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uggggggggh - 26%

Noktorn, February 6th, 2011

Thank god the whole supergroup thing in metal in the early '00s is over- it produced nothing of any value and all of those albums sound horribly dated now. Case in point: The Ravenous, yet another attempt by Chris Reifert to recapture the magic of Autopsy, stumbling and falling all the way. This time he's joined by Danny Lilker, who seems to be the Steve Buscemi of the metal scene by playing bass on every album ever released but not really doing much except allowing people to say 'oh, it's Danny Lilker I guess'. Killjoy, godawful, reprehensible vocalist of Necrophagia rounds out the pack, proving that you shouldn't settle for steak once a week when you can eat shit every day. Admittedly, I did like him in the second August Underground movie, but that's the sum total of his output that I enjoy.

In short, this is Reifert desperately grasping at straws to try and revitalize Autopsy under a new name (just like Abscess and, well, nearly every other project he's been involved with), and predictable it's a failure. It sounds like The Ravenous are going for a blend of 'Mental Funeral' and 'Shitfun', possessing the slow, dirgelike death metal of the former with the Abscessy crust vibe of the latter. A lot of things make this album fail miserably, but let's start with the production. Cloudy and reverbed to all hell, the guitars are an almost indistinguishable mess of background noise whenever the drumming picks up. Vocals are sloppily laid over everything, too dominant in the mix for their own good, and the bass is basically inaudible. So what's occupying the space? It's not really the drums, because they're not that loud either- it's as though the mix has been swallowed up by some droning background noise below the human range of hearing. The guitars tend to creep around the sides of the other instruments, but the exact riffs are often hard to make out. Any way you slice it, it's irritating as all hell.

Then again, even if you could hear the riffs you wouldn't be impressed. They basically sound like the bottom of the barrel Abscess scraped later in their career- Reifert attempts to bring back Autopsy's dark, brooding riffs, but forgets all the special things that made Autopsy riffs so great, like the unsettling use of dissonance and twisted, bent notes. Without any of those subtle elements, you're given an array of pretty bland oldschool death/punk riffs that sound like they were cultivated from a crappy Mantas demo. What The Ravenous are trying to do on any given song is painfully obvious: this one is supposed to be an Abscess-style punk song, this one is a slow, dirgey Autopsy track, and all the while there's never a song done by The Ravenous. The collective has literally no identity of its own- all it does it take cues from other Reifert projects and laze around without anything to say. The songwriting is bland, uninspired, and repetitive- all the things that Autopsy was not.

I guess this is for the same people who think that whatever millionth Rogga Johansson project is newest is the greatest thing in the world and the revitalization of death metal. Frankly, I can't see why anyone would want to listen to this- it's almost impossibly boring and shamelessly robs all the style and musical ideas present from other, better, older bands. What's the point of a record like this? A vanity piece for Reifert to prove he still has it? Please, for the love of god, skip this garbage and just buy an old Autopsy album instead.

Now this is How a Horror Movie should Sound - 96%

Five_Nails, July 26th, 2009

Catchy, simple, bloody, and brutal, The Ravenous debut album, “Assembled in Blasphemy” is a ready-made horror movie soundtrack. With song titles like, “Dead, Cut Up, and Ready to Fuck”, “Orgy in Dog’s Blood”, and “Feasting from the Womb”, it is obvious that these guys were going for the sickest and most perverse lyrics possible, the kind of thing that the 700 Club would blame a school shooting on, and with a band made up of members of the first waves of death metal and grindcore including Autopsy, Necrophagia, Nuclear Assault, Abcess, and most importantly, Death, it is evident that The Ravenous would be able to execute this well, but perfectly, now that’s just a bonus.

Every instrument is tuned well, the drums are tight as, well, a drum, and the vocals are perfectly pitched to accompany the explosions of music surrounding them. Screaming, gargling, growling, and gagging, Frank Pucci and Chris Reifert create the most forbidden atmosphere of malice and murder, massacring all opposition to the destructive deeds they describe. The sound clips from what seems like different horror films and made in studio do well to open some of the songs as the horrific atmosphere that Mortician tried so hard to create is executed perfectly by The Ravenous engendering a sadistic laugh from me every time I hear one.

In all, this is a great release and very fun to listen to as it will scare the crap out of anyone who thinks that they have morals. The Ravenous really outdid themselves with this rather unknown debut album, but then again, with such a talented lineup, it is obvious that The Ravenous was “Assembled in Blasphemy”.

Completely sick. - 98%

Rinato, May 20th, 2008

This is quite an interesting side project containing members from various gore-influenced bands. All of these individuals come together to form the overly disturbing yet slightly fetishistically erotic band called The Ravenous.

This album contains many song titles that sound as though they are from the soundtrack of an old low budget horror movie combined with a sense of disturbed erotica (look at names such as Orgy in Dog's Blood and Feasting From The Womb) that would give Sigmund Freud a serious run for his money. Each of these tracks are extraordinarily well put together, weaving in and out of a very disturbed serial killer-esque feeling combined with genuine terror and sheer gutteral freakishness that also gives a very enlightening appeal, since countless death metal bands try to achieve this and fail. The Ravenous creates some of the most disturbing and genuinely horrifying death metal that I have ever heard from a band, and not only that, but they manage to even make it simply amazing from an intellectual standpoint- despite the seemingly generic and gorey song titles and lyrics.

Reading the lyrics might turn some away from the music (or, in more necrophilic and fetishistic cases, actually might appeal to some) but one has to look at what the lyrics are for: to aid the gutteral vocals in creating an atmosphere that is genuinely horrifying, as I stated before. Every single element of this album contributes to the atmosphere that the listener is a victim and the band is a serial killer preying on them. Do not misunderstand- one can also get the feeling of being the serial killer from the extraordinarily creepy overtones that get abused (in the good way) throughout this recording. This is a rarity- where the atmosphere can give off both ends of the spectrum depending on the mood and pre-perspective of the listener.

This release isn't quite perfect, however. It takes a listen or two to REALLY get into the atmosphere and ambiance of the music, but after that, it becomes so utterly easy to appreciate the near-perfection that is this release. This being my only real qualm, however, does not seriously take away any recognition or power from this full-length. I highly recommend it, especially to all death metal enthusiasts or gore enthusiasts. This is definitely a must-listen for anyone looking for high-quality death metal or interested in the psychology of a madman. Even ambient/dark ambient listeners may find themselves enjoying this release, despite the fact it is neither.

Thematic sounds for serial killers - 95%

Byrgan, May 17th, 2005

Imagine certain people or workers you've passed as they dwindle in their individual worlds and peer behind eyes that might be strange from another's viewpoint. A way to understand that person better might be to get inside their head a little, and one thing I found that is familiar to us all, is we each have our own theme music to get us through the day. For instance, if you transcend into a rowdy biker barkeep's cranium, you'd either hear a combination of AC/DC, Venom or Motorhead blaring at full volume. Entering the mind of a stripper would probably be a cross between Motley Crue and The Mentors. Homeless folks listen to Thorogood's "I Drink Alone" nonstop, and easy goin' potheads listen to some hit by Cheech and Chong continuously. Now, there's a difference between hearing straight music, if still a little off, and then other sounds that are less than straight, crooked at best. Just imagine what noises went through serial killer Bundy, Ramirez, Gacy or Dahmer's heads as they took the life out of bodies. This is where The Ravenous attempts to put those horrid noises and voices into a translatable musical context. If one comes out at that for you.

It's nearly pitch black, the only light glows off your stereo, which blindingly shines into your eyes. Noises come forth in multitudes. "Shrieks of the Mutilated" howls and makes you grasp your tormented skull. To further enrage your thoughts "Dead, Cut Up, and Ready to Fuck" gives you motivation for the kill. Song after song enlists more and more victims on this intense debut from Killjoy of Necrophagia infamy, Chris Reifert of Autopsy recognition and Dan Lilker known to S.O.D. and various other bands.

It takes a lot of experimentation to get an album to sound as twisted as the likes of "Assembled in Blasphemy." The main ingredient is reverb, distortion and what I'm guessing to be plenty of mind-altering substances. For a general comparison, Autopsy's earlier albums come to mind, but even then, it is still pretty filthy sounding in comparison.

The tone of the guitar sounds like it literally rolled around in the mud, and then some. The barbaric riffs vary from occasionally palm muted mid-sections to faster portions, where they'll use anywhere from oddly arranged chords to tremolo picked. This also includes an abundance of slow, thick and sludgy guitar lines. "Keep My Grave Open" is a good example of how they'll strum just a few notes in snail-like tempo, but how the delivery is executed makes it as heavy as a 5-ton wrecking ball. This uses dual vocals. They aren't sided completely with Reifert or completely with Killjoy, but instead they'll both scream or include various add-ons while the other takes turn with the main chorus. Reifert's vocals are typically lower growls. The emotional impact is like a large animal being slowly tortured with acid poured over every inch of its body. Killjoy's vocals are the higher of the two by being primarily screechy, but in some areas he still manages to go on to lower levels that growl. His vocal range changes so many tones and placements, that it's hard to characterize them into a single description. But when they're higher, just imagine screeching your voice so bad you're about to lose it, but still go ahead and strain it anyway by spewing that last little breath or effort you have left. Setting the disgusting pace, the drums can interchange between thrash-like momentum, mid-paced tempo and some slower sections that might serve up some characteristic tom patterned beats. Reifert can play along primitively and also spice it up by throwing in some rolls and other various fills to give life, or death, to a certain song. Dan Lilker dishes out a heavily distorted guitar and manages to add another soiled notch to the overall guitar sound.

The various interludes and voice snippets are a viable source on "Assembled in Blasphemy." In one instance, they use a sample taken directly from the film "Phantasm" in the beginning of the song "Keep My Grave Open" by saying the iconic phrase, "The funeral is about to begin." These are different from what Mortician or even Skinless did with their take on samples. Typically the formula of those bands is to play the intro and then have the music come blazing in. Instead, The Ravenous mostly blend them into a song while the actual music is playing, that way there are no breaks and everything is going on at once. Instead of being put in easy to guess areas or just as a novelty that wears thin, it can effectively create this escalating sense of horror and panic in how the band chooses and places them.

"Assembled in Blasphemy" is a high recommendation in my book. As brainsick as it is, there was actual blood and sweat put into this project. Which is surprising because Killjoy had two other projects going. And one might erroneously pass this up as another failed "all-star" project. If you take some semblances of the music of Autopsy, mix it with similar vocals of second era Necrophagia, add distorted bass guitar, some eye of a frog and some goat's blood for extra measure. What do you get? Well, I guess you're going to have to find, hunt or track this down to see. And, who knows? It might just end up being your theme.

Sickest of the Sick! - 80%

Madman, December 29th, 2002

Oh yeah, this is sick death metal and it's actually good. The Ravenous are a super group consisting of Chris Reifert (Abscess, ex-Autopsy, ex-Death) on guitars, drums, and vocals, Danny Lilker (S.O.D., Nuclear Assualt, Hemlock, ex-Brutal Truth, ex-Anthrax) on Bass, and Killjoy doing vocals as well. Danny Coralles (Abscess, ex-Autopsy) and Clint Bower (Abscess, ex-Hexx) are also credited as guest musicians as both play guitar on the album.

Well, considering the musicians involved you would guess that this will be sick, down and dirty death metal...and that is exactly what you get. Some of the sickest lyrics I've seen and definately the sickest cover I've seen. It's a picture of a zombie eating the insides of a young girl while another girl is hanging in the background. Quite cool and looks very real.

The album begins and ends with shrieking intros and outros ("Shrieks of the Mutilated" and "Annointing the Worms") which really set the mood for the album...almost like a horror movie. Songs like "Dead, Cut Up, And Ready To Fuck", "Orgy in Dog's Blood", "Feasting from the Womb", and "Perverted Before God" are written very well. Eventhough the band isn't exactly inventing the wheel the music is well written and keeps you interested.

This is a great death metal album, easily my favorite "sick" death metal album and I wouldn't be surprised for someone to easily get into this and start screaming along. "DEAD, CUT UP, AND READY TO FUCK!!!!!!!!!"