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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Review: Poisoned / Death Invoker / Paganfire / Pathogen / Deathly Scythe – 5 way split

Label: Bestial Invasion Records

Date: November 1st, 2020

Before delving into the review itself, let me try something. To be exact, I will now try to bury the ever swinging hatchet between the online and printed metal media. Or at least extend a hand.

This CD comes as a supplement to the new issue, number 35, of Necroscope Metalzine. To be frank, I’ve been following this underground metal scripture for over a decade now and my feelings towards this particular fanzine are not questionable. As always, Adam Stasiak, aka Skalpel, has prepared an issue brimming with tons of information about various worldwide underground metal bands. If there are any that are still living in ignorance, this fanzine has been around since the 90’s and deserves your full and undivided attention. 138 pages, A5 format, written in English. Thirteen fresh interviews, over two hundred (no, this is not a typo) reviews of music releases and fanzines, along with the “Pearls from Abyss” section where Adam provides an insight into the olden days with two interviews with bands recollecting the golden age of metal. And don’t forget, you get this CD with 5 absolutely underground hordes with every copy of the zine. What the hell are you waiting for? Oh, right, you’re waiting for me to provide a contact. Write here: necroscope1@wp.pl.

To the point…

Poisoned is a Polish three-piece, going for the old school death metal with thrashing traces introduced. As every other band on this split CD, they have provided two tracks. Their sound is pretty basic and straight forward. No extra, additional drama involved. Further yet, I would say that their songs are a bit too underdeveloped. Even for an ancient sounding metal band. The songs are totally devoted to the old cult, however, they lack a hook that will get Poisoned separated from piles of similar acts. Like Vader, for instance. Yeah, I know, easy guess regarding their home country. If you want further comparisons, find them yourselves by purchasing the fanzine described above.

Death Invoker comes from Lima, Peru. A band completely dedicated to split releases. Within the fifteen years of existence, they haven’t released a single full length record, but I’m counting five split releases. Including this one. The Peruvian duo goes even further in their old school tendencies. Classical, South American, rough combination of extreme metal genres. Bathory, Hellhammer, Sarcofago, Possessed… Add names on your own. You know the sound. Raw, primitive, aggressive, enraged and, above all, unholy metal music. Another delight for the old school metal worshiper. As for myself, I’m not too impressed, though a good headbanger like this one is never a bad idea.

Paganfire is the absolute surprise of this split! However cult their following might be, I was never that much into them. Simply, way too crude variation of thrash metal for my taste. And now… These two tracks are absolute killers! Philippine quartet delivers the goods. Their style has developed into one mean, ferocious killing machine. While they still keep to the olden ways of performing thrash metal, their sound has developed into a whole new dimension. Action packed two songs, bordering on death metal with this deep, plundering, bass laden production, provide for a complete package. One thing I’m left wondering about is when Paganfire turned into such a destructive force? I have to pay attention to their recent works. By the way, their two songs come from a demo recording, made back in 2017. A good place to start my quest for this improved version of the premium metal export from Philippines.

Another top-notch underground cult act from the Philippines, called Pathogen, is next. Now, these four guys are much further involved into death metal. As their predecessors on the split, they also keep to the old school. Only, with Pathogen we have a brutal death metal time machine, taking us back to the brilliance of the early 90’s. Bits and pieces of thrashing mania are to be found within the two tracks (in the first more than the second), but it is only to remind you of the time when the two genres weren’t as far apart as they are today. See Morbid Angel, Possessed, Deicide and their likes for closer reference. Pathogen sounds brutal and shoots straight to the point. However, their songs seem to be much further along the evolutionary cycle than, for example, Poisoned’s.

Closing the split, Chile’s own Deathly Scythe is a modern, nu wave of metal, band… Yeah, you know I’m bullshitting you right now. Somewhere along the lines of Poisoned, only even more raw and primitive. Befitting of South American underground metal scene. Probably even deeper into the old school. Even older school? Organic, crude and brutal death thrashing metal. Again, nothing special if you ask me. And another delight for metal maniacs, like Adam “Skalpel” definitely is.

Now, despite the advantages and shortcomings of the bands presented on this split CD, I must note that I enjoyed spinning this release very much. As I’m sure I will enjoy reading the new Necroscope fanzine. As for you, not already in possession of the two, I cannot underline this enough. Get them both and feel the old waves of metal washing over you like a “Disturbing, Deafening and Disgusting” metal tsunami!