Disposable music reviews

Originally published in ‘zine issue #8, 1993

Mercyful Fate In the Shadows
(Metal Blade)
Fans of newer death metal and grind, stay away from this record! Fans of traditional metal have been waiting for an album like this for years. Mercyful Fate, a band whose influence on death metal has been felt directly and indirectly, is back to live up to the legacy it left behind in 1984, when it broke up at the height of its popularity. It’s not often a band can get back together and not only recreate its sound but offer fans something new as well. Mercyful Fate combines both heavy and melodic riffs with complex changes to make songs that grow more amazing with repeated listens. Guitar players who have grown up on people like Vai, Satriani, etc., should listen to this album, as they can learn a lot from Hank Shermann and Michael Denner. A great album full of the true spirit of heavy metal.
(by Mike Smith) ■

Nuclear Festival
Wilmer’s Park, Brandywine, MD
by Editor

I have come to hate fests, and yet this was my fifth. It was a total blast, though! Relapse Records staged the thing and had plenty of goodies on sale. In all, 11 death metal, doom, industrial, et al. bands played, so let’s take things in order of performance at the outdoor event.

Thanks go out to Mary Bielich, who helped with the band assessments.

Inhale (formerly Spine, but Oblivion from MD changed its name to Spine, and the first Spine changed its name as well) came on first. I missed this one because the show started earlier than my flyer said. But Ryan Muldoon said they sucked, especially the singer.

Unorthodox was Butthole Surfers-ish meets hints of old Agnostic Front in places, sometimes dragging, sometimes pretty good. Basically, middle-of-the-road doom with that old metal flavor.     

Dead World was interesting. A guy was playing drum pads to get that industrial metal tone à la Streetcleaner-era Godflesh and Pitch Shifter. Pretty heavy, but nothing unique besides the live drums.

Anal Cunt took the show along with St. Vitus, but we’ll get to them later. Politically misunderstood Anal Cunt played a barrage of total noise for a few minutes until it got kicked off the stage. The singer had photographer Kurt Hubert literally running for cover at one point, so that should give you an idea of the chaos going on. Total god.

Photo of Anal Cunt performing

Internal Void made me think of Unorthodox. This band was melodic, heavy, and groovy. Again, that upbeat old metal doom sound that was pretty cool in places. The guitarist had what looked like an old Gibson SG.

This was only Candiru’s second show, but what a job it did! It was just the two bandmembers on stage, and they had a drum machine and a DAT tape for the samples going. The band opened with a song form the Disadvantage of Surprise 7”, so that was good, and continued to play heavy, weird industrial shit. Great stuff!

Photo of Candiru performing

The one and only Macabre was on next. By now, darkness had fallen and the impending thunder and lightning finally rained the death metal band out. After a while the rain stopped (for the moment) and Macabre finished its set, with such songs as “Albert Fish” and a few from the new album, Sinister Slaughter. The band played very well and went over strong with the crowd, especially the old stuff.

Deceased came on after and did two numbers off the 13 Frightened Souls EP, as well as much other shit. To be honest, the band had played better, but it did set up and go on in a rush, forgoing a sound check even. Check out this death metal from the grave band.

Now on to St. Vitus. The band has out a new album, Children of Doom, and the crowd was eating it up. This here is a superb, catchy, pounding doom band that has been around for years. The vocals fit in nicely and the riffs are memorable.

Exit-13 is a bizarre, environmentally conscious grindcore band with odd time changes. Dan Lilker from Brutal Truth was playing bass, and Relapse Records has someone in the band also. The audience liked this band as well. Exit-13 and Brutal Truth weren’t originally scheduled to play, but since Disrupt didn’t play due to money disagreements, these two took Disrupt’s place. The last thing I heard from Exit-13 was the Spare the Wrench 7”, so check it out!

Finally, Brutal Truth played. It was sloppy grind again, but the band was there since I got there, it was quite late, and at least one of the bandmembers was very “inhibited,” let’s put it that way, so what can you do? The drummer only had a hi-hat and a ride along with the actual drums, which isn’t how he usually plays. The band did the S.O.B. cover and some noise stuff, along with the title track off the new EP, Perpetual Conversion, and other tunes.

So from where I sat, the Relapse Nuclear Festival was a success, partly due to the largely strong lineup. Hurrah, hurrah! ■

Photos: Anal Cunt (top) and Candiru playing that day

Obituary, Fear Factory, Life Of Agony, Deceased, and Condemned
Wilmer’s Park, Brandywine, MD
by Vaughn Currier

By the time I got there, Condemned [from Maryland] was just about done. This was unfortunate, because what little I did hear sounded swell: thick and aggressive death metal. Deceased [Relapse Records] was next, and they blasted their way through a short but deadly set. Really fast stuff. Then Life Of Agony, sort of a crunchy Sheer Terror meets Biohazard, jammed out. They weren’t death metal, but the pit moved nonetheless.

Fear Factory [Roadrunner] came on after them. Guitar-oriented death metal that wasn’t half bad! And they even had an anti-vivisection song. Check them out. Obituary headlined the death metal Woodstock. To be quite honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of these guys, but if you are, then you’d probably have dug it. It didn’t really grab me, but it was pretty decent death metal. Overall, a likeable show, but way too many drunks. ■


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