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Meathook Seed: Embedded

12/10/11  ||  Habakuk

I’m not saying this for the first time, but my recent picks for reviews have once more shown me just how fucken bad-ass Napalm Death is. Although not all of their material is plain awesome, it is nothing but astonishing how they continued to evolve into something new, while keeping the quality level miles above what other bands shat out after similar sound ruptures.

ND’s more or less abrupt changes are something better understood when looking at the band members’ various sideprojects. And just like Defecation’s Purity Dilution softens up the transition between the violent grind of “From enslavement to obliteration” to “Harmony Corruption”‘s focused death metal, there is an explanation for the “sudden” appearance of mechanical, twisted grooves that appeared with the first notes of “Twist the knife (slowly)” – the opener on “Fear, emptiness, despair” (1994) – and continued to permeate Napalm Death’s workings way until “Inside the torn apart” (1997).

The explanation can be found in Meathook Seed – a project of Mitch Harris’, created with two members of Obituary, namely their guitarist Trevor Peres on vocals and Donald Tardy on drums. On their 1993 debut “Embedded”, Harris obviously needed a valve for a lot of bad shit in his life at the time, and as the backing for his disillusioned lyricism, he set the blueprint for exactly the kind of mechanical, cold, bleak but at the same time violent sound that later made it into his main band. Together with the subtle (!) introduction of electronic samples, this can in fact be considered “unconventional” for the time and source of its release, but in hindsight it marks a rather logical staging point.

All theoretical positioning aside, the actual music is quite fucken good as well. Thick strings of grinding riffs claw their way onwards, forming twisted soundscapes that always demand a good second of the listener until he can actually fathom just how another sick groove unveiled in front of him (or her, of course. They’re sick gentleman grooves.). The accompanying vocals most often are a sort of “clean screaming” that gain their edge mostly through effects, but in their disillusioned nature never fail to convey the right, cold atmosphere. They are also one of the reasons why this cannot really be called “death metal” – whereas the drumming on the other hand is way too natural to warrant the label “industrial”. The interesting thing about this album is how it combines elements of both but denies being pinned to an influence.

Either way, one thing’s for sure – although the production is not perfect by today’s standards – this shit is heavy and highly enjoyable, which I guess is the basic red line that runs through everything Mitch Harris had done at the time. Thanks for that, and for reassuring me once more that revisiting the “old days” will always unearth yet another unheard gem.

8

  • Information
  • Released: 1993
  • Label: Earache
  • Website: http://meathookseed.com
  • Band
  • Mitch Harris: guitars, bass, programming
  • Trevor Peres: vocals
  • Donald Tardy: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Famine Sector
  • 02. A furred grave
  • 03. My infinity
  • 04. Day of conceiving
  • 05. Cling to an image
  • 06. A wilted remnant
  • 07. Forgive
  • 08. Focal point blur
  • 09. Embedded
  • 10. Visible shadow self
  • 11. Sea of tranquility