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Pre-human Pigs - 83%

Five_Nails, September 30th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2011, Digital, Independent

Estonian oddity Neoandertals is not unlike many other unusual takes that have saturated the metal world. Where bands like Spinal Tap, Caninus, Dethklok, and Austrian Death Machine have captured the absurdity of heavy metal's bombastic sound and folded it into layers of ridiculousness, or King Diamond, Candlemass, and Ghost have taken the theatrical route into their own unusual realms, this Otepää twosome reaches deep into the primordial roots of extreme metal's most basic instincts and, from the darkness predating the advent of civilization, pulls out and presents the innards that represent every metalhead's innate desire to destroy. Avant-garde overthinking seems to be the prevailing attempt to explain this very expressive attempt at stripping down death metal, one that -while still embracing its absurdity- focuses on the music as art more than comedy, but such thinking is more likely to produce a self-indulgent overanalysis than to acknowledge the reality that this band is eyeing the general makeup of brutal death metal through the untreated infections that distorted early human lenses.

As much as metal has advanced and articulated itself throughout its nearly fifty year history, these more intense styles of the latest decades have readily embraced primitive sounds in order to better drive home a deeper vision of brutality. Blasting drums, guttural vocals, and a funky bass guitar don't only get these most primitive and unusual Neoandertals flailing and flaying. Those elements harness a common concept found in the style where an erratic, energetic, and complex percussion compliments a treble assault of its own incredible intricacy, bringing forth crushing slams and a psychotic synergy that is as precise and accurate as it is overwhelming and unapproachable. Imagined in album covers and lyrics that supplement such a violent sound with even more disgusting imagery, Neoandertals isn't alone in ripping apart both the living and dead, diving into unspeakable maimings and pleasures with little consequence, and bathing in the rivers of blood.

Where Neoandertals does differ is in the desolation of its music. It's unusual to hear such a disturbing silence where no electric resonance, no distorted thunder overwhelms the rattling of snare and gurgle of a throat, and not a hint of violated strings graces the ear in a solo. Sandra Vungi's drumming is a mixture of erratic blasts, rumbling fills that interchange the deep bowls of toms and double bass, and is all around an exhausting enfilade of percussive fire. Such relentless energy can receive only an extreme reaction, whether considered the single-minded genius emulating the deluge of thoughts behind disgusting acts or so one-dimensional that it is irredeemably retarding the style it is skinning. Luckily, the former prevails in part due to the obsessive focus on contextualizing this absurd array in the confines of both theme and its two companions.

Dissecting death metal in order to watch its muscles flex, the foreground of Neoandertals' approach in 'Ebu Gogo Gutting the Child' is simply four strings and a set of growling, grotesque gurgling cords. Depriving its compositions of the twin guitar swath that has ruled heavy metal with an iron fist, this band is solidly set in an ancient, removed, and uncivilized time where such a silence is a disorienting discomfort and the desolation is barely broken by this relentless twang and grumble. 'Ebu Gogo' can easily stand as one of those albums able to exemplify the argument that death metal is simply growling and blast beats as it aims a spear directly at the heart of the style.

Still, in no way could this emptiness be explained as avant-garde. How could it in any case? Neoandertals isn't bringing a refreshing new take on death metal outside of its obvious lack of lead guitar. Death examined cannibalism in “Primitive Ways”, Nile impaled slave women on the erections of statues in “Masturbating the War God”, and Suffocation reveled in the obsession that leads to butchery in “Depths of Depravity”. Neoandertals is doing nothing new on that front, just upping Cannibal Corpse's ante to the point of turning off some listeners while searching out the simplest of motivations to govern an uncultured litany of carnage. The only difference is in that lack of six string guitars pouring over the bass and drums, but that lacking resonance becomes a fitting accompaniment, an unnurturing silence isolating a mind from the sensibilities of civilization. Where at first glance it can easily seem that the band couldn't get a guitarist, Neoandertals actually eschewed such strings after its first demo and now takes its simplicity in stride, frolicking through forests and happily leaving a trail of corpses with the brow-furrowing premise. This is no album in which to search for a deeper nuance, this is an artistic emulation of inarticulate ancients. . . who loved to kill. Yet for all its simplicity, the band deserves praise rather than pretense due to its presentation and construction.

Where Neoandertals does do well comes from its own talents rather than the expectations of its audience. Striking a nerve at the crux of this album, the band shines by spotlighting its incredibly meaty bass sounds at the end of the opener, “Homo Floresiensis”. This open space is unsullied by metal machinery or treble traffic and encapsulates the silent desperation of exposure to the elements. This area, unaltered by the hand of man, echoes with an intimate take on the death metal sound that fans immediately know and can easily recognize, not because of noisily bouncing off walls, but because of the flattening of a breakdown by a fury of blasting in “Child”.

In this area is a band taking simplicity to a relentless extreme while still bringing enough variety to keep it from falling to the one-dimensional atonality that ruins so many brutal death metal bands. “Funeral Ejaculation” -aside from the amazing title that sounds more like an antisocial life goal than an imagined moment in time- has a popping bass that plays with the theme well and seems to step a bit along the lines of Death's 'Individual Thought Patterns' era, exchanging bass flourishes and blast beats in an interplay that keeps this tribal rhythm bouncing and rumbling while offering jaunty rips into the flow before a stop and turn that sounds like a primitive attempt at aiming a bass guitar at the classical notation so well employed in rock and metal.

Neoandertals is interesting in its reversal of the sound, rolling back from a modern perspective to envision it in early stages before coming into fruition over millennia. The pseudoscience of this approach mentions many modern movements, hinting at what could become in later generations without any experiments that could simply end at that point in time. Where many bands attempt to honor old styles by interposing them in new sounds, this band takes the new style and tries to find its most primitive aspects, as though a circle of prominently-browed mouth-breathing hunter-gatherers is enjoying communal time in the waning light of a fire rather than tossing and turning in fear of the next nocturnal animal attack.

As is well understood that metal -especially extreme metal- occupies itself with the many motivations in mankind's violence, something that music has done for centuries even when so refined and proper in the age of massive orchestras playing for enlightened despots and their courts, taking this step backwards and creating such a primordial vision of what prehistory's sickness was before the inventions of morals and laws sees its reciprocation in these bass notes finding inspiration, driving their ways into intricacy from the blind chaos of a bestial pre-civilization. All of this going on in the music, a tune that is lyrically accompanied by descriptions of rape, torture, disfigurement, and murder, truly show just how entirely fucked up death metal can be, but I can't stop listening to it. 'Ebu Gogo Gutting the Child' is not incredibly shocking in the grander scheme of messed up death metal, there isn't all too much 'Erotic Diarrhea Fantasy' going on, it's just flat out interesting in spite of being a well-done representation of an unrelenting and mindless brutal death metal album.

If I wanted to be shocked, I'd have to go back to high school and read some Autopsy, Carcass, or Cannibal Corpse lyrics. It's been far too long since then, but in other ways Neoandertals is fascinating on recordings. Its simplicity makes my brain meander through prehistory, envisioning the deeds done by numerous ancient humans that we, nowadays, would scarcely call people let alone our kin, and makes that “Dawn of Man” scene in '2001: A Space Odyssey', seem like Dr. Seuss. The band's lack of propriety aims to immediately and unceremoniously thrust the listener into a dominion dominated by the uncivilized, a now extinct people unfettered by cultural ramifications or brought up by nuanced notions of decorum. The lyrics literally rape a girl to death and keep railing her for a funeral, that just ain't right. That's not a common occurrence in modern civilization, nor would it be a popular funerary rite even in prehistory before any sheet-wearing Greek rambled on about ethics. If there is anything to call such an imagined moment, it would be poetic license or an attempt to coat this album with a sheen of shock value.

On a recording, Neoandertals is a dulcet thud in the background of a campfire. Such a primal intensity finds its wild rhythm in “Entombment”, “Unburying the Carrion”, and the brusque lead to “Survival Beyond Death” with sharp bass stabs that become ripping riffs and appropriately compliment the inhuman grumbling vocals. The weight of these vicious riffs rips into the silence of this soundscape gratifyingly giving gravity to a bass so easily lost in many a metal mix, yet so prominently the impetus to such abominable intensity surrounding it. Memorable moments populate this space with enough personality to lend more credence to the notion of Neoandertals as a unique outfit where, on a scale of Carnal's 'True Blasphemy' (a truly awful album) and Brodequin's 'Instruments of Torture' (a brutal death metal staple), Neoandertals' 'Ebu Gogo Gutting the Child' inches closer to the latter in every twanging moment.

Transcending brutal death metal - 97%

Confessor, July 11th, 2011

Neoandertals are one of the interesting and most innovative bands in the brutal death metal scene right now. That alone should tell you they are undoubtedly a band that completely polarizes people into the "Just fucking noise - 3%" category and the "Transcending brutal death metal - 97%" category. They're more than just a band with no guitarist. They're more than just a band with a chick on drums. They're more than just a band with an unique lyrical theme. They're even more than just crazy vegans living in some self-built shack in Estonia. The music is genuinely provoking through it's own being.

Whether it was there intent or not, Neoandertals abstract brutal death metal to such a distant place that it should only vaguely be looked at as death metal, and potentially more as avant-guarde art (oh how pretentious you cry! I'll move on...) If I was to give this album to an anthropologist and say some obscure African tribe made "Ebu Gogo" with bongo drums and large bambo sticks they would probably analyze it for months and eventually rave about new forms of communication and culture. But, you know, it's made by two white metalheads (degenerates in the popular sphere) so who in the real world gives a flying fuck.

Now apart from the polarizing factor of the band, a factor in giving this album such a high score comes from the fact that I've enjoyed it as much as I did "Neanderthals Were Master Butchers". It is basically an improvement on the same formula - tighter, just as sick, but with even less death metal influence this time around as the bass feels even less... bassy. Let's run over the music.

Semi-randomized battery? Check, the drums are fully competent and get extra marks for being, at times rather strange. Strange? This band seems to be out to define a new way to use the word. Percussive bass attack? Check. I use that phrase because the bass lines here walk the line between a melodic instrument and a percussive one. Harmonics and higher frequency bass lines/slaps intersperse the songs which break up lengthy, indecipherable, probably super technical (can you really tell?) bass sections. Bringing things back to the realm of "normal music" for a minute, one of Neoandertals strong points is that the band includes several stark moments of dynamics to break up the tracks before launching into more of the same. I can only liken it to listening to a 20 minute droning Sunn 0))) track which at some horrendous point midway through introduces a new riff and, in a riff depraved pyschosis, it shatters your fragile mind.

Rain's inhumanly low gurgling is the last piece of the absurd puzzle that makes up this band and can do nothing but bring up visions of a mentally childish, brute-like ape creature weilding only violence and burial mysticism to weave his odd tale of carnal destruction. There's little variation on the "urghh, urghh, eerughh, uutth, urrgh" theme and why should there be. Lyrically I've never been a fan of sexual gore focused lyrics and while it is done with intelligence here, it's probably the only element "Ebu Gogo" I'm not a fan of - especially considering how perfect the lyrics to "Master Butchers" fit the music. No big deal, a 3% chip off perfect.

"Ebu Gogo Gutting The Child" is brutal death metal that has left the realms of sanity and sailed into a bizzare world inhabited by an african tribe, Captain Beefheart and a jazz bassist possessed with the collective ghost of Devourment. It's not for the weak of heart. It's probably not even for the "brutal" of heart. Hell, it's probably (as a Machine Head fan would no doubt tell you) "just noise".

Ebu Gogo Gutting The Child - 85%

IxI_KILLING, July 11th, 2011

As terrifying as this world can be, only a few things really scare the living shit out of me and make me poop my pants. For one, I have arachnophobia horribly bad. The second I see any form of a spider, I either piss my pants or scream like a five year old girl while running for my life. The second is actually quite simple and needs no explanation at all, just watch this. The third? Well, the third thing that scares the shit out of me is rather nice, if you sit and think about it from different perspectives. One word: Estonia. It’s not that Estonia as a country scares me, it’s just that when I think about Bigfoot and mystical creatures, for some odd reason Estonia pops up in my head. The one thing that doesn’t scare me about Estonia is the brutal death/grind that comes from it. Neoandertals, a three piece from Otepää, is the perfect example of the scary orgasmic waves that Estonia gives off in the music world.

“Ebu Gogo Gutting The Child” is the sophomore release from Neoandertals and it wasn’t something that I was expecting much from honestly, considering that their debut, “Neanderthals Were Master Butchers”, was a very large miss with me back in 2007. Neoandertals consists of Rain Pohlak doing vocals and playing bass while Sandra Vungi pulverizes some drums. Yeah, a two piece with so much brutality that Afghanistan can’t even keep up with this horde of buffalo. Now, while “Ebu Gogo Gutting The Child” really isn’t for the weak minded souls that love to “experiment” in new genres of music, heed my warning when I tell you that you may hate this record from the second it starts spinning. With the bass/drum combination, Neoandertals really does bring in elements of classic death metal and grind but with only the bare essentials. They give you no extras, no real “show off” moments, it’s just pure brutal death/grind that might leave you paralyzed from the neck down. Speaking of bare essentials, if “Ebu Gogo Gutting The Child” has a theme song, it might be this one.

As a death metal fan, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m ungrateful and selfish when it comes to appreciating bands that don’t have four or five members. When I listen to death or grind, I want a mudslide of slaughter attacking my eardrums with unforgivable force. I want to be drowned by a sea of vibrations that could make a small baby explode if someone put him/her close enough to the speakers. “Ebu Gogo Gutting The Child” provides all of that for me with nine tracks that last nearly last thirty-three minutes in length. Also, this record makes me the same exact way that Thamud’s “Al Hajaj Ibn Yousif Al Thaqafey” made me feel when I first heard it a couple weeks back. “Ebu Gogo Gutting The Child” provides sheer terror, madness and organized chaos that makes sense at times and at other times, it doesn’t make any sense at all but sounds perfect.

I’m not going to leave this review praising anyone or telling you to worship Neoandertals but I will leave you with some lyrics from the track “Funeral Ejaculation”, the fourth track on the record.

"Spitting back chewed cum. Sometimes losing a life can be fun. Struggling for breath. No way out of her gloom. Vaginal fluids stuffed back into the mouth. Mouthful of death. Keen on torture. Greeted by her humid tomb. Forced to enjoy foreign semen. Seeing love she was never dreaming."

Originally written for: http://bloodorlove.domesticgenocide.com/