Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Retroview: New York Death Metal

Before there was slam metal as we know it today, there was NYDM. When I discovered NYDM, I was listening to Morbid Angel, Obituary, Napalm Death, and all the other classics. I loved those bands, but it wasn't quite scratching the itch. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I knew I wanted to hear something more... When I first heard the slamming slamz of the NYDM sound, it was like someone reached into my brain and pulled out the sounds I had in my head and put them onto, er, cassette. It was as though I had found my musical soulmate! On that note, this is far from a comprehensive study of NYDM, but here is an overview of the bands that I liked the most.



Pyrexia
I will start with my favorite NYDM band. They don't get nearly as much press as Suffocation or Internal Bleeding, despite sharing some members, but in my opinion they are better than either. That's right, better than Suffo!! They aren't as accessible as Suffo because they don't really use melody as much, they just fuckin' slam, slam, and slam some more. "Sermon of Mockery" is their best release, although I like all of their records. After "Sermon" they changed their style up, and followed it up with the "Hatredangeranddisgust" EP and "System of the Animal" LP. Unlike "Sermon," which is just pure death metal, those two records pretty much sound like hardcore, or more specifically like Hatebreed playing death metal covers. They're good for sure, but nothing like "Sermon." I recommend that you download all of them, but definitely don't sleep on "Sermon."



Baphomet
Buffalo's Baphomet get no love! OK, they're definitely not the best band of all time, but they don't have to be, they just have to slam- and slam they do. Baphomet is one of those bands that are sort of like Kraft singles: you know they're a shitty, half-assed imitation of the real thing, but you can't help but binge on them every now and then anyway. With that said, I would say this record is for genre enthusiasts only... but still awesome! It's meat-and-potatoes NYDM with no frills or fancy shit, but for some of us, that's just what the doctor ordered.



Internal Bleeding
If you were into this shit in the 90s, you remember how controversial Internal Bleeding were. Lots of people hated on them for their Long Island guido steez, but "Voracious Contempt" struck a chord with all kinds of douchebags and meatheads such as myself. Years later, I was at a Suffocation show in Poughkeepsie, and the fat guy who was singing for them at the time was sweating my girlfriend at the time super hard because she was a skinny indie girl with good hair. In her words, "he wanted it bad." Malamor also played that show, who almost warrant a paragraph in this post... but not quite. They will be featured in the upcoming post entitled "Bands who are named after marshmallows." Anyway, Internal Bleeding didn't invent the "slamz for slamz' sake" style, but they definitely popularized it. For those about the slam, we salute you!



Suffocation
I'm not going to write about Suffocation because I hope everybody reading this is more than familiar with them. All I'm going to say is this: do you remember the Spazz song "The Egg On The Hirax Cover"? They should have written one called "The Killer Robot On The Effigy Of The Forgotten Cover." If you'd like to read more about our thoughts on Suffocation, please read this article which goes into extensive detail on Frank Mullen's Trump Plaza shirt from the "Effigy" photo shoot.



Dehumanized
These guys were B-level for sure, and not that great. Their record was pretty much just OK, except for the song "Prophecies Foretold" which was fucking siiiiiiiiiiiiiiick! I was equal parts bummed and surprised that I couldn't find the studio version of the song on Youtube, but you can at least catch a live version above. Watching them bounce to the slam parts is worth a LOL or two when you're not busy moshing your balls off.


Disfigured
I am extremely disappointed that I couldn't find any of their songs on Youtube! It's 2009, shouldn't every song by every obscure Long Island slam metal band be available within like four mouse clicks?! Where's Al Gore, I would like to lodge a complaint. In any case, Disfigured were like thinking man's NYDM. Their song structures were more interesting and nuanced than other B-level bands like, say, Dehumanized, and they could definitely play their instruments a lot better. The drummer, whose name I forget, was particularly good. I know it was something French-sounding, we'll just call him George St. Pierre for now. Anyway, these guys were/are highly underrated, and if there is any justice in the world they will attain legendary kvlt status like Ripping Corpse and Havohej. If you want to impress the Guttural Slamming Brutality Crew with how down you are with NYDM, do yourself a favor and download their EP, "Prelude to Dimentia."



Repudilation / Entorturement / 420
I am lumping all three of these bands together because they shared many of the same members, and were similar in sound and spirit. I could go on forever about them, but for now I'll just say that all you need to know is that these guys were the first geniuses to combine rap and slam metal! Also, the drummer for Repudilation used an ice bell for a ride, which is kind of hilarious and awesome at the same time. And let's talk about how amazingly awful these kids were at naming bands. I mean, it just went from bad to worse! Repudilation is at least a real word, but Entorturement is one of the worst names ever. It was a big source of inspiration for Lucho and I when we named our band Disengorgmentification. But then they managed to one-up themselves by calling their next band fucking 420! It's like the best part of ICP, Internal Bleeding, and Cypress Hill all wrapped up into one. Needless to say I love all three of these bands a lot! If anyone has the full version of the 420 album in the video above, please link it in the comments!!



Morpheus Descends
I'll conclude with one of the godfathers of NYDM. They're really more of the Demolition Hammer style of half-thrash, half-death metal in that they never blast and never really slam, but if you listen closely like the RCA dog, you can def hear the roots of slam in there. Because they were on JL America, the only label shittier than Wild Rags, it was kind of hard to get into Morpheus Descends back in the day. If you were really down with NYDM, though, you tracked that shit down because you saw the dudes in Suffocation rocking Morpheus Descends shirts all the time. And you knew that if it was good enough for Terrence Hobbes, it was fucking good enough for you!! Anyway, if you're into Incantation or that style of sludgy, proto-NYDM, make sure you track this shit down. CORPSE UNDER GLASS!

38 comments:

  1. Those Buffalo hicks in Baphomet were awesome. When they changed their name to Banished and released the "Deliver Me Unto Pain" album, they made a video, which was aired on MTV! Was Baphomet/Banished the first slam band on MTV?

    Years later, the vocalist was in some god awful nu-metal band that wrote a theme song for some mixed-martial arts TV show. The song was your typical faux tough-guy shit. It sucks, but I'm sure Sarge would slobber all over it.


    I used to be obsessed with NYDM in high school, so much so that I was dead-set on forming a band named "Lacerated Scrotum". As I got older, though, the interest I once had soon turned into complete hatred. Of those bands listed, I think Baphomet and Morpheus Descends are the only ones that won't give me a headache now.

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  2. Dehumanized, Holy shit! Good call, total blast from the past . As a side note, Guitarist Tom Toscano gets extra points for the "Metal Mom" jeans he rocks on the live photos in the Prophecies booklet.

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  3. possibly innocent bystanderFebruary 25, 2009 at 5:38 AM

    Ah yes, Baphomet/Banished... the only worthwhile thing about "Deliver Me Unto Pain" was the cover, really.

    Can´t say that I find any of the albums mentioned here overly great with the exception of Morpheus Descends. Ah well, Dehumanized were nice, kinda.

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  4. Complete Prelude to Dementia EP can be found here. Not bad at all.

    They apparently also released that EP with a joke cover.

    The only stuff I own from Morpheus Descends is that self released EP of them. I'm realy fond of that one, sounds very much like Incantation and Immolation. I even like that soundscape at the end that just goes on forever.

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  5. Speaking of Pyrexia and Suffocation do you remember the band Crucifix? They put out a 3-way split with Pyrexia and Suffocation in the early 90's and their part was great, but I think that is all they ever recorded. Sad.

    Anybody know what happened to them?

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  6. Isn't Cannibal Corpse from Buffalo too?

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  7. I think Malevolent Creation's "Eternal" record could be categorized into this class as well. That record definitely has some incredible "modern slam metal" moments to it (as well as some pretty sketchy lyrics).

    As for Baphomet/Banished, the singer, TJ, became a good friend of mine through my ex-band touring with the band he works for over the years. When everyone's favorite frontman (note: sarcasm), Tommy Vext was axed for Divine Heresy, TJ was in the running to fill the big man's shoes. Nothing seems to have become of that, apparently, but we have talked about working on a project together at some point.

    Great post nonetheless. Turned me on to a few bands I've never even heard of. Thanks, fellas.

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  8. It's important to note that Dying Fetus covered Baphomet's "Streaks of Blood" on the Grotesque Impalement ep, which gives them lots of slam cred.

    Remember when Obituary and Pyrexia cross-pollinated to form Catastrophic? Remember how awesome we all imagined that sounding? Remember how fucking godawful the actual record was?

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  9. I was part of the early 90's NYDM scene.

    Here are some interesting facts:

    -The original and only good line-up of Pyrexia used to rehearse in the basement of a bagel shop. I remember Doug from Suffocation coming down to jam when their original guitarist, Rob, quit. Pyrexia's orginal drummer, Mike, left the band and totally abandoned metal. He became a pretty big drug dealer and I think he got caught.

    -Rob from Morpheus used to sell a lot of weed in upstate NY.

    -There was a band from Queens called Fallen Christ that a lot of people thought were going to get signed by Roadrunner but it never happened.

    -There was another band from Queens called Mastema that were by far, one of the best dm bands in the country but no one knew about. They sounded like Morbid Angel. One of the guys joined another band called Asphyxiation which also featured Scott, the original drummer of Brutal Truth.

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  10. I remember buying Suffocation´s "Human Waste" on vinyl and listening to it on 33 rpm. It was the heaviest shit I had ever heard until then. Later I tried it on 45, and I was unable to tell if it was supposed to run on 33 or 45. It sounds way better on 33 I think. And the cover of "Breeding the Spawn" has to be one of the best DM covers ever. In my opinion it is Dan Seagrave´s absolute masterpiece. Speaking of covers, like Possible Innocent Bystander, I remember that infamous Banished cover...I saw an add for it in a magazine and was blown away. In the end they had to change it, didn´t they? And weren´t Immolation from NY as well?

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  11. Fuckin Suffocation!
    Still one of my favorite bands of all time, still kickin ass IMO.
    I remember the whole big stink over Internal Bleeding when they released Voracious Contempt. I thought they sounded good, way better live.
    Thanks for a cool NYDM bit, a few of these bands are new to me, gotta check them out.
    Any more gems I should seek out?

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  12. I meant the cover of "Effigy of the Forgotten" of course. And while I am at it, I just researched that Banished cover, seems they settled for just a part of the original cover without the more explicit details.

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  13. Baphomet - The dead shall inherit is one of my all time favs!
    Bass guitar kills on that album...James Murphy adding some solos could have been a nice touch. Great album, anyway!

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  14. I used to be obsessed with NYDM in high school, so much so that I was dead-set on forming a band named "Lacerated Scrotum".

    lucho came up with a really good band name along those lines once years ago, "Haunted Scrotum."

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  15. i think 2k9 is a great time to release Haunted Scrotum/Putrid Foreskin split 7"

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  16. Suffocation, but no Immolation? What the hell?!?!?!?!

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  17. whoops, i forgot about them! i liked "into everlasting fire" a lot but i never really thought about it as part of the same proto-slam scene as Pyrexia or whatever, you know? i guess they should have been included, though.

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  18. Anal Birth is the best band from NY.

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  19. Thanks for bringing up Baphomet - I owned this on tape and then CD. "The dead shall inherit" was welded into my tape deck for weeks at a time back in the mid 90s. They were one of the few DM bands I could do that with - most I was never able to get into or got bored of inside of 5 playings... I think I saw them at the original Michigan Deathfest in 1990. (there's a whole new flood of memories - wow)

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  20. Morpheus Descends also had a double 7" (WTF) as Morpheus on Seraphic Decay, another "Shittier than Wild Rags" label although they did put out a lot of great Death Metal 7"s (mostly Finnish stuff). The record also contains a bunch of exclusive art from some 3rd teir comic book on Malibu (the imprint that originally distributed Image). I've heard tales of these guys smoking dust in graveyards and then digging up some of the graves. I'd imagine their families are all very proud.

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  21. possibly innocent bystanderFebruary 26, 2009 at 1:48 PM

    There surely were many cool DM bands in the NY area around that time but didn´t they all have a bit of thier own thing going on?
    Immolation and Suffocation don´t have too much in common I´d say... Immolation were always a tad bit more "epic" so they didn´t really pave the ground for todays insipid hordes of rifferatory chugment (not in my world at least!).
    And while I am at it: I am somewhat surprised that the research teams at the MI facility have not yet looked into the rise of "slam" DM being intertwined with that one riff in "Liege of Inveracity"!
    My thesis would be that this very riff got the ball rolling. Opinions?

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  22. rifferatory chugment indeed. how many bands started off in upstate ny and then migrated to tampa bay? i feel like there were at least a couple.

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  23. Seraphic Decay was owned by some scumbag in Cleveland. You were right that he released a lot of Finnish stuff; he was the last person to have possessed the master to Demigod's "Unholy Domain". He ripped off a ton of bands.

    Where was JL America based? They released some obscure yet decent death metal in the early 90's. They also were the America distributor for Osmose Productions.


    Seraphic Decay, JL America, and Wild Rags seem to be the biggest rip-off labels from the past; however, I don't remember the guys from Goddefied or Impetigo ever saying they had problems with Richard. They just said he was one weird guy.

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  24. 420n only released a two song demo tape that I know of. The repudilation album never got finished (they never recorded the vocals if I'm remembering correctly. 420 used to play a few of the unreleased repudilation songs live though and they pretty incredible. This post is making me miss the days of death metal matinees on long island. If you wear a disfigured tshirt around any of the guys from cephalic carnage you will have a new friend.

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  25. man, i wish i had a Disfigured shirt! (printed on an American Apparel size S blank plz)

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  26. Never had any problems with Wild Rags or Seraphic Decay myself, always got what I paid for (and tons of free stuff from Richard C. as well shortly before he quite the shop). I must have written to JL America as well sometimes becouse I have some of their old xeroxed catalogs in my storage boxes, but i don't think I ever ordered anything. I think most of Wild Rags ripoff reputation is undeserved. I am convinced lots of people never actually had anything to do with him but say he's a ripoff just becouse they want to pass for "old-schoolers" and an "old-schooler" is supposed to say WR was a ripoff label.
    That said a ton of bands seem to have been ripoffed actually, but no customer that I know and trust.

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  27. Yeah, I remember that cover of the Banished record, as well as my dad looking at it with some curiosity.

    Fallen Christ released an album on Osmose I think. Heard it once from a guy in school, didn't sound very slammy at the time.

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  28. Yeah my brother used to have a copy of that fallen christ album. totally not a slam album. really fast black death metal.
    if i find one of my old disfigured shirts its yours sgt d.

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  29. dead shall inherit is flawless all the way through



    i said it

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  30. The New York death metal scene has left its mark and continues to produce good music. I was a part of the 90's NYDM scene back in the mid 90's when I played guitar in a band from Queens, NY called Mastema. I also played guitar in a band called Aspyhxiation also from Queens around the same time. Even though the bands had incredible potential, both bands split due to instability, lack of communication and professionalism. It was a fun time though, hopefully more bands will come out of NY, stay tuned...

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  31. TWO GREAT UNDERGROUND BANDS.

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  32. This thread is very nostalgic. Having been a part of it pioneering pure death metal in Ceremonium its great seeing so many old school heads. Many I know personally, while others Im sure I would recognize in person. For reasons I wont explain here, I stumbled upon the page. It would be sick (re) connecting to most of you guys...In case you want, you may check out the label I manage:
    www.destrorecords.com
    All contact info can be found there. Cheerz

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  33. Ceremonium "Dreams We Have Written" double discography disc due out through Weird Truth Productions late 2010. check it out..keep the metal flowing

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  34. Up now: Ceremonium official myspace page. Songs, bio posted and more coming soon. "Dreams We Have Written" discography will be out early 2011. New t-shirts will be available by end of 2010 through Destro Records it is hoped. add, like, die slowly

    www.myspace.com/Ceremonium

    Cheerz to the man of the blackest of hearts w random facts!

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  35. Internal bleeding's debut was awesome! Too bad it only had 3 new songs...Entorturement was goddamn awful if you ask me!

    Does anyone has those Mastema and Asphyxiation demo's, even if it's on mp3? I've been searching for those since the 90's!

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  36. I also forgot: don't forget about Necrosis's "Eternally hanging dead" demo! Man that was great too!

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  37. Interesting video clip you have shared . Love your post .

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