ALABASTER RECORDS IS A LABEL DEDICATED TO HEAVY METAL. THEY PUT BAND SUCCESS ABOVE PROFITABILITY (though good sales is a good thing!).
Alabaster Records makes its debut by showcasing some of the better bands from the American Metal Underground, though this compilation is not limited to American bands. The majority of these bands, however, fit somewhere around the Black Death/ Death Metal category. There are a number of bands on this CD that I was eager to hear, so that in itself made this disc a good deal. It starts out with “Immortal Sigil” by Acheron, legends by now in the American scene. They are followed by Cleveland’s From the Depths, a Death Metal oriented band with Black Metal stylings, especially the vocals. They sort of remind me of Epoch of Unlight. The third track was a pleasant surprise, Alas is a very atmospheric Death band with beautiful female vocals. Fourth is the rapidly ascending Hate Eternal, whom I recently saw in concert. That is one tight band. Ton is one notch heavier than Hate Eternal with their track “Gone”. This is followed by Pessimist’s “Cult of the Initiated.” This band has been featured in a lot of compilations and seems to be one of Lost Disciple Records’ biggest bands. This band is a tight Death Metal outfit with clear production and a good sense of what blast beats were meant for. Dying Fetus comes near to sounding like Cannibal Corpse or Mortician, but is more interesting. I assume that the name of the band and the song title, “Intentional Manslaughter” indicate a pro-life band. I hope so. This track is an independent release. Next we get a taste of Death Metal from Japan by a group called Defiled. You could have fooled me into thinking these guys were from America or Europe. Very solid. Back to America and to Dehumanized, an ultra-heavy, bombastic tune, “Doomed to Die.” This is followed by Diabolic’s (notice all the “D” bands together?) “Vortex”. Diabolic is another Florida band with that “heavier-than-your-redneck-mother”sound. They fit well into the Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel camp, though they are a little rougher around the edges. Next comes Corpsevomit, a band that makes a Black Death Metal form of torture, cruel and unusual! Number 12 is Usurper’s “Full Moon Harvest”. I have been wanting to hear this Chicago band for some time. Their sound is somewhat reminiscent of early Samael and Alastis, though they plod through the music more slowly. Next is Summon from Michigan with a fast and furious Black Death Metal assault under the title of “Baptized by Fire.” This track, more than most others, seems to blend the two styles of Black Metal and Death Metal in a characteristically American way. Avulsion follows with their very low-end production. “Near Death” is the title, and by this point, with all this Death Metal coming through the speakers, this song title seems to fit. “Near Death” plods and moshes for 4 minutes and 1 second. Next to last is Divine Silence and their tune “Shadow Moon”, another atmospheric Death tune with semi-clean vocals and eerie keyboards in the background. Last but not least is Scrape with “Servant”, a blurry Death Metal roller coaster ride through Hell.
The guys who started the Alabaster label have several values that I also hold dear—I’d say that these are pretty common things for all who love true metal. First of all, they are dedicated to helping talented bands get the exposure they deserve. Secondly, they believe in free will and individual responsibility, something that I truly believe in. There are a number of quotations from and references to Crowley inside this CD. Crowley was certainly his own man. And while I admire Crowley for the genius he was, I cannot bring myself to want to emulate him in every fashion. Of course, to do so would be rather conformist anyway. I mention this because every philosophy, even the so called “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law"”philosophy becomes a “herd” philosophy as soon as it is widely accepted and used to criticize others. What if I am a Christian and listen to Satanic music? Doesn’t that illustrate a degree of free will that a satanist who refuses to listen to Christian Metal doesn’t have? I just wanted to add these comments to my review. The CD is a fine one and worthy of the attention of anyone who is serious about serious Death Metal.
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