The Conventional Death Metal Thread
Asphyx - "Last One On Earth" (1992)
The sophomore album from this legendary Dutch death metal outfit is often spoken of alongside the true greats of the genre but I've never been onboard with "Last One On Earth" being heaped with that sort of praise. It's simply not sophisticated or extreme enough for that in my opinion. Don't get me wrong. I certainly enjoy it but I've never thought it was anything particularly special or worth returning to all that regularly. Essentially we've got a pretty basic old-school death metal back-bone combined with some slower doom material, a few up-tempo punk beats & a raspy & slightly psychotic sounding front man in Martin van Drunen. It's all pretty effective with no weak tracks included as such but I never find myself considering classic status.
Asphyx were always best served by their slower material & that's definitely the case here with several sections being truely crushing. I think Martin's vocals work better over the slow stuff as they add to the anguished atmosphere. Their more up-tempo moments tend to cross over with the punky drumming though & I don't find it to be anywhere near as effective. At the end of the day "Last One On Earth" is a meat-&-potatoes death metal record that probably should have been lost to the annuls of time as far as I can see however it tends to evoke greater reactions from the underground scene than I'm able to muster.
For fans of Autopsy, Cianide & Grand Supreme Blood Court.
Dragged Into Sunlight - "Hatred For Mankind" (2009)
OK, so this is a fucking awe-inspiring masterpiece of extremity right here. I'd dare say that I'm probably the only member that will think so though as it sits in an ultra-abrasive realm that's rarely touched upon. I already rated it extremely highly back at the time of release however this revisit has seen me elevating it into a space that only the death metal gods dare wander. You honestly won't find a more extreme record than this. It's completely over the top! The production has been tailor made to make it as noisy as possible too with the crash cymbals searing themselves into your cranium. I've never heard anything quite like "Hatred For Mankind" in all honesty. I'd describe it as blasting deathgrind crossed with the most abrasive sludge metal & an insane pig-squealing vocalist ranting about serial-killers. The intensity is almost unbearable at times & the long track lengths only work to prolong the highlights as there's never a dull moment with another serving of fucked-up brutality being only seconds away at any point across the tracklisting. It's an utterly superb record that's made me rethink my top five death metal records of all time this afternoon.
For fans of Lord Mantis, Coffinworm & Autokrator.
So I decided to put together my top ten conventional death metal records of all time this week. Here's the outcome:
01. Morbid Angel – “Altars Of Madness” (1989)
02. Death - "Human" (1991)
03. Immolation – “Close To A World Below” (2000)
04. Dragged Into Sunlight – “Hatred For Mankind” (2009)
05. Carcass – “Necroticism: Descanting The Insalubrious” (1991)
06. Obituary – “Cause Of Death” (1990)
07. Dead Congregation – “Promulgation Of The Fall” (2014)
08. Morbid Angel – “Blessed Are The Sick” (1991)
09. Deicide – “Deicide” (1990)
10. Hate – “Erebos” (2010)
OK, not my area of expertise this one but for what it's worth here's mine:
1. Incantation - Diabolical Conquest (1998)
2. Entombed - Left Hand Path (1990)
3. Morbid Angel - Altars of Madness (1989)
4. Baphomet - Dead Shall Inherit (1992)
5. Dead Congregation - Promulgation of the Fall (2014)
6. Disma - Towards the Megalith (2011)
7. Bolt Thrower - The IVth Crusade (1992)
8. Incantation - Mortal Throne of Nazarene (1994)
9 Benediction - Transcend the Rubicon (1993)
10. Tomb Mold - Planetary Clairvoyance (2019)
Cannibal Corpse - "Tomb Of The Mutilated" (1992)
This was such a huge record in my life at the time but I'm afraid it hasn't aged as well as I'd hoped so I've been forced to relegate it back to being simply a very strong & entertaining death metal album rather than the genuine classic I've always thought it to be. "Tomb Of The Mutilated" definitely relies pretty heavily on pure shock factor to draw it's audience in but it's influence on the more brutal end of death metal can't be denied. I guess it's just that the flaws are far more evident now that I've heard ten thousand records that rival it in the extremity stakes. Chris Barnes' super-deep vocals may have set new levels of gutteral brutality however he struggled noticeably with his phrasing. Paul Mazurkiewicz really only had three beats which he alternates throughout the album with very few interesting fills while his bouncier thrash moments detract from the atmosphere a little at times. The tracklisting is very top heavy with the two genuine CC classics opening the album in "Hammer Smashed Face" & "I Cum Blood". It's the half-time sections that show where Cannibal Corpse's real strength lies though & there are some absolute belter riffs going on within the bridge sections of most songs & the song-writing is generally always really catchy. I never thought I'd say this but I'm now finding that I give "Butchered At Birth" a slight edge over "Tomb Of the Mutilated" in what was historically a pretty convincing win to the younger challenger.
For fans of Deicide, Cannabis Corpse & Monstrosity.