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Picture this, if you would… you’re standing in a huge, black, room. Upon the stage there are pig heads on stakes, and a quartet of filthy Norweigan teenagers, struggling to get their piss-poor equipment set up for 40 minutes of the most brutal black metal you could expect to hear at the time. The ugly blonde one with a bunch of coal paint on his eyes steps up to the front and rasps “Only Death is REEEEEAL!” Then it begins.
I dunno what it is about low-fi black metal that seduces me and makes me forget what it is to appreciate recording quality, but it works. I can listen to this and see it all. Fuck the snare drum sounding like a piece of plywood on a brick, fuck the bass distorted to comedic-fuzz heights, fuck the guitar, being sloppily shredded, like a blind mans cheese, and fuck Dead and his vocals, that sound like a dying Alzheimer’s patient gasping for her final words as she departs this earth. None of these things matter.
The grimness. The shallow, hateful, rasping undertone. The brutal pounding, the nasty aura, the disgusting ambiance. These are what matter. You aren’t in a place where quality matters when you listen to this, you are in a place where all things black and filthy, all things that drip with distaste, disdain and despair, where all evil flourishes.
It’s called grimland, population… well, I dunno the exact figure. But they’re all wearing corpsepaint, that’s for fucking sure! And I vacation whenever I can.
This is the first, the gate. If you wanna see if someone who’s interested has the spirit to stomach the black metal genre, you need to make sure they hear this first. It’s the gateway, and if you can brave these gates, a whole new atmosphere is there for the sucking.
The quality sucks, sure, but the songs are there! They are there in raw, prime form. Deathcrush is slowed to an unnatural speed, frowned upon by many, but come on! It sounds magnificent this way. That is a song that can crawl, and like a mighty behemoth, crush all those who stumble into it’s sodden trail before it. Or something. Necrolust is always a step up from the Deathcrush version (I personally haven’t heard a version past or present that tops this one). This was even the first you heard of Funeral Fog, a song that was recorded for De Mysteriis… later on, in a perfect, grimey way. But here, on this record, it’s an abortion of sickly trance. It’s sloppy, but by god, the song is there and kickin.
Freezing Moon? You know, the one that we’ve all heard 15 different versions of? Yeah, this is the only one worth remembering. Carnage? Well… listen to Pure Fuckin Armageddon, and listen to Live in Leipzig… tell me which you’re more partial to.
Buried by Time and Dust… here’s about the only song that would move on to be reproduced in such a way to put this live version to shame. Not bad, just not as neatly polished, and Dead is not quite as suited for this delivery as Atilla was on De Mysteriis… Still, despite the imperfections (and, also, despite the fucked up buzz at the beginning and the dropped drumsticks in the middle), it’s a great incarnation of this track.
Pagan Fears is good. Yeah… Not really much to say there.
CHAINSAW GUTSFUCK! Now we’re down to fucking business, friends. Another one from Deathcrush, slowed to a crawl, and my god, it’s intense. It’s sonic earfucking on a whole new level. Dead, unlike every other singer to perform this song, actually gets the fucking lyrics right! Yeah, listen, he does it… what’re the fuckin odds? (Seriously, though, how fucking hard is it for Atilla/Maniac/Messiah/JoeBlackMetal to learn the lyrics to this song and not fuck them up live? Apparently very…) Crushing bass, precise drums, brilliant creeping lyrics, a song that plods along to a fitting climax.
“Come on! Leipzig! Join us!!! Pure… fucking… Armageddon!!!” and with that bold statement, we hear a closing to end all closings (get it? Cause it’s, liek, Armageddon, and, liek, theyre ending teh show?! Lololz) and as they thrash through the final notes, you are left to bring yourself out of an aural, cranial, dank, grim, ghoulswamp of trance-inducing headrape and crawl your way out of Grimland. Nice? I thought so.
Which reminds me, the only thing I regret, is that they never played Ghoul. But we can’t really hold that against them, now can we?