March 31, 2009

Atrax Morgue

It feels familiar to listen to italian Marco Corbelli, also known as Atrax Morgue. One can possibly rebuild its influences from 79 to 90: the most haunting of early Throbbing Gristle, Whitehouse, early Merzbow and Lustmord. Clearly reconstructing the ways of industrial, noise, dark ambient and power electronics, these early cassette pieces are musical documents of someone with complete control of his intentions and assumedly essaying over pervertion.
There is a sublime minimalistic subtlety in his music. Decrepit white noise signals turned into timid beats, sound processing of mechanical tools and field recordings, Boyd Rice like organ / synthetizer mantras, channelled into the perfect suiting range of frequencies of the cassette tape.

(1993) In Search of Death / V0

(1993) Black Slaughter / V1

(1994) Collection in Formaldeide / V1

March 23, 2009


During the course of more than two decades, Mayhem has built the reputation of one of the most notorious and influencial black metal bands of all time. Albeit a pillar of the so called second wave black metal - term referring to bands from the early nineties and forth - this demos record is an isolated masterpiece itself.
The paradoxal beauty of this record is that this teenage norwegian trio, while still adhering to satanic aesthetics, has its apparent radical standpoints neutralized by the unpretentiousness of a barely garage-band Venon tribute. This becomes evident in the second part of the album, a totally unmixed recorded studio rehearsal, showing the lads simply trying to acheive an unexampled level of heaviness much beyond the point their idols stopped, evidently having fun.
The first part of the album is especially delightful to lo-fi appreciators. Low-fidelity black metal production has seen its first steps on projects such as Bathory, debuting two years before Mayhem's demo. The latter, however, has taken the limits of lo-fi to another level: "Ghoul" and the title track make it virtually impossible to distinguish anything but a wave of reverberating fuzz and toy-like drums; Venon's "Black Metal"cover (coherently labeled as "total death version") is one of the rawest and heaviest recordings ever made. Here, and in recordings until the early nineties (specially in their Deathcrush EP), show much more of a punk attitude than anything.
Preceding all the controversy the band attracted during its twenty year plus carreer, this album, released before the second wave of black metal bands was consolidated as a specific style in the nineties, remains as a cult statement of unprecedented characteristics.

(1986) Pure Fucking Armageddon / V0

Their 1987 follow-up, the Deathcrush EP, goes beyond attitude: it is a trash, punk, grindcore, death/black metal crossover album. The opening intro track sounds like a satire to martial music found in Death in June; following tracks are utter gore themed songs, ranging between the listed styles. Deathcrush's idiosyncratic amalgam of styles closed a period of Mayhem's discography before a seven year hiatus, after the suicide of Dead, the vocalist who entered the band after Deathcrush, and the assassination of Euronymous, the former guitar player (in 1991 and 1993, respectively). Eventually, the band released in 1994 "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas", an album that consolidated what is known today as norwegian black metal.

(1987) Deathcrush / V0



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