The Finnish Axeslaughter presents us their fourth tape. Although it's advertised as a compilation tape, all of its material is previously unreleased. The A-side holds a studio-recording from late 2011, and the B-side an almost full gig from the same time. The tape lasts nearly 30 minutes per side, so you'll get plenty of Death Metal for the cost of mere 4 euros plus postage. The band's previous demo was reviewed here.
Side "Rampage" opens up with an old and dusty horror intro, as expected. The first song, "Axeslaughter," is actually a cover of Iron Maiden's eponymous song. It's a lot slower, heavier and dirtier than the original one, naturally, but still has many recognizeable parts (mainly the chorus). The song presents the tape's soundscape well; harsh but musty guitars backing the plump bass lines, with drums almost as far in the back, and the harsh growls and shouts being on top. The soundscape is not perfect, nor should it be! It has balls, charisma and personality, and suits the band's underground-approach perfectly. It's overall a bit quiet and i would've wished for just a hint louder guitars, but otherwise the 4-track analogue recorder has worked well.
The follow-up "Apocalyptic Government" sounds more familiar for the band; fast-paced and heavy oldschool death metal with a horror movie-intro. "Lesbian Death" is an even faster and more violent tune, and if the tape hasn't convinced you to have an opinion of it and the band this far, I'm surprised.
If you like oldschool death metal (demo) tapes with their flaws and the rotten atmosphere, along with occasional hints of equally dusty speed/thrash metal (nods towards Slayer and Southern lunatics), this is for you. The songs vary surprisingly much from each other in tempos, heaviness, and even catchiness as presented by the chorus of "Never Drink...", a song with a tastily gloomy and sludgy opening. The songs have an all-around bold and bone-headed attitude, which earns the band my respects. The grind-burst "Beer 'n' Blood" was a nice surprise as well.
For some reason the volume levels fluctuate a few times through the A-side. I don't know if it's a problem with the original recording or has it happened while home-dubbing the tapes, but in either case it's an annoying bother. Nothing major, true, but still frustrating - even if it fits the '90s demo tape-feel. The tape's sides were mistitled as well.
... Yet, dealing with a band with a such underground-attitude, these are no great wonders nor bothers.
Whereas the A-side shows a filthy and ominous (but in a way controlled) side of Axeslaughter, the B-side spews out harsher and more aggressive Metal of Death. It's faster, rawer and more driven by guitar distortion than the A-side, so you get to enjoy the band in two very different forms. Some of the songs are heard on the tape's both sides, yet you might not recognize them as the same ones due to their very different delivery.
"Debauchery" sounds like an authentic live-bootleg, and sounds even surprisingly decent; only the vocals are quite muffled. The songs have a lot of kick, edge and impact, which works even better after listening to the bassier "Rampage"-side. The sides stand strong on their own, but are even mightier together. The only bummer is that the B-side has a cut-up end. It seems that the tape didn't have the room for the whole gig.
The aesthetic side is as expected; hand-made home-printed monochrome, this time as a fold-out "poster." Some lyrics are included as well, and, aside of the slightly political "Apocalyptic Government," they deliver violence, gore, sexual deviancy and Devil-worship a'la classic horror movies.
"Rampage Debauchery" is something of a "love it or hate it"-release in its bone-headed underground approach. If you enjoy traditional and raging Death Metal-filth, this is definitely for you. Axeslaughter seems to get better with every new release, so I'm eagerly waiting for their upcoming split 7" with Sunface.