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Sludgy Festering Madness - 75%

Oxenkiller, April 19th, 2008

Most people associate the late '80s San Francisco scene with bands like Death Angel, Testament, and various other less-remembered bands that sounded like Testament. This band got started a couple years after those bands, and set themselves apart by being probably the most grinding, noisy, pure death metal band to emerge from the Bay Area at that time.

Downtuned guitars, and a bass detuned almost to a subsonic rumble, generate a series of malevolent grinding riffs that might make one think an earthquake was in progress along the nearby San Andreas Fault. Meanwhile the vocals sound like a hurricane blowing by; hoarse, low, and almost inhuman growls. Really it is hard to appreciate how heavy this is. The music can be compared to contemporaries such as Incantation, (early) Grave, or Mortician, but Immortal Fate had more complex songs than Mortician, and were a tad less thrashy than the other two bands. That is, Immortal Fate tended to play at a more controlled, mid paced velocity, with fast, blasting passages added only occasionally for contrast, in a fashion not unlike Obituary, or Autopsy, whose vocalist actually provided some backing vocals on this tape. However you won't hear any of that chunky, syncopated "Grind groove" that so many bands use. Instead, the riffs slither and ooze around the varying-tempo rhythms, utilizing the chromatic 12-tone scale to great effect and thereby avoiding any and all semblance of conventional "melody." There is little in the way of catchy, headbang-able riffs on here either. With music like this, its beauty lies paradoxically in its inherent ugliness. This is bleak, grim, DEATH metal at its heaviest and most extreme.

This tape is reasonably well produced and heavy sounding, very raw but still well suited for the band's sound. Interestingly, Immortal Fate did go on to record a full length LP, but unfortunately I never got to hear it- it is quite rare, in fact this tape was (and is) by far the most readily available recording of the band. Overall, worth seeking out if you are into raw, menacing death metal.