Equal parts frontman and frontiersman, Undeath vocalist and heavy music optimist Alexander Jones is back with his monthly spotlight column, Metallum Militia.
For those still unaware of the premise, it's simple. Jones is rather good at finding the merit music and rather than rip someone's dreams apart, he manages to find highlights in bands that most people might not notice.
That skill set makes him the perfect candidate to brave the digital unknown of Encyclopaedia Metallum and the website's "random button" which ultimately feeds you a band from anywhere in the world, active or retired from any and every subgenre of extreme music.
The result is an interesting examination into the nuance of the craft, the different perspectives that make the music so dynamic and well... sometimes some shit just weird enough to pique your interest.
Here is the latest installment of Alexander Jones' Metallum Militia.
BAND #1: CORRUPT HUMANITY
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Location: Moray, Scotland
Formed in: 2011
Themes: Violence, Warfare, Death, Annihilation
Last label: Unsigned/independent
Years active: 2011-2013
I just sat down at my “desk” (folding table in my living room) to bang out the latest edition of this column for y’all after getting back from the UK with Undeath yesterday, so imagine my surprise to find that the first band pulled this week is from Scotland! I was just there! It’s a beautiful country full of kind, hearty folk whose speech you can barely parse out about 30% of the time. Musically-speaking, I’m not sure how deeply grindcore is woven into the rich tapestry of excellent Scottish bands (Primal Scream, Mogwai, The Jesus and Mary Chain, etc.), but it’s basically an inevitability that you’ll find some freakish grinders in any country that only sees direct sunlight for about three weeks a year.
Enter Corrupt Humanity. The grindcore pride of Scotland who released a flurry of releases between 2012 and 2013 before hanging it up for good, every single one of them a split. You thought breaking up before releasing a full-length was elite? Try not even bothering with a demo. Only splits are real. I digress – this band is fun. If you’re a grind-head who’s into the filthy, recorded-on-a-bar-napkin-quality shit, you’re going to love these guys. Also, it looks like member “Dave” has logged hours in Brainbath and Coffin Mulch, which are two great Scottish death metal bands who are still active! Check them out.
BAND #2: AGONIZING TERROR
Country of origin: Portugal
Location: Ílhavo, Aveiro
Formed in: 1993
Genre: Death Metal/Grindcore (early); Melodic Death Metal (later)
Themes: Religion, Death, Lies
Last label: Unsigned/independent
Years active: 1993 (as Pain Posessed), 1993-1994 (as Obnoxious Odium), 1994-1999
Additional Notes: In August 1999, TóJó & his wife Sara were arrested for stabbing his parents to death in conjunction with the day of the last solar eclipse of the century. Apparently & according to Tojó, it was Sara who pushed him to do it. Nuno (aka Murmurio), a friend of the band who was a member of Porto’s black metal band Summum Malum, was also interrogated by police. With Tojó’s arrest, Agonizing Terror came to its end.
You read those additional notes too, right? I’m going to try in earnest not to make light of what’s obviously an extremely bleak situation here, and I’m obviously not condoning anyone murdering their parents for the cosmic glory of Lucifer the Liberator or whatever, but I really can’t think of a better piece of lore for a black metal band. That might be the craziest bit of trivia I’ve ever encountered on Metallum and each new detail made my eyes bug out of my head like that Vince McMahon meme.
I was concerned that the band’s meager output would either be lost to the annals of history or hidden deep within the evidence locker of a Portuguese prison, but miraculously my OG Ken at Ken’s Death Metal Crypt has dutifully uploaded the band’s 1995 demo “Disharmony in God’s Creation” to YouTube for all voyeuristic metalheads to enjoy. And you know what? It’s fucking sick. It’s got the pagan evil flavor of a band like Mystifier but with the frenetic energy of bands like Venom and early Incantation. This gets two thumbs way up and a “call your parents and tell them you love them” from me.
BAND #3: SWINGIN’ BITCH
Country of origin: United States
Location: Arcata, California
Formed in: N/A
Genre: Doom Metal
Current label: Unsigned/independent
Years active: N/A
Ella Fitzgerald once sang that “in each life some rain must fall”, and I’m reminded of those immortal words as I stare at the Metallum entry for SWINGIN’ BITCH. That cosmic yin and yang doing their eternal dance within the essence of all things great and small. For every hidden gem, every great demo and underappreciated band uncovered through the toils of this column, there must be a Swingin’ Bitch to balance the scales. And such is life.
Metallum describes these guys as “doom metal”, and I suppose that’s accurate, but it does feel tacitly disrespectful to lump Swingin’ Bitch in the same genre as bands like, I don’t know, Trouble and Electric Wizard. The only recorded output of theirs that I could track down is a single song, “HYDE”, which has been uploaded to YouTube and listened to a whopping 328 times. As listener number 329, I’m here to report to you, dear reader, that you can skip this one. It’s six minutes of atonal bent notes and drunken howling. Go ahead and turn on some Kyuss instead.