Death Metal has been around for a long time, it has changed in many different ways, and developed in many different directions. Some bands mutate beyond recognition, others disappear. And then there are those that remain and hold the banner high, neither stagnating, nor losing themselves in other genres. As we at Archaic Triad prattle on about our precious #OldSchoolDeathMetalRevival2017 hashtag, it may be time to remind ourselves that some old school death metal never disappeared in the first place. Deathgeneration, the 25 year anniversary album of Spain’s death metal flagship Avulsed, is perhaps the best imaginable reminder of this important fact.
We are a few months late with this review, but hey, what do you want? We weren’t around when Deathgeneration was released in November 2016. It is still important that we write about it, since just like Avulsed as a band, this is something great that has been just slightly overlooked. The album, which is extremely ambitious in scope and concept (we’ll get to that soon), was paid for with the help of the kickstarteresque site Indiegogo, in a fundraiser that collected 18,510 Euros in short order. Unfortunately it appears precious few of those backing this effort belonged to the cultural literati, for there has been a shocking lack of reviews and online discussion about this double CD of Spanish filth and brutality.
Now a few words about the structure of Deathgeneration, which is a “Best of”, of sorts. One of the CDs contains eighteen Avulsed tracks, picked from their entire career. The songs have been re-recorded with the present-day Avulsed line-up and production, and feature a long row of guest vocalists. Chris Reifert of Autopsy, Tomas Lindgren of At the Gates, Bongo of Necrophiliac, and many others give their vocal interpretation of one song each. That’s not all, though. As Avulsed point out in the booklet, in words that could be directed right to Archaic Triad, they are aware that “there are a few freaks out there that don’t give a shit about re-recorded stuff and they always prefer the originals.” And since the band members “don’t want to hear complaints or cries”, they’ve included a second CD with the original versions of the songs, in chronological order.
Now, to say that we don’t care about the re-recorded versions at all would be an exaggeration – it’s obviously great death metal, and the wide array of vocal styles applied to the sound of one single band is interesting as well as original. Even so, we will admit that it is the second disc that brings us unadulterated joy, and that we would actually have complained and cried at least a little if it hadn’t been included.
Avulsed have chosen not to master or remix the old tracks, but just to adjust the levels to make the volume even. This means that you get an 18 track journey through the history of the band – from the awesomely dirty sounding demo track “Addicted to Carrion”, to the finishing, more technical (but still very brutal, classic death metal) of “Red Viscera Serology”. In some ways, it is also a journey through different periods of death metal history, since Avulsed have always staid on top of things, without losing their particular identity. There is some grind, there is some “slam”, there is a ton of awesome death metal riffing, ranging from traditional brutal butchery, to surprisingly melodic patches. The widely varying production types are also very exciting – one really has to listen to the disk from beginning to end to understand what we even mean by that. If you have the spare cash and like death metal, you are very likely to want to get your hands on at least a couple of Avulsed’s old releases after working your way through this awesome compilation. And may God strike me down if those vocals aren’t among the best in the genre.
Deathgeneration comes with a smashing looking booklet, with loads of old photos, credit lists as long as your arm (including lists of fans who contributed towards the cost of the release), all lyrics and a generally gory, deathmetally look that should satisfy any fan of the genre. At below 13 Euro for a double digipak CD, or 28 for a the vinyl DLP version + the CDs, you’ll really have to do some digging to find a better death metal deal.