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Once upon a time, Gorefest was one of the finest death metal acts hailing from the Netherworld. Such a pity that they didn't last long in that league. If you enjoyed their debut masterpiece I can't really assure you that this one will really get you in the mood. Let's start for the production. There's too much "plastic". While the first effort sounded just massive (we won't talk about the demos since they were raw and crude as fuck, but easily their best stuff to me), it also involves lots of melody here and there instead of monolithic brutality, something I didn't really like. Vocals by Jan-Chris are fine, really not bad at all, but they sound waaaay weaker than the "Mindloss" ones, which were astonishingly savage. Let's talk about compositions. They are far from being bad. In fact, these are great songs, but sometimes a review doesn't exactly collide with objectiveness and the fact that I miss so much primitiveness, violence, brutality...call-it-how-you-want, that these young fellas really know how to develop is enough for me to give it a poor rating.
Just compare their openers. Killer and straight to the bone "Mental Misery" can't be matched with the decaffeinated "The Glorious Dead", nor with the dark melodies of "Confessions of a Serial Killer" with "Reality - When You Die", and I could list more examples endlessly. But I'd rather stick to my copy of the 1st album instead of writing pointless essays. I know, maybe they reached maturity with "False". Those songs are perfect. The leads are memorable and all that jazz, folks. But I still prefer the angry bastards who wrote "Tangled in Gore" and sung "Putrid Stench of Human Remains" with such blood- red eyes. The continuation sounds too much like "life metal" to me.
This is a very different beast from the previous full-length, but it's probably equal in quality. The material on 'False' is genuinely ahead of its time, and is certainly a major progression of the primitive, brute death metal of 'Mindloss'. The material here is substantially more refined than the Autopsy-influenced sludge-death found on 'Mindloss', and overall this music is more articulate and clean. It still has the nastiness and filth that early Gorefest is known for, but the piece is more polished this time around, making for an album that loses a bit of the horror of 'Mindloss' but makes up for it in more varied songs.
Oldschool DM chugging and tremolo riffs still take up the majority of the guitars on 'False', but now new, hypermelodic yet still brutal sections will appear from time to time, quite similar to what one might find on Dismember's 'Death Metal'. Some strangely atmospheric, almost Godflesh-influenced passages pop up from time to time with murky chord structures and strange dissonance, but don't let any of this scare you away: this is still fundamentally a death metal despite its (excellent) use of outside influences.
The guttural, demonic roar of the vocals is still intact, as is the deft and subtle drum performance, but the material as a whole is augmented by an experimental edge far ahead of its time. With essentially all traces of thrash lost by this point, the song structures are now more sinuous and ever-expanding, with a main theme returning as denouement to a given song, with the intervening material ever-shifting and changing, with an almost endless supply of excellent riffs and winding leads barreling through the songs with all brutality and sickness perfectly intact.
While 'False' isn't as straightforward and purely oldschool as 'Mindloss', it's certainly one of the best examples I can think of of a death metal band using unusual elements to further the music's quality rather than being enslaved by the more experimental impulses. Gorefest manages to incorporate such influences naturally and unobtrusively into the fabric of the music without at any point feeling like less of a metal band due to the new inclusions. The usage of some of these elements is what turns 'False' from being merely very good to nearly essential for the dedicated death metal fan.
Like 'Mindloss', I would say that 'False' is certainly a somewhat underappreciated gem in the oldschool death metal scene which is deserving of more attention. Gorefest is a band which has been somewhat lost in the sea of high-profile oldschool DM groups, but with music like this and that of the previous album, there's no reason for them to go so widely ignored. If you haven't heard Gorefest before, pick up this album and the previous soon and enjoy a hidden bit of mastery in the morass of oldschool death metal.
What we have here is the quintessential Gorefest death metal album. I had been following the band since the release of their second demo ‘Horrors in a Retarded Mind’. After their Mindloss album half the line up changed. Welcome to Ed Warby on drums and Boudewijn Bonebakker on lead guitar. This had a huge impact on the sound, technique and songwriting.
The band had left their one dimensional polka death metal with gore lyrics behind and released a very mature album which not only included some industrial and doom influences but also blast speed drums, ingenious licks and leads and lyrics about religious wars, neonazi’s, depression, dedicated followers of fashion and so on.
Produced by Colin Richardson the album had a state of the art sound that still sounds relevant and brutal in 2007. Opener ‘The Glorious Dead’ is by far the most brutal song even to have been recorded by Gorefest. Raging death metal with furious vocals. ‘State Of Mind’ is a mid tempo pounder on which the first Godflesh inspired dissonant guitar chords can be heard.
‘Reality When You Die’ is yet another highlight. The intro is simply mind blowing. Eerie and beautiful. The songs then continues in a very doomy Bolt Throwerish way and slowly builds up speed until reaching maximum at 3:57 minutes and ending the same way the song started. An excellent composition with great dynamics, changes of key, pace and catchiness.
‘Get A Life’ is the song on which you can most clearly hear the Godflesh influences. Just check out the intro. The additional screams on the chorus are simply very cool and once again it is a real catchy tune. The next real highlight is ‘Second Face’ on which the verses and chorus strongly refer to their previous album and I wonder if the song was actually written in that period.
After all this magnificence the album proceeds with three decent songs which are enjoyable but not quite as brilliant as the rest. Best songs: ‘The Glorious Dead’, ‘Reality When You Die’, ‘Get-a-Life’ and ‘Second Face’. If you like Death Metal, this is one of the classics.
I really dug this album when it came out and I remember it as one of the few death metal albums from the early 90s that was worth a damn. Colin Richardson's production and mix really made these guys stand out as both professional and proficient, as you can hear everyone really well--even Jan-Chris de Koeyer's thundering distorted bass gets a fair shake in the mix. And it has a really powerful rumble to it underneath the guitars. The drum sound is slightly "plinky"--triggered, maybe?--but otherwise you can really hear Ed Warby's furious pounding in perfect clarity.
Jan-Chris' vocals also stand out, as instead of incoherent Cannibal Corpse-style (Chris Barnes era, anyway) grunting, he lets out a powerful roar that is remarkably coherent as death metal vocals go. He even made a point of dissing DM "vocalists" who "Cup the mic and bark like dog!" in the liner notes. It makes his politically and socially charged lyrics more convincing since you can understand him pretty well, obvious Dutch accent aside.
Did I mention his lyrics are politically and socially charged? A radical change from their earlier Cannibal Corpse-like gore nonsense era, and a change I enjoyed, as I prefer lyrics with some intelligence to them. And his lyrics were viciously barbed and pointed in addressing matters like fascism/National Socialism, racism, falseness and lies and hypocrisy, and of course that old time religion.
Musically the band shows it can hang with equal parts melody and chaos, as Frank Haarthoorn and Boudewijn Bonebakker lay down riffs and solos that are very heavy and melodic, respectively. Their leads are for the most part haunting and memorable (album opener "The Glorious Dead" is one fine example), but they can tear out Slayer-like atonal screeches and howls with the best of them. They even dish out a fine and poignant twin-guitar harmony lead segment in the last song.
"The Glorious Dead" and "Second Face" are good examples of their faster, more chaotic blasting approach, but they also unleash some killer slow tunes like the ultra-morbid "Reality-When You Die" (the ending riff benefits from squawking pinch harmonics that make it sound so much more evil!) and the wrenching "State Of Mind". J-C even whips out some Napalm Death-style high shrieks on the chorus of "Get-A-Life". Strong and relentless are the best words to describe Gorefest's overall approach musically.
This is really a good solid album with abundant power and conviction, and I recommend it to all serious deathsters who want a taste of what good Euro death can be.
False actually starts out all right with The Glorious Death. Beginning with a quote, it quickly leads to a fast and deadly riff. Jan's vocals are rough, but not distorted like a lot of the new brutal death bands. The guitar isn’t bad either; the band definitely has some musical talent. There are some high solos too, something death metal bands miss out on often. It isn't melodic, but there is more of a melody to the album than say... bands like Mortician(the extreme example). Yet, after State of Mind the album becomes somewhat boring. The riffs aren't bad, but nothing special. The choruses soon become lacking.
One thing about this album is that it's very "headbangable", if you like to do such things. In fact, every track gives you a burst of energy. But, after listening to the album straight through a few times it turns bland. False isn't the greatest song either, kind of slow and drawn out. There's not a lot to say other than False is run of the mill death metal. It's kind of a lighter more melodic version of Gorguts(not my favorite band either). It doesn't have that "industrial" type sound that often arises in Soul Survivor. Also, it is less melodic than Soul Survivor, with less impressive solos. Anyway I wouldn't recommend it, there’s better death out there.