Friday, April 19, 2019

Full Length Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS "A Tribute To DEATH" (Antichrist Magazine/Grand Sounds PR) by Dave Wolff

Full Length: A Tribute To DEATH
Genre: Thrash, death, black metal
Released by: Antichrist Magazine
Promotion by: Grand Sounds PR
Available for streaming at Youtube
Release date: April 15, 2019
“A Tribute to DEATH” is the latest installment of Antichrist Magazine’s series of tribute compilations, following last fall’s “A Tribute to BURZUM” which was reviewed here last November. I’m sure many Death tributes are circulating around as of 2019, as there are as many tribute compilations as there are extreme bands at this time. Antichrist Magazine’s contribution deserves widespread notice, for the bands appearing on it and how they recapture what made the late Chuck Schuldiner and his band innovators. Most of the acts here are new to me (with the exception of Beltane), but listening to them makes it sink in how important Death was to underground metal’s evolution. Dare I state Death was as important as past greats like Venom, Slayer, Bathory and Celtic Frost? Many people would say it’s an accurate assessment. When I saw Death for the first time, sharing a New York bill with Whiplash and At War in 1988, IU had a feeling something new was brewing and they weren’t your typical thrash band. On “Scream Bloody Gore” and “Leprosy” they took thrash one step further, developed, progressed matured, and redefined extreme music by releasing one brilliant album after another (including “Spiritual Healing,” “Human” and the black metal-ish “The Sound Of Perseverence”). Their riffs and songwriting improved on each album, enhancing extreme metal with classical trimmings without concern for writing commercially oriented songs or becoming more accessible. Death was already an underground legend when Schuldiner continued with his last band Control Denied and he left us far too soon when he passed away in 2001. If you listen to less threatening genres, I defy you to listen to “A Tribute to DEATH” and maintain that death and black metal require no talent. As challenging as it is to pay homage to Schuldiner’s vision, this tribute not only represents the band’s technical genius but the passion that drove them and that time in the 80s and 90s when extreme metal was emerging as a viable force. No matter where each band is from, they all understand Death’s enthusiasm for death metal and determination to validate it as capable of becoming more than it started as. Sichgart, Basement Torture Killings, Hateful Agony, Beltane, Nethertale, SavageZ, Father Of Serpemts, Frostheim, Searching For Reason and Unto The Wolves demonstrate Death’s capacity for maturity as they interpret the band in their own way. You can hear the differences in each song covered, and the attitude of creating something different, creative and artistically viable does not diminish over repeated listens. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Sichgart (Ukraine): Legion of Doom
2. Basement Torture Killings (United Kingdom): Mutilation (feat. Jonny Peterson (Wombbath))
3. Abruptus (Mexico): Land of No Return
4. Aetranok (USA): Leprosy
5. Hateful Agony (Germany): Infernal Death
6. Rat King (USA): Born Dead
7. Beltane (New Zealand): Left to Die
8. Wolftribe (Poland): Pull the Plug
9. Body Harvest (United Kingdom): Spiritual Healing
10. Injector (Spain): Within the Mind
11. Offal (Brazil): Defensive Personalities
12. Nethertale (Spain): Lack of Comprehension
13. Reject The Sickness (Belgium): Suicide Machine
14. SavageZ (Brazil): The Philosopher
15. Torment Tool (Germany): 1000 Eyes (feat. Jan Roubal)
16. The Father of Serpents (Serbia): Empty Words
17. Frosthelm (USA): Spirit Crusher
18. Searching For Reason (USA): Voice of the Soul
19. Unto The Wolves (USA): Story to Tell

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