ENERGUMEN "Void Spiritualism" 7"

ASCENDED DEAD "Arcane Malevolence" 7"
GHOULGOTHA  "Propheic Oration of Self" 7"
KURNUGIA "Tribulations of the Abyss" 7"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Ah, what's on the menu tonight? Appetizers, I see! Some tidbits from the Swedish chefs at the Blood Harvest label....bork, bork, bork! These cooks specialize in small tidbits of the spiciest death metal. And here we have a selection from around the world.

We begin with a taste of Energumen from Switzerland. This little country is known for fine metal as much as chocolate. Here we have 3 slices of raw, full blast death metal with roaring vocals ala Portal. No breakdowns or doomy bits from this bunch, no sir. But the production is a bit on the thin side. I think Energumen could not sustain this for an entire LP without monotony setting in. A nice little taste of bitter mayhem, though.

We get a meatier helping from San Diego's Ascended Dead. Ah, how this is more satisfying all the way around! It's still brutal and venomous, but the four tracks here are more thought out and have some truly diabolical riffs. The comparisons to Possessed and Sarcofago are not off the mark. The production is richer, fuller and some of the guitar solos even have a melancholy melody. This band bears watching for sure.

Ghoulgotha is somewhat more of a known quantity. One of its members is the Electrocutioner Wayne Sarantopoulos, who has dabbled in Decrepitah and Encoffination. Ghoulgotha sounds like the exact mid-point between those two bands, playing a diseased and out of tune form of distorted death metal that resembles a twisted Incantation. Sad to say, again, the deliberately cheap production makes this pretty thin gruel. And sometimes the out of tune stuff just sounds out of tune...not heavy.

Kurnugia from Cleveland corrects that mistake with their two tracks of ripping 90's style death metal. A tasting reveals flavors of Malevolent Creation and Immolation here and they have the production to back their brutality up. This is a band I would truly like to hear and taste more of!

So a mixed selection of rotten meat from Blood Harvest. Will we hear more from these bands? We shall see...