Welcome to Source of Steel - The Heavy Metal Museum. For the metal head who likes to own or collect physical CDs, Source of Steel is my website dedicated to the love of physical metal on shiny plastic discs. Micro-reviews, thoughts, pics of my own collection and random utterances are abound. The site started out purely as a way of sharing my rarities to like-minded fans, but now (for longevity's sake more than anything) it is open to new physical metal music bits I've picked up, including new releases and other random shit.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Grotesque Hysterectomy - Reek





















Rising up once again from the depths of Norway, ambling like a warp-spasming demon through the debris left from the wake of their 2005 7 inch "Piercing Through", Grotesque Hysterectomy are back to cause severe trauma to the upper torso via their septic brand of filth-ridden Death Metal.

Each separate element of the music on offer here stinks of the insalubrious, with the guitar tone sounding like it's been dredged from Satan's own U-bend, the drums and basslines threatening to rattle teeth loose, and Disfigured Chest's vocal work belching as much bile filled sickness per second as ever. All these elements combine sickeningly for a thoroughly enjoyable (if not criminally short) Death Metal album, reminding of the likes of classic Morbid Angel (especially in the title track), Immolation ("Obeyer" and "Exhibitionist" in particular) and just about every other Death Metal band of worth in between. Sure, that obviously means that this isn't original (just how can someone make any metal genre original nowadays anyhow?), but with that said it still manages to crush with the power of a sledgehammer to the face, track after each fetid track. As a side note, whereas their last 7 inch came with a sick bag, the band have decided to go one better this time on the gimmick front. The first hundred copies come with a 'Hysterectomy Pack' featuring a step by step hysterectomy guide, surgical mask, glove and scalpel - essential for the Jack the Rippers among us I'm sure you'll agree(!).

Gimmicks aside, Grotesque Hysterectomy have a great old school vibe about them. All being well, with the undeniable relish that these guys put into their Death Metal, "Reek" should see them deservedly pushed into the Death Metal limelight.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Exhumed - Platters of Splatter (3 Disc Edition)


















Here's a nice rarity I picked up on the day of release (glad I did, as these disappeared pretty fast). Although the back cover doesn't mention it, this is the much fabled 3 disc edition of Exhumed's demo, E.P and split compilation, featuring a load of other stuff that is really hard to come by (even a dodgy Madonna cover!). As Carcass have always been one of my favourite bands, Exhumed were bound to sate my hunger for that pathological filth that my ears demand.

Killjoy - Compelled by Fear





















This is pretty much disowned by Necrophagia's Killjoy these days it seems, but at least I still have proof of it's existence in this 2001 New Renaissance number edition re-issue. Originally released in the early 90s, Killjoy wanted to try his hand at thrash - the results weren't exactly great. Ever since, he's pretty much stuck to what he does best, horror inspired extreme metal.

Grave - Into the Grave / You'll Never See









































These two should DEFINITELY need no introduction to any death metal fan worth his or her salt. The first two full lengths from Swedish monstrosities Grave, as original Century Media pressings (as nature intended, rather than in shitty 2-on-1 CD re-issues, or with stacks of un-needed bonus tracks).

Electric Wizard - Supercoven E.P





















This is the nice long 4 track version of Electric Wizard's Supercoven E.P on Southern Lord. Hard to come by these days, but worth tracking down as the run-time is more like a regular albums worth of material. Druggy, hazy, messed up fuzzing doom-a-rama.

Dissection - Reinkaos





















Dissection's final album wasn't a particularly great way to sign off, but Mr Nödtveidt obviously had 'other plans' plaguing his mind. However, this issue of their maligned work was bought directly from the band, limited to 1,001 copies, and signed by each band member.

It was inevitable that people would be disappointed seeing as the first two albums were deemed as such classics by pretty much everybody and their neighbor (well, maybe not my neighbor, he looks like he listens to Cher), especially as the bands style has now taken a simpler approach to songwriting, and is now ultimately lacking the X factor which drew them to the band in the first place. However, this is not to say it is the worst album ever created by all means, it's just highly generic and lackluster in places unfortunately. Upon my purchase of the album, and after about the 8th spin, I can appreciate it more for what it is musically, rather what I expected and wanted it to be from a band that I worshiped as a teenager.

The opening instrumental passage is the closest Reinkaos comes to Dissection's older material, reminiscent of the opening of 'Storm of the Light's Bane' (though, glaringly not as good!), before the album sets into its mid-paced chunky guitar riffage. If you've heard the Maha Kali single, it should be a guide to what to expect pace-wise throughout the album. Even the individual songs paces do not vary wildly, which is a shame, because Dissection were great at doing fast evil riffage.

This said, there are a few good points here. There are a couple of nice evil atmospheric parts on this album (usually in the acoustic parts), which coupled with Jon's vocals really helped to invoke hope for future releases before his death, whereupon Jon would discover his edge again and really form a strong writing partnership with Set (who we also know can write amazing riffs in Aborym). Well, it obviously wasn't meant to be. About 60% of the riffs are pretty decent musically, and fairly enjoyable (even if they are played far too slowly for my liking), the other 40% are, well, just insipidly average sadly. An unfortunate end.

The Axis of Perdition - Physical Illucinations...





















This was the bands E.P release after their debut full length which was limited to 666 copies on Code666. Pretty creepy industrialised, weird black metal. Useless piece of trivia, but this was the first release under their new moniker of 'The' Axis of Perdition (their debut was just 'Axis of Perdition'). Makes all the difference eh?(!)

Anaal Nathrakh - Total Fucking Necro





















These guys have made quite a name for themselves over the last few years. This is a compilation of their demo material, released on the now defunct Rage of Achilles label. I think it was re-issued by the band after the label disappeared, but only to a handful of copies on CD-r.

Azrael - Obdurate E.P





















For me, Azrael's best release. This is their early E.P, on it's original Desastrious pressing. Howling, icy, ear eroding black metal.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Insision - The Dead Live On





















The 2002 Immortal Souls re-issue of the debut E.P of Swedish brutal death metal heroes, Insision. Well worth checking out.

Ripping Corpse - Dreaming with the Dead





















Ripping Corpse are one of those bands who, although they were appreciated at the time of their existence, gained more reverence and admiration after their downfall. Despite only being renowned by some as the band that nurtured old big-lips himself (Erik Rutan) into the burgeoning death metal scene, Ripping Corpse actually had an excellent thrashy death metal trademark of their very own, with 3 top notch demos paving the way for this, their only full length release before their untimely demise.

Opening with 'Sweetness', the guitar tone is quite a jarring thrashy oriented one, fitting the semi-technical music perfectly, allowing the riffs to be pushed to the forefront so every note can be heard clearly through the generally muddy production. Scott Ruth's vocals remind me of a cross between Paul Baloff (high pitched screams of the highest order, and swift vocal exhortation) and a more intelligible John Tardy (the inhuman howls and barks) - quite a combination I'm sure you'll agree, which is why I think that he was one of the most overlooked vocalists of his time (although he's still shredding his throat for Dim Mak nowadays, albeit sounding nothing like he did back in his Ripping Corpse heyday). The shredding riff-work is interspersed with flailing solos, as well as melodic Rutan-esque echoing licks and intelligently arranged almost progressive compositions (progressive in the way that they don't follow the usual standard death metal song structures) harking back to Altars of Madness era Morbid Angel. Rather than relying on destroying your senses with blastbeats, the drum work is varied and interesting with early Death drummer Bill Andrews being a good reference point for a similar styled of fast drum work without the use of constant double bass. The generally short song lengths add to the powerful frenzied attack this album hits you with (being on average 2-4 minutes long), with songs like 'Chugging Pus' and 'Anti God' managing to encompass just about every tempo, varied drumming, and cramming technical riffs into every available nanosecond. Thus, although making it nigh on impossible to bang your head to without looking like a special needs person, it still manages to flow perfectly well, stretching your metal boner to bursting point with its overwrought possessed sound.

While not being an immediate classic upon first listen, this is a definite grower which to this day still stands proudly on its own two feet in the annals of death metal history. Another 'must own' for your death metal collection.

Spastic Ink - Ink Complete






















The debut release by another guitar wizard, Ron Jarzombek (most famous for his work in Watchtower). First pressing.

Disincarnate - Dreams of the Carrion Kind





















Guitar wizard James Murphy's (Death, Testament... + a ton of other bands) Death Metal solo project, in an original Roadrunner Records pressing.

Dark Angel - We Have Arrived





















Dark Angel's much sought after debut album on a weird, hybrid release between Axe Killer Records and Metal Hammer. Can't find much information about this particular version of the release bar that it looks like - rather bizarrely - that it was given away with the Greek Metal Hammer Magazine (or part of some weird thrash collection released in conjunction with them). It's the full album, with full release sleeves etc, so this is a pretty odd addition to my collection so far as I'm concerned.

Detest - Dorval





















Weird, futuristic and obscure Danish Death metal, original 1994 pressing on Progress Red/Nuclear Blast.

Hades - ...Again Shall Be





















Debut from these excellent Norwegian black/viking metallers. Top quality album, often overlooked amongst the 2nd wave greats.

Covenant - In Times Before The Light





















Debut album of Symphonic Black Metal from these Norwegians, on Mordgrimm Records. Generally more famous for their 2nd album, and then infamous for changing their names 'for legal reasons' and becoming the lame techno-black inspired The Kovenant.

Coercion - Forever Dead





















Nice crunching Swedish death metal, this was Coercion's 1997 debut album on Perverted Taste. A little known band, with a lot of heart and great deathly ideas. Pretty good.

Death Angel - The Ultra Violence / Frolic Through the Park









































Death Angel's classic debut, and their not so classic sophomore album. Original presses on Restless Records. Personally I think these guys credibility lies solely on their debut - it was by far the most feral, incisive and vital of their releases - everything since just paled in comparison. Sure they were cut short originally due to a bad RV accident, but their modern sound is at times pretty bland to these ears.

Konkhra - Stranded / Sexual Affective Disorder









































The first two major releases from Danish death metal crew Konkhra. Whilst their later material isn't so hot, this earlier stuff wasn't too bad at all. A bit groovy here and there, but nice chunky death metal riffage grooves. These are the original Progress Red issues.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Skyclad - Wayward Sons of Mother Earth / A Burnt Offering for the Bone Idol









































Skyclad's debut and sophomore albums, both on Noise Records & out of print.

Varathron - Walpurgisnacht





















Greek Black Metallers Varathron's 2nd album with it's original pressing on Unisound Records. This was later re-issued, but with a lesser cover (a close up of the deer).

Suffocation - Effigy of the Forgotten





















This is the first pressing of Suffocation's immense Effigy of the Forgotten on R/C Records.

To me, this album simply emanates pure Death Metal awesomeness at its most primitive of levels. Not only was one of the first Death Metal albums I owned on CD (bought by postal order from the now defunct Pinnacle records as I recall), but it, alongside releases by the likes of Cannibal Corpse and Broken Hope, introduced me to the crushing new world of aural viciousness.

Effigy of the Forgotten isn't just an amazing Death Metal album, but alongside their Human Waste EP, it pretty much single-handedly created the 'brutal' sound that came to become more and more popular in the NYDM scene, before spreading across the USA like wildfire. I was (and still am) blown away by the wall of sound they created in the fuzzy, claustrophobic production — such massive, devastating guitar tones spiraling all around without ever losing control thanks to the contact battering ram of drums and bear-like growls of Frank Mullen. The fact that the riffs were constantly sweeping into solos, or switching into double tracked harmonious licks from their usual pounding rhythmic sections really manages to pump up the listener into an almost euphoric state of restlessness — I always struggle to stay still when listening to it anyway. If an album can move someone in that way, it has to have something about it that really makes it special, and on Effigy of the Forgotten, it's undoubtedly the riffs for me. From the killer breakdowns to the thrashy breaks, back round to the 'speedy without relying on blastbeat' sections — the riffs are timeless, and undoubtedly still inspiring to this day. Everything is right here, not just the music, but the awesome Dan Seagrave artwork, the lyrics and song titles... everything.

Anyway, I shouldn't need to go on any longer. This isn't just a regular Death Metal album, this is Effigy of the FUCKING Forgotten, bitches. Now, turn the volume up on this fucker, and let it change the physical form of everything in front of your speakers.

Incantation - Onward to Golgotha















The first press of Incantation's debut album, Onward to Golgotha. Not exactly ultra rare, but an original pressing none the less.

Immolation - Dawn of Possession





















Immolation's fantastic debut album on its Original R/C Records first pressing. The beginning to a illustrious career in the world of death.

Graveland - Thousand Swords





















This is the 1996 2nd pressing of this album, on Rob Darken's very own (short lived) Isengard Distribution - just as hard to get hold of as the original Lethal records pressing. Later re-issues have a colour cover, ironically on 'No Colours' Records.

Out of all of Graveland's releases, this is always the one that gets picked first when throwing some on my stereo. Rob Darken's highly productive musical vehicle has spawned well over 20 different releases over the last 15 years or so, and although I personally still have more of an affinity for his earlier morbid black metal sound, their take on Viking metal isn't to be sniffed at either.

'Thousand Swords' saw Graveland take the first step towards their more pagan approach to songwriting of their later releases, moving away from their early Emperor/Bathory sound of their demos and debut album around 1995 (not counting 1996's re-release of their 'In the Glare of Burning Churches' demo, which originally was released in 1993). Even though there's quite a few black metal riffs thrown into the mix, Capricornus's drumwork gives a galloping feel to the album as a whole, which alongside the occasional usage of tambourine and Viking horn, adds a different dimension to the average black metal sound. With the anthemic opening intro, it immediately gave birth to a new era in the Graveland ranks with a medieval, war-mongering feel which only grows stronger as the album progresses. A lot of the riffs have a very folksy feel to them, sweeping and echoing with a gleeful uplifting tunefulness, and although there's not much power in the guitar sound, it simply adds to the primitive feeling of the release. Vocally, Darken uses a throaty croak which reverberates over the peaking riffs like fleeting snowdrifts flowing their icy powder over mountainsides, which when coupled with his lyrical topics (based strictly around the destruction of Christians and all that they stand for) only adds to the sub-zero feeling of the album.

Whilst Graveland were to go on to become a more professional unit than they are here, you can really feel the Pagan spirit in this release. Even with all its little idiosyncrasies (and at times clumsy sound) it contains that extra je ne sais quoi that a lot of later Graveland hasn't quite managed to replicate as yet. A fantastic release from a top quality band.

Thergothon - Fhtagn nagh Yog-Sothoth





















This is Thergothon's legendary demo, released on CD. 1999 Eibon Records pressing. Fathers of Funeral Doom.

Worship - Last CD Before Doomsday





















Worship's debut full length was titled differently depending on which format it was released on. Excellent, deathly funereal doom. This is the 2004 Weird Truth pressing.

Cadaver - In Pains





















Cadaver's 2nd album on Earache Records, original pressing. I've always loved how the cover art makes sense when it's opened up back to back like this - haha!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Sigh - Scorn Defeat





















Black metal gone gonza legends Sigh here, with their debut album. This is the Deathlike Silence 2nd pressing

Dekapitator - We Will Destroy... You Will Obey!!





















Dekapitator will kick your pussy ass. Simple. Black Metal.com 1999 Pressing

Absurd - Facta Loquuntur





















Definitely a band who's reputation preceeded them for all the wrong reasons. To be fair to them, they actually went on to release some good quality material later in their career - much better than the awful trash they pedalled in their early days. This is the Supreme Art 2002 Pressing

Alcest - Le Secret





















Original Drakkar Digipak, the very early days of a band who became a very different kettle of fish years down the line.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Treblinka - Demo Compilation





















This is a fantastic gem of a bootleg, featuring the embryonic material of the band who would later become Tiamat. Treblinka had a nice, dirty, raw edge that Tiamat never had - and this boot contains 2 CDs of material from them with demos and live stuff. Probably still available in certainly places if you look hard enough, well worth getting hold of.

Solstice (USA) - Solstice





















Featuring Rob Barrett and Alex Marquez, this thrashy death metal album was the debut album for Solstice, released on Steamhammer. Not the original Century Media pressing, but still very hard to come by in itself. The music is pretty solid, but doesn't match the work the guys did in Malevolent Creation or Cannibal Corpse.

Accidental Suicide - Deceased





















Gotta love the gnarly retro-death artwork on this one. Accidental Suicide played some good solid death metal, but nothing groundbreaking enough to warrant them getting wider coverage. Thus, as with a lot of other bands, they kinda got swept aside and buried under the countless Morbid Angel and Suffocation clones. This is on Deaf Records, a defunct imprint of Peaceville Records. Out of print, but not particularly hard to come by so I understand.

Sabbat (UK) - Mourning Has Broken





















Well, here is Sabbat's third and final album, and only without vocalist Martin Walkyier who'd unceremoniously left for Skyclad. I've labelled it as thrash, but it takes a tangible step away from the thrashiness of their earlier stuff, almost into a more Trad and Power style at times. Needless to say, after the bad press this album got, it's been pretty much dis-owned by the remaining band members to this day, and was missed out entirely in the recent re-issues of their Walkyier era releases. Thus, all that remains in history to date is this original pressing on Noise records from 1991.

Gorguts - Obscura





















I only recently found out that this album was hard to come by these days - hard to believe really, seeing as it's a bonafide classic in the technical death metal genre. Some of the sounds they manage to squeeze out of their instruments make them sound almost animalistic, as if they're torturing some sort of heaving, breathing instru-beast to get the right sounds on tape. Awesome.

Exodus - Impact is Imminent / Force of Habit









































At one time, I remember seeing both these albums going for stupid money on eBay - for the life of me I couldn't think why, apart from that they'd been out of print. Neither are exactly shining examples of Exodus' career, but there are still some decent cuts to be heard if you sift deep enough. Apparently they were re-issued in 2008 on Caroline Records, but these two are original Capitol records pressings.

At the Gates - Gardens of Grief





















Whatever your opinion on At the Gates' later career path, you'd have to be a really snobby bastard not to enjoy their debut E.P/demo Gardens of Grief. This is the first issue on CD by Black Sun Records, in a slimline CD case. I get shivers every time I hear the version of 'All Life Ends' on this... it literally oozes evilness. A very much harder and gruffer vocal style by Tompa Lindberg also adds to the unholy tone of this album - love it.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Tartaros - The Red Jewel / Grand Psychotic Castle











































For those unaware, this is the project of Charmand Grimloch, who did live keyboards for Emperor for a while. Both these releases were issued by the now defunct Necropolis Records. The Grand Psychotic Castle is pictured with both the 1st pressing in lighter green, and the 2nd press in darker brown colour with different logo in digipak format.

Judas Iscariot - Of Great Eternity





















This is the original pressing on Elegy records, and my personal favourite of Judas Iscariot's work. It always amazed me that this one stayed out of print for so long seeing as it had such a evil, unwholesome vibe around it. Luckily it was re-issued, but with different cover art that didn't quite match the greatness of this one. Check out the sheer power of might that is "The Heavens Drop with Human Gore"...

Havohej - Dethrone The Son Of God





















This is an original Candlelight first pressing.

Ahhhh Havohej! Is it possible to exude extremity in any more ways than this band did with this album? How much more anti-Christian can you get in the early nineties, than to naming your band 'Jehovah' spelled backwards (their written equivalent of an upside down crucifix, I suppose), and having song titles such as 'Fucking of Sacred Assholes' and 'Nazarene Decomposing'? I mean, just look at the album cover art for fuck sake, with Paul Ledney throwing shapes in apoplectic god-hating rage – in the middle of a field! Yes, Havohej reeks of pure, vicious spite and revulsion, and my…. is this an amazing album because of that.

Forming from the ashes of Profanatica, Paul Ledney took what was left over from that band to make his magnum opus, with a few new blasphemes thrown in for good measure. This really is how black metal should be, way before the burgeoning US black metal scene truly gained its stripes with the uprising of Weakling, Leviathan, Xasthur and the like. The albums entirety reeks of unholy disgust, from the insane gravel-coated vocals, to the emaciated, finger-shredded guitar work, to the rattling drums containing the almost uncontainable tumult encapsulated in this album. It's Ledney's vocals and lyrics that really make this album what it is for me, featuring such unadulterated murderous anger which washes through his voice throughout the album, especially noticeable in the frenzied acapella title track – rarely before has such rage emanated from a human vocal tract. Just check out some of the lyrics of the aforementioned track too, to really get a vibe of where Havohej is coming from – you can almost hear the angels being sodomized in his head whilst reciting the sacrilegious hymn of repugnance.

The bands demeanor is stirringly old-school, with Ledney owing as much debt to Venom and Bathory's earlier black metal albums as much as he did to early US death metal bands like Incantation (interestingly he was a founding member of Incantation, so I guess you can't really call them an 'influence'), and the total sum of his influences goes above and beyond its means, taking on a life all of its own. Absolutely essential for any extreme metal fan, so be exceedingly ashamed if you've yet to procure this little beauty for your own collection.