiege fame you'd think with a pedigree like that you'd expect some fucking heavy distortion driven crust brutality right? WRONG! and you couldn't be more wrong.

I just got onto this band this week when researching some info on Hellshock and even though the name was a dead giveaway I went ahead and searched for it and managed to come up with a download of their one and only album "Daylight Nights" (Actually their 6 track demo and 4 new songs, they have also done 2 split 7"'s one with Japanese metalpunkers G.A.T.E.S. and another with The Slowmotions but i haven't sourced them yet also worth noting is that the Japanese label that released this album is called (wait for it....) Under the Surface!!!) Although I had expected some metal madness cos of the name of the band and album I was totally unprepared for the sheer unashamed rocking nature of this music! This is Heavy Metal plain and simple albeit in the finest tradition with more than a slight hint of Motorhead! Don't go downloading this expecting to be blown away by some punk influenced metal this is Rock 'N' Roll pure and simple. just one look at the tracklist should give you an idea where this band are coming from with track titles like "Wasted Days" & "In The Moonlight" plants these guys squarely in the rock camp! However that being said I can assure you nothing i have said so far is meant in any kind of negative way this is great fun music first and foremost. There's 12 bar boogies, lightning fast guitar solos and sleazy chugging rifferama by the bucketload throughout this album and the musicianship of this band is more than impressive it may have a reputation for being dumb music but if you wanna play rock/metal you better be able to play folks and these guys certainly can wail!!! I can tell you right now after repeated listens this album left me with a huge shit eating grin from ear to ear I cannot urge you to check this out soon enough it's good time, old school fucking rock with Motorhead written all over it and at the risk of repeating myself even more it's above all great fun! Go get this album now and fucking windmill (or if you're hairless like me do some serious Beard Bangin!!)

Daylight NightsMediafire

So next up staying in Portland (Like I've said about Sweden WTF?? what is going on in Portland man it's a godamn hotbed of awesome music!) We have Ripper, this band features members of bands that I haven't heard of but judging by what I've seen of their other bands releases these guys have their roots in crust/punk as well, has these listed as "Hardcore Punk" which is seriously deluded of the writer or the writer is some punker who is just trying to justify their love for this album!  Like Burning Leather this album here "Into Oblivion" is another Heavy Metal gem! However in this case the production and sound is way dirtier,meaner and nastier than Burning Leather and the Motorhead influence is far more prevalent here however one look at the tracklist will leave you with no doubt about their metal credentials tracks like opener "Burning Up The Night" & "Soldier Of Fortune" again squarely put these guys in the metal camp. As I've said the production on this album is far rawer than Burning Leather but whether that is due to this being a vinyl rip I don't know but it doesn't detract from the music one bit. Theres chunky riffs and fast guitar runs aplenty backed up by drums straight out of the Philthy Animal school of kit annihilation! These guys are definitely wearing their influence on their sleeve no question but I would hesitate to dismiss them as mere clones as if you look through the obvious Motorhead influence you will find some serious rocking moments on this album and again it just makes me wanna don some denim and leather throw horns and bang my beard ha ha! again i can't urge you enough to download this as again this album also leaves me with a big smile on my face and is also great fun whilst kicking you squarely in the pants!

Into Oblivion

So there ya go folks some rock 'n' roll madness for ya I want to say don't let my descriptions scare you these albums are both just great music and deserve to be heard by more people if i could lay my hands on originals of these on CD i would not hesitate for a second! Put some metal back into your life go and download these and feel yourself start to grin before you've even realised how awesome these bands are! Hey I wouldn't waste the space or my time (or yours) posting this to poke fun or if i didn't really like these bands? Utterly brilliant stuff!

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Death Evocation

So once again this was a band i discovered through Matt from Auralskit posting up a youtube video which caused quite a stir with me and my crust loving fb friends! What we have here is a band i have never heard of have no idea who's in but are right up my Sacrilege loving street, I can tell you nowt here except this EP is from 2011 has 3 tracks on it and is utterly blistering metallic crust in the vein of classic Sacrilege (see my post on them HERE), Versklaven (see my post on them HERE)  & After The Bombs (see my post on them HERE) There's no info on the net and I had to trainspot like a bastard to find a download of it so I've re-upped it here so there's now at the least 2 links to it up here! They do have a facebook page but both me and Matt posted to them on there and no reply at all so it's all a bit mysterious. However at least I have uncovered this utter gem of an EP for you guys and the rest of the internet! There's 3 tracks of well played, heavy, female vocalled, metallic crust with a very slight stoner edge on there clocking in at 12 minutes and  the 6 min "Relentless" is just JAW DROPPING!

I cannot urge you to download this EP enough it is shockingly fucking good and why these guys only came to my attention now after the EP being out 2 years is a mystery! But I'm glad i got onto it now go download this RIGHT NOW If you like any of the bands I mention above there is no doubt in my mind you will soon have this EP on heavy rotation!

Death Evocation EP - Mediafire

Thursday 1 August 2013


I have mentioned 70's rock a lot when doing write ups for various bands I even put up an explanation/almost apology at one point for using the description! However i remain unashamed of my love of GOOD 70's rock there's not a lot that can beat the first 6 Black Sabbath albums, AC/DC with Bon Scott, Thin Lizzy at their best etc etc however one band i never think to mention is Pentagram. There is a good reason for this because although Pentagram have had a career lasting some 40 years they were always more well known for being one of the earliest exponents of what is called "Doom" metal as although they had done a ton of recordings and 2 or 3 7" singles in the early/mid 70's they didn't get their debut album "Pentagram" (Also known as "Relentless")  out until 1984, some 13 years into their career by which time they had morphed into the style of doomy metal they are best known for and that has influenced a million bands. But in 2002 and 2006 Relapse records unearthed their earliest recordings from 1971 - 1976 and released them as the single CD "First Daze Here" and a further double CD "First Daze Here Too".Now don't get me wrong i am a fan of the doomy 1984 - present Pentagram but I was unaware until these "First Daze..." Comps came out that they had been going in the early 70's! I always assumed they like other exponents of Doom at the time like Trouble or Saint Vitus an 80's band!

Now I'm not gonna go into the vast 40 year history of the band vocalist Bobby Leibling's history of drug abuse and self destruction has been well documented both in print, online and now in the form of documentary "Last Days Here" so if you want to know why this great band never broke HUGE in the 70's or about their troubled history, revolving door of members etc etc then i suggest you do some research or watch the documentary (I've yet to see it myself) as I'm not gonna even attempt to try and relate it to you here as i have neither the time or the energy to give you page after page of exhaustive notes on this band, this once I'm going to stick to the music....

Now although i only mention the two "First daze..." comps above there was also another compilation of early material in 1998 called "Human Hurricane" but until i was researching this post I was unaware of it as it's on a Canadian label I have never heard of and from what i can gather did NOT have the bands approval. So what i present here is a fairly complete (as far as what has yet been released) collection of Pentagram's earliest recordings. Anyone who is a fan of Pentagram and has not heard this 70's stuff you'll be in for a shock this is a band very far removed from the same band that recorded bludgeoning tracks like "All Of Your Sins" from the first album and quite a few of these tracks have seen very doomy remakes on subsequent albums however for me these 70's era recordings are by far and away the best music they have done (although latest album 2011's "Last Rites" definitely seems to be leaning back to that sound)

So what you get are 4 CD's worth of utterly destroying 70's rock with a nod to their peers a chunk of serious GROOVE and a huge dose of originality if it hadn't been for Bobby Leibling's self destructive tendencies and drug abuse I think these guys would be stadium rockers by now! Songs like "Forever My Queen" , "When The Screams Come" and the utterly astounding "Be Forewarned" (there are a couple of versions of "Be Forewarned" on these CD's my pick being track 11 on "First Daze Here (The Vintage Collection) Are beyond good these guys were just something else apart from the obvious 70's styles of recording if someone had played these to me with no mention of their name or history i would've pegged them as a new and very highly original "stoner/retro rock" type band but the powerful riffage and great songwriting on display here is just amazing they managed to come up with great walls of chunky riffs but without sounding like Sabbath (who at this time in the early 70's would have been the only band to touch them for heaviness and great songs) Check out the riff to opening track "Forever My Queen" which just slays without being overly doomy or clunky. Top all this with Bobby Leibling's amazing vocals and an utterly amazing rhythm section and you have Pentagram. Bear in mind that back in the early 70's recording studios were beyond the financial reach of unsigned bands so in order to get someone to finance a recording you HAD to be Good and you had to be able to play extremely well who'd waste hundreds of dollars on you otherwise? and Pentagram certainly fall into that category the wealth of talent and utterly supreme and tight playing on display here for a band without a deal or a record out is just staggering

Onto the files... here I have for you both the single and double "First daze Here" comps plus i managed to unearth the "Human Hurricane" comp as well. These recordings date from 1971 - 1976 though as i don't own them i can't tell you the dates for any of the recordings I just see the whole lot as the early works of the band and they are so fucking great i really don't care either! the quality of the recordings varies from warm and great quality 70's studio recordings to some less clean and rawer demo sounding material the most consistent album is "First Daze Here (The Vintage Collection)" which has 12 tracks and sounds like an unreleased album and has great production, it's all great quality just some of the recordings are rawer than others but having seen the light of day in the early/mid 2000's by this time the analog masters would have been around 20+ years old so the fact that they even survived in this quality is amazing! Don't be put off as i say it's all good quality just some have rawer production than others these are definitely no "Completists Only" type recordings these are essential pieces of the history of a great band and in my opinion their best material If you're not grooving and head nodding by the time you get a couple of songs in then you really are beyond my help! Here's your links all 4 are essential and all are around the 220-256 kbps bitrate ( I had to split the Double CD into it's 2 discs due to file size restriction) Also note there are a few repeats of songs over the 4 discs but they are ALL different versions from different sessions and years ENJOY!!!

First Daze Here (The Vintage Collection)HERE

First Daze Here Too (Disc 1)HERE

First Daze Here Too (Disc 2)HERE

Human HurricaneHERE

Saturday 20 July 2013





I'm gonna go out on a limb here and be a bit conceited, during what i would consider the "golden" age of death metal from the mid/late 80's till 1991 I was an utter death metal obsessive beyond even what my trainspotting tendencies for all types of music are like now, I used to buy released albums on cassette, CD, Vinyl, Pic Disc and if there's was a coloured vinyl I'd have that as well in some cases I'd have 4 or 5 copies of a single album! Yeah i was that obsessed! In those days my knowledge and enthusiasm for death metal was peerless, I knew all the best bands had every bands demos fresh off the press I received upwards of 5 packages of tapes and records a day and i traded records and tapes with people and bands from all over Europe and the USA as well as as far afield as Mexico, Brazil and Japan I was also once interviewed for a guitar magazine on Dig Earaches recommendation about the original "Grindcrusher" tour in 1989 and bear in mind this is all pre - internet and the most powerful home computer was a sinclair spectrum! I have only recently started listening to some classic death metal again because for a long time i wouldn't touch it, finding the modern scene a bit pathetic but when some of the crustier bands i listened to started to verge on death metal heaviness I decided it was time to swallow the fact that i was old and admit that even at this later stage in my life i still love some of those death metal albums from the classic era!

Just to illustrate my point a typical mail order purchase in the late 80's would go a little like this.. let's use Nuclear Blast as an example as they were the biggest death & grind mail order in Europe at the time, you would write a letter requesting a mail order list go to post office buy 2 or 3 IRC's (international reply coupons 1 IRC = 1 stamp in whichever country you were sending them to) send a self addressed envelope and request a mail order list, wait 2 weeks,  get list, choose your records and give alternative choices, you would then calculate price and postage, go to your local travel agent, exchange your UK pounds for Deutschmarks (This was pre-Euros) pay a fee for the exchange, hide the money in the letter go to post office and send it airmail and hope it got there in time for you to get your first choices and that some postal worker along the way wouldn't  find your money and steal it, then wait another 2 - 4 weeks for your records to come! What I'm trying to say is in those days the level of commitment to your music had to be high if you wanted to keep up with the latest and most obscure and best bands not like now where you choose what you want on the net click and pay in about 30 seconds and receive your stuff a week later at the worst!

My point in telling you all this is that if i tell you this is MY top 10 death Metal albums then you sure as shit can bank that it is a pretty accurate top 10 arrogant as that may sound! You're welcome to disagree and there will I'm sure be in some peoples opinions some glaring omissions but in my opinion these 11 albums (I know I said it's a top 10 but all will become clear) are all DEFINING moments for the Death metal scene at the time.

It also has to be said that aside from the bands that Tomas Skoberg, producer at Stockholm's Sunlight Studios Sweden, Scott Burns, producer at Morrisound studios Florida and artist Dan Seagrave should be given as much credit for the exposure and popularity of death metal as a musical force because these fellas were beyond important to shaping the sound and look of death metal during this period and without them i truly believe death metal as we knew/know it would not exist and would most likely have languished in the underground where it had done for the years preceding it's explosion in popularity. (Honourable mention must also go to artist Edward J Repka who illustrated the first 3 Death album covers and the first Massacre album as well as other numerous thrash and Metal album covers)

Now let me be clear one example of a glaring omission from this list will be Morbid Angel (who's debut and subsequent popularity i truly never got) however with the exception of one album on my list I am discounting any bands who's sound was centred around "Blast beats" there is the occasional "blast" on some of these albums but for all bar one on this list it is not a defining part of their sound in my opinion to qualify as proper Death Metal there's a certain pace and sound to it and that is not the intensive use of "blast beats" OK? also most of these albums are debut albums simply because tho some of these bands later albums may have been more popular it was their debuts that had the biggest effect on the music and the scene. So with that said let's countdown!

#10 Benediction : "Subconscious Terror" (1990)

This album is probably most well known for launching the career of one Mark "Barney" Greenway who was already committed to become vocalist in Napalm Death during the recording of this album, however that's another story! I knew Barney through tape trading well before his tenure with ND and I remember when he sent me the 1st Benediction Demo "The Dreams You Dread" I was blown away here was a band who had taken their lessons from the cream of the best demo death metal and distilled them into their own sound their studying of Death metal is evidenced by Barneys roars of "Master" preceding a Master style part of a song and his stealing of Kam Lee's (Death/Massacre) trademark "Slllooowww" roar and sinister Laughing before breakdowns and they were British which was a rarity!! All but one of the 5 songs from the demo appear on this album with vastly better production. This album had shades of all the classics Massacre, Death, Master, Celtic Frost and Barney's Kam Lee (Massacre) vocals were just amazing (His best vocals are on this album he never seemed to hit it as good again for Napalm) This album has fucking killer riffs by the bucket load and a real good sense of pace and dynamics whilst most death metal bands were content to put out an album with 10 or 12 songs of the same fast 1-2 1-2 traditional Death Metal pace this had fast,slow and mid-paced songs all of which worked really well to create an album that was original as it was an obvious nod to it's influences, it also has a dark and sombre atmosphere that few Death metal bands were able to create.incredibly accomplished songs for a debut but it has to be said maybe they could have done with a bit more practice before the album as the playing is very slightly sloppy in places but hey it is Death metal not tech-metal! and Benediction ALWAYS get extra points for being one of the few original death metal bands who have rigidly stuck to their template and continued to release consistent, classic and old school death metal to this day some 23 years later!

#9 Deicide - Deicide (1990)

Florida's Deicide had previously been called Amon and had released a couple of demos that had been well received on the underground scene, changing their name to Deicide they instantly came to the attention of the metal world at large because of front man Glen Benton's outspoken satanic beliefs and the whole "Branding an inverted cross on his forehead" thing, to me this kinda cheapened what Deicide had to offer and Benton's larger than life satanic persona has to my mind held them back over the years whilst they enjoyed massive success with their first 2 albums released during the peak of death metal's popularity it seems they have been playing to the die hard underground since then I would also say since the second album there has been little progression musically. Anyway enough of the negativity as I don't want to detract from this album here. The sheer talent displayed in the twin guitar attack of brothers Eric & Brian Hoffman cannot be understated although there were many talented guitarists in Death metal these guys were definitely among the front runners speedy riffing and finger shredding solos are in abundance here back that with the rhythm section of Benton on bass and amazing drummer Steve Asheim top this with Bentons satanic barking and screaming and you had one helluva intense album. There's absolutely no let up here from the opening chords to the end of the album you have sub - blast speeds fast and technically accomplished riffing rapid fire double bass drumming all wrapped in stellar production by death metal producer extraordinaire Scott Burns at his Morrisound studios. Though the whole satanic thing has probably left people seeing Deicide as a bit of a joke I have to say this album is in no way funny, this is dark heavy and punishing throughout the sheer pace, tightness and velocity of this album makes it an extremely accomplished debut and displays talent beyond the grasp of the majority of the bludgeoning death metal bands that proliferated at the time also the sincerity of Benton's satanism was no mere imagery thing giving this album an added darkness missing from most of the more gore and murder type lyrics that were the norm. Again this is essential.

#8 Carnage "Dark Recollections" (1990) / Dismember : "Like An Everflowing Stream" (1991)

OK so i said it was a top 10 and here's 2 albums at number 8 actually making it a top 11 there is a good reason for this... both Dismember & Carnage had been making big waves on the underground scene in the late 80's Carnage with their 2 demo's "Infestation Of Evil" and "The Day Man Lost" (the "Infestation Of Evil" t-shirt was one of the most prized by death metal fans at the time i however never managed to get one!) Carnage seemed to be unable to maintain a stable line up with the exception of founder Michael Amott on guitar so  for their debut album he enlisted 3/5 of Dismember to play on it and no less than 4 of it's 10 songs were Dismember songs from their demos as well as both albums having been recorded at Sunlight Studios having an identical sound and both having Dan Seagrave cover art  to my mind if you have 3/4 of Dismember including their vocalist and one of their guitarists in your band and use 4 of Dismember's songs well my conclusion is that you are in fact Dismember!! So by my reckoning that makes this Carnage album pretty much Dismember's 1st album albeit if the remaining 6 songs were Carnage originals 1 of those "Torn Apart" was subsequently re-recorded for Dismember's debut album  "Like An Everflowing Stream" so all these factors together mean that these albums both need to be included together here but individually they were both a massive influence on the scene at the time So as the band members, studio, sound, cover art and songs are shared I'll talk about both these albums at once here.I find it strange that Carnage having the opportunity to record their album first that Dismember gave up 4 great songs from their demos for it, especially shocking for me at the time was the inclusion of "Deranged From Blood" it was always a favorite of mine from the Dismember demos and one of their most distinctive and memorable songs and a song that good should've been saved for their own debut album however i get the feeling that maybe Dismember didn't have a deal for an album with anyone at this point and saw this as a chance to get their songs out there? "Like an Ever Flowing Stream" was equally as good as the Carnage debut although maybe a little faster and a little bit sharper on the production sound but the songs are just immense and i suppose having given up the 4 demo songs to Carnage's album meant that there were 8 new songs on the album which after caning the demos for ages, it was great to have a load of new material! And their new songs had some great ideas as well like the triggered choral samples in "And So Is Life"! To me these albums along with Entombed's "Left Hand Path" are like the unholy trinity of Swedish death metal and along with that Sunlight studio crunching guitar sound defined a sound that's echoes are still being felt today in both heavier hardcore and death metal.these 2 albums are really inseparable in my mind and are vital and essential pieces of Death metal history I can't tell you the impact of hearing these both for the first time less than a year apart! Essential classic and brutal death metal!

#7 Obituary : "Slowly We Rot" (1989)

So probably among the worst covers in death metal history (Where was Dan Seagrave when you needed him?) you'd be forgiven at the time for overlooking this cheesily and badly packaged album in the record store and moving on but if ever there was a case of not judging a book by the it's cover this is definitely it! Luckily for Florida's Obituary they had been creating quite a buzz on the underground having contributed 2 tracks to Godly records essential and much sought after "Raging Death" compilation LP under their original name of Xecutioner (Alongside R.A.V.A.G.E. who would later change their name to Atheist) so most of us "In The know" had been eagerly anticipating their debut album as Obituary for a while! The first thing that is apparent about this band is the fact that they have wholesale lifted what until then had been the unique guitar sound of Celtic Frost that distorted fuzzy yet heavy sound however these fellas had taken it to another level of heaviness! Once you got over the awesome guitar sound and John Tardy's vocals kicked in it was another shock because this was some kind of unearthly howl the likes of which had never been heard before (nor since) This was a band with a unique sound to them although they had that Celtic Frost guitar sound it was way heavier and those vocals SHHHHHIIIT! it was shocking! The other thing with this album is whilst many parts of the songs had typical fast death metal pacing these guys again showed a nod to their Frost influences by great use of dynamics plenty of atmospheric intros and breakdowns and plenty of slow and mid paced parts again produced By Scott Burns at Morrisound this music just oozed out of your speakers with utter menace! It was rumored at the time that John Tardy did not use lyrics but simply improvised his howling over the music this was not disputed at the time and if you listen to this album closely you notice that he does have certain "phrases" that repeat throughout this album so I''m inclined to believe that they had banked on the lyrics being unintelligible at the time but have hotly refuted this rumor since! It cannot be said enough the impact of this album on the scene because i had been to many death metal gigs at the Edinburgh venue in Scotland during the heyday of death metal and there was always a decent sized crowd but the venue was never too packed, but when Obituary came to town in support of their second album "Cause Of Death" supported by awesome German death metallers Morgoth and Slayer copyists Demolition Hammer the venue was crammed to the point where i vividly remember being 3 rows from the front and just literally having to go limp and flop out on the rows in front of me unable to move, turn or get out I've never since been in a venue so packed with bodies that i was stuck in one place for the whole gig in a heap of people! There wasn't even a pit because it was that packed that's how popular they were (bear in mind we had been getting every huge death and grind band at the time pass through this venue so it's not like we had been lacking in gigs). Is it justified? Yeah for sure! just listen to this album and you will see exactly what i mean and also check out their second album "Cause Of Death" which is equally as good. (The file contains the remastered and reissued version of "Slowly we Rot" which contains the 2 Xecutioner tracks from the "Raging Death" Comp I mention above as bonus)

#6 Slaughter : "Strappado" (1987)

Canada's Slaughter were a 3 piece band named as a reaction to the piss poor hair metal band of the same name that enjoyed immense popularity at this time. Having had Chuck Schuldiner of Death in their line up at one time and having enjoyed huge underground acclaim with first studio demo "Surrender Or Die" Slaughter were a force to be reckoned with! I had just missed Slaughter's debut because i didn't really get into death metal until around late 88 early 89 so they were one of the bands I had to go back to however once i heard this album I was utterly hooked and they became one of my favorite bands all the way through my youthful Death metal infatuation First off the production on this album is IMMENSE recorded at future sound studios in Canada by someone called Brian Tailor i have no idea how the hell with death metal in it's infancy that he had any idea of how to make a band sound so huge and it's definitely a defining factor in how great this album is Firstly the guitar and bass cut like chainsaws and the drums feel like an earthquake with someone pounding logs with sledgehammers over it! then you have the dual vocal attack of Dave Hewson and Terry Sadler (Guitar and bass respectively) This album is just insanely good even some 26 years later it still sounds fresh and vital! These guys had influences from both the heavier end of metal as well as hardcore and punk and the hardcore influence definitely shows in the vocal attack and the sheer speed of some of the tracks however this is a supremely heavy album full of primitive bludgeoning riffs that define the very essence of death metal and those guitar & bass sounds are just destroying! In 88 i was singing in a sludgy sorta crusty political band and even we couldn't resist covering the misogynistic lyrical sludgefest of "Fuck Of Death." from this album! It's just so good and it's appeal is in it's utter simplicity there's no flashy technical riffs no mind bending solos just sheer bloody minded head smashing brutality! Utterly brilliant completely memorable and above all great fun! This album should be in the collection of EVERY fan of any kind of extreme metal/crust whatever it's really THAT good! (This is the remastered re-issue with 3 bonus tracks the reissue mixed them all up so i have restored it to it's original vinyl running order and put the bonus tracks to the end as i feel this is the best way to hear it it's all properly tagged etc so ENJOY!)

#5 Autopsy : "Severed Survival" (1989)

So we're into the top 5 and here we have Californians Autopsy's debut I have an interesting story about this, I was quite good friends with both Dig at Earache and Hammy from Peaceville during the years this post covers and as i said at the beginning I was an obsessive and had contacts everywhere round the globe and one of those was Chris Reifert of Autopsy I had received both the 87 & 88 Autopsy demos from him and they instantly shot to the top of my favorite listens however no labels seemed to be interested in this amazing band that had been around for almost 2 years and included an ex-member of Death!!! So after realizing neither of them had really payed much attention to Autopsy i sent the demo tapes to both Dig and Hammy and followed up with phone calls to make sure they had received the demos and were gonna give them a listen Dig seemed interested but not really too enthusiastic however subsequently i never heard back from Hammy then suddenly Autopsy were signed to Peaceville and released their debut a year later. Now I am in no way trying to take credit for having a part in unleashing Autopsy on the world i do think that since neither Dig nor Hammy had showed any interest in Autopsy over their first 2 years of existence then i sent them both tapes and then Autopsy signed to Peaceville wellllll like i say I'm NOT trying to take credit it's probably just coincidence but you can draw your own conclusions. 

Anyway enough reminiscing! This debut album was originally packaged in the sleeve I have put at the top of this post however it was deemed too shocking at the time and after the initial run was subsequently banned and replaced with this Kev Walker cover art...

it has thankfully been repackaged in recent years with it's original artwork restored because the original artwork, slightly cheesy as it is is a far more appropriate cover for an album as utterly sick and twisted as this! It's getting harder as i go on to find fresh descriptive terms for these albums but I'll try! Firstly this album really has a dark feel to it although it has a fairly typical fast death metal pace throughout it has a really doomy edge to the riffing and breakdowns (something that would become more prevalent on next album "Mental Funeral" which was stripped of speed and was pretty much a doom/death metal album) The doomy edge gives this album quite a claustrophobic feel as it kinda sucks you in with the twisted sound and Chris Reifert's vocals are probably the sickest sounding vocals you will find wavering from guttural to anguished screaming throughout they really sounded quite deranged, couple this with the cover art and the subject matter and this was one of the most gruesome albums of the era! There's some punishingly heavy riffing throughout the band are tight and well practiced and this album is one of the few where the bass guitar is as prevalent in the mix as the guitars and has a real good clean sound even though it's obviously downtuned. What merits this albums inclusion in the top 5 is the fact that to my mind Autopsy on this album were pretty much one of the bands that were the true definition of Death metal, they created an atmosphere not unlike a really good dark horror movie something that really gets under your skin and stays with you, couple this with the extremely gruesome lyrics and Chris Reifert's vocals you have an album that's as much of a primal and enjoyable rush as it is a terrifying listen!

#4 Death : "Scream Bloody Gore" (1987)

So no top 10 would be complete without the band whom to my mind started it all Chuck Schuldiner's Death This was probably the first Death Metal i heard as before i was even aware of the term i had begun to sort of "dip my toe" into the world of thrash metal like Slayer and Metallica etc at this time (1985/86) Music For Nations subsidiary Under One Flag records had been of interest because some of the punk bands we liked had been adding metal influences to their sound and subsequently bands that had once been punk/hardcore front runners like English Dogs (see post HERE ) and Sacrilege (See Post HERE) had released their latest stuff on Under One Flag and the label had been  licensing a lot of  global "Thrash" as well some of it from the home of metallic hardcore and thrash Combat records from  NY (who released the likes of Agnostic Front and Crumbsuckers) so all that considered and being on the same label as those punk/hardcore related bands their other releases warranted checking out! One of the albums i picked up was this debut album by Death. Now later i would find out a lot more about the history of this band and their importance to death metal but at the time i didn't even know the term Death metal it was all just thrash to me however it was obvious there was something different to this band compared to the other so called "Thrash" we had been listening to first off it was supremely heavy and fast and those Chuck Schuldiner vocals were like nothing else i had ever heard in metal at that time. Because i was not placed in the Death metal scene at this time i can't talk about the influence of this album upon the scene (if there even was a scene in 1987??) and i have to say that in this top 10 there are albums that i enjoy listening to much more than this but I feel that this was probably the first "true" Death metal album to be readily available in pretty much any decent record shops around the world! (I was living in a tiny rural town in the north west of Scotland at the time and even my local record shop stocked it) so it has to be placed high for that reason primarily. The sound of this album is great, recorded by Randy Burns (brother of Scott Burns) it's been given a big sound, the guitars whilst not supremely thick have a great sound to them and Chuck Schuldiner's sheer talent with a six string cannot be denied even at this early stage (tho the band had been around in various forms since 1983) This is again an utterly primitive bludgeon throughout with Chris Reifert's (yeah that Chris Reifert later to form Autopsy) drums being on the nail and sounding like he was pounding Oil cans with wrenches plus the bass is nice and springy sounding and clear in the mix also! This is a definitive Death Metal album whilst Death would release many more albums with a revolving door of musicians and the only mainstay throughout would be Chuck on guitar and vocals and their later albums would be more revered than this one it has to be said that as far as i can tell this is the first actual album that can truly be called death metal and leaving the great music aside is historically important for that fact.

#3 Repulsion : "Horrified" (rec 1986 rel. 1989)

Well this is the one release i mentioned in my intro where I break my rule on "Blast beats" Flint Michigan's Repulsion started life as Genocide and released one demo in 1985 that was globally revered on the tape trading underground! Guitarists Aaron Freeman & Matt Olivio also served time in one of the multiple early pre-album line ups of Death and Chuck Schuldiner of Death was even in Repulsion for a brief stint! After realizing there were multiple bands around the world called Genocide a change of name was deemed appropriate and more appropriate name for the sheer intense speed and brutality of their music there was not! During the height of the Death metal years Repulsion were my favourite band to the point that my first tattoo was a very badly done and bore little resemblance to the above rotted face logo that i had done when i was 18 i also took to calling myself Dave Grave after their drummer as well (something i get ribbed about by friends to this day)! Yeah they are that good. 

Taking their influence from the New wave Of British Heavy Metal and the usual heavy suspects (Celtic Frost, Hellhammer,Venom, Motorhead) and a some hardcore chucking it in a blender with some body parts and coming out with Repulsion! Taking the primitive death metal riffing of their peers speeding it up to about 3 or 4 times it's normal speed and underpinning it with Scott Carlson's beyond brutal fuzzed out bass (Listen to the intro of "Festering Boils" believe me it's not even distinguishable as a bass) and vocals dripping with sheer attitude all backed with Dave Grave's utter blur of superfast drumming this is where the roots of "grindcore" began and as far as i'm aware this was the first and at the time fastest use of the blast beat! Tho many would call them grindcore what for me stops them from teetering over into that territory is the guitar riffs are pure death metal all be it speeded up to beyond anything that had been done so far, the riffs and feel of this music is still very sinister even if it is done at such speed, the guitarwork is stellar in the fact that they can play death metal riffs at that speed plus the few short and utterly fingertip slicing solos in there! No breakdowns no super heavy walls of riffage here just sheer velocity the pace only slipping below blast pace briefly for maybe 2 or 3 tracks and even the slowest track on here "Radiation Sickness" is still faster than most of their death metal peers. This album presented here "Horrified" was actually the one and only recording done by Repulsion at that time and had been doing the tape trading rounds for years as the "Slaughter Of The Innocent" demo it was picked up by Jeff and Bill of Carcass's  Earache subsidiary Necrosis records (also responsible for the first issue of the Carnage album at #8 in this post) given a proper mix and issued as "Horrified" and has seen multiple re-issues and expansions since this version here is taken from my original Necrosis CD so it's not quite as loud as the other re-issues but i felt it should be heard as it was originally released so I've uploaded my copy of the original CD here for you! The influence of this band in both style and speed is still felt in both Death metal and grindcore today and Repulsion have toured as recently as earlier this year Scott Carlson has also been serving time in death metal supergroup Death Breath with Nicke Andersson (Ex- Entombed and Hellacopters) so it's obviously in these guys blood to play this music and it shows, without this album many bands and much music would not exist this is probably one of the most important albums for death metal culture and sound in this post.

#2 Massacre : " From Beyond" (1991)

Massacre had been hugely popular on the tape trading circuit in the mid 80's with a ton of great demos and live tapes floating round (most of which were collected on the "Tyrants of Death" CD which I also urge you to check out) partly due to the fact that they contained multiple ex members of Death but why no one decided to pick them up for an album until 5 years later is really astounding especially when you consider that Kam Lee (vocals) and Rick Rozz (Guitar) had been half of the original line up of Death, Talking of which you may or may not know that the line up of Massacre on this album is the same band that backed Chuck Schuldiner on Death's "Leprosy" album so if you consider that 2 members of this band were in the original line up of Death and the other two were also ex members of Death you'd think they'd have every right to wrangle with Chuck Shuldiner for the name! anyway Death connections aside and onto the album if you consider the fact that these guys had been playing death metal since before the music they were playing even had that name with both Death and Massacre since 1983 that gives them 8 years of experience in 2 of the most well known and respected bands of the genre and believe me it shows! This album to me should really go in at number 1 it is the very essence of death metal if you ever look up death metal in the dictionary it should have a picture of this album there! From the off this album just utterly slays I once read a review that said "the guitars sound like flamethrowers" and i couldn't agree more the sound of this album is fantastic,the album was recorded at Morrisound studios Florida but strangely without Scott Burns at the helm (this time he is listed as engineer) Production duties are handled by the amazing Colin Richardson and the difference in sound from other Morrisound productions is astounding this is a extremely sharp and clear mix which gives a perfect sound and level to every part of the music.The mighty rhythm section of Terry Butler (Bass) and Bill Andrews (Drums) Underpinning Rick Rozz's razor sharp and super heavy riffing with some great bass rumble and phenomenal double bass drumming! But much of the credit for the sound of this band must go to vocalist Kam Lee though his style and approach has been aped by many other vocalists (Barney Greenway from Napalm Death being the most blatant) This guy is the original death metal vocalist and his deep growling style just commands your attention immediately that and his occasional sonic high pitched screams just make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! This album just has the sound of Death Metal Nailed PERFECTLY it's supremely heavy without veering into sludgey and overly droptuned territory the riffing is ultra fast, tight and razor sharp as are the whole band there is nothing at all on this album that can be criticized or nitpicked over this is the sound of musicians steeped in death metal tradition distilling 8 years of playing the music into one perfect album. This album is peerless it's sound, production and the sheer talent on display even now some 22 years later this album still sounds as brutal,heavy and intensely brilliant as it did first time i heard it, this is beyond essential! (Note it was also great that they chose to end the original album with "Corpsegrinder" from the very first Death Demo probably the first true Death metal song ever written this is the remastered re-issue of "From Beyond" which also includes the 3 tracks from the "Inhuman condition" from the same year as bonus)

#1 Entombed : "Left Hand Path" (1990)

So here it is my #1 pick of all time Death metal classics now believe me with so many influential, groundbreaking and truly important albums in this top 10 I agonized for a long time whether i should make this #1 was i being biased because Entombed are one of my favourite bands? Did they deserve to be #1 over bands with such deep roots in the creation of the death metal genre such as Autopsy, Death & Massacre? especially as all 3 of those bands were undoubtedly an influence on this band? After much agonizing I decided that even though i may be a little biased that this was in my opinion the right choice.

These young Swedes as you probably know began life as Nihilist releasing 3 demos over 2 years from 88 - 89 before realizing there was another band called Nihilist and to save confusion changed their name to Entombed and recorded 1 further demo before unleashing this debut album in 1990. Firstly it has to be made clear that to young and new fans of the genre it's important that you know that this was the first Death Metal album to be recorded at Sunlight Studios in Stockholm tho that specific Sunlight sound has been replicated countless times and Sunlight itself has seen hundreds of death metal bands pass through the studio since this album seeking that sound this was the first of them and without this album the specific sound of early Swedish death metal would not exist as we know it.

This albums 12 tracks (10 on vinyl) collects almost all of the Nihilist and Entombed demo tracks and adds 2 new tracks, the title track of the album and "Drowned". From the off this album just goes for the throat from the opening effected scream to the dying chords there is not a second of this album that does not demand your full attention! Firstly the pace is ferocious without falling into stupidly fast territory tho it was definitely a bit faster than the majority of death metal at the time and the guitar sound is just sick it has a crunch and heaviness that only Sunlight studios could provide (many bands have replicated the sound at other studios but it never quite achieve that specific sound) top that with L.G. Petrov's brilliant vocals somewhere between the growl of Death metal and the shout of punk (this being a testament to the fact that Entombed by their own admission were influenced as much by classic metal, death metal etc as they were bands like Discharge and their native classic hardcore "kang" punk) I could go on for hours about how great this album is and the effect of this album on the scene was enormous the shock waves of this album were still being felt years after it's release and even to this day (you only have to look to #8 in this top 10 for proof both the Dismember and Carnage debuts tho released shortly after "Left hand Path" had a very similar sound to this album and both of those bands had existed as long and commanded similar respect on the demo scene as Entombed however if you listen to those bands pre-album demos they sounded nothing like Entombed preceding their debuts) Whilst death metal had been around for a while it really enjoyed it's highest popularity from the late 80's to 1992 and preceding the Entombed debut whilst as this top 10 shows there was many great bands and albums around the formula was becoming a little stale and a lot of bandwagon jumping was going on but this album was fresh original and utterly wiped the floor with it's peers and even the bands it was influenced by, the sheer wealth of talent on display here for a reasonably new and very young band was jaw dropping this album displayed a depth of maturity and a grasp of sound and dynamics that for a debut album was beyond belief! Although there have been some great albums in the genre and the best 10 are here for you this album stands head and shoulders above everything released before and since it was a real shock and such a breath of fresh air for a scene that although in it's infancy was beginning to become a little stale. This album deserves to be #1 in this post there's no doubt in my mind if you've heard it then you know I'm right if you haven't then i suggest you get going and download it now 23 years later it still sounds as vicious tight and utterly brutal as it ever did, if you only ever own 1 death metal album in your life it should be this one.

So there you go as i said i'm sure many of you will consider some of these choices as unworthy and i'm sure there are some glaring omissions for example I'm sure i will get a verbal kicking for not including Master's debut album but though it does deserve inclusion here i feel that at 17 mins long and having been around the tape trading circuit for 6/7 years before seeing an actual relase that it's influence was more felt as an underground demo rather than a realesed album and by that measure i would have had to make this a top 50 because there were so many influential and great bands that never saw an album and existed only as demo bands although many had their demos collected and reissued many years later (Dr Shrinker, Insanity and Fatal to name but a few) This post was intended for albums only. I'm hoping that this post will provoke some debate and discussion and i truly welcome it there's nothing i love more than discussing classic music so please feel free to comment in the meantime help yourself to 11 great albums that defined a scene that meant so much to me during my formative years and that I still love to this day!


Dave B.

(Me aged about 15/16 in my bedroom at my parent's first home NEEEEERD!)