There are some amazing heavy bands coming from Italy these days, all soaked with apocalyptic visions and dirge-laden riffs. Bands like Saturnine, Ufomammut, Stasis, Kontatto, Feral Thrust, Warpath, and of course, Cancer Spreading. On this new LP, they are darker, harder, wiser and very powerful, like the sound of an incoming threat. They encompass a cold menacing chug and low guttural-pitched vocals, a sound connected with visualizations of artillery, war and suffering. What might sound like volatile music to some is in actuality a gnosis of humanity’s blood thirst, torturess idolatry and inhumanity. It is like a short circuit from the everyday acceptance of the banal that we are fed. In this day and age, the corporate world can derive profit from the tragic, whilst pretending to be indignant about it. We are surrounded far too much by patronizing cosmetic spectacles, designed to draw our attention away from the real world. Give us some grit for a change. Sorry, got carried away with the rant.
Ghastly Visions opens up with an instrumental of chugging death metal which could steer you into battle. Think the riffing of Asphyx, Bolt Thrower or Entombed. Yet in saying that, it retains that ‘punk’ type feel, no drum triggers or trying to be overly technical. This is very much death metal played by crusty punks who can really play, giving it real substance that holds your attention. They hold a steady pace onto the album’s title track, which has some great nasty guitar tones. By the third track in, “Oppressive Negativity,” things are turned up a notch, speed-wise. It must be said the vocalist Gabri – who also sings for Gravesite and Terror Firmer – sounds evil, tortured, and perhaps almost diseased. Of course, no matter how strong the vocals are, they are backed by a huge wall of sick and twisted riffs that emit pure malice.
“Sinner Shall Weep” has that fucked into oblivion corpus that is much like a kick in the genitals, or to be more polite, it could be described as a very violent piece of music. Crust punk has very much progressed from scribbly drawings and shabby four track recordings. This record is very well produced. Cancer Spreading are one of those bands that innovate this genre without abandoning its authenticity. Of course, normally when people say something like that, it means the band has added keyboards, and that is certainly not what I mean. It has everything, even down to the intricate art layout done by Stiv, Mark “Skinny” Orton, Klaudiusz Witczak and Goldi. The booklet, sleeve and poster all fit and capture this dark sound. They have really thought out and planned all aspects of this release down to the smallest detail. And in keeping it punk, it is on gold and black splattered vinyl too.
Society has taught people to be either sheep or wolves, so it is always great to see an album being released by a community of like-minded labels that are not about profit and marketing. In this case, the vinyl LP is released by Neanderthal-Stench Records (Belgium), Heavy Metal Vomit Party Records (Slovakia) and Back on Tracks Records (Brasil).