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The only easily recognizable band on this release is, of course, Lymphatic Phlegm; Autophagia is a bit known in the more underground circles of the goregrind scene, but Feculent Goretomb and Ulcerrhoea go mostly unnoticed even there. This 4-way split brings together some of the nastier and stranger bands in the international goregrind scene, and while the quality of the material is pretty fundamentally hit or miss, it's a pretty good way to see what the underground goregrind scene really looks like.
This is a sudden shift in sound from the band's initial demo tape and shows this Brazilian duo firmly moving in the direction for which they're known now. Gone is essentially all of the noisy Carcass worship of the demo tape in favor of the highly melodic riffing style influenced by oldschool trad and speed metal just as much as modern goregrind. The ultra-noisy and haunting production of old has transformed into a much cleaner and more open style, with guitars peculiarly misty (owing to a huge amount of reverb) yet clear with pitch-shifted vocals occupying the front of the musical space and programmed drums just under everything else. You could call material like this 'artistic' goregrind if that didn't bring to mind people with Paracocci shirts on under cable-knit sweaters.
Ironically, this improvement is what marks this as probably Lymphatic Phlegm's weakest material overall, though it's still markedly above average. It's clear from the songwriting that all the kinks haven't quite been worked out of the formula; a few of the tracks are gratingly repetitious in the riffing department and overall the music just doesn't have as much motion as it should. A lot of these flaws were obscured by the insane horror of the aesthetic of earlier material, but here everything's a little too clean-cut to make this fairly stock material shine. They would get much better on later works, and this is not without its place in the band's history, but it's certainly their weakest material. It's not without its moments, but again, I don't think you'd be missing anything by skipping this release if you were just grabbing it for Lymphatic Phlegm's contribution.
I expected something rather different from Autophagia when I first acquired this release, before having heard any of the one-man project's work; I was under the impression that the band was fixated on a noisy, drum machine-oriented goregrind style, like Mortician with pitch-shifted vocals. Instead, it's actually rather conventional oldschool Carcass and General Surgery style goregrind with real and surprisingly decently played drums(!). The music operates in a mid to quick thrash tempo with see-sawing Carcass style tremolo riffs and a gutturally grunted vocal performance. Clearly the biggest influences to this music are all the old guard goregrind bands, and this is easily the most oldschool of the artists on this 4-way split. The riffing in particular is very convincing and could easily have come from circa 1992 without trouble; they're catchy, somewhat melodic, and surprisingly good throughout.
Still, I can't help but be a little disappointed in how... conventional it is? Autophagia seems really toned down a notch compared to the craziness of the other bands on this CD and appears as an attempt to ground the split with a more traditional goregrind variety. It's not bad, and I like a lot of the riffs, but the songs themselves don't hold a whole lot of staying power once the CD is back in its case and overall Autophagia doesn't do anything that hasn't already been done by Carcass and the like. I understand that to fans of Carcass style goregrind you don't really WANT to do anything different, but I've never been the biggest Carcass fan and I think Autophagia would be served well to explore its own sound a little bit more. It's authentic in nature but it doesn't really do much for me.
Surprisingly enough, mostly unknown Brazilian goregrinders Feculent Goretomb completely steal the show on this CD with their brand of fast and ferocious dual-vocal goregrind. Masterfully paced and with each track maintaining listener interest completely, it's a real bright spot in the underground goregrind scene. While the guitar tone is slightly weak, the riffs aren't at all: both blasting tremolo sections and slow build-ups are riddled with gore-drenched, sinister riffing that occasionally brings to mind flickers of Catasexual Urge Motivation amidst more common influences such as Impetigo, Carcass, and other older artists. The horrific, gnashing tone of the music is what sets this so far apart from the other bands on the split; no other artist manages to sound as crazed and evil as these guys.
The pitch-shifted low and shrieked high vocals are fantastically done and bring a real freshness to one of goregrind's most conventional mixtures; the distortion used on the lows is unique and monstrous while the highs pop in at unexpected moments. The song structures are what make it though, building and releasing tension to make for perfectly timed and designed goregrind songs that sustain multiple listens without becoming tiring or stale. Feculent Goretomb's side is fantastic and unique though operating within the conventions of the genre and should be sought out by any fan of underground goregrind.
The final entry on the split is Germany's Ulcerrhoea, who play a noisy and crusty variety of goregrind similar to artists like MDK with a bit of Seven Minutes Of Nausea or Gorgonized Dorks thrown in for flavor. The subdued guitar and overblown bass tone makes for a weirdly uneven production where everything is overly distorted and blown far out of proportion. Vocals are a hoarse, grunting shout, a lower form of what's found in most crust bands. The crust influence is significant, found mostly in the vocals and d-beat oriented drumming. The songs are brief two-riff bursts of sound; it's not quite as intensely noisy as a band like Gorgonized Dorks, but the influence from noisecore is certainly apparent.
Like many bands in this style, Ulcerrhoea doesn't really grab me. Noisegrind is generally uninteresting to me due to having a mostly static aesthetic and lack of variation in sound, and Ulcerrhoea isn't really an exception to this rule. The fusion of intense crust influence and goregrind-styled riffing and production is interesting but instead of creating something new and even more intense the two extreme genres sort of neutralize each other, and the music is simpler, less chaotic, and more listenable than it logically would or should be given the influences at hand. I don't doubt that certain people would be very fond of this style, but it's just not for me; maybe the band's other releases could display something more of interest.
This isn't the finest goregrind split I've heard, and suffers from two fairly weak sides and one only marginally above average. I'd say that the contribution of Feculent Goretomb alone makes this worth seeking out for the dedicated goregrind fan, but the release as a whole probably isn't necessary. Still, it's a well-rounded and accurate view of what the underground goregrind scene is like, so it's perhaps of investigatory interest for some. I'd say that in most cases, though, you could probably pass on this without feeling too guilty as long as you tracked down Feculent Goretomb's side.
This release is definitely not for the faint of heart. If you like old school pathological gore grind and do not care about musical ability, then you should check this out. Aside form Lymphatic Phlegm who is a drum machine induced patho-gore band, this entire disc is full of the old, nasty, and best kind of gore grind laid down by Mixomatosis, Dead Infection, and the likes. I will not talk about Lymphatic Phlegm because I do not like them so much. So to not harm the rest of this record, I will not talk about them at all, I merely disregard them when I listen to this anyhow, it is not hard.
So let us start with the good stuff. I will go in order of how good they are, in ascending order. The Greek band Autophagia here produces ultra-primitive stuff, real simplistic gore grind with a sick fucking vocal distortion. They have a totally sick sound, real old school shit, if you are a grind fanatic this will appeal to you, otherwise you might think this is just slow, primitive noise. There is no bass drum under the blast beats for instance. It is over all weak musicianship, but who cares this is gore/noise and it is fucking sick at that too. It is also produced by just one man, so that makes this a lot more interesting. He also plays a General Surgery cover on this one.
The next act to rape your ears with horrible gore noise is Feculent Goretomb from Brazil. They are also a patho-gore grind band, with long medical names and weird intros, one of them being a strange ‘native’ dance music of sorts that you can hear in b-movies when they travel to some exotic location to hunt zombies. The music is pretty un-technical, the blast beats are pretty catastrophic, actually, but it sounds good in a strange sort of way. The vocal distortion on this is pretty fucking weird, it is sort of nasal and bizarre. The guitar riffs are lifted straight out of Agathocles’ ‘Back to 87’ album. All in all, your standard fucked up gore noise shit.
And the last in the line is the best German grind band, Ulcerrhoea. Man does this band fucking rule. What we have from them here is not their best material for sure, and they are still only reaching the summit they had with their splits with Sewn Shut and Carnal Diafragma, not to mention the legendary Siviilimurha, or their godlike split with Dysmorfic and Wartorn Nation but is on the way to getting that good. So almost, and even like this they take the cake from all the other bands on this release. This whole album, though, is great to listen to and is a masterpiece of gore grind. If you have the chance to pick it up, do so by all means.