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Meathole Infection is a three-piece death metal outfit from Montgomery, Alabama. With their first self-titled demo, they provide a four-track slab of absolutely old-school death metal that has no qualms about looking to the greats of old for inspiration. There's essentially no 'progress' on this release apart from writing catchy, solid DM, but there really doesn't need to be: with song titles like 'Sluts Of The Grave' you really know what you're getting into when you give this CDr a listen.
They wear their influences proudly on their sleeves: Meathole Infection name Impetigo as their primary source of inspiration, and damn if it doesn't show very apparently on this demo. Perhaps the best description would be three parts Impetigo-style DM with the occasional doomy passage to one part Ripping Corpse-style speed/death. Thus, this mixture gives us a variety of death metal that's low on blasting and high on thrashy, malignant riffing. As stated before, this style definitely hearkens back to the Autopsy and Obituary of old, and distinctly lacks modern technicality or progress. No, this is most certainly old-school, balls to the walls death metal for those who like it just as simple as it was back in '91.
The music here, while not stunning, is pretty damned solid as a whole. Meathole Infection shift seamlessly between the more atmospheric, spacey riffing and tight speed metal holdovers without the awkward transitions that frequently plague very new bands. Impetigo is all over this band from top to bottom: from riffing to vocal delivery to rhythm, this positively reeks of burnt-out copies of 'Ultimo Mondo Cannibale' and 'Horror Of The Zombies'. Not that this is a bad thing (though it obviously would be for Cynic fans), as for the most part it works pretty well: I dig the horror film feel of tracks like 'Wretched Rotissarie'. Granted, the compositions aren't flying out of fucking nowhere with crazy leads and ingenious sample use; but hey, I'm not going to complain when there's quality stuff afoot.
So what knocks all this down significantly? One word: production. While it preserves the general sound well, there is a tremendous lack of punch in the bass end and a lack of sharpness in the treble, leaving pretty much everything a mid-zone swamp. What really makes me shake my head is the guitar tone: the riffing gets smothered by what sounds like computer recording, killing the natural 'oomph' of the riffs on this recording. Another flaw would be the drumming: while Meathole Infection have since gotten a human drummer, I'm rather sure that it is programmed on this release, which really does not fit the style and tone of the music herein. I understand the inherent limitations of personnel, but I am critiquing what is here, not what should be.
Overall, though, Meathole Infection have a very solid demo here. With some improvement in sound quality and some more change-ups in the songwriting, they could easily become the kings of throwback DM.
(Note: this demo is being sent out for free by the band at this time. This alone gives you no reason to pass up on it. Message them at their Myspace with your address to request a copy, which, from my experience, will be sent promptly and without issue: http://www.myspace.com/meatholeinfection420)