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''God's Death'' by Absurd is a perfect example of how metal should not sound. The songwriting is as bad as the performance, and though I usually don't find bad production problematic, the production is absolutely terrible. It sounds like it was recorded in a garage with a phonautograph from the 19th century. And besides the bad production, the guitar tone is horrible, it sounds both very rubbery and sour, and the guitars sound quite out of tune.
The production does actually fit with the riffs, as the riffs are as bad as the production. The riffs are just so forgettable, I genuinely couldn't tell the different songs apart, because they sounded so similar. It's just a few couple of power chords played in a basic and predictable progression. And words simply can't describe how bad the guitar tone is, and they ruin any chance of the guitar riffs being even slightly interesting.
The drums are quite obnoxious. Not because of the performance is bad, necessarily, but because the sound and mixing is horrible. The drumming itself is mostly quite basic, with a few blast beats here and there, however the snare drum sound quite flat, yet is so loud it creates a sort of bulk in the sound, and the drums are as loud, if not a little bit louder than the guitars.
The biggest issue I have with ''God's Death'', is the bad vocal performance. The growls sound unrehearsed and weak, and the vocalist is too close to the microphone. It sounds more like the vocalist is talking while trying to simulate a cartoon villain. You can also hear what the lyrics quite easily, which I assure is not a good thing. The lyrics consist of edgy, satanic bullshit, and they try way to hard to appear ''evil'' and ''dark''. The clean vocals are even worse, as they are very sour and flat, and the vocalist seems to struggle quite a bit with hitting the notes.
Something else about the album that I find weird and pointless is the fact that the intro is just three minutes of a German church sermon, which takes up about 15% of the album. While this isn't a major complaint, I just don't see the point in filling up an already short release with unnecessary intro that doesn't add anything the the ''music''.
''God's Death'', whilst not as bad as their follow-up ''Death from the Forest'', is a terrible release, and I'd never thought I'd say this about an album, but I will; It's just a bunch of noise. Pointless noise with no originality.
For those who've never heard Absurd, this is certainly an indescribable experience Some of the shittiest artwork ever precedes a tape that leaves you wondering how this is the same band often heralded as one of the most infamous and influential bands ever to be part of the NSBM scene, and BM scene in general. This tape certainly doesn't cast any light on this factoid. A short intro that sounds like the credits to a movie or period drama turns into a terribly produced punk track that's almost inaudible, and totally immaterial in relevance, offering nothing of note.
"Last Breath" is hugely different, and sums up what to me, defines Absurd best - a melodic and deeply catchy vocal melody is performed, mostly clean, with the very occasional aggressive part. The singing is effectively off-key, but in the Punk way that always seems to make it excusable. Complemented with JFN's amateur but coherent drum performance, DMD's vocals have always been a mystery to me - incredibly captivating, memorable, and genial, but from a technical point of view; utter shit.
The remainder of this demo is pretty much just filler, or tracks that disappeared, but it's worth nothing that this heralds the first appearance what is not just one of the most famous Absurd songs, but probably the most covered song in NSBM history, with dozens of versions circulating - Thor's Hammer, Xenocide, and many more artists have taken to covering "Gates of Heaven".
This track is stopped in far more history than I care to go into, as it's been told before, and by authors far better than I, however this embryonic version marks an event of huge importance in the development of "our thing", and as a retrospective look back, should never be ignored.
Ultimately, the first demo by Absurd is rather Absurd. These are young adults, no more than teenagers, making their mark, without any idea of the relevance and importance that they would go on to receive less then a decade later. Not that it matters - after serving jail time for the murder of Sandro Beyer, and becoming martyred in the German media, Absurd eventually stopped performing with this line up in the late nineties, and probably never intended or cared to have the reputation that will surely out live them. All of that, from a demo that's genuinely rather obnoxious and pedestrian. You can't help but be jealous.
Absurd has actually made some really good music throughout their career but I guess every band has to start out somewhere. For Absurd, it was with the "God's Death" demo tape. And wow, this is one shitty demo. This sounds like it was recorded by placing a tape recorder in the back of a toilet while the band played in another room about 100 feet away. I can't see how this has any redeemable quality whatsoever.
The guitars are terrible. Absolutely terrible. When Absurd was a young band, they played extremely simple punk-esque songs that actually sounded fairly decent aside from the "it's so easy a caveman could do it" sound and rough production value. Their debut full-length "Facta Loquuntur" has some really cool songs, one of which being "The Gates of Heaven" which originated on this demo. This song sounds terrible here, though. Some of the riffs we can actually manage to make out do sound somewhat cool but most of them are just pitiful, and the aforementioned production value doesn't help. Oh and this demo contains one of the most stupid introductions ever.
In terms of drums, they sound like cardboard here. There aren't any technical drum lines, in fact, most of the time, they just follow the same pattern through each song. Surprise. "Boese" has a unique drum pattern when compared to most of these songs and is also one of the faster tracks. But it's so damn choppy and hard to listen to, I wouldn't waste the time on it. I wouldn't waste the time on this demo period. If you want to hear Absurd when they really started making decent music, check out "Totenlieder". If you want to hear this style of music played in a much better way, check out "Facta Loquuntur".
I gave God's Death a listen a little while ago, only to become very displeased with the horrible production and what sounds like a German television show being played in the background to simulate war sounds. Well, I ended up turning it off mid listen it was so horrible. I then decided to give this another chance, after listening to some other Absurd releases. For some strange reason, God's Death grew on me, to the point of boosting my rating for the album from a terrible ten percent to an excellent one hundred percent.
What makes God's Death such a good demo? Well, the songs on it are excellent. Classics such as "Last Breath" and "The Gates of Heaven" (later shortened to simply "Gates of Heaven") appear on God's Death. While most of the songs presented here are not presented in their definitive incarnation, they are played in a very raw, stripped down, rather careless way here. Because of this, there is kind of a silly 80s thrash feeling going on here. This makes for a great album, as the immaturity is a refreshing break from starker sound of most black metal. Some songs, such as "God's Death" do appear here in their definitive form here, giving the demo even more value.
Everything on God's Death is very memorable. "Last Breath" has a melodic, catchy, but "kvlt" sound that is impossible to forget. "God's Death" is also a memorable track with rather goofy lyrics about Satan. While at this point, Absurd was very Satanic seeming, the music here is black metal infused with a bit of RAC, which is the shortened term for a kind of punk, "Rock Against Communism". This makes the demo have a very unique sound. Not often do you get to hear black metal and RAC collide.
Clean vocals are used to a great extent here. On later releases, the clean vocals sound more folky, but here, the sound very hardcore punk, and transition easily into the parts with screamed vocals. All of the vocals here sound great. The drums would be considered to be bad by most, however, I find that the very improvised feel Hendrik Möbus provides works very well on God's Death.
The production on this demo is extremely raw, but in a good way. It can get kind of weird, as there are German television show soundtracks playing between the songs, in a very lo-fi format. I used to think that these interludes ruined the demo. Now, I have realised that it makes the release a very interesting and unique one. My one complaint pertains to the way the music is panned. The vocals are panned dramatically to the left (at least on "Last Breath"). However, I am not taking off points for this, as it is perfectly fine assuming that the listener uses open speakers and not headphones.
Simply put, God's Death is a masterpiece, but too raw and undeveloped for most listeners tastes, at least at first. I challenge every black met fan to give this multiple listens.
When one is in his teens, one tends to rebel, to join certain subcultures active at the time being and even to push one's actions to the most extreme possible. Young men usually do this in order to prove themselves in front of their kith and kin. One asks a girl he likes to date him, the other steals some bubble gum from a public grocery store. Absurd's members kill a Jewish classmate, who was mocking their "evil" imagery back in 93'. Apparently this is how it's done amongst the "elitist Aryan resistance" or the NSBM scene. This is what you have to do to get acknowledgement within the scene, which truly is worth spending an awful lot of time in prison. And you know what? That actually worked, as Absurd is viewed today as one of the precursors of "elite German hateful music".
Sure, heck of a story, isn't it? But let's get to the music. Well actually what we have here can not be described as music, as it is a complete cacophony. I wish I never had listened to this complete piece of garbage. This is so bad it provokes nausea and migraines. Make your friends listen to this crap and they will curse you to hell. Yes. It is that bad. The pain this ejection of sonic diarrhoea causes is even worse that Metallica's "St. Anger" combined with all the emopopcore you can find on the fucking Internet. It's even worse (!) than Ildjarn's minimalistic junkyard black metal for that matter. This juvenile effort is anything but good. To think that they were the same age as Quorthon or Alexi Laiho, who both released killer music in their teens. The recording is shit (only mono recorded). The guitars sound like a lawn mower... mowing a lawn... covered in shit! Bass is non existent. But now let's get to the interesting part: the vocals! Really this guy is very talented. Not. This poor epic Aryan warlord sounds like he is vomiting his own life. The music itself can be described as puking into the pipe of a running vacuum cleaner. He also does clean vocals and together with the music it sounds like a sad cuckoo trapped inside a ventilator. The drums really make Lars Ulrich's performance on St. Anger sound great! The drums are almost non existent either, sounding much worse than on any Moonblood recording you will ever get your hands on.
Do humanity a favour and never get this, and while you're at it, if you have to listen to these guys, get it as an mp3 and if you ever see a person with either a patch, a CD or any other merchandise from this band, tell him this is an utter disgrace to both nihilism and heavy metal.