Thursday, August 11, 2011

Metal Briefs: Death Metal 1992

The Golden Era, Part 3

The golden era of death metal was in full swing in 1992, and the geographical/stylistic outgrowth continued. Death metal continued its path toward brutality, but also slowed down and developed death/doom.

Cenotaph: The Gloomy Reflection of Our Hidden Sorrows

Cenotaph hailed from Mexico City, the most densely populated city on the planet. It's home to rich culture as well as urban decay and poverty. Sound like New York city to you--especially New York circa 1992? So it should come as no surprise that they adopted a brutal, ultra-heavy death metal style similar to New York's Suffocation. The death growls are heard from deep within the catacombs, and the riffs are spawned there but can't be contained by stone and earth. They alternate between blasts and steamrolling riffs, including a couple breakdowns, plenty of chromatic solos, and some progressive tendencies on the longer tracks. This is devastating. I give The Gloomy Reflection of Our Hidden Sorrows 4.5 out of 5 stars.

My Dying Bride: As the Flower Withers

As the Flower Withers (Dig)The UK's My Dying Bride is one of the pioneers of death/doom. While their later work has covered a lot more territory with gothic features and suicidal clean singing, As the Flower Withers is an enormous step forward in itself. Yes, there are some pure death metal cuts, like "The Forever People", but there's also plenty of doom, with haunting melodies. "Sear Me" has a theme so good they explored it several times in their career, and it's one of a couple songs that feature violin. It is clear they were still finding their footing, and as such it's not a fantastic album. But in terms of the history of the genre, it's indispensable. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Fleshcrawl: Descend into the Absurd

Descend Into The AbsurdGermany is known for its thrash, folk/Viking metal, industrial metal--even its gothic metal. Essentially, it's known for every style except death metal. Really, how many German death metal bands can you name? But that's simply because they've been overshadowed by the scenes in nearby Sweden and the Netherlands. Fleshcrawl's Descend into the Absurd sounds like they knew about the Swedish scene. In terms of the hoarse death growl vocals and the composition, there's little to distinguish it from Swe-death aside from the reliance on slower tempos. The most obvious difference is they don't have that Swedish buzzsaw guitar sound. But it definitely stands in its own right as an underappreciated classic. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.


  1. Cenotaph is a great band. More people should be aware of them.

  2. I'm not familiar with Fleshcrawl's material. I may have to check them out soon.