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Old Skull Death Metal Class Appreciation 101 - 90%

FoulIncantation, November 14th, 2011

Offal are a goregrind/death metal band from Brazil, that formed in 2002, originally under the name "Orgy In Excrement's". The band soon broke up the following year, but later in 2003 the band reformed and decided to give things another go. Three years pass and the band release their first self titled debut album in 2006, members left and new ones came in, leaving André Luiz (the bands vocalist) to be the only founding member left. A split in 2008 with Australian's "Bowel Fetus" showcased new members a slightly newer but still old school sound and now a second album is unleashed upon us in 2010 entitled "Macabre Rampages And Splatter Savages" released upon fellow Brazilian underground label "Black Hole Productions" September 9th.

I'm not sure about other people, But I personally really like to discover underground artists/bands because I find that's where some of the really astounding artists can be, such as the case with Offal. I first discovered this band (as I'm sure a handful of other people would have) through the bands vocalist "André Luiz" other two man band "Lymphatic Phlegm" who have been active since 1996 and are more known for a really spaced out drum machine goregrind sound with heavy use of sound effects for the guitar such as reverb, but still really heavy sounding. Anyway this is where my discovery began with Offal.

When comparing this to their first album, their is honestly such a difference that one wouldn't tell that it was the same band playing on both records. This record first has a better produced sound than the first, the guitars have an absolute beautiful tone! they don't sound like they were directly connected to the computer with a distortion effect or anything like that. There a lot more melodic and introduce a more intricate sound scape, just see the last track of the album "Terrore In Giallo". The drums have improved a lot more also, due to the production and use of a new member. On the first album I thought the bands previous drummer (Chrystian Massthe) did a good job, but it sounded a little too sharp and had a hissing sound and sounded a little more computerized than it should have sounded especially with a human playing.

I think the first thing that one should know before listening to "Offal" is the major influence of American death metal band "Autopsy" on the very beginning of the bands career. On the first album I feel you will find a lot more of an Autopsy worship sound such as the slow doom parts that Autopsy had, but on this release the band have spread out and brought in different elements, with the Autopsy influence still there, but not as prominent as the bands debut album. There are actually some quite black metal guitar riffs here and there which is probably due to the bands guitarist "Tersis" actually being involved in some black metal acts such as his solo Black Metal band "Lutemkrat". The bass guitar is distorted but not too heavily so it overpowers the guitar, it has a nice warm sound just as the guitar has, giving the whole album a really nice bass heavy sound. The drumming has blast beats here and there, kind of slow old school sounding ones and you've got skank beats (slayer's main beat), double bass patterns and slow doom laden beats like "Autopsy" had, pretty much everything that's been done before, still good, but yeah, you know.

Another cool aspect of the band is that they use horror intro clips, but do it with good taste and don't go overboard with it. Mostly a lot of old school 70's and 80's gore cult classic films such as Zombie (1979), The return of the evil dead (1973), Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), Deep Red (1975) and a couple of other ones to sink your teeth into.

I'm not gonna lie I haven't really seen a lot of old school horror films. But I actually did watch the original 1979 Zombie film and absolutely loved it! The main theme song of the movie is played at the start of the "Trial of the undead" song and I thought it sounded so cool, so I checked out the film and the rest is history.

The track "Deep Red - The Blood Is Running Cold" is actually a cover of the Italian progressive rock band "Goblin", who contributed the soundtrack to the 1975 giallo film Deep Red (Also known as Profondo Rosso or the Hatchet murderers). This creates a nice change in the album's pace and introduces clean guitars and also a cello performed by Maiko Thome (who also helped engineered/mixed and mastered the record along with the band). But there are actually quite a bit of clean guitars on this record to ones surprise, such as near the end of "The Cold Grips Of Death" and about halfway through on The "Trial Of The Undead" tracks.

The band has a strong emphasis and appreciation on old school aspects such as good structure just like a majority of old school death metal bands had and not overdoing everything such as blast beats, and just having a well thought out song that you can listen too here and ten years from now, you know memorable. As a lot of modern death metal bands can tend to fall into the trap of sounding alike and not separating them selves from the leaders to the followers and just leaves you thinking and feeling where and what the scene will be like in ten years time.

The sound of this album overall has quite a nice thick and warm bass heavy sound and is a great pickup for anyone who appreciates old school death metal/goregrind bands, and is looking for something nicely produced but still raw, but also wanting something a bit different, melodic, memorable and surprising! Oh and the artwork is pretty awesome too!

André is known for his really low pitch shifted vocal's in "Lymphatic Phlegm". On Offal's debut album André just utilized his pitch shifted vocals and didn't really stray too far away from that, there were screams, but were provided from other members. On this release I was surprised to find that there wasn't nearly as much of pitch shifted vocals on this album as the bands debut had, instead André made use of a more natural death metal growling vocal approach rather than just the full on goregrind assault that was on the bands debut album. There are still pitch shifted vocals from André spread out amongst the tracks (See track 5 The Eye-gouging) short but sweet! Also the bands guitarist "Tersis Zonato" does back up vocals and just handles screaming duties, so there's' a nice contrast between the lows of André and highs Of Tersis. There's no clean singing on this record! just horror obsessed gore vocals.

The lyrics on this album are mostly about all the old school gore 70's and 80's films that they use as intro's and outro's on this record, such as the lyrics to "Feast for the Dead" is about the 1979 "Zombie" film

"A boat adrift at sea
With only one on board
The first undead creature
Of this creepy zombie horde

An officer is dead and now
The question will begin
How to stop this outbreak of ghouls
That will eat all your skin?

She strips nude and swims
To where it’s cold and dark
Now it’s the horror battle
Between a zombie and a shark

Do whatever you must to avoid
The deadly flesh bites
Ancient tribe superstitions
And macabre voodoo rites

On this uncharted island
That time has since forgot
The dead are rising up
From their burial plots

They are here for the crazy doctor
And his poor wife
Beware the creeping plague of the dead
That has come back to life

They want you to die
A splinter in your eye

Macabre rampages
Splatter savages

Feast for the dead
Feast for the dead
Feast for the dead
Feast for the dead"

Yeah its all true, haha just watch the film and you'll know what I mean! It's also important to note that the lyrics too "Feast for the dead" and 'Onslaught Of Dismemberment" were written by underground American musician Elektrokutioner (Decrepitaph, Scaremaker, Festered etc...) The rest were written by André except for the track "Death's Curse" which was written by the bands bassist João Carlos Ongaro.

So that's the general gist of the albums lyrics mainly focusing on old school giallo and horror films, gore, death and zombies. So pretty cool to check out even if you don't like this kind of music, but love these kind of films. It's a nostalgia trip I tell you!

This was personally one of my favorite albums of last year, I thought that it deserved a little more recognition, so I hope I'm doing something by writing this review. I love all of Offal's releases, but I think that this album would have the potential to appeal to a lot more people than just "Goregrind" fans, with the added use of other more melodic, longer song structures and intricate atmospheres. All the tracks are all really good, but the ones I find Outstanding are Trial of the undead, The Cold Grips Of Death, Mortuary Waste and Terrore In Giallo.

Offal have crafted their own unique sound now I believe, but I would recommend to check this release out if you like Impetigo, Carcass, Lymphatic Phlegm, Dead Infection and of course Autopsy.

Originally written by FoulIncantation for ultimate guitar with minor changes added to it.