Various - _Barbaric Onslaught (Australian Metal Attack)_
(Decius Productions, 2003)
by: James Montague (8 out of 10)
Given the absence of scene legends such as Deströyer 666, Gospel of the Horns and Nazxul, Decius Productions' LP-only presentation isn't exactly what I'd call the perfect introduction to Australian extreme metal. However, for those already familiar with the big names, this compilation does feature some of the up-and-coming bands in the country and would be ideal for those who want to dig deeper. Most importantly, the material is of a consistently high quality. Here's a brief look at each band:

Destruktor - "Unholy Victory Massacre"

Probably the ideal choice for an opener, Destruktor absolutely typifies the Australian "war metal" style. Equal parts black, death and thrash metal, this relentless, militaristic onslaught is enough to beat even the most determined listener into the ground. An enjoyable band, in limited doses. (7/10)

Martire - "Puritans"

This band had impressed me with their _Lucifer_ 7" EP, and they crank out another devastating piece of suffocating death metal. The song is fast, complicated and mayhemic -- recommended to those who find Morbid Angel too clinical. (8/10)

Portal - "Tempus Fugit"

This song has a more muffled sound than the surrounding tracks, causing it to slip by unnoticed when I play the record. However, there is enough here to indicate that their upcoming _Seepia_ LP (also on Decius) will be worth the wait -- especially with a consistent production that the ears can adapt to over the course of an album. These West Australians play blasting death metal passages that are bound together by some atonal guitar leads, creating quite the menacing atmosphere. (7/10)

Atomizer - "When I Die, I Wanna Die Violently"

The black-rockin' sons of bitches from Melbourne provide a change of pace after the frenetic opening. Starting off with a very laid back riff and spoken vocals, the intensity gradually builds up as Jason applies his unique rasp to the casually suicidal lyrics. A superb song by a unique band. (9/10)

Urgrund - "On Stones Marked Black"

The Queensland black/thrash trio recently put out their first full-length album, and the track contained here indicates that they're going for a less caustic approach nowadays. The riffs are quite rock-oriented, and the rolling bass drums contribute to the catchy feel. In fact, this is not far different from what Atomizer has to offer. If you mourn Carpathian Forest's recent movement towards typical symphonic blandness, this band may satisfy your black 'n' roll needs. (8/10)

Carbon - "Battle at San Gerbir"

While the other bands on this compilation do a lot of crossing over between the extreme metal subgenres, Carbon presents a slab of pure black metal. Noisy guitars, distant screams and primitivity abound. While far from groundbreaking, this song does have a strong atmosphere and Carbon will be welcomed by those who yearn for the early days of Darkthrone. (7/10)

Grenade - "Hellsong"

The title says it all, really -- this black/thrash is direct and to the point. Low on complexity, high on catchiness and spirit, this can't help but get heads bobbing and feet stamping. Play it loud, and enjoy! (8/10)

Oni - "Incantation Superstition"

Brutal death/grind metal to the core -- they even kept alive the habit of using as many words ending in -tion as they could. All the prerequisites are there: strong drumming, loads of technical riff changes and primate grunts with the odd porcine shriek. It's all good fun, but a whole album in this style would get tiresome. (6/10)

Stargazer - "Magikkan"

Now this is more my kind of death metal. Stargazer have a somewhat exotic, mid-eastern feel to their music (though not conveyed through sampling like Nile and their copycat brigade). The sound is a bit looser and more open-ended than that of their contemporaries, allowing the listener to totally immerse themselves in the bizarre melodies and punishing beat. Another fine recording by a criminally underrated band. (9/10)

Anarazel - "The Red Rite"

I hated the _Devil Hymns_ EP from these guys, so I was expecting a throwaway track. However, this Melbourne-based black metal band really seems to have gotten their act together. The noisy riffs are imperious, and the drumming is deadly. Finally, Anarazel look ready to produce albums of note. (7/10)

Misery's Omen - "To Worship Stone Gods"

If you've read my review of the 7" EP whence this track originated, you'll know how much I love this band. Playing bizarre, convoluted and creepy progressive black metal, somewhat comparable to Mortuary Drape or Bethlehem, this South Australian trio demands worldwide attention. (9/10)

As you can see, this compilation has the rare distinction of having no weak links -- certainly the first V/A album in my collection to be worthy of such a boast. Eleven bands, eleven songs, all worthy of attention, pressed onto a thick, heavy piece of black vinyl and lovingly presented in a sleeve adorned with wicked, violent artwork. Compilations really don't get any better than this one, so check it out.


(article published 31/8/2003)

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4/20/2007 Q Kalis 8.5 Various - Noise.IL
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2/24/2007 K Sarampalis 7 Various - Metal Message Vol III
1/28/2007 Q Kalis 8.5 Various - A Reassuring Voice on the Television
1/9/2007 Q Kalis 7.5 Various - Hauautagused Karjed Vol. II: Estonian Extreme Metal Compilation
12/26/2006 Q Kalis 8 Various - All My Dead Friends
11/7/2005 N Shahpazov 7 Various - The Wood Brothers
1/10/2005 T DePalma 7.5 Various - Listen Without Distraction - A Tribute to Kyuss
10/19/2004 P Azevedo 7 Various - Fenriz Presents... The Best of Old-School Black Metal
1/17/2004 A McKay 3.5 Various - Defenders of Metal Volume 1 - The Seduction
11/16/2003 X Hoose 7 Various - Japanese Assault
5/29/2003 Q Kalis 7.5 Various - Victory Through Total Domination: Compilation No. III
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4/5/2003 P Azevedo 8 Various - Better Undead Than Alive
3/31/2003 P Azevedo 7.5 Various - Svartmetall Compilation 2001
3/26/2003 X Hoose 4 Various - Covered in Blood: A Tribute to Slayer
4/12/2002 B Meloon 6 Various - Czech Assault
4/12/2002 Q Kalis 7.5 Various - The Bells of the Mystical Empire
1/14/2002 A Wee 6 Various - Hellion Promo Vol II
1/14/2002 A McKay 7 Various - Colorado Colossus
10/19/2001 Q Kalis 7.5 Various - Beauty in Darkness 5
8/12/2001 A McKay 2 Various - Brazilian Assault
8/12/2001 V Eldefors 7 Various - Triarchy of Vasconia
8/12/2001 A Wee 9 Various - Black Metal Blitzkrieg
5/13/2001 A Wee 8 Various - The Return of Darkness and Hate
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3/13/2001 A McKay 4 Various - Chamber Metal: Neo-Classical Metal Guitar
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1/10/2001 A McKay 6.5 Various - Scream Forth Blasphemy: A Tribute to Morbid Angel
11/20/2000 A McKay 2 Various - Dead Zeppelin - A Metal Tribute to Led Zeppelin
11/20/2000 A McKay 6.5 Various - In the Sign of the Horns - A Tribute to Venom
11/20/2000 G Sanchez 7 Various - Economi$ed
11/20/2000 G Sanchez 8 Various - Coalescence
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10/25/2000 A McKay 7 Various - King Diamond Tribute
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10/25/2000 A Cantwell 7.5 Various - Jump in the Pit -- A Tribute to Testament
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5/25/2000 A Bromley 7.5 Various - Panther: A Tribute to Pantera
3/5/2000 A Bromley 8.5 Various - Holy Dio: Tribute to Ronnie James Dio
1/15/2000 M Noll 2 Various - A Tribute to Accept
1/15/2000 P Azevedo 8 Various - To Magic...
12/9/1999 P Schwarz 8 Various - 21st Century Media Blitz Vol. 2
12/9/1999 A Bromley 8.5 Various - Never Give In: A Tribute to Bad Brains
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8/12/1999 G Sanchez 6 Various - Lobot Manual
8/12/1999 G Sanchez 7.5 Various - Needlepoint
8/12/1999 A McKay 9 Various - White: Nightmares in the End
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6/15/1999 A McKay 8.5 Various - Smells Like Team Spirit III
5/19/1999 G Sanchez 6.5 Various - Extreme America 3
5/19/1999 A McKay 7 Various - Straight to Hell -- A Tribute to Slayer
5/19/1999 G Sanchez 7.5 Various - Freak Animal Zine #11 CD
5/19/1999 P Azevedo 8 Various - Where We Go, Others Can Only Follow...
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5/19/1999 A McKay 8.5 Various - To Live Is Ever to Be in Danger
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2/13/1999 A Cantwell 8.5 Various - Full Moon Productions Sampler CD
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1/16/1999 P Schwarz 7 Various - Feuersturm Vol. II: The Ultimate Storm
1/16/1999 P Schwarz 8 Various - Wardance
1/16/1999 A Cantwell 8 Various - From Kaamos to Midnight Sun -- Finnish Metal Compilation
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10/1/1998 P Schwarz 7 Various - Cry Now, Cry Later -- Vols. 3 & 4
10/1/1998 A Cantwell 7 Various - Songs From the Penalty Box: Volume 2
10/1/1998 P Schwarz 8 Various - Amduscias
9/1/1998 P Azevedo 6 Various - High Radiation 4
9/1/1998 A Bromley 7 Various - Call on the Dark II
9/1/1998 B Meloon 7 Various - Bestial Sampler: 1997-1998
9/1/1998 A Wasylyk 8 Various - Fiesta Comes Alive!
9/1/1998 P Schwarz 9 Various - Statements of Intent
7/8/1998 A Wasylyk 6 Various - Blackened III
7/8/1998 A Wasylyk 7 Various - Statements of Intent
7/8/1998 A Wasylyk 8 Various - Sepultural Feast: A Tribute to Sepultura
6/7/1998 P Azevedo Various - Peaceville X
6/7/1998 A Bromley 7 Various - Call To Irons: A Tribute to Iron Maiden
6/7/1998 A Wasylyk 7 Various - Voyager: 10 Years Nuclear Blast
6/7/1998 B Meloon 8 Various - Until the End of Time
1/1/1998 A Wasylyk 5 Various - A Declaration of Independence
1/1/1998 A Gaudrault 7 Various - Masters of Misery - Black Sabbath: The Earache Tribute
1/1/1998 A Bromley 7 Various - Untitled (ten)
11/17/1997 A Bromley 8 Various - Earache Unplugged 2
7/14/1997 A Wasylyk 3 Various - The Kanada Compilation
7/14/1997 Z Tsarfin 7 Various - Awakenings: Females in Extreme Music
7/14/1997 A Bromley 9 Various - A Black Mark Tribute
6/7/1997 A Bromley 8 Various - The Ozz-Fest: Live
5/13/1997 P Azevedo 8 Various - Out of the Dark Live Compilation
5/13/1997 S Hoeltzel 9 Various - World Domination II
2/5/1997 A Bromley 5 Various - Frozen Dawn III
2/5/1997 A Bromley 8 Various - The Absolute Supper
1/2/1997 A Wasylyk 9 Various - Beneath the Icy Floe: A Projekt Sampler V.4
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3/14/1996 A Bromley 7 Various - Identity II
3/14/1996 N Bassett 8 Various - With Us Or Against Us
1/17/1996 G Filicetti 9 Various - Four Ways To Misery
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