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Early raw death metal - 78%

Pathological_Frolic, April 2nd, 2008

The drummer of this band, Mike Browning, has taken part in at least two legendary bands, and is a somewhat respected figure for it. His first outing, Morbid Angel during their earlier, thrashier, days, and early technical death metal band, Nocturnus. This demo falls somewhat short of aforementioned bands, though there is something to be said of it's charm. You know that crowd of people that say Death stopped being good after their demos (Or are you one such person...)? At base, that's the idea behind the appeal of this demo. It's a fast, dirty raw recording of a relatively underground band that didn't revel in the pretensions of being an "Underground band", but were rather some rambunctious, rowdy, and possibly drunk, young men that loved the music they played with a wild passion and cared for nothing apart from that.

I could best describe the overall sound of this music as being "Brutal NWOBHM". Have a listen at the first riff of "God Died On His Knees"; It sounds as though it were pulled from an Angel Witch LP and made more congruent to early death metal. A lot of the rest is essentially very fast tremolo lines a la Morbid Angel, and some thick, fast rhythms that remind me of early Death. The drums on this recording sound like a cacophonous wall of sound, especially the double bass, giving an "infernal" feel to the low end by my ears, but I feel the interpretation is largely one of my own imagination. The bass has a similar effect, with it's presence more noticeable than one might imagine for a demo of any sort in this type of music. And the leads! If you liked Trey Azagthoth's unusual "lava lamp" guitar playing, you will like these leads. I wouldn't say they match the great death metal guitarist's output, but they come pretty close to being something not unfit for a place on "Altars of Madness". Instead of being treated to the impish growls and screams of Mike Browning, it would seem Sterling took on the vocals here. He is serviceable enough, if you've heard Kam Lee on the Death demos, imagine this except a tad less guttural and with the oddest British affectation to his voice. His screams remind me of Schuldiner, but less harsh.

Is this great? Not really. Is it essential? Not by a long shot. For any fans of all things Mike Browning, however, this might be worth looking into.