Servants of the Mist – Gross Knowledge of Genital Mutilation

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Sludge and especially doom metal has never been strangers to despair and pain, nor hate come to that, but there can be few releases which consume and fester in the psyche with the sheer hostile weight and excruciating intensity as that found within Gross Knowledge of Genital Mutilation. The new EP from US metallers Servants of the Mist, it is a leviathan of ruinous abrasion and sonic pestilence which bears no mercy or respite in its bitter oppressiveness. The four-track proposition is without doubt not a welcoming listen or one attempting to lure in a wide spread of appetites but if sludge of the most demoralising and perverse order is your kind of bait than Gross Knowledge of Genital Mutilation is a definite exploration to brave.

Bred in Florida, Servants of the Mist emerged in 2010 through guitarist and main songwriter Ed Tobar. A clutch of personnel ensued before long-term vocalist Richard Smyth, Jr. joined the band. Musically the project was immersed in the more traditional doom sounds of Black Sabbath and Saint Vitus though also bringing different ripe flavours into the mix. Early demos helped spread awareness of band and sound whilst the sharing of stages with the likes of Jucifer, Ulcer, After Death, and the Tardy Brothers only reinforced the emergence of the band. More line-up changes occurred over the couple of years from forming before late 2012 going into the next year saw Tobar and Smyth JR. enlisting drummer RJ Howley, bassist Kenny Nguyen, and Jason Kleim on keyboards into Servants of the Mist. The band’s sound was also evolving, a thicker droning seducing its invention which subsequently led to a shift within the band of Nguyen to second guitar and Kleim to bass to exploit and further this turn. The results impressively emerged in the well-received and monstrously evil sounding Suicide Sex Pact EP, the base and seed to the just as hostile tsunami that is Gross Knowledge of Genital Mutilation. The new release also features the latest addition to the sextet, keyboardist Brian Schille, and the band’s heaviest, most vitriolic presence yet.

The torment opens with Sadism & Suffering, a brief introduction of portentous intrigue and atmospheric haunting cast through unnamedsamples and sonic persistence. Though arguably not openly leading into or hinting at the beast of sound to come, the piece has thoughts and emotions entwined with its dangerous and challenging presence before the following Undeserving steps up to demand and seize all attention. A wall of penetrating sonic animosity fills ears and senses first, guitars and keys venomously seducing and permeating the psyche whilst the bass offers its own lethal lure. The mere seconds feel like a month of sufferance before the lumbering rhythmic gait of the track shakes the earth and riffs slam upon the senses like a monolithic predator. The gateway to the darkest, deepest malevolent pit spreads its legs to expel a consuming flow of organic and ruinous intensity into the slowly twisting maelstrom whilst the jowls of its bestial intent, devours the imagination with scourge like rapaciousness. It is a heady and exhaustive proposition but one which ebbs and flows in its attack for ears and emotions to embrace the sonically blistered melodic veining which emerges between the raw vocal causticity and insidious emotions.

Just too long at almost twelve minutes for personal thresholds, the track is a compelling savagery which is emulated in a distinctly different guise by Commit Suicide. Bursting from another potent sample, the track is a bruising, uncompromising slab of punk infused sludge rioting. It has a definite familiarity to its groove and contagion, an indefinable one admittedly but a presence within its brutal enticement which at times suggests Nirvana, Killing Joke, and Eyehategod. It is a gripping stomp with murderous intent which grips the passions tightly before passing on for the title track to submerge senses and psyche in its disturbing provocation. The last song emerges from another disturbed ambience as bred in the opener before sluggishly unwinding tendrils of sonic toxicity and suffocating aural despondence. It is a masterful funereal death march, an intensive devouring devoid of hope and light but exuding a rabid beauty which can only seduce the souls of the wretched and the emotionally distorted.

Gross Knowledge of Genital Mutilation is at times a trial and in other moments a fearsome seduction, but perpetually a unique scavenger of emotions and fears which reinforces Servants of the Mist as one of the rarest and inescapable predations within extreme metal. Only the fearless and deranged will tackle the EP but their rewards come in just as weighty an offering as the violation.

The self-released Gross Knowledge of Genital Mutilation is available now @ http://servantsofthemist.bandcamp.com

http://www.facebook.com/servantsofthemist

8.5/10

RingMaster 24/06/2014

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Ulcer: Grant us Death

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    Grant us Death from Polish death metallers Ulcer is a release which does not really ignite any fires of passion for its admittedly accomplished and impressively crafted musical animosity but it is still a release you can happily and want to come back to time and time again. Enriched in the depths of old school Swedish death metal, the album is a nasty violent cacophony of exhausting and malicious intensity engineered through raptorial riffs and blood thirsty rhythms for a more than pleasing confrontation.

Formed in 2006 by guitarist Lucass as initially a solo project for himself, the band soon grew with the addition of vocalist D.ssipline, guitarist Mścisław, and bassist Kuba. Two demos A Property of God? in 2006 and Slitwrist Society the following year were recorded though never released, each just spread amongst fans. As Kuba left the band second vocalist Angelfuck joined up and debut album Serpent Trinity was recorded in the summer of 2007, though again it was not released, just passed around like the previous  demos. A period of quiet and ‘inactivity’ followed before the band re-emerged in 2011 with drummer Vizun and bassist Kamil added to the ranks.  With a change in musical direction and new material primed to be unleashed, the band which features present and past members from Deivos, Blaze Of Perdition, Squash Bowels, and Azarath, signed with Pulverised Records, Grant Us Death their first voracious full assault upon the world.

The title track emerges from a melodic invitation within a foreboding ambience which gives no real essence of the decayed inferno Grant Us Death Coverto come. It is a ravenous assault with caustic vocals complimented by group shouts bristling upon uncompromising rhythms and a gnarly intent and sound from bass and intimidating guitar riffs. It does not exactly trigger mass euphoria but the track leaves one bursting with eagerness to delve deeper in to the album whilst basking in the already impressive corrosive malevolence on offer.

The strong start is elevated by the following Devilspeed, the start of a trend as the following Bloodpainted Salvation and The Love Song each take the album to ascending plateaus. The first of the trio is an adrenaline charged surge of rampant riffs and demanding rhythms crossed with malice soaked vocal squalls. Like the majority of the album the intensity created by guitars and bass saw across and ravage the ear with little relief or mercy but still leave one enthralled and eager for more of their violating presence. Bloodpainted Salvation pins the listener to the floor by the ear and savages the senses with further annihilatory intent and skilfully sculpted violence whilst the last of the trio is an inspiring furnace of rabid intensity and predatory synapse bruising sonic barbarity infused with a magnetic melodic teasing which takes the track impressively away from the pack.

From here as good as the likes of Godcremation, Devialize, and My Lord Has Horns are, the album fails to find the same heights again but nevertheless leaves a full satisfaction for the senses to devour with the inventive and accomplished sounds displayed to ensure the release is a formidable and appetising proposition again and again.

The closing track When Horror Comes brings a different flavour to the album and does give the album a heightened departure. Its mix of blackened death metal and almost gothic metal like vocal mesmerism captivates the imagination from start to finish, the constant harshly grizzled riffs and energy stretched and embellished with potent shadows and rich sonic flames to leave intrigue and a sustained appetite to follow the creative exploits of the band as they evolve further.

With an exclusive macabre painting by Bartek Kurzok (Abigail, Demonic Slaughter, Goat Tyrant) for its artwork, Grant Us Death is an album deserving of attention and a release fans of bands such as  Entombed, Nihilist, and Autopsy will find plenty of maybe not original but well-crafted and passionate sounds within.

www.facebook.com/Ulcerdeathmetal

7/10

RingMaster 21/02/2013

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