Death Metal Doesn’t Suck Shock: Acephalix, Vastum and Bones

6 Aug
Death Metal

Lots of bands that bore me shitless. Amazing collage by InfernoSilver.

I never liked death metal.

The unrelenting blasting, the cookie monster growling, the shredding, the grotesque-to-the-point-of-caricature lyrics and artwork have long all added up to a big fat meh for this music fan.

I’ve tried to love Heartwork,  Arise and Blessed are the Sick. I don’t care what you or anyone else says, they are dull as dogshit.

Perhaps Mental Funeral was the icebreaker death metal and I needed to start getting along. It showed me death metal is not just about tedious dick-swinging contests in brutality or technicality but about dynamics and atmosphere.

Well, thank you Autopsy for preparing my ears to let three stunning death metal albums into my life.

Acephalix – Interminable Night

Acephalix Interminable Night

Acephalix will crush you. Especially if the chap on the left falls on you.

I got rather excited recently by the EP that forms half this album. While Acephalix’ Southern Lord debut of crusty-streaked death metal doesn’t offer any brand new material, it does make more widely available their hard-to-find two previous cassette-only releases and is well worth sampling.

Maybe I’m biased as never having heard the classic Sunlight Studios albums (bar Entombed) before researching the band, I’m far from weary of buzzsaw guitar tones mashed together with d-beating crust-punk attitude.

There is a real pounding muscularity to Acephalix – read it’s fucking heavy – yet they retain the speed and agility of their punk roots. It’s also catchy as hell.

Check out Christhole below. It feels like a rangy, vicious creature flinging itself from rock to rock, hunting down prey and screaming its searing hunger at the night sky.

From this album I made my way back to Dismember Like An Everflowing Stream. There’s a kinship between the two records in their headlong forward momentum and fusion of hardcore and death metal that has nothing -core about it.

I’ve long thought that metal works best when it’s got some punk in it and gets more boring the more it gazes at its own navel.

Acephalix though. Their next album could be something amazing…

Vastum – Carnal Law

I love the fact that Vastum and Acephalix share three members including vocalist Dan yet feel substantially different.

It’s like the two bands approach death metal from opposing poles: Acephalix from crust and Vastum from doom.

While Acephalix edge it for me, thanks to my weakness for punk tempos and d-beats, Vastum have a weight to their sound that is very engaging.

There is a sludgy warmth to their chunky riffs that gives them a thick, swampy feel.

While Vastum could be singing about kittens – either stroking or eating them – for all I can make out amidst the strangled screams, apparently Carnal Law is a very serious exploration of sexual psychology.

Certainly makes a change from the usual occult garbage/gore shtick.

What is more interesting to me is that one of the vocalists is female and yet sounds every inch the livid bear of her male counterpart. In fact I challenge you to discern which is which.

Unbelievably given the quality, Carnal Law was recorded as a six-song demo, only later to be released as is by 20 Buck Spin.

I can’t wait to hear their full studio debut.

Check out Primal Seduction:

Bones – S/T

Bones are a self-styled deathpunk band featuring three members of Usurper (I simply repeat this verbatim from Google, I have no clue whether this is a good thing or not).

Whatever. I really like this record.

Bones bring a real bar-room, ramshackle rock n’ roll ethic to death metal.

Der-DER-der-DER-da-Da chuggachuggachuggachuggachuggachuggachugga may not exactly be original but, goddammit, it works, especially when combined with Motörhead-love, daft solos and glass-gargling vocals.

Bones may not change your life but they will give you a kick up the arse in the morning and put a smile on your face at the same time.

Now the challenge is to to find more death metal in the vein of these three bands and build on my new-found appreciation for a genre so long reviled. Any suggestions are certainly welcome.

Apologies to my readers for my long absence. New baby, yadda yadda, ear infection, yadda yadda, no laptop, yadda yadda. I’m hoping to make up for lost time and I hope at least some of you haven’t given up on me!

20 Responses to “Death Metal Doesn’t Suck Shock: Acephalix, Vastum and Bones”

  1. hhbrady August 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    …and he’s back!

  2. hhbrady August 29, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    After listening to a lot of All Pigs Must Die this week, I went back to Acephalix (what does that mean, anyway? Google doesn’t know), and that is just a MONSTER. I love it when an album gets under your skin and you just wanna listen and listen. Doesn’t seem like that happens much.

    • Kuz August 29, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

      I hear ya, it’s SO addictive. Monster is definitely the right word for it! They absolutely nail it. I listened every day for weeks. It still never fails to hit the spot. While I gave apmd the longer write up, I probaby prefer acephalix. I didn’t give it the in depth treatment as I had recently previously posted on them and thought it might be overkill. Stoked you like it though.

  3. Full Metal Attorney August 31, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    Man, I don’t know why death metal bores you. Sure, a lot of it is boring, but at least 95% of any genre is garbage. For me, the thing that made death metal click was Suffocation’s Souls to Deny. If you like Autopsy, you might check out some New York death metal, as the Californians seem to be closer to that than the Floridian branch. You may also want to check out Death’s last 4 albums, if you care for proggy stuff.

    I do agree, though, that metal with a punky edge to it tends to be the best stuff. I hate almost all punk (i.e. all of it except Danzig-era Misfits, Samhain, and the very rare crust), but there’s no denying there’s something special about mixing the two styles.

    • Kuz August 31, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

      Hah, I know you you love your death metal FMA! I’m just not a fan of the more technical stuff with hyper-fast riffs and blastbeats. I find it a little… monotonous, as there is little breathing space in between the riffs.

      For me, the Swe-death scene and the more recent bands influenced by that sound have been a revelation and an entry point to a type of music I just wasn’t interested in before. I’ll have a dabble in NY death metal and see how I go. I’ve listened to a bit of Death (the band) but not really enjoyed it much so far, although I haven’t given up on them.

      • Full Metal Attorney September 1, 2011 at 5:03 am #

        If you like Autopsy, I would definitely give Incantation a shot. Also, check out Disma and Vasaeleth. All three are heavy, slow, and atmospheric. Suffocation isn’t necessarily similar, but it’s so damn good it’s hard not to like it.

        Since you like Swe-death, I shouldn’t really have to mention Bloodbath, but Resurrection through Carnage is hook after hook of buzzsaw guitars and hoarse vocals. Very catchy stuff.

      • Kuz September 22, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

        Disma! So, so good. Thanks for the tip. Absolutely loving their album.

  4. XtrememetalTV December 22, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    Opeth pawns all of them.

    • Kuz December 22, 2011 at 8:55 am #

      Thanks for your constructive comment XtrememetalTV! I didn’t realise Opeth were in such financial straits that were forced to cash in their Acephalix, Vastum and Bones albums to make the rent. Poor bastards. I guess that’s what happens when you make BORING MUSIC. Oh, you meant pwns. What are you, 13 years old?

      Anyway, welcome to Monkey Defies Gravity!

  5. DeathMetalFuckers December 27, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    Opeth is the best.

  6. TheUnholyDivine December 27, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Opeth kickass.

    • Kuz December 27, 2011 at 11:50 am #

      I don’t understand metal competitiveness, like bands are rival sports teams or something.

      Just because you love a certain band doesn’t mean I or anyone else has to. And anyway, how does this affect your enjoyment of the music by a single iota?

      Do you spend your life trawling the internet looking for posts about death metal so you can leave comments proclaiming the superiority of Opeth to whatever is being written about?

      Would you prefer every blog post I write in future should feature the disclaimer “Not as good as Opeth”?

      Seriously, I’m worried about you.

  7. m34ldude January 2, 2012 at 7:31 am #


  8. AllLeaks January 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm #


  9. Universe Number Five August 1, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    I’ve worshipped at the throne of death metal for over 20 years. It’s certanly not everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s the beauty of music. There is something out there for all of us. Peace \m/

    • Kuz August 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      Hey Universe Number Five. THANK YOU for a civilised comment from a new commenter. I’d almost given up thinking it was possible on this post.

      • Universe Number Five August 9, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

        A little lucidity and clarity goes a long way!

  10. Dioismygod September 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    Great bands!

    • Kuz September 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

      Agreed they are “great” bands in that they have created what are widely regarded as death metal classics or pioneered in the genre.

      But I find Deicide boring, Suffocation just too airless, Death leaves me cold and I have never listened to Vader or Aborted. Any recommendations re the last two? I am always willing to give things a go…


  1. Adventures in Death Metal: Incantation, Obituary, Carcass « Monkey Defies Gravity - September 14, 2011

    […] – Heartwork. I have crapped on this from a great height in not so distant posts… and yet, and yet I am finally warming to it. A […]

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