Monday, July 9, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Fetus Stench Interview and Review!



Country of origin:
Year of creation:
Death Metal
Lyrical themes:
Gore, Horror, War
Current label:
Abyss Records

Founded in January 2011. Features members of Anti Christian Death Squad.

Bullen Bass (2011-present)
See also: Inferior, The Law, ex-Nodawn

Emil Drums (2011-present)
See also: Blood Red Throne, ex-Slaughterous

Illern Guitars (lead) (2011-present)

Björte Vocals, Guitars (2011-present)
See also: Inferior, ex-Slaughterous


If you could, describe the process in making this album. What was the toughest part of that process?
What albums/bands are the most influential to your sound?

It was a fucking hellride. Everything that could go wrong - went wrong. We had to put our own cash into the recording so we had to make the product sound as good as possible for as little money as possible. Seeing as we have to stimulate our crack/alcohol addictions as well (two not-so cheap addictions) this was absolutely crucial. The toughest part was arranging everything by ourselves and to get everything done. There were a lot of disagreements and catfights but we overcame them as well. Looking back at the whole process and then listening to what finally came to be, all the blood, sweat and patience we sacrificed to complete the record was nothing but worth it. We are truly proud of what we've cooked up. No specific bands or albums as influences, as long as it's fast and aggressive, it's all good and inspiring

How do you feel about the state of death metal in 2012?

Really good/really bad. I haven't found any good NEW band in years (well, Tribulation kicks ass but I wouldn't really consider them as a new band), it seems like all the new ones do now adays is to repeat what Autopsy did like 20-25 years ago and that is fucking boring. It must be really liberating to play such death metal tho as it doesn't require any instrumental skills. And the people who are talented at what they do end up playing sweep picking and difficult guitar licks instead of creating heavy riffs and that's even more boring. But the older bands like say Vomitory, Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Unleashed etc. still deliver as usual. Thank fuck for that.

Do you think that bands are using too many core and technical elements in death metal these days? Or do you think that these elements help to give the music more structure, then say, back in the days of Entombed?

A band must always progress in some way and not remain the same. It is vital for a band to find an own sound and develop it as well. But when you begin to include technical parts for the sake of being technical instead of writing MUSIC, that's where you fuck up. I do not know where the "Death" in "Deathcore" comes from, but it's not from DEATH METAL anyways. That trend is over soon though, and the ones who took part of that "scene" will only remember it as an embarassing period in their lives. Untrue bastards.

Be honest. What did you guys think of Morbid Angel's last album, "Illud Divinum Insanus"?

To be honest, it's half-gold, half-shit. The "metal" songs on the album are really good, songs like "10 More Dead", "Nevermore" and "Blades For Baal" is exactly what one would expect Morbid Angel to sound like today. I can't understand why they had to fuck things up with techno-bullshit and rave, I think they did it just for the hell of it and to try to break new ground once again, it backfired horribly. But hey, I'm not the one to judge. Who knows how I'll handle MY midlife crisis.

With the advent of the Guitar Hero generation and Brendan Small's Metalocalypse, more young people are getting into metal these days. This is a good thing for the genre, but the kind of metal they are making is not the kind of music that anyone of us would be caught dead listening to. (Paint The Skyline for example.) What do you think of this "new" metal, and is it just a sign of the times?

It's a sign of times but it's certainly NOT metal. Those kids should grab a beer, get pissdrunk and listen to "Dismember - Like An Everflowing Stream" on Vinyl instead of playing video games.

With all this talk of apocalypse, what's the first thing that you would do "after the shit went down?

Rise as a satanic zombie and eat a banana.

Andreas Björnson, Fetus Stench



Fetus Stench - Stillbirth (PR2012) - If you don't know who Fetus Stench is yet, as soon as you've given this thing a spin, I guarantee that you'll be familiar with them. It's been a long time since I've heard a band with as much groove, brutality and viciousness as what these gentlemen have to offer. The disc is nothing sort of beastly, with each and every song being not only bloodthirsty, but also different. The band isn't afraid to move beyond the basics of bland death metal, and to elevate their style to include tracks that don't all sound the same. This is the major difference between death metal and most deathcore.

Fans of Swedish death metal will eat this one whole, as it contains so much of the same style of riffing that we'd expect from bands like Bloodbath in their earlier era, or Hypocrisy, among countless others like Demonical, exc. Yes, resemblances can be drawn to many different bands, but these guys definitely make good use of what they have.

The drummer is an absolute fucking demon behind the kit. He damn near demolishes the kit through all nine of these tracks. If you can't tell that from the first couple of minutes on this disc, then perhaps you need to go slit your wrists and pray to Justin Bieber. But as for me, I'm going to worship at the same bloody altar of death that I've worshiped at before; and this band is just another great offering on that altar. Again, I cannot stress how much of a great drummer this guy is. In a genre where drumming is so important to the music, this drummer fucking shines with a black unholy light that you've got to witness for yourself. I've heard a plethora of drummers in my reviewing stint, and this guy definitely fucking sits close to the throne.

The vocals are the kind of bloodcurdling grunts/hollers that you would expect from Swedish death metal. But they're done exceptionally well and in the most brutal and demonic fashion. Everything goes right in line with the music, and there's no sign of amateurism. The guy's got some great fucking pipes and they're definitely going to remind me you of several other death metal front men. But that's not a fucking bad thing, because those front men that he'll remind you of are good death metal front men; like Peter from Hypocrisy, for example.

The guitar solos on this thing are pretty frantic, as with much of the music on here, but I'd expect nothing less from death metal. As I've stated, these guys really remind me a shit load of Hypocrisy and Bloodbath, two Swedish bands that I've played the living fuck out of, and if you like that shit, then you're going to like this shit too. Songs like "Meat Grinder Flesh Obliteration 4:29" and "Descending Into The Realm Of the Dead 5:32" as well as the eerie closer, "By Butchery Divorced 4:57" will further imprint into your skull that Fetus Stench is a formidable death metal band that certainly has a fucking place among the greats like Entombed, Cannibal Corpse, Carcass, Hypocrisy, Deicide, The Monolith Deathcult, Morbid Angel, Decapitated and several other acts.

If you also liked Revel In Flesh, another band that I interviewed a few weeks ago, you should definitely check these guys out as well. Honestly, this review doesn't do the album justice - but these nine songs speak for themselves. I honestly have no fucking idea how you couldn't like these guys if you like Swedish death metal. They do it well, and they fucking do it right. There's no bullshit to be found here, just brutality, thundering drums and the sound of devastation for damn near 40 minutes.

Highly recommended listening. These guys will rape your miserable carcass and inject the foul seed of true fucking death metal into it. Only if you don't like death metal, will you not like this bestial offering. But if you don't like death metal, then why the fuck are you reading this review?

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to jam this fucker a couple hundred more times.

Highlights: All (9 Tracks, 37:00)



Manowar - The Lord Of Steel (2012 Hammer Edition) - As a Manowar fan for many years now, I'm more than happy to open up this week's review set with the band's latest album, The Lord Of Steel. This album sees the band in a return to form more or less, and still has the 80's cheese that you would expect from these guys. The production quality is a little raw in some sections, and you can still hear some fuzz from the guitars during the epic opener, "The Lord Of Steel." But I'm sure that this disc was meant to sound as completely analog as possible.

One of the greatest parts of this album are the vocals. Ross's vocals are just as good as they've always been, and the lyrics are infinitely mighty. This sounds in the vein of classic Manowar, and definitely is one of the band's high water marks. This album could have been released in the 80's, and I doubt that none of us would've been the wiser. It's that authentic, which is saying a great deal compared to the overproduction of albums these days.

But not only are the vocals powerful, but the guitars literally blaze a path through each and every track of this disc. Though you'll hear that amp fuzz, you'll also hear some crazy guitar solos that you're definitely going to appreciate. You'd fucking better, anyway. This disc is composed of several different topics, rather than the Nordic concepts that they've done throughout the years. Those discs were alright, but this is the kind of stuff that I've wanted to hear from them.

There's a song about vampires on here, but trust me - this is one of the most epic vampire songs that I think has ever been written by man. I found myself singing the along with the chorus of "Born In A Grave 5:47" from the moment of first listen. It's dark and anthemic nature made me an instant fan. There are also songs like "Manowarriors 4:46" that declare that "the fight for metal is real." It has a shouting backup vocal that will sound right at home on the live concerts.

But that's not all. We've got a ballad called "Righteous Glory 6:10" that is certainly worth listening to. The vocals soar on this one, and the soundscapes created by the guitars are not to be missed. There's also a choir effect that adorns the second reiteration of the chorus. I could certainly see Odin's Einherjar enjoying this great Viking ballad. It's nothing short of epic.

"Touch The Sky 3:49" and "Black List 6:59" are also great songs, the former being an anthemic song about "feeling so tall that you can touch the sky" and ignoring the thoughts of other people who tell you that you can't achieve your goals. The latter track is more along the lines of Manowar's ancient material. The song is very long and almost experimental in some aspects, beginning with the chorus and then going right into a solo. There's not much vocal to it, but they meant well with the chorus and the solo work.

Of course we've also got the western influenced "El Gringo 4:57" which is much better than I would've thought, and the powerful chorus of "Annihilation 4:00." You could just as well call it "The Lord Of Steel Pt. II"

Of course, I'm not crazy about "Expendable 3:10" and the closer "Hail, Kill, and Die 3:56." These are good songs, but not as good as some of the others on the disc. Overall, this is most definitely one of the absolute best discs that Manowar has released in several years. By several, I mean since their early days. Yes, this album is that epic. No, it's not fast - but it is anthemic, full of great solos, wonderful vocals and everything that metal was and still should be. If you're a Manowar fan and don't like this disc, then I have no idea what the fuck you could possibly want more from these guys. This is well worth your money, so funnel it over to them, and tell these guys, "Thanks for keeping the spirit of TRUE METAL alive!"

By the way, I have no idea what's special about this being "The Hammer Edition." Maybe there's a sword edition with a sword on the front cover. I have no idea.

Highlights: Almost everything on this disc is a highlight. Even the songs that I didn't like, you probably will. (10 Tracks 47:00)



Hammer Horde - Vinlander (2012) - These Viking metallers are not afraid to incorporate true elements of melodeath into their music. There are still Viking chants and shouts throughout the album, but the biggest part of the disc is how well the band can actually play. It's still got the heaviness, but has much more melody than Amon Amarth, per se. It's also much faster and features much more blasting than Amon Amarth has done in quite a while. These guys also have a great deal in common with bands like Ensiferum and less in common with bands like Eluveitie. That's a good thing for me, because I loved discs like "Iron" and hated most of the shit that Eluvietie has put out. How the hell did they get so famous? These guys could wipe the floor with them.

Sometimes the vocals do go into a bit of a scowl, but that's a good thing. The scowl is apart of Viking metal just as much as it is black metal. Yet there are some black moments on this disc, like "Hero's Heart 5:07." Again, anyone who ate up Ensiferum's old material, Folkearth, Equilibirum, Varg, Wolfchant, Suidakra or the work of many other actual Pagan/Viking metal bands of whom I can't remember, you'll certainly love how these guys mix the folky melodies along with the scowls, growls and blast beats. But don't forget about the clean vocals that soar as much as you would expect for this album, which is mostly about melodies.

This album excels in melodies, and would be a worthless piece of plastic without the amount of shredding that is done on each and every track of this disc. If there's anything about this band that I can personally sell you on, it's not going to be the vocals, the blast beats, the punk-shouting or the clean vocals. It's going to be about the melodies and the overall great playing on this disc. Some tracks on this disc like the opener "Infinite Warthirst 6:01" and "Vinlander 5:59."

One thing that's different about this disc, is that the band opts to use guitars to do what folk instruments could do. Take "Hymn Of The Fjords 6:43" for example. The songs starts out with something that would've originally been done on flutes or bagpipes, but they've decided to do it with guitars.

While this might sound all well and good, it's sad to say that there is little transition to be found within the album. Many of the songs with the exception of a few like, "Led By The Ancient Light 6:20" and "Archaic Offerings" which has slightly faster drumming; mostly stick to the same tempo and style. This is good if you don't mind much of the same Viking melodic death metal style, but it began to drone on me after awhile. This album does seem to go on much longer than it actually is, but at least the band put out a solid effort. Some of these songs are very enjoyable and well worth hearing.

There's also a little acoustic instrumental called "Hoddmimirr's Holt 2:26" that somewhat breaks up the monotony.

Not the best Viking metal that you'll ever hear, but these guys certainly have some promise, as well as some worthy riffs. I just wish that the disc went less with the blasts and scowls and more along the lines of melodic death metal that I heard in the beginning. But this is a small gripe, because this album is certainly well defined in proper Viking metal. I'm quite sure that fans of the genre will find a great deal here to like.

Highlights: Infinite Warthirst, Vinlander, Hero's Heart, Led By The Ancient Light, Hoddmimirr's Holt, The Curse Of Andvaari (11 Tracks 59:00)



Agalloch - Faustian Echoes EP (2012) - Of many surprises this year, this EP has been one of the biggest. On this disc, Agalloch have taken a bold and dangerous turn from the prog laden efforts of their last album, and have decided to do one of the blackest albums that they've done in years. It's a 21:34 piece about the story of Faust and Mephistopheles.

The story is decorated with blast beats, traditional black metal scowls that sound even more vicious than anything they've done prior, and melodies that are both catchy and unique. The disc features sound clips from either some actors, or a movie they used. But it probably came from an old movie. Nevertheless, the clips are of good quality and work well with the music.

This is still Agalloch, it's just an Agalloch of a different color. Instead of grey, we could consider this album to be completely black. There is a little bit of prog here and there, I won't lie about that - and some methodical drumming in areas, as the song switches at many points. This does feel like a cohesive piece, not two or three or four separate songs, and that is a breath of fresh air. Also be sure to tune for the greatness that appears on the 6:30 mark. Damn, what an interesting riff. The guitars let loose some amazing melodies and an impeccable solo to boot.

This disc should actually appeal to both fans of proggy Agalloch and black metal Agalloch. Hopefully it is a sign of things to come in 2013. This band seems to know just what they need to mix together, and with such great musicians (yeah, some of these guys are in Sculptured also) as these, I'm sure that we can expect far more greatness. I do not think the Agalloch talent pool has yet run dry. I did not expect this little wonder, and would highly recommend it to fans of the band and the genre.

Yes, I just recommended an EP. This is something I do rarely, but this one is well worth 5 or 6 bucks at least. I'd pay no more for it, but it is definitely worth grabbing and listening to in it's entirety. It is multi-layered and full of promise. I honestly didn't expect something like this to release from these guys, but I'm so fucking glad that it did.

Show your support for greatness, and grab this one. One of the best things Agalloch has released, other than The Mantle and Marrow Of The Spirit. These guys just keep coming with the hits, folks. They just keep producing greatness.

Highlights: Go get this EP already. (1 Track 21:34)



Chaosweaver - Enter The Realm Of The Doppelganger (2012) - For those of you that remember, the last Chaosweaver album received a lot of praise from the review tower, among several other sources. Yet now it seems that Chaosweaver has decided to "up the ante" and further diversify their formula, to degrees of varying success.

For an album that beings with such a melodic and beautiful piano piece, "A Red Dawn Rises 2:22" few of us will ever expect the blazing thrash that the opener "Wings Of Chaos 6:08." But even fewer of us would expect to hear all of this thrash being perfectly laden with violins and other such folk instruments. This album is so diverse in nature that things just seem to come from nowhere, but in that essence, they seem to be well warranted. Electronics also make their way into the album "Crystal Blue 4:30", as well as other such "oddities" in an attempt to make the band seem as experimental and over the top as they possibly can. It might sound like too much going on all at once, like everything and the kitchen sink was just thrown in, melded together and badly stitched, but it stays surprisingly cohesive.

This band still has the feel of a blackened death metal, despite all of the folk instruments, electronics, and piano work that you'll hear. Not surprisingly however, there is a massive amount of structure in some of these songs, including the multi-faceted "Infected 8:46." This track is loaded with promise, really showing the band at their possible best experimentation, but still remaining death metal at it's core.

As for that death metal, expect to hear a lot of drum bashing (except during the odd parts) some definite groove, but some rather bland leads. I've yet to hear anything other than basic leads here, and some could say that the all of the other shit on this album only masks the band's inability to play death metal. I mean, there are good riffs here and there - but if you strip them of all of the other stuff, you might get a very generic black/death act out of it. I will say that the drummer and vocalist really seem to be the glue that holds this band together, the guy's good on the kit and the vocalist certainly has some great chops, as you uses Shagrath scowls, a few gravelly growls, a dark clean vocal and other vocal tricks.

But "A Requiem For A Lost Universe 5:08" is much different then the others, due to the fact that it's at a slow, somewhat doom-laden pace. There's also a lot of dark croons and at times mumbling in the background. However, the black metal scowls do seem to help the formula, as gothic in nature as it might be. There's even a bit of unexpected cabaret and coffee shop poetry. Neat, but not everyone's cup of tea.

I also need to discuss "Ragnarok Sunset 8:47" the closer of this album, because it's a little different then you'd expect, in the fact that it's a somber tone with clean and female vocals. But the male vocals do touch a tad darker in areas, and there are still heavy portions that remind me much of something Graveworm would do, which I like. The female vocals are certainly prominent in the chorus (which contains the harsh male vocal), and she's got a good vocal tone that works well with the music. They went for that gothic/death metal tone here, and it proves to be the band's strongest point. This is also where the melodies are strongest on the album. It's a very strong closer that leads out with a somber piano piece.

There are several hits and misses on this album, and in the areas where the band fail to innovate, they are usually able to reinvigorate the listener with the next track on the album. The disc is not even a full hour, but it's plenty of time to consider whether or not you're going to jump on the Chaosweaver bandwagon. As noted, I've heard both things I've liked and things I haven't. So it's not quite as good as the band's last record in that standpoint. However, it is a good album and at least worth checking out on the band's bandcamp page. Because no one uses Myspace for music anymore.

Highlights: Wings Of Chaos, Maelstrom Of Black Light, Infected, Crystal Blue, Ragnarok Sunset (9 Tracks, 48:00)



Grand Magus - The Hunt (2012) - Not extremely familiar with Grand Magus, I'm at least well aware that this isn't the band's debut album by any means. But what I'm presented with here certainly has a rather interesting mix of Kiss, Judas Priest, classic doom and Viking metal, which should sound rather awkward to say the least.

The Kiss and Judas Priest influence is readily available on tracks like the opener, "Starlight Slaughter 4:19" of which I am certain could be thrown right into a classic rock station and considered a well known band's "undiscovered track" and a bunch of old guys would be flocking to the record store to pick it up. One could say that just on that song alone, they could've sold this entire album.

But there are other tracks on this disc that are slightly heavier and have less classic rock influence. "Sword Of The Ocean 4:28" is one of those tracks that reminds me much more of doom bands like The Sword. You've got your Viking influence on tracks like "Valhalla Rising 4:51" and some could also say that there's a little Manowar in there too.

Sadly, there's not too much on this disc to really keep my attention after those three tracks, other than the title track, "The Hunt 5:24" and maybe the slightly epic "Son Of The Last Breath 6:50" which starts out as a soft ballad and builds up into a rousing song of vengeance. Many of the other tracks don't really seem to be quite as strong, like "Storm King 4:23" which I thought had an annoying chorus, and "Silver Moon 4:43" which failed to keep my attention at all. Perhaps it's just that I've heard this classic style of heavy metal done before and much better than what these guys are doing here.

At it's root, this is classic heavy metal with the influence of stoner/doom metal, and I'm sure that fans out there will eat this up. But I'm rather sure that this band has released several other albums that may or may not be better than this one. No, it's not a terrible disc. I just couldn't find anything much to interest me other than "Starlight Slaughter" and the two tracks that follow it.

But if you've never heard of this band before and want to hear a good mix of classic rock and doom, give it a go. You might have better luck with it than I had.

The Bonus Tracks:

This album contains three demo tracks. They are "Silver Moon 4:40", Storm King 4:00", and "Sword Of The Ocean 4:15." I didn't care for the original versions of "Silver Moon" and "Storm King" so I strongly doubt that I'd like them with demo quality production.

As for "Sword Of The Ocean 4:15", I'm not to worried about this demo track, because the original is far superior. Never been too much for demo tracks though, you see. Especially when nothing's really changed.

Highlights: Starlight Slaughter, Sword Of The Ocean, Valhalla Rising, The Hunt (12 Tracks, 57:00 - Without Bonus Demos: 9 Tracks, 44:00)



Spineshank - Anger, Denial, Acceptance (2012) - It's been 9 years since I've heard Spineshank. That's a long fucking time. Back in those days, I was still in high school, thinking that Slipknot, Disturbed, and Soulfly were some of the best bands in existence. Yes, that's how long it was. This is really even before the birth of metalcore, when some of metal's best albums were being recorded, and well before that episode of The Osbournes aired when Jack played Meshuggah and git an insurmountable amount of young musicians into them, leading to the rise of djent and whatever the hell else that people have mixed and mashed together these days.

Don't expect a masterpiece from these guys, as they just aren't able to do it anymore. The band has updated their sound to stay with the current trends in metal, but still remains grounded in poppy overtones that plague radio rock. Yes, some of this COULD be put on the radio, but you kind of expected that, didn't you? Yes, the same stations that would certainly play Korn and Skrillex would also gladly put songs like, "Nothing Left For Me 3:37" , "Anger Denial Acceptance 5:29", "I Want You To Know 3:47", and definitely "Exit Wounds (Acceptance) 4:39" on shuffle along with the rest of their songs.

If that's enough for you already, then you can just skip this review and read the next one for Ahab. But if you're still interested in Spineshank, you'll be happy to know that the band still has some heavy moments with frantic screaming, d-tune riffs, slight technicality, some core breakdowns, and some of the electronic semblances that got them known for being different. But for most of the album it's a very simplistic formula that works well on American hard rock radio. Scream, sing, scream, sing.

No guitar solos? Nope. Any good riffs? Here and there. But nothing really great. I will say that "Nothing Left For Me 3:37" is a hall of a great ballad, but I'm sure they'll probably use it for professional wrestling entertainment eventually. But many of the songs sound just like this. Do you like hearing the same song over and over again with slight differences to make it seem unique?

Yeah. This is the kind of corporate shit that you should stay away from. It's on the same level as Five Finger Death Punch and is a grade above Linkin Park style shit. You know what? I'm sick of this. There's really nothing here you'll find really interesting, other than the instrumental electronic piece "Ploratio Morbis 2:25" and the three part "Anger Denial Acceptance" track, but mostly just "Motive Method Opportunity (Denial) 1:38."

I've not gotten the chance to hear the band's earlier works, except for one song and it was a single. But this one is kind of lame. Just skip it, it's not worth checking out unless you really have a nostalgia for these guys. But I'm sure there's some chicks out there that will dig it. Not awful, but unoriginal and about as bad as modern pop music.

Highlights: After The End, Nothing Left For Me, Murder Suicide, I AM Damage, Everything, Everyone, Everywhere Ends, Motive Method Opportunity (Denial)
(13 Tracks, 44:00)


Hopefully, I'll have more to come this weekend.

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