There are so many "brutal" bands today that its hard to know where to start, especially since "brutal" doesn't always translate into "quality". For those of you who yearn for a time before digital downloads swept the internet, when the Metal underground was still truly underground, Germany's BLOOD has a grimy, skull-crunching answer to your prayers with the repressing of their 1993 Death / Grind opus, "O Agios Pethane".
"O Agios Pethane" (roughly translated, "The Saint Died") is the third full album from the Speyer-based band during what was a prolific decade of recording for the band, which saw the release of seven full-lengths and a handful of EP's, in addition to numerous split-EP's. Formed in 1986, the group helped contribute to the then-nascent Grindcore movement spreading across the globe.
It was a different time, and the sound on "O Agios Pethane" embodies late 80s / early 90s Grindcore to a T while adapting the muscular, doom-laden tendencies of Death Metal. The result is a lean and powerful mix of songs that kicks ass first and asks questions later. Blistering cuts like "Dread", "Punishment", "Profanity" and "Spasmo Paralytic Dreams" floor the listener in a stampede of frenzied blasts, guttural guitars, sickening growls, and low-end bass churning. Other songs, like "Lamentation" veer a little further into the realm of Death Metal than their peers with their varied pacing and more precise riffing, all the while continuing to create an atmosphere of unrelenting terror and punishment.
It's easy to pick out the similarities to peers TERRORIZER and NAPALM DEATH, who were creating their own brand of sonic chaos around the same time, but you can also hear bits of bands like DEICIDE in the furious tremolo picking of songs like the aforementioned "Profanity" and early CANNIBAL CORPSE on the opening to the unhinged "Kadath".
What's great about the album is how fresh it sounds. It may not be new, nor does it sound overproduced (thank all the gods there ever were), but this is not the sound of a band trying to play Old-School Death/Grind. This is, effectively, a Heavy Metal time capsule, a sonic documentation of BLOOD helping to create that sound, and the strength of writing and appropriately chunky sound allow "O Agios Pethane" to listen about as well as "Reek of Putrefaction", "World Downfall", or any classic from this period. It might not appeal to anyone other than Grindcore and Death Metal enthusiasts but that's probably the point. The reissue of "O Agios Pethane" is as entertaining and exhilarating an example of old-school Grindcore as you are likely to find, a no-frills beatdown that will have you coming back for more.