A couple of relative quickies here for our discerning reading audience, as both of these releases have seen the light of day before, and therefore by and large you can go and visit those reviews to see what was made of the music when it originally saw the light of day.
By: Chris Davison
General Surgery A Collection Of Depravation
General Surgery should need no introduction, being a seminal act from the early 1990's who released an epic and much loved EP by the name of Necrology, and were formed from a shared love in all things Carcass. Despite forming in 1990, it wouldn't be until 2006 that the band would finally produce their debut album, the ever-so-slightly disappointing Left Hand Pathology; though they had produced a massive amount of split releases, demo's and singles in that time.
This collection effectively hoovers up all the stray and disparate tracks from these various releases, and sees them released once more under the digital spit-and-polish of Scott Hull. In the main, these are some killer tracks that certainly deserve to see a wider audience than they were afforded some time ago. Given the various line up changes and guest stars that have visited the band in their past, it will probably come as no surprise to learn that while the core sound of the band remains the same throughout (in general terms – tracks that sound like they were written during the Symphonies Of Sickness recording sessions and recorded by band members from the first wave of Swedish death metal), there are of course differences in tone and production from track to track. The timeless appeal of tracks like “Nephroblastoma” with the amazing attention to detail to mirror the classic Carcass goregrind sound will probably never die out, and it's testament to the quality of the material that this has more going for it than just being a rag-tag collection of forgettable tracks. It's also likely to appeal to death metal fans in general, rather than General Surgery completists.
The Gates Of Slumber Suffer No Guilt
Suffer No Guilt was the sophomore album from none-more-true doom metallers The Gates of Slumber, originally on the amazing Ihate Records imprint. Deepsend Records have seen fit to re-release this landmark album to a wider audience. It's certainly a more grim release than their later albums, but also sees their affection for all things Conan, with a couple of tracks dedicated to the ultimate Cimmerian. For the main, this is ultra-blue collar doom with a penchant for all things fantasy, almost akin to a most unlikely combination of the grand tradition of American doom in the vein of Saint Vitus and the phantasmagorical stylings of Cirith Ungol. For my money, it's probably the heaviest work that they ever produced, with pummelling riffs and war-like drumming, yet it's also one of the most irritating. For all the great moments, (and there are plenty here), there's also too much ...for want a better phrase...pissing about. “Wyrmwood,” for example, is three minutes of self-indulgent noise that I will never get back. Thank whatever for the brilliance of the no-nonsense heads-down doom-und-blast of the other tracks, such as the raging “Angel of Death.” If you don't have it, get it – but be under no illusions that this isn't perfect fayre, but the sound of a band beginning to hit their stride.