“Cast Into Darkness” (10 tracks. 38:14).
I haven’t heard a Christian band playing this extreme a form of Death Metal in a good long while. It reminds me a bit of the early compilation CD’s put out by Rowe Productions. Goredeath’s style actually walks a tightrope between Death Metal and Black Metal, a style which seems to be the predominant form of Black Metal in the U.S. called Black Death Metal. Other bands fitting loosely in this category would be Usurper, Thornspawn, and perhaps Necrophagia. The overall sound is one of Death Metal, but the vocals and some high end guitar playing crosses over into the Black Metal realm. Goredeath also adds to this mixture a healthy dose of female vocals. This album reveals a band with a lot of potential.
The key word here is potential. Goredeath has pretty decent production considering that they probably had a very small budget to work with. There are also some really cool guitar riffs on this album. Particularly good is “Souls Hacked to Shreds”. Adam Cruz and Corey Lasley seem to have a real grasp of the kind of music they want to create, and they are competent at playing their instruments. Generally speaking, the music is pretty straight-forward with the exception of a few soft spots, especially “Chant the Lullaby of Death as the Fetus is Disposed” (a title which reminds one of Horde).
My only real criticism of this album is that the lyrics are, in my opinion, a little corny at times. “Criticism” is too strong a word, though. Granted, the lyrics fit the style of music, but I guess I am a little more critical of lyrics coming from a Christian band. This is because I care about the way the Gospel is presented. While a title like “God Damned Lucifer” is not theologically wrong, I tend to view it negatively. It is totally appropriate to condemn sin generally (“Pathetic Sin”), and specifically speak out against things like abortion (“Chant the Lullaby . . .”); but in the presentation of the Gospel I would hope for some offering of grace. I don’t say this in order to disparage a great underground Black Death Metal CD, I only say it because I hope my readers will take it to heart. The Gospel is about God’s love for mankind, something I’m sure Adam and Corey believe and teach. In any event, I think we should rally behind these guys and get the word out to the rest of the world that Goredeath needs to be heard.
“Scepter of Blood” (9 tracks. 43:11).
Words like “cult” and “underground” can be really good or really bad depending on how you look at them. The word cult, for instance, can mean a perverse sort of religious group claiming exclusive control of THE truth. But it can also mean a small but loyal following. This second meaning of the word cult has been often applied to the sort of music found on this disc. The implication is that the music contained herein is for a small but loyal group of listeners. It also implies that “this music isn’t for everyone”. I go through this long explanation for one reason: that I can apply this second meaning of the word cult to this album. For without this explanation, someone might think I were describing the music of David Koresh or Jim Jones. Frankly, I doubt either of those men would have been comfortable with the sounds contained on Scepter of Blood!
Okay, so this is pure cult underground Black Metal as obscure as it gets. For many Black Metal purists out there, this is a mark in favor of GRIM. And there seems to be a clear effort on the part of Thomas Eversole to be writing music reminiscent of Horde’s “Hellig Usvart” and Antestor’s “Return of the Black Death”. Overall, Scepter of Blood more resembles Horde than Antestor. But if you listen to the title track“Scepter of Blood” , you’d get the definite impression that Eversole was trying here to imitate the ballad-oriented sorrow of Antestor’s “Sorg” (I think it means “Sorrow” in Norwegian) from the Return of the Black Death album. Overall, Eversole creates a very thunderous and convincing Black Metal opus with occasional soft musical interludes (“Remorse”, “Writhe”, and “From Within”). The sound is raw and primal like Horde with touches of Death Metal in places. There are plenty of good riffs in here too. There is only one real problem with this CD, and it is significant. The sound is highly muffled on everything except for the soft parts, and no amount of turning up the volume can help. Basically, Scepter of Blood sounds like a demo. But then again, I guess this contributes to the cult/underground sound that the purists seem to prefer. Not to worry, though. On the brand new “Screams of Abaddon” compilation CD by Laceration Productions is a new tune from GRIM which has better production, hinting of great things to come in the near future. In closing, this CD is a rare collectible which every true supporter of the underground will want to take seriously. Ten years from now someone will ask you if you’ve ever heard it and you’ll want to be able to say, “oh yeah, I’ve got it!” Support the scene.
“Screams of Abaddon” (17 tracks. 73:56).
There are some tracks on this CD that are not to be missed. With this CD Laceration Productions comes forth with an ever improving product. Whereas the GRIM CD is little more than a good demo with bad sound quality, Screams of Abaddon features a new track from GRIM with an improved sound quality. But that is not all. There are 16 other bands here, some who have proven their mettle like Crimson Thorn, Sculpture, Getsemani, and Vaakevandring, but also bands that stand to gain some attention like Feast Eternal, Clemency, Noiz, Goredeath, and the like. The CD starts out with Feast Eternal’s “Immersion” which is absolutely the right way to start. FE are a tight Death Metal outfit with an engaging sound reminiscent of Morbid Angel with a hint of Gothenburg. Other Death Metal bands include Maximum Pentecost (promising), Goredeath (see review), Pronounced Dead (good quality live track), Tortured Conscience, and more. There is also a good representation—though not exhaustive—of the Black Metal being unleashed by Christian bands today. Israel is one from Switzerland (again, promising but not there yet), GRIM (constantly improving), Clemency (top notch with Death production), Getsemani (with a Gothic Metal flair), Antidemon (violent Black Death), Vaakevandring (atmospheric, produced by former member of Dimmu Borgir). Also noteworthy are Quejidos Del Seol, Sculpture, and Salutary. Of the three, the latter two are on Fear Dark Records (Netherlands) and both have a sort of progressive Death Metal sound in the vein or early Tourniquet and Believer, particularly Sculpture. Both are very talented. And Quejidos Del Seol are quite unique. I’m not sure how to describe their song, “Busqueda”, but I like it a lot! Finally, I must say, that given the price of this CD, one would be crazy to pass it up. While one or two of the songs are not really much good, the overall product is excellent and shows some real promise. Rowe Productions used to make these kinds of CD’s!