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It is what it is... - 41%

robotiq, June 22nd, 2020

To my knowledge, this is the first thing Convulse recorded as a death metal band (apparently, they played in a speed/thrash band beforehand). Whether this tape counts as a rehearsal or a demo is unimportant, presumably it was a practice session they decided was good enough to circulate. Indeed, there are some death metal rehearsals in the annals that are worth listening to. To hear a band in their practice space is to hear them in their natural state, where they likely spent most of their time. Such recordings can capture the essence of a band in ways that other recordings, even demos, cannot. Sometimes, these rehearsals are the only place where amazing unreleased material is available.

Alas, this Convulse rehearsal is not one of those. This is just early versions of two Convulse songs that would be re-recorded on their proper demo ("Resuscitation of Evilness") and then again on their debut album. The versions elsewhere are much better than the versions here. For me, the most interesting thing about this rehearsal is how uninteresting it is. Some bands honed their style over a series of demos, changing things slowly (such as Entombed). Some bands released amazing demo material that they never bettered on albums (such as Gorefest). Convulse don't fit into either category. The two songs here are compositionally unchanged from this point on. They would be tightened up and played with a heavier production, but they’re the same.

Of course, these two tracks are impressive for such a young band. The first song "Godless Truth" is the stronger. This is dirty old death metal which is reminiscent of what many other bands were doing at the time. There are some similarities to early Bolt Thrower but with less obvious grindcore elements. The fast riff that begins after the intro has a crusty vibe. The solos are OK, and you can hear that the guitarist had some talent even at this stage in the band’s career. The sound is clear enough to be audible, which is as good as you can expect from a rehearsal tape.

The second song "Powerstruggle of Belief" illustrates the band’s musicality even more clearly. This one begins with some clean arpeggios in the Metallica vein (though the guitar is out of tune). Then it barrages through a sequence of fast, thrashing riffs. The repeated crunching and triplets in the middle of the song bear the hallmarks of thrash. The vocals are too quiet, almost inaudible at points. There are some wild solos, probably influenced by the likes of Nihilist and Slayer. Everything sounds tight and solid, but also more dated than the first song.

This rehearsal demo is OK because it showcases a young band with talent and potential. These days there is no point in listening to it though. There are lots of better death metal demos out there which deserve more attention than this. Convulse themselves would supersede it with "Resuscitation of Evilness", and then supersede it again with "World Without God". I won’t be listening to this again.