Some Fantastic/Filthy Sounding Brutal Death Metal Albums

My last post was about an ambient/folk musician that creates the most beautiful music I have ever heard.

This post is about some of my favourite sounding Brutal Death Metal albums, that is the musical diversity it takes to be a mastering engineer I guess.

These are some particularly ‘good’ sounding albums in the brutal death metal genre. Some are included due to their clarity and precision, some for the utter filth of their production.

These are all worth hearing on either CD or in a high quality file format.

In no particular order.

  • Dying Fetus – ‘Reign Supreme’ (2012)

When Dying Fetus entered WrightWay Studios in 2012 chief engineer Steve Wright and his staff nailed the recording, mixing and mastering of this album.

It has the perfect balance of razor sharp, mechanical clarity and a more natural sound required for a band like Dying Fetus. It is also skull crushingly heavy.

  • Devourment – ‘Conceived In Sewage’ (2013)

For some reason there was a minor backlash from some fans when this album was released. The album had a slight nod towards old school death metal as well as the band’s usual brand of brutal death metal.

Anyway, Erik Rutan’s (Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel and owner of Mana Recording Studio) engineering abilities always deliver and the album sounds incredible.

 

  • Cattle Decapitation – Monolith Of Inhumanity (2012)

Cattle Decapitation had a sudden and well deserved surge in popularity around the release of ‘Monolith Of Inhumanity’.

The band has evolved from their humble goregrind roots and have created a truly unique and special sound over the years.

Their experimentation with multiple approaches to extreme metal came together particularly well with their  2009 release ‘The Harvest Floor’ however their newer direction was perfected with ‘Monolith Of Inhumanity’. 

Anything recorded by Dave Otero at Flatline Audio is going to sound great, but the production of Cattle Decapitation’s 2012 masterpiece is blisteringly heavy, clear and mechanic. Mixing and mastering an album as chaotic and schizophrenic as this must have been a nightmare but Dave Otero and co. pulled it off. 

Dave pulled it off again when they recorded the follow up record ‘The Anthropocene Extinction’ a few years later, but that is another story.

  • Visceral Disgorge – ‘Ingesting Putridity’ (2011) 

This album sounds incredible, all the instruments are balanced nicely and the drums in particular are crystal clear.

This is a great reference point for how brutal death metal should sound in my eyes especially in terms of overall loudness.

There is very little information about how this album was recorded, the mysterious ‘Durv Viswanathan’ is credited for ‘recording’. There is little information on his/her previous back catalogue of recording work, whoever he/she is they did a fantastic job!.

  • Amputated – ‘Wading Through Rancid Offal’ (2009)

This was one of the first albums in the ‘brutal’ death metal genre I discovered.  The entire album is a blueprint of how to make an album utterly filthy but listenable at the same time. 

  • Cryptopsy – ‘None So Vile’ (1996)

This is the oldest album on this list. Despite being recorded in 1996 this album sounds huge and has an incredible mix. The bass is crystal clear without getting muddled up with the kick drum and the vocals sit perfectly amongst the guitars. 

Recorded at Victor Studio Montreal, producer Pierre Remillard and the band created an perfect sounding album.

  • Defeated Sanity – ‘Passages Into Deformity’ (2013)

Defeated Sanity record much of their album’s material live in the studio, an incredible feat based on how insanely intricate, fast and schizophrenic their music is.

‘Passages Into Deformity’ was recorded at Sound-lodge Studios with Jörg Uken as their lead engineer. It captures the band’s sound perfectly, everything is crystal clear without sounding mechanical and lifeless. Lille Gruber’s drum sound in particular is phenomenal.

  • Extermination Dismemberment – ‘Serial Urbicide’ (2013)

I am yet to discover an album that sounds as devastatingly heavy as this. The album is closer to the sound of nuclear warfare than it is to any form of music. The sub-drops are guaranteed to test any speaker’s bass response. 

 

 

 

 

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Top 10 Grouper Songs

Liz Harris is an ambient/dream pop/lo-fi musician haling from Oregon (USA) who performs under multiple names, her most notable being alias being ‘Grouper’. As of this writing Liz Harris has released 10 albums and multiple singles.

Grouper is one of my favourite and most beloved artists currently out there. Her music is often a simple mix of dreamy, reverb drenched vocals, guitars and keyboards. Despite her often minimal set up, she has an ability to make some of the most ethereal, haunting, relaxing and often moving music I have ever heard.

Below is my top 10 grouper songs from the top of my head.

10. Vital (The Man Who Died In His Boat, 2008)

Liz chants the word ‘Vital’ over hypnotic guitars with hypnotising effect.

9.  ‘Alien Observer‘ (Alien Observer, 2011)

Liz sings the lines  ‘Wondering how we’re every meant to hide, Going to take a spaceship, Fly back to the stars, Alien observer in a world that isn’t mine’ over a simple piano melody, the result will take you to another place.

8. ‘Stuck‘ (Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill, 2008)

When I googled the lyrics to this song I was astonished to see only two lines appear. This goes to show that with the right songwriting approach and the use of melody, two lines can create an entire song without the listener ever noticing.

‘Stuck in a sad song

I was stuck in a sad song’

7. Vapour Trails (Alien Observer, 2011)

A simple and distant guitar and piano gradually build, taking your mind into another world.

6. Poison Tree (Grouper/Inca Ore, 2007)

Probably the most underrated track on this list.
The split E.P with Inca Ore marked a small turning point in Grouper’s direction. In my opinion from this release onward Liz’s voice started to be less distant and more decipherable and her songs started to become more accessible, whatever that means.

‘Turn me into a poison tree
Make my shadow go away
Make my branches strong and hard
Make my leaves flower and spread
Make me feel like something powerful is growing deep inside of me’

5. Cloud in Places (The Man Who Died In His Boat, 2013)

This song feels like ‘Heavy Water/Id Rather Be Sleeping”s cousin, both pieces are very similar and both are achingly beautiful.

4. Clearing (Ruins 2014)

For her album ‘Ruins’ Liz ditched her reverb drenched guitars and keyboards in favour of two things, her voice and a piano.

‘Ruins’ is Grouper laid bare. Her voice is quiet and indecipherable at points and you even hear a microwave beep loudly in the background during one of the songs.

This incredibly lo-fi approach generates some fantastic pieces, this is arguably Grouper’s most melancholic poignant album.

The track ‘Clearing’ is my personal highlight, containing some of Liz’s most relatable lyrics.

3. Living Room (The Man Who Died In His Boat, 2013)

Living Room is an interesting contrast to ‘Clearing‘, both tracks are simple and minimal.

Living Room contains only Liz’s voice and a single guitar. This track has one of Grouper’s most memorable lines.

‘I’m looking for the place the spirit meets the skin

Can’t figure out why that place feels so hard to be in’

2. Headache (Paradise Valley, 2016)

‘Headache’ is the ultimate Grouper track, If i were to introduce Liz Harris’s music to anyone I would use this track.

Stunningly beautiful droning guitars and vocal parts absorb the listener. The lyrics are tricky to decipher but that is not important, the song becomes even more special when you discover the lyrics yourself.

This would be number one on my list, but it was not the track that started my love affair with this band.

1. Heavy Water/Id Rather Be Sleeping (Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill, 2008)

THIS is the ultimate grouper track for me and it was the first track I heard by Liz Harris. A friend introduced me to this track, after sitting and listening to it she turned and said to me ‘how cool was that?’.

I responded ‘yeah that was nice’, not thinking much of it. Without knowing it, the chorus hook was now embedded into my mind forever. 

I don’t think I have gone more than a week without hearing it since.