Merde - _Merde_
by: Paul Schwarz (5 out of 5)
It is strangely ironic that much of the best death metal lives in the same place that much death does: underground. Our positively glistening example for this month is Merde, one of the best rising prospects from the death metal scene that I have heard this year. It is, however, perhaps unfair of me to give Merde the blanket classification of "death metal", since one of Merde's great merits is that they embrace no one style of metal so fixedly that their identity is instantly and correctly identifiable. Much as "Orgy at the Goatroast" comes thundering in from the hilariously effective sampled intro reeking of the involved fretboard antics of Gorgut's most recent and confusing outpouring, _Obscura_, the death metal leanings of this initial outburst are not followed by mere repetitions on one theme. The vocals -- though generally strangled in a similar way to Luke Lemay's (Gorguts) -- push themselves through differing expressions of aggression and levels of melody with precision. Guitar and bass work likewise move constantly through near-unfollowable patterns, playing off each other at random, while the drums provide a titanium skeleton of pulsing double bass, smashing cymbals and snares of constantly changing, often strangely synched, rhythms for the aforementioned flesh to mould itself to. Fourth song, "Shadow Under the Web", entangles its listener in a complex web of intertwining guitars which are at central points brought together into a single, memorable, creepy and dream-like acoustic theme, strongly reminiscent of Usurper's "Dead of Winter" and certain examples of the work of Autopsy. As this demo regularly indicates, Merde also combine elements of angst and groove originated by the apocalyptic likes of Neurosis and Today Is the Day. The catalogue of abilities is considerable, but it is the whole demo that Merde have created which impresses most, and bodes very well for their future. Pick up this twenty-eight minute demo and sample the work of this fine band, who, if there is any justice in the music business, will have a full-length out very soon, and be in the pages of many a 'zine soon.

Contact: Avitchi Records, PO Box 8734, Portland OR 97207-8734, USA

(article published 9/12/1999)

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