I’ve had a hard time coming up with a proper way of reviewing compilations; therefore I have stolen an idea. I’ll write some short note about each band, and then each and one of them gets a score. I haven’t given this “album” many spins but I hope you trust my quick judgement. Let’s take a look, and see what the Belgian Metal scene has to offer us with a craving for the extreme.
“Face Your Underground Vol. 4” starts out on a high-note. PUTRID INBRED is nothing but a rock solid act, performing Death Metal for those who have a weak spot for bands such as DYING FETUS and BENIGHTED. Ultra guttural vocals, heavy ass breakdowns, intense blasting, and flawless musicianship are a winning recipe in my book. 8,5/10
HERFST is very far from ending up in that book of winners. Weak stuff indeed. It lacks in most departments, though they aren’t completely lost when it comes to handling their instruments. The main reason for why it sounds so amateurish is because of a lacking production. Just take a listen to that god awful kick drum sound. Music is more than technicality but that doesn’t save “”Crimson Cathedral” from being a weak song, as there aren’t many good riffs here to be destroyed by a flawed production. It sounds weak, thin, and everything else than brutal. No thanks. 4/10
The quality bar is raised once again as SUHRIM enters the arena. They play a kind of Death Metal that brings my mind over to Sweden. Think early 90’s and the Sunlight buzz. While SUHRIM doesn’t do anything new or groundbreaking, they are indeed a solid act. I wouldn’t mind up reviewing one of their CD’s, so to say. “The Prophecy” is filthy, down tuned, and compromised of good riffs. I approve. 7/10
I have already reviewed EMETH, so please check out the full review if you are curious. 7/10
ORDEAL plays a mixture of Death and Thrash Metal, with an emphasis on the perish part. They don’t blow me away but they show good craftsmanship. “Malicious Intent” is one of those songs that drifts along without ever getting a real grip on you but ends up being enjoyable in the end, nonetheless. Some might appreciate the underground feel that one gets from this band. 6/10
Lo.DEP is the redheaded stepchild so far. This is not an easy band to categorize, as they mix different styles. If you’ve heard TEXTURES, you know roughly what this is all about. A lobscouse of different genres sprinkled with technicality. Lo.DEP has some miles to go before they become masters of their game but it sounds like they have what it takes to become just that. They just have to find themselves a better vocalist first. 6/10
God damn, it doesn’t seem like this was a good idea after all. I still have 19 bands to go. By the end of this review there will not be one translator left at TMO, I’ll try to shorten my ramblings.
KUMBUNZZBOOTIEBITCHBUNCH, yeah that is their name, plays underground Death Metal with little appeal. Been there, done that. 4/10
CRIMSON FALLS plays a form of Death Metal that roughly put is in the vein of AT THE GATES, only of much poorer quality. No force, power, or determination at display here. Thanks, but no thanks. 4,5/10
NEVERLIGHT HORIZON is a different story. While not being anything exceptional, they rip through “Truth From The Underworld” quite impressively. This is fairly brutal Death Metal with no hints of melodies. 6,5/10
What, am I listening to CRIMSON FALL again? No, but they are very close related. FALLEN is a bit better than CRIMSON FALL but the vocals are nothing but annoying. 5/10
LEPRASY is a band playing Death Metal most have heard better before. Quite brutal and dirty but nothing extraordinary, these guys are influenced by US Death Metal. 5,5/10
MORDRED is yet another Death Metal band, and yet again it’s one of those tolerable ones. Quite boring, but not lacklustre. 5/10
LEPTOTRICHIA is another band influenced by the US Death Metal scene. One of the better bands up to now, intense, brutal, and guttural. I like. 7/10
SLUDGE PHENOMENON has something core-y in the mix. Or perhaps it is sludge? Most likely. I don’t like the vocals but the instrumentation is handled rather well. 6,5/10
MOKER doesn’t turn out to be a joker; this is some serious US styled Death Metal. Brutal, well played, but utterly similar to a heap load of other bands. 6,5/10
COLCOTHAR turns down the aggression and gives us some rather poor Melodic Death. The instrumentation is quite rubbish, the vocals severely lacking, and the song writing is certainly not up there. Avoid. 4/10
UNLEASH THE FURY has certainly heard more on HATEBREED and METALLICA than good ol’ Death Metal. The music is core-y, while the vocalist is doing a Hetfield impression. Next please. 4/10
FUCK OFF AND DIE should do just that. No, they aren’t that bad. I just had to write it, don’t know why. At least they sound seriously fucked up, like they need to make this kind of music. It is Death Metal we are dealing with here, quite vicious actually. 6,5/10
PERMANENT DEATH, what the fuck is this. It sounds like a Death Metal band trapped in a manhole, recorded from above. Sounds like shit, a bit similar to VIKING CROWN. Sick stuff. 2/10
PUNISHED EARTH has done a very stupid thing. They have emulated the shitty snare drum sound found on St. Anger. Bad choice guys, bad choice. Apart from that there is very little to talk about. Stale and rather piss poor Death Metal. 3/10
FRACTURED INSANITY, creative name there lads, ups the quality a bit, and gives a well structured piece of Death Metal. Professional guys, but it sounds awkward. The band could be a gem for those deep into underground Death Metal. 6,5/10
MURDER INTENTIONS is even more of a lurking underground beast. This is music straight from the depths of some hate filled hearts. These guys are serious about their Death Metal. Dirty, venomous, and hands down nasty. 7/10
MINOTAUR is an anti-climax, as this is anaemic Death Metal. It leans toward Melodic Death but don’t expect to find any mesmerizing melodies, as there is nothing special about this band. Find yourself a day job. 3,5/10
WITNESS THE END gives us inferior SIX FEET UNDER Metal. They shouldn’t be playing music at all. 3/10
KRUAGRE is a mixture of Grind and Death, good at times but also a bit stupid. When they play solos they sound like CELESTIAL SEASON by the way. Anyone who remembers them? A fitting end to this compilation, as it is a rather mediocre band, catching the essence of this release. 5,5/10
So, I’m finally finished. God damn it, compilations is more of a chore than a good time with a whore.
It’s time to write a little summary. Based on “Face Your Underground Vol. 4”, I would say that the Belgium Extreme Metal scene has a way to go. The lack of originality is a bit frightening. PUTRID INBRED is the only band that scores points in this part of the game. The number of mediocre bands is also a bit alarming. If you bothered to read the whole review, you’ll notice that I liked some of the bands; in addition I’ve heard some rather ripping Belgian Metal bands not included on this compilation. I’m not saying that the scene is shit; it just seems a bit uninspired.
I hereby declare that the Norwegian Metal scene is better than the Belgian.
(Online December 16, 2006)