Ancient Meat Revived: A Tribute to Cold Meat Industry (Iron Bonehead Productions / Nuclear War Now! Productions)
This is one of those awesome ideas you find from time to time searching for interesting records, among dozens of uninteresting and repetitive shit that floats around in the Metal underground. And it comes from none other than two of the labels who with time have shown how much they deserve their position in nowadays extreme Metal world.
When Iron Bonehead Productions and Nuclear War Now! Productions announced the release of a compilation of covers paying tribute to Cold Meat Industry, I couldn’t be excited enough, as the Swedish label had a very important role in my first explorations of the darkest sounds of the underground, showing me very well that not always Metal had the most sinister and extreme answer to that. Having some of the best bands in nowadays Death Metal scene, five of them from Australia and New Zealand and the other from Canada (which is not a simple coincidence), was even better to discover.
But the best of it all was listening to it for the first time and finding something above my expectations, as the most interesting part of it all is how well each of the bands has adapted each cover to their ow sound and (sonic) aesthetics, resulting in the fact that this record could be listened to as a compilation of new songs from each of the artist participating in it. Actually, I didn’t know all of the songs that have been covered on this LP, not even had listened to all of the Cold Meat Industry artists, but this didn’t make me enjoy it less.
The record starts with Sinistrous Diabolus covering Aghast with “Sacrifice”. Being the Norwegians one of those bands I’ve frequently read about but never achieved to drown into, it was great doing it through the new New Zealanders prism, as their sinister and highly atmospheric brand of funereal Doom Death drowns into the Dark Ambient fields with a naturalness that is simply amazing. It actually sounds not that far from what one could find on their amazing ‘Total Doom//Desecration’, but that’s a discussion I actually already had with mr. NKS, as the first album of Sinistrous Diabolus had a very big Ambient influence. It’s only that here that vibe is pushed to the limit even more, getting them a bit more away from the Death Metal that still infects their usual compositions. A great track all in all, and without any doubt the most atmospheric of this record.
Following ones on the list are Australians from Spire, covering “Death, Just Only Death...” from the first album of In Slaughter Natives, who were without any doubt my favorite Industrial/Martial band back in the day when I discovered their label (together with The Protagonist first album). Oddly enough, in this case the band I barely knew was Spire, as I’ve only listened to a few tracks on some of their label compilations, but their majestic, highly atmospheric and kind of orchestral sound definitely suits the opulent composition of the Swedes. It’s actually one of the covers that most perfectly carries the feeling and ambiance of the original, with martial drums resonating above the open cords and reverb layered vocals in a very rhythmic way, keeping the monotonous and extremely cold feeling of In Slaughter Native’s sound.
Closing the first side of the vinyl we have Temple Nightside with “Winds of the Lost Soul”, a song taken from ‘… The Last Embrace”, the third album of Arcana (the Folk/Ambient band of ex-Crypt of Kerberos and Macrodex guys). This was to my judgement probably, at least a priori, the strangest and most complicated of the covers included on this record, as Arcana’s folkish sound is far from the heaviness of Death Metal and maybe not as dark as the rest of bands covered. But the Aussies prove me wrong with a superb adaptation of the Swedes to their doomiest side, including great melodies with a very melancholic vibe, great vocal choruses and a very well achieved overall ambiance, even including some faster blastbeat/growl decorated parts which do not break it at all. The last part of the track, with an amazing rise of energy and tempo, is specially epic and soul catching.
The second side starts with what we could label as a perfect marriage. Grave Upheaval are one of the most terrifying and inhuman Death Metal entities to have been summoned from the Australian territory, with a demo and a first album that are among the heaviest and darkest recordings Death Metal has ever bred. And their decision to cover Brighter Death Now’s “Necrose Evangelicum” can only be defined as perfect. The result is, just as in Sinistrous Diabolus case, surprisingly fitting in the fact that one could have expected this track on a new Grave Upheaval album, with their usual chilling melodies and ultra-slow pace, and with the difference of using some speech samples and very atmospheric background clean vocal parts before introducing the usual infra-guttural tone. Maybe the result is slightly less sickening and perverse than Brighter Death Now’s brand of Death Industrial (which is simply unmatchable), but it’s definitely the darkest and most suffocating song of the six presented on “Ancient Meat Revived”, as well as mandatory for any fan of the band, as I am.
Antediluvian are the only band on this compilation that is not coming from Oceania, but the Canadians sound is not far from their peers, and just as most of them, they are one of the bands that have revived the flame of Death Metal for who is writing this. They take care of covering Raison d’Être, the other band I’ve never come to listen to from Cold Meat Industry’s roster, with “Sephiroth”, the first song on their ‘Within The Depths Of Silence And Phormations’. And I have to say this is the strangest and most experimental song of the whole, and maybe the most directly influenced by Cold Meat Industry in terms of execution together with Sinistrous Diabolus. It’s strange though to see how they generate a very Industrial Ambient kind of feeling with some very primitive and aggressive Death Metal resources, as the fastest first part of the song is very influenced by the first dark Death Metal bands, turning later on into a doomier and more atmospheric part, just to end up again into an explosion of violence and primitive evilness, without breaking at all the aesthetics of the song.
The final part of the record is starred by the immensely choking Vassafor, who decided to cover the band that approached most closely the extreme (Black) Metal world from Cold Meat Industry’s roster, which is none other than MZ.412. Their track is somewhat a mix of “Infernal Affairs II” and “Legion Ultra” if I understood it well (re-baptized here as “Infernal Affairs II Doom Legion Ultra”) , and given it their own twist must definitely have been nothing, easy given the already extreme and maniac sound of Henrik "Nordvargr" Björkk’s beast. The cover is surprising in the fact of how good and closely (again) Mr. VK reproduces the feeling and atmosphere of the Maschinenzimmer, with a beginning driven by a huge Industrial rhythm above which samples of marching men and radio speeches develop, after which an almost silenced stop lets us breath before jumping into a Black/Death procession of diabolical Nordik battle riffs. On the other side, despite the track is great, I must say this is maybe the less personal and surprising of all the covers included here, first because it more or less follows the patterns/flow of its creator and because it doesn’t match the overshadowing brutality of Vassafor’s last creations. No matter what, a great conclusion for this awesome idea.
So, only to repeat myself, get this no matter if you were a Cold Meat Industry fan who likes Metal or just enjoy these extreme Metal maestros. It won’t disappoint you.
Gia Thanatos is a webzine dedicated to music for the apocalyptic times. No matter the scene or genre it comes from, and mainly chosen according to its author's taste.