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Sounds Like Puke! - 72%

BassLord, December 7th, 2010

And that’s meant in the kindest of ways. Aussie death-thrash maniacs Vomitor have been spewing up barbaric metal for some time now, even though their output of releases as well as their reputation is smaller than you'd think. At the time release of this live EP, Hell's Headbangers seemed to be positioning this supposedly "legendary" band for a comeback, with this release serving as a taster for their 2nd full length which followed shortly after.

Now I had never heard of Vomitor at the time of this release, but one look at the cover and band logo and you pretty much now what you are in for, some serious old school extreme metal. I took enough of an interest in this band to get the limited red vinyl the day it came out. At the time I was binging pretty hard on old school death metal, and even though I usually steer clear of newer bands mimicking the old formula, Vomitor seemed legit enough for a trial run.

However this Live EP initially failed to blow me away, or even really leave that much of an impression on me. Now that I've had it for a couple years I decided to dig it out again and see what it was worth. While there is certainly nothing terrible about this band (well, maybe the solos), being so overtly old school in nature leaves them short on originality and close to being somewhat comical. I mean these guys wear helmets for fuck's sake!

Indeed, some aspects of the Vomitor sound are easy to pin down simply because of the band's image, but you know when you see guys covered in patches and bullet belts they are probably not spinning much from the last twenty years. However, while Vomitor's music does bear a vintage appeal, what the band actually plays is much more furious than you might expect.

These guys take the best elements of more extreme thrash, and mix in a few pinches of death metal's more barbaric aggression. I must say that for a band who puts the phrase "Death Metal or Die" all over their stuff, that they do come up a little short on the DM supply. The material on hand is much more in the vain of bands like Kreator and certain early death thrash bands, just with the aggression stepped up a notch. Vomitor sounds more like Venom on crack than anything.

The guitar tone only further cements this claim, being very thin sounding but razor sharp, and not very chuggy. The vocals are almost a perfect imitation of Venom, except dripping with tons of echo and reverb. Death Dealer's stage banter is even similar to that of Chronos, with lots of snarling and hail Satans thrown in for goofy effect.

This band's real strength lies in their relentless speed, as almost every riff on this release is accompanied by non stop blasting drums. It's almost a strange paradox, because Vomitor's riffing style is based on formative thrash, while their drumming style is based on early death and grind. I guess in terms of sheer ferocity, a decent comparison would be Morbid Angel's "Abominations of Desolation", although not nearly as tight or polished, which is crazy because that's probably Morbid's rawest offering.

Truth be told, aside from the admirable drumming, this band is pretty damn sloppy. The guitar playing in fact sometimes veers towards being unacceptable, with drilling noise solos so bad, they make Rick Rozz seem like a true master. I've never been crazy about this kind of guitar playing, but some guys can make it seem like their solos are thought out while still being chaotic and Kerry King-like, be it through the use of an actual guitar scale or run punctuating the dive bombs and squealing. You'll find none of that here, in fact this guy barely plays a note that doesn't sound like a mistake. His solos are on par with the kind heard on Mayhem's Deathcrush EP, which is not a compliment.

It wouldn't hurt them so bad is they didn’t have like five solos per song. On top of that because of how much the drums blast, when a solo does occur any real music becomes almost indecipherable, the bands catchy riffs buried in total noise, with only the low grinding bass to try and hold things together. Maybe if they had a second guitar player, but no such luck here.

One redeeming factor is that a delayed echo effect is almost always used during the solos, which can occasionaly make them sound incredibly menacing. Sometimes when one of this guys dive bombs repeats a second later when he’s already drilling out something else, the effect can actually be pretty eerie. He also leaves this effect on in between songs, creating a wash of droning noise which adds just about the only sense of atmosphere on the record.

While obviously lacking in substance, Vomitor make up for this through their sheer level of speed and aggression. It's rare that an old school metal band should even be this fast, let alone actually have as many catchy riffs as Vomitor does. If only the band were tighter, but this is a live record after all, and I can't judge their studio outings. However while this record may serve well as an occasional blast of Aussie roughness, it barely makes one want to investigate further.