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After Death I came upon Necrophagist and a whole new world of insane, fast, precise and murderous riffs opened before me. Technical death metal was a thing, and a not too obscure one for that matter. But further research showed me that in a revolutionary genre, there was a contradictory predominant stale sameness with thousands of bands just copying the "great ones" without anything new to add. Then, a friend with the same problem showed me this album.
The very first seconds of the album provide a taste of what's to come. Chaotic (and I do mean chaotic) tempo changes, breaks, harmonic dissonance and a murdering, surgical precision are the utmost signatures of this work. I cannot stress this enough. It's not very heavy, though. Aggressive indeed, in a thrash metal kind of way, but not too heavy. Another important factor is melody. Now, don't be scared: it has plenty of melody, but not in a melodic/power metal fashion, not like Kreator has been doing, you could say. They're able to fit some great melody in their chaotic bliss without losing aggressiveness. It goes to show how professional they are. I'd even go as far as to say that if Chuck Schuldiner was still alive, he'd be doing something very much like it.
But experimentation has its downsides. The are "opera" segments (I shit you not, there's actually opera segments in this album) with female lyrical vocals that simply do not fit with the rest of the album. And this is not to say it's not well done, apart from the crude vocal mixing it's actually reasonably good, but it goes way too far from the violently surgical murdering happening elsewhere. It almost sounds like a new age "good vibes" tune sometimes, the discrepancy is just too damn high.
Another problem is that the mixing overall is a little bit crude, too. Everything's too flat, especially the drums, which is not completely bad considering their tech/prog motif, but there could be more weight into it. That's something they got to improve with latter albums, though sacrificing all these other things that made them unique. So yeah, really not a problem. Especially when you consider it's from 1999.
Bottom line is: if you like technical and progressive death metal, this is a must have. A true breath of fresh air in a genre where it should not be so rare. There are flaws indeed, but they're not a high price to pay considering everything else.
As a tech-death metal fan, I was looking for some new bands of this genre... In my search, I was getting very tired of listening different bands that sounded almost the same. A total lack of creativity and identity. I just don't remember how I got to "Anticlimax" video, on YouTube. With a name like that, I thought it was going to be another waste of time... But I was wrong. Completely wrong. I noticed, in the first seconds of the song, that I found a band which not just sounds unique - sounds awesome! Of course, the next step was to find the entire album. I just couldn't keep on listening to the same song for the rest of my life.
When I finnaly got the album, after a long search, I put it to play and I just couldn't hide a smile. The first song starts killing everything! At first, it's not easy to follow the combo of intense riffs, fullfilled with abrupt tempo and compass breaks. The unexpected construction of the songs is amazing. This album really's got the power to keep the listener very entertained until it's last second, enjoying each insane riff. One song definitively doesn't sound like the other.
Although the songs may look a little bit chaotic and confusing at a first listen, with time everything starts making sense, sounding coherent, somehow. What I'm trying to say here is that the way that the riffs are linked starts sounding very natural and fluent. This is a great merit, once many tech-death bands seem not to know how to link different riffs they created in a same song, giving a "forced" aspect or putting a silly interlude to link the parts. Gory Blister knows how to make a song sound technical without losing the line. Another great merit I must mention is that they know how to sound agressive, energic, chaotic and fast in a very melodic way. Some passages are very melodic, like the refrain of "Art Bleeds" and "Snowfall". The solos are also great, the ones found in "Comet... And Her Trail Of Dust", which's got a eighties progressive rock style.
One thing that took some time for me to get acostumed was Dome's high-pitched vocals. But after listening it for a while, I see that it fits very well, and started to enjoy his singing style. Another very strange thing in "Art Bleeds" that I still don't know if I liked is the surprising instrumental track "Mermaids Beloved", where there's just a opera singer with a clean electric guitar harmony. It's not mixed the way it should be, I guess... There's something in this song I don't like much. This opera singer's voice shows up again in a very short part in Snowfall. Nothing to worry about.
Conclusion: it's a great album, and, nowadays, one of my favourite. I cannot say things like "if you like band X you'll like this", because they really sound peculiar. What can I say? You can look for the already mentioned video for "Anticlimax" in YouTube. With me, that was the start, although it's not their best song. Or download some mp3 of this album, if you find it. It's going to be a unique experience for sure.
You know, it recently occurred to me that the vast majority, if not all, of my reviews have been written without regard to such music theory staples as time signatures, pinch harmonics, and so on and so forth, and now I'm starting to really feel like a loser for it. Would you say that a greater percentage of reviewers on this site have a firm background in music theory, or that more of them are as poorly-versed as I am?(Email me and tell me what you think)
I'm asking this partly because Italian band Gory Blister is described as technical death metal. I feel obligated, especially to bands with the word 'technical' as part of their overall sound description, to be especially thorough when reviewing albums of this nature because I feel as if the band WANTS you to know that they're not JUST death metal or not JUST progressive metal. Do you get my drift? There's more to it than just standards for the genre.
Anyway, Gory Blister's debut album Art Bleeds is nothing short of incredible--with snarling, menacing vocals, unrelenting speed, plenty of blastbeat passages, and MELODY. This album isn't brutal, per se, but it's very aggressive. You can be aggressive without being brutal, you know. Every song doesn't sound the same and the band takes breathers every once in a while in the form of beautiful string arrangements and atmospherics and opera vocals...yes OPERA vocals. There is even a segue consisting purely of a languid melody with opera vocals throughout.
The person who sent this album to me via email(Ink Pen Murder. Thanks a lot, man.) stated them to be old-school death metal. Heh, it doesn't sound old-school to me. All the old-school death metal I've heard and even all the old-school music I've heard has murky production...the instruments and the vocals just don't ring in loud and clear and the speed and technicality of it isn't that impressive. I didn't realize that bands as old as Gory Blister(at least in the sense of the age of death metal) could sound so fresh, unrelenting, and sophisticated as many modern death metal bands. It's always seemed to me that creativity was more rife in the newer bands. *shrugs*
Anyway, this band was formed in the early to mid 90s and they should be spoken in the same breath or an adjacent breath as bands like Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, and Demilich. Just because many bands are well-known popular, and mainstream doesn't mean that they're better than what the underground has to offer.