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Let’s talk briefly about hyperbole, shall we? For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, hyperbole is the use of exaggeration to emphasize one’s feelings on a specific subject. We’ve all used hyperbole at one point or another in our lives, and many of us have used hyperbole in writings we have done for certain websites. I know I did when I initially reviewed what some consider the worst record of all time, Perverse Recollections of a Necromangler. See? I just used hyperbole again! Life is funny like that sometimes. Anyway, aside from it being among the first reviews I had ever written in the seemingly ancient past of 2010, I made mention of Waking the Cadaver’s debut record as being, and I painfully, wincingly quote, “The Worst Metal ‘Album’ Ever Released.” First off, why exactly did I put “album” in quotes? Necromangler is an album, as are the majority of collected songs put onto a CD or vinyl disc or .rar file for one’s listening (dis)pleasure, and even if I wasn't thick headed and put “metal” in quotations like I’m pretty sure my intent was, that still wouldn't be valid since Waking the Cadaver is indeed a metal band. And capitalizing all the first letters in each word is a no-no as well. 17 year old Rick sucked, but at the time I truly had not heard anything in the realm of bad metal music that could compare to this record, and I’m certain that quite a few of this album’s vehement detractors were in the same position I was however long ago they first heard it. The question I shall pose for the purposes of re-reviewing this album: Is Perverse Recollections of a Necromanger really that bad of an album? The answer is a resounding “NO”. Oh, don’t get me wrong; it’s still a pretty lame record, but to call it the worst metal album ever is pretty ignorant of all the other shitty, shitty, SHITTY albums that have come around since this one’s release.
Brutal death metal, or “brutal deathcore” as this album has often been tagged as, is one of the most love-it-or-hate-it styles of metal you could find. You could make a case for the super dissonant, Portal-esq style of death metal or the post-black metal/blackened shoegaze genre that’s become seemingly all the rage the last few years being more base breaking, but for the most part you’re still more likely to fall on one side of the fence or the other when it comes to the blasting and gurgling that’s practically a prerequisite for this style of music. On this particular record, Waking the Cadaver are a relentless, unstoppable machine of blast beats, unhinged guitar play, and just general death metal chaos…for about 15 seconds at a time, at which point they will completely stop what they were doing and switch out of the blue into the major element of this record’s songwriting: the breakdown. Very often throughout Necromangler the scenario I just described will take place, as the band will go batshit insane for about 15% of a song, leaving the other 85% to be filled with breakdown after breakdown after boring, uninspired chug after boring, uninspired chug. What makes this even more agitating is that the band will occasionally and presumably on accident stumble onto a really good, interesting riff, such as the pure death metal opening of “Raped, Pillaged, and Gutted” or the faster galloping near the start of “Connoisseurs of Death”. The band will then fail to capitalize or expand upon these unintended moments of good by shifting back into another fucking breakdown. The main problem however is not entirely that the band was bad songwriters at the time, as the accidentally good sections and moments of white noise brutality showed that there was at least some potential hidden within. It was more the fact that the band was in WAY over their heads on this album, both composition and performance-wise. This is very much a record where practically zero post-production work was done outside of adjusting levels, sound replacing the drums, and mastering, so the sloppiness of every single instrumentalist here is on display and as clear as a midday sky. I don’t really have an issue with messy playing, as it shows that actual people created this and not a group of computer programs, not to mention that some of my favorite records from the past, such as In the Sign of Evil and Morbid Visions are even sloppier and messier than this album ever could be.
The other major problem of Necromangler, possibly even more so than the disjointed songwriting, is the vocalist, who commits the cardinal sin of not knowing just when to shut the hell up. I understand that it’s the point of brutal death metal to be as in your face as possible, but there are two reasons why this holds the album back even further for me: 1. My natural inclination for not liking to be overwhelmed by any one aspect of a song means that the vocalist puking all over everything with almost no rest is an annoyance, and 2. His vocals are just plain not good. He takes the Lord Worm approach of “gurgle without any regard for the lyrics of the song” and runs with it as far as humanely possible, with the only hints at intelligibility coming in when he switches his voice from pig gurgling to a slightly-tough guy hardcore influenced death growl. The famous ending breakdowns in “Blood Splattered Satisfaction” are just about the only times you’ll ever remember anything said during the scant few times he changes his vocal style. He also rarely, if ever, incorporates the higher pitched pig squeals utilized on the band’s demo, meaning that we have been deprived of further humor from the unintentional warbling of “Wheat! Shredded wheat! Shredded and sweet!” during “Chased through the Woods by a Rapist”. It’s not as if anything the vocalist is saying (or not saying, for the most part) is of any merit, as the lyrics are bad even by gore standards. When you are writing gore lyrics poorly, it’s time to rethink your musical style of choice. There’s a very heavy emphasis on rape too, with songs like “Always Unprotected”, “Raped, Pillaged, and Gutted” (duh), “Pigtails are for Face Fucking”, and the aforementioned “Chased through the Woods by a Rapist” (to reiterate: duh) the prime offenders here. While no topic should ever be taboo for discussion or use in a popular medium such as lyric writing, these songs reek of being written by guys who probably never got laid up to that point, and decided that the best way to take out their repressed sexual urges was to write lines like this:
“All night on this bitch I release my piece.
Yes. Yes. I am the man.
And I will kill when I can.
You can try to run.
But you're done.”
So, to reintroduce and expand upon the answer to my earlier question, I shall pose a rephrased version of that same question again: Is Perverse Recollections of a Necromangler the worst album ever? An all capital lettered “NO” is the proper answer here, and I shall explain why. If this was 2007, the year that this record came out, and you had heard very little extreme metal (or hadn't heard Enmity) up to this point, I could see you making the claim that Necromangler was the worst album you had heard up to that point. However, in 2013, after some legendarily terrible records have been released in just the last 3 or 4 years, Necromangler is honestly just another mediocre, lame album. Ask yourself this: Is this album really as offensive to the senses as, say, Lulu? Or perhaps Illud Divinum Insanus? I’d easily listen to this album again over Embryonic Anomaly. At least this one had quiet(er) production values! Hell, this album's got nothing on terrible records from before its time like Manslayer or anything Megadeth did between Cryptic Writings and The World Needs a Hero. If you really think that Waking the Cadaver, who have admittedly grown quite a bit since this album, is still the worst band ever, and that Perverse Recollections of a Necromangler is the worst album of all time, then you really need to listen to more music.
P.S. That bong rip interlude is still an intense lesson in stupidity and uselessness, however. Remember that third world children died to make the plastic that the jewel case for the album this interlude exists on is made of.