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I'm human, I'm irrepressible - 96%

enigmatech, December 9th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2005, 2CD, Nuclear Blast (Remastered)

Only a year after their debut album hit shelves, Gorefest was already back with a new album and lineup. Gone were guitarist Alex van Schaik and drummer Marc Hoogendoorn, replacing them with Boudewijn Bonebakker and Ed Warby, respectively - two members who would last until the band's breakup. Naturally, this also signaled a change in musical style - though the music here is still pure death metal to the core, it feels much more mature and serious. Gone is the dark 80's B-horror atmosphere and gore-filled lyrical approach, replaced instead by a cold feel of 'industrial decay' and lyrical themes centered around social commentary. Topic ranged from anti-fascism ("State of Mind"), brainwashing/mass media consumption ("Get-a-Life"), and religious hypocrisy ("False"). All-in-all, False feels like a much more serious entry than it's predecessor, Gorefest legitimately had something to say here, so did they say it well?

Well if you ask me, I'd respond with a resounding 'yes'. Of course, these lyrics aren't exactly the most poignant or well-written socially-charged diatribes, Death were doing this kind of thing much better a couple years earlier on Spiritual Healing. But there's a certain youthful charm to it all, particularly tracks like "Infamous Existence" (which is basically saying "I'm a metalhead and can see through all the bullshit of society"), and the fantastic "Reality - When You Die" (which seems to harbor a quasi-nihilistic quality). Jan-Chris' mammoth death growl remains just as powerful as it was on the debut, but here he's reigned in his performance a bit, providing an all-around angrier and more emotional performance (as opposed to the deep, monstrous performance found on the debut) - in my opinion, one of the best vocal performances in the history of death metal.

But of course, what's truly important about this release is the music. This album manages to slow things down considerably, phasing out most of the Autopsy influences that were prevalent on the debut and instead seemingly focusing on Bolt Thrower and Death as primary influences. There's still some fast-paced material, namely the explosive opener "The Glorious Dead" and the mile-a-minute "Second Face", but by and large this album sticks to the slower end of the spectrum...and it does it exceptionally well. Tracks like the aforementioned "Reality - When You Die" and "The Mass Insanity" are in my eyes, some of the best mid-paced death metal songs ever written...the band's ability to write catchy as fuck riffs while still holding to a relativly slow pace is rivalled only by the greats - Bolt Thrower, Obituary, Cianide, Runemagick, etc...the verse riff in "State of Mind", that little pre-chorus riff in "Get-A-Life", the crushing verse of "Infamous Existence"..some real earworms, right there.

If I have any complaints about this album, it'd be with the production, which I personally feel sounds a little dry and doesn't match the sheer weight and darkness of it's predecessor, but at the same time...I feel like these are altogether the better songs, better written and with a bit more maturity and purpose, I guess, which perhaps excuses the use of a totally different production approach here - it gives the album it's own identity. Interestingly, the band members themselves have the opposite opinion, in the reissue booklets they outline how disappointed they were with Mindloss's production and how happy they were with how False sounded (which each member hails as the best Gorefest album) so perhaps it's just a taste thing.

Like the debut, I see this also as an essential album for any fan of old school death metal. It's not as grotesque or violent as it's predecessor, but it get the job done in it's own way and has it's own approach, and helped the band expand their sound even further on subsequent releases.

More Machine Head than Massacre - 48%

Acrobat, August 8th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1992, CD, Nuclear Blast

What with its overtly clear, very '1992' sound, decidedly modern aesthetic and groovy, toned-down take on death metal, Gorefest's second album, False is probably exactly what the black metal scene had in mind when they were talking about how death metal lost its way (although, I'm sure that was expressed in more vehement terms, naturally). I mean, everything here is much cleaner, tamer presentation of the genre than what was commonplace just a few years before.

Never an original band, here Gorefest hop on the pummelling, groovy Bolt Thrower-esque style of death metal and, unlike that wonderful band, the riffs here tend to have a bouncy quality that lacks grandiosity and morbidity. Just take the first two tracks, they're clearly typical of midpaced death metal yet they lack that essential darkness that the genre really should have (in fact, it takes three songs before the riffs manage some darkness and even then their effectiveness is greatly limited [once again, ho-hum writing is this band's downfall). The overall effect is one of urban grey rather than anything more evocative. Weirdly, if anything they seem more akin to the likes of Prong or Machine Head riffs than any of their peers (hell, even then, the riffs aren't fun - the album's sole great riff is hidden away in the fast break of 'Infamous Existence', some seven songs into the album). What further emphasises this groove metal aspect is Ed Warby's astute, skittering drumming; some of his patterns really remind me of the rock-disco-'classic', Burn My Eyes. So, I guess Gorefest's sole claim to originality is their groove metal flirtation is slightly ahead of the zeitgeist (after all, this does predate Machine Head's debut).

Really, though, this album is the sound of a genre taming itself for a wider appeal; vocals are harsh but not too hard (Max Cavalera would bark his way into the mainstream with a similar approach less than a year after False's release), riffs are toned-down mosh-fodder and hooks are much more prevalent than before. Oddly enough, the album's hit, 'Get A Life', criticises the conformist attitude so common in society (which meant that herring sandwiches were forcibly fed up until 1997 in Holland) and yet Gorefest reflect every trend in death metal; their debut was a pastiche of Autopsy when that was king, the follow-up chats up the 90's metal zeitgeist and then the band followed Entombed's lead by embracing death 'n' roll on later albums such as Soul Survivor (at this point, I realise that I've never heard 1994's Erase, am I missing much?).

A further failure of the album's undying commitment to mediocrity, is its lack of variation; you get the same Bolt Thrower-meets-groove metal riffing and the odd "Autopsy played by Prong" bit of dissonance popping up now and again. They're all different shades of grey, creating the same mush. And yet, despite all this, I can't really score this any lower - it's drab and a drag to sit through and, yet, it's not audaciously bad. I could perhaps recommend this if you love Fear Emptiness Despair and think Heartwork is Carcass's pinnacle... MTV Headbangers' Ball's pick of the month for October 1992, perhaps?

Equal to the first - 95%

Noktorn, March 4th, 2009

This is a very different beast from the previous full-length, but it's probably equal in quality. The material on 'False' is genuinely ahead of its time, and is certainly a major progression of the primitive, brute death metal of 'Mindloss'. The material here is substantially more refined than the Autopsy-influenced sludge-death found on 'Mindloss', and overall this music is more articulate and clean. It still has the nastiness and filth that early Gorefest is known for, but the piece is more polished this time around, making for an album that loses a bit of the horror of 'Mindloss' but makes up for it in more varied songs.

Oldschool DM chugging and tremolo riffs still take up the majority of the guitars on 'False', but now new, hypermelodic yet still brutal sections will appear from time to time, quite similar to what one might find on Dismember's 'Death Metal'. Some strangely atmospheric, almost Godflesh-influenced passages pop up from time to time with murky chord structures and strange dissonance, but don't let any of this scare you away: this is still fundamentally a death metal despite its (excellent) use of outside influences.

The guttural, demonic roar of the vocals is still intact, as is the deft and subtle drum performance, but the material as a whole is augmented by an experimental edge far ahead of its time. With essentially all traces of thrash lost by this point, the song structures are now more sinuous and ever-expanding, with a main theme returning as denouement to a given song, with the intervening material ever-shifting and changing, with an almost endless supply of excellent riffs and winding leads barreling through the songs with all brutality and sickness perfectly intact.

While 'False' isn't as straightforward and purely oldschool as 'Mindloss', it's certainly one of the best examples I can think of of a death metal band using unusual elements to further the music's quality rather than being enslaved by the more experimental impulses. Gorefest manages to incorporate such influences naturally and unobtrusively into the fabric of the music without at any point feeling like less of a metal band due to the new inclusions. The usage of some of these elements is what turns 'False' from being merely very good to nearly essential for the dedicated death metal fan.

Like 'Mindloss', I would say that 'False' is certainly a somewhat underappreciated gem in the oldschool death metal scene which is deserving of more attention. Gorefest is a band which has been somewhat lost in the sea of high-profile oldschool DM groups, but with music like this and that of the previous album, there's no reason for them to go so widely ignored. If you haven't heard Gorefest before, pick up this album and the previous soon and enjoy a hidden bit of mastery in the morass of oldschool death metal.

The epitome of Gorefest - 95%

morbert, August 30th, 2007

What we have here is the quintessential Gorefest death metal album. I had been following the band since the release of their second demo ‘Horrors in a Retarded Mind’. After their Mindloss album half the line up changed. Welcome to Ed Warby on drums and Boudewijn Bonebakker on lead guitar. This had a huge impact on the sound, technique and songwriting.

The band had left their one dimensional polka death metal with gore lyrics behind and released a very mature album which not only included some industrial and doom influences but also blast speed drums, ingenious licks and leads and lyrics about religious wars, neonazi’s, depression, dedicated followers of fashion and so on.

Produced by Colin Richardson the album had a state of the art sound that still sounds relevant and brutal in 2007. Opener ‘The Glorious Dead’ is by far the most brutal song even to have been recorded by Gorefest. Raging death metal with furious vocals. ‘State Of Mind’ is a mid tempo pounder on which the first Godflesh inspired dissonant guitar chords can be heard.

‘Reality When You Die’ is yet another highlight. The intro is simply mind blowing. Eerie and beautiful. The songs then continues in a very doomy Bolt Throwerish way and slowly builds up speed until reaching maximum at 3:57 minutes and ending the same way the song started. An excellent composition with great dynamics, changes of key, pace and catchiness.

‘Get A Life’ is the song on which you can most clearly hear the Godflesh influences. Just check out the intro. The additional screams on the chorus are simply very cool and once again it is a real catchy tune. The next real highlight is ‘Second Face’ on which the verses and chorus strongly refer to their previous album and I wonder if the song was actually written in that period.

After all this magnificence the album proceeds with three decent songs which are enjoyable but not quite as brilliant as the rest. Best songs: ‘The Glorious Dead’, ‘Reality When You Die’, ‘Get-a-Life’ and ‘Second Face’. If you like Death Metal, this is one of the classics.

False? Not Quite! - 80%

corviderrant, February 24th, 2006

I really dug this album when it came out and I remember it as one of the few death metal albums from the early 90s that was worth a damn. Colin Richardson's production and mix really made these guys stand out as both professional and proficient, as you can hear everyone really well--even Jan-Chris de Koeyer's thundering distorted bass gets a fair shake in the mix. And it has a really powerful rumble to it underneath the guitars. The drum sound is slightly "plinky"--triggered, maybe?--but otherwise you can really hear Ed Warby's furious pounding in perfect clarity.

Jan-Chris' vocals also stand out, as instead of incoherent Cannibal Corpse-style (Chris Barnes era, anyway) grunting, he lets out a powerful roar that is remarkably coherent as death metal vocals go. He even made a point of dissing DM "vocalists" who "Cup the mic and bark like dog!" in the liner notes. It makes his politically and socially charged lyrics more convincing since you can understand him pretty well, obvious Dutch accent aside.

Did I mention his lyrics are politically and socially charged? A radical change from their earlier Cannibal Corpse-like gore nonsense era, and a change I enjoyed, as I prefer lyrics with some intelligence to them. And his lyrics were viciously barbed and pointed in addressing matters like fascism/National Socialism, racism, falseness and lies and hypocrisy, and of course that old time religion.

Musically the band shows it can hang with equal parts melody and chaos, as Frank Haarthoorn and Boudewijn Bonebakker lay down riffs and solos that are very heavy and melodic, respectively. Their leads are for the most part haunting and memorable (album opener "The Glorious Dead" is one fine example), but they can tear out Slayer-like atonal screeches and howls with the best of them. They even dish out a fine and poignant twin-guitar harmony lead segment in the last song.

"The Glorious Dead" and "Second Face" are good examples of their faster, more chaotic blasting approach, but they also unleash some killer slow tunes like the ultra-morbid "Reality-When You Die" (the ending riff benefits from squawking pinch harmonics that make it sound so much more evil!) and the wrenching "State Of Mind". J-C even whips out some Napalm Death-style high shrieks on the chorus of "Get-A-Life". Strong and relentless are the best words to describe Gorefest's overall approach musically.

This is really a good solid album with abundant power and conviction, and I recommend it to all serious deathsters who want a taste of what good Euro death can be.

Nothing Special - 71%

FrayedEndsOfSanity39, October 8th, 2004

False actually starts out all right with The Glorious Death. Beginning with a quote, it quickly leads to a fast and deadly riff. Jan's vocals are rough, but not distorted like a lot of the new brutal death bands. The guitar isn’t bad either; the band definitely has some musical talent. There are some high solos too, something death metal bands miss out on often. It isn't melodic, but there is more of a melody to the album than say... bands like Mortician(the extreme example). Yet, after State of Mind the album becomes somewhat boring. The riffs aren't bad, but nothing special. The choruses soon become lacking.

One thing about this album is that it's very "headbangable", if you like to do such things. In fact, every track gives you a burst of energy. But, after listening to the album straight through a few times it turns bland. False isn't the greatest song either, kind of slow and drawn out. There's not a lot to say other than False is run of the mill death metal. It's kind of a lighter more melodic version of Gorguts(not my favorite band either). It doesn't have that "industrial" type sound that often arises in Soul Survivor. Also, it is less melodic than Soul Survivor, with less impressive solos. Anyway I wouldn't recommend it, there’s better death out there.