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Bataan Death March > First Three Years > Reviews
Bataan Death March - First Three Years

A mish-mash of sloppy death metal and grindcore - 59%

Goatfangs, December 17th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2008, Independent

Bataan Death March was a really fun crossover/death/grind band that would often perform with the likes of Gloominous Doom back in the day. The First Three Years is the only thing they apparently officially released (although it is a compilation of older material). The tracks here can be roughly grouped into four sections.

The first five tracks are the clearest in production. It's pretty raw, but every instrument comes through decently clear. Sludge pays homage to Black Sabbath's song Black Sabbath before going into full chaotic grind. Travis Massini provides vocals throughout these five tracks, effortlessly alternating between ear bleeding shrieks and low growls – although the recording quality of his vocals leave something to be desired. The songs are loud and fast and seem to be more on the crossover/grind side of things.

The next three – starting with Bag of Dead Babies (which is an amazing song title, by the way), have a muddier production. Although, somehow Travis sounds better on these tracks, he isn't as shrieky here. The performance is a little rough and sloppy, about what you would expect from a demo, but it is also a lot more death metal and slightly slower paced here with each song exceeding three minutes. The lo-fi production gives these tracks character.

Tracks 9 (Iceman) through 14 (Dino / Waste) are taken from live recordings. It sounds pretty raw, furious and loose, but it is enjoyable in a way – for one, I was probably at this show, and it sounds pretty much exactly what I would have heard at this show. It may have been The Silo, or one of the other major venues in the area that provided bands with live recordings of their set. Back in the day I didn't give a fuck to how well something was performed, and of course I would bang my fucking head to these tracks.

Tracks 15 through 18 have the worst production overall. They are from a basement demo, so what more do you expect? Their performance of these songs is similarly loose, but without the comparative fidelity that the previous section of live tracks had. But this does sound like something I would hear if I saw them in a basement... assuming I also had big fucking earmuffs on to make everything muddy, and also only one functioning ear.

Tracking this release down might be really hard, and is probably not worth it. For one, you might just hear nothing more than sloppy grindcore/death metal. If you never saw these guys live multiple times, you won't have the added nostalgia value. The six live tracks provide a good window into days of yore for me. But, the standout performance across all of these tracks I feel is Travis, who would later go on to front the legendary Gloominous Doom – not an easy feat, at all.