Friday, November 11, 2011

Vomiting Skulls - Vomiting Skulls DEMO (2009)

While I can't vouch for the logo attached to it, the name Vomiting Skulls certainly reeks of a pure death metal/gore vibe, which is not necessarily what is being transmitted through this 2009 demo. No, these Finns are more of a barbaric black metal outfit, with some fairly high production standards for a demo, and a few threads of old school death brutality woven into the songwriting. Very often, acts that straddle the margin between these genres can't seem to find a center upon which to focus, but I felt that the Vomiting Skulls had no such drawbacks, and as the four songs here prove, they know just how far to take this hybrid. The tracks are riff-heavy, always run their course without wearing out their welcome, and contain enough variation to hint that a full-length outing would prove anything but monotonous.

They go immediately for the gut with "Slaughter", setting up a straight war metal chord riff that, while simple as hell, is catchy enough to build anticipation to whatever follows, and then they bust out this slurry of purulent old school death while the singer growls like he's just been disemboweled. The song is relatively brief and to the point, with only 2-3 guitar parts, but it's extremely solid in execution. The next, "Old Ones" has a decidedly more Viking-like, pagan black metal swagger to it, with slower, potent riffing that wouldn't be out of place on a Barathrum disc, though the guitars are the focal point rather than the bass. "Altar" is pure black metal, a Hellhammer or Darkthrone groove giving way to a blast sequence, but I thought that the first and third riffs were far better than the rest of the song; while the last track, "Kill for His Glory" is the most forceful and direct burst of blackness on the demo, in the vein of Marduk.

I don't often get a ton of underground demos which sound this assured, and the execution and production are both immaculate. No beats are missed. Vomiting Skulls are not a heavily atmospheric group, so expect no subtleties. They just lay the riffs out like bricks, growl like bloody fiends and let the audience determine the rest of the violence. This wouldn't work at all if the guitar progressions were boring, but for the most part they function as intended and steadily draw the ear. Nothing out of the ordinary, but well structured. The rhythm tone sounds great, almost as consistently thundering as something like Amon Amarth. I'd like to hear the band cut their teeth on some memorable leads, and perhaps a few more complex rhythms somewhere, but this first demo does the groundwork it needs to, providing a concrete foundation that they can later build upon, and offering a few bruises in the process.

Verdict: Win [7.25/10]

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