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Three sides to every story - 85%

morbert, September 11th, 2008

For those of you who think the “Hatred Surge” demo was still too slow, too punk or those who found Scum too lightweight productionally, here’s a 1986 demo that might interest you. Compositionally this demo is the missing link between their early days with Miles "Rat" Ratledge on drums and their 1987-1988 furious grindcore days. And it’s even more than that. Just read on!

Of course songs like “Instinct of Survival” and “Siege of Power” are in essence not that different from what can be heard on the Scum album but the sound and performance are very sloppy. “Unclean” is a hidden gem here. It would have easily been one of the better songs had it been on the A-side of Scum. This demo even holds the promordial version of a song that would not see the light of day until the 1988 F.E.T.O. album (“Private Death”) Although this version has different lyrics and is thrice as long… Come to think about it, only the title and one riff sound alike.

I always wondered why the band never re-recorded lengthier songs such as “Abatoir” and “What Man Can Do” on a future album since those songs also appeared on more than one demo and obviously were two of their favorite songs in those days (played by both Ratledge as well as Harris). Okay, those songs are less aggressive than the average ND song in the years to come but didn’t they write and record very different songs like Evolved As One and Contemptuous later on?

I can imagine the band not wanting to use these songs during the Scum recording when they started to focus on the fastest material and a lot of the ‘forgotten’ songs here are more experimental than Napalm Death have been since. On “What Man Can Do” one can already clearly hear Broadricks typical guitar playing, including the dissonant wavy industrial elements that would evolve into his Godflesh songswriting.

When focussing on those lenghtier experimental songs alone this demo even sounds like an omen of the 1992 Scorn debut ‘Vae Solis’. Scorn at that point in time consisting of the three members that recorded this demo and the A-side of Scum… Bullen, Harris & Broadrick going sick industrial metal all the way. It would have been so much fun if the threesome would have re-recorded those dissonant industrial tunes for the Scorn debut.

In the end one can even conclude this demo holds three old elements. There’s some leftover punk, some grindcore and Broadrick’s search for a new industrial guitarsound including hints of the future Scorn release. Therefor it is an interesting release for a metal historian and fun to listen to as well.