virulent music, inc.
		       nocturno culto & s.r.p.

UNLEASHED "Shadows In The Deep" (Century Media). Unleashed
came to the forefront in the winter of 1990 when they toured through
Europe on an Earache package featuring Bolt Thrower and Nocturnus.
Even then, they caught the attention of critics with their
unpretentious and definite brand of sound.  This latest work does
little to dispute initial enthusiasm for this band, whereby their
style, too, has come a long way in the last couple of years.  In
particular, the two tracks "The Immortals" and "Shadows In The
Deep" indicate that a progression in traditional death metal is
taking place, which relies less on the music relying only on speed than
drawing on the energy slower tracks can produce; in any sense of the
term, these are two outstanding pieces of music.  Traditionally
fast tracks are also featured, such as "Never Ending Hate" and
"Land Of Ice"; at times, however, this album comes disconcertingly close
to joining the abundance of bands specialising in banal lyrics, which
it doesn't deserve ("Bloodbath").  Despite this and Johnny Hedlund's John
Tardy-esque growling that is too monotonal for comfort at times, this album
lives off the actual music and a particularly good arrangement that
leaves no loose ends.  Scandanavian death metal has always set
standards and Unleashed's clever reliance on shrewd breaks and tempo
changes on this album has certainly contributed to this trend. -- nc

THERION "Of Darkness..." (Grindcore).  Socially-conscious Swedish death 
metal with a touch of the cerebral, Therion provides a topical and
musical alternative to standard death metal.  They are not as
outright heavy as many bands of the Swedish genre but provide much
more musical variation and complexity than many examples commonly
seen, plus a good bit more of the speed metal presence in some of
the virulent riffs on this album.  Lead guitar is more competent
that the usual, with much more variation, especially in the
interplay between the lead and rhythm guitars for the rhythm of the
music.  Lyrics focus on nonstandard topics such as the destruction
of the world's rainforests, human rights, pollution and the terror
of being human in various circumstances.  The language of Therion
is erudite English, with some fairly complicated expressions and
words, and fits snugly into this well-structured and potent music. 
This is the first death metal band I've heard where a discernable
Metallica influence can be sensed.  Overall, very good, and many
hopes for the future of this act.   -- srp

KREATOR "Renewal" (Noise).  Mille and the guys behind Kreator have
certainly come a long way since their vocation of professing
"Endless Pain", "Pleasure to Kill" and raising the "Flag of Hate".
Their latest album (recorded at Morrisound in Tampa curiously enough)
may, however, be their most discussed output to date.  The obvious
progression in the sound begins with a completely different voice and
initially promises to end with the "industrialesque" sound that
accompanies tracks like "Karmic Wheel" and "Realitaetskontrolle".
However, even the guitar riffs and arrangement of some of the tracks
leave an impression that they are too thought through, and some of
the spontaneity that is associated with earlier Kreator work seems to
be lost.  When interviewed recently on German radio, Mille Petrozza
said that the band wanted to try and sound "brutal" in
a different way on this album, which is, by all accounts, not always
apparent.  Nonetheless, leaving any allusion to previous work behind,
tracks like the opener "Winter Martyrium", "Renewal" and "Depression
Unrest" are pieces that certainly remind us of the thrash sound
Kreator initially could have trademarked.  In a nutshell, this is a
very concise album that will require people that are familiar with
their previous albums to re-assess their committment to the band or
listen to it ten times intensely to come to the conclusion that the
intentions are good and that we are dealing with a natural progression
here.  This album takes getting used to, but objectively speaking, loses
and lacks nothing that would qualify it as "neat and tidy."  -- nc

IMMOLATION "Dawn of Possession" (R/C).  This album provides a good
example of how to create solid death metal musically and lyrically. 
This New York outfit takes the best musical aspects of fire & fury
death metal with multiple riffs, exciting tempo changes and some
actual effort thrown into solos.  The standard chord stream main
riffs alternates with bridges and interludes expressing the most of
brutality as can be hoped for in music.  Some rather innovative
techniques populate this album, including some quirky tempo
fluctuations and descriptive use of feedback.  Complemented with
competent and powerful lyrics involving an epic vision of good &
evil wrangling for domination of the universe, "Dawn Of Possession"
surfaces as one of the better examples of this genre -- the classic
pro-Satan, pro-Speed, pro-aggro-emotion death metal album.  -- srp

INCANTATION "Onward to Golgotha" (RoadRacer).  Heavy, fast, low and 
rumbling, this music tears across the airwaves like a buffalo stampede 
out of hell.  It varies enough musically to be somewhat intriguing, but
the aim of this work appears to be total and demorphing heaviness;
it succeeds almost completely, being one of the heavier bands
without detouring into complete pound, smash, and thrash noisecore. 
Vocals are exceptionally low and probably carcinogenic.  The energy
level remains high throughout this album, something exhibited also
in the venomous lyrics, which destroy conventional Christian
paradigms with an acrid offhand manner.  There are no real
surprises on this album, but none are needed, either.  -- srp

AGTHOCLES "Theatric Symoblisation of Life" (Cyber).  Make Minor Threat
less predictable and cross them with a Carcass that pulls even more
punches, and you have Agthocles.  This Belgian (slight accents)
quartet hammer through some songs, and grind through others, and
deliver others with a style completely unique to this band.  It
originates in the brutal-disgusting extreme end of grindcore, but
as the band state explicitly, they are into individualism, and to
that end it varies musically quite often.  Lyrically, this album is
one of the most unique I've ever seen; philosophical, poetic,
personal, social -- there is a tremendous variety that cannot even
be covered in a paragraph or two.  This album contains about eighty
minutes of music, from early demos to more recent creations, and
should delight any grindcore fan with a zen for zeal and energetic
aggro-intellectualism.  -- srp

REPULSION "Horrified" (Relapse).  Sparsely come the bands that become a
definitive subset to a genre, much as the Misfits did to punk or Venom did to
metal; however, Repulsion come close as one of the most energetic and focused
extreme grindcore bands I've heard.  Lyrics are not as good as Brutal Truth, 
but nestle nicely between the pure gore of Carcass and the outright outraged 
politicism of Napalm Death.  The sound takes the shuddering massive-impact feel
of grindcore and adds to it the fluid and expressive muscled riffs of a good
death metal band; bass work gets an extra mention here, for in a genre that
generally doesn't do much with bass, Repulsion takes it beyond the immediate
stage.  Vocals demonstrate exceptional clarity, possibly because they derive as
much from the original thrash vocals as the more modern sandblasted voice of
music's most extreme.  Although some may be frightened by the radical sound (or
the fact that one band member strikingly resembles a tattooed Hitler) there is
in fact vital element to this music that raises it beyond the "let's make a
point" destructive noise of some grindcore.  -- srp

Deicide "Amon: Feasting the Beast" (R/C).  This "new release" is demo tapes
from the now-(in)famous death metal act Deicide, back from their days as
starving death metal hopefuls called Amon.  Supposedly re-released because of
better, heavier production, this album provides the raw versions of early songs
and one early intro (the inclusion of which is stupid, because the intro is
amateurism redefined).  Serious fans will like this because in many ways the
production is better -- it doesn't have the artificial raspiness to the voice
as the first album did, and it doesn't have the same anemic guitar sound,
something rectified in the second release -- but selling it as a full album is
a dubious move.  -- srp
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