The ultimate slam album. Someone will say now but Suffocation did it first… yes Suffocation paved the way with incredible breakdowns in Effigy of the forgotten (Habitual Infamy) and Malevolent Creation in Retribution played crazy grooves (Mindlock) but here we are talking about a completely played game from start to finish …
Many times we have seen this comparison which is awkward. The Suffos have the main body of the labyrinthine riffs with rhythmic points while the IBs «experiment» with the rhythms and even with very slow points where we have the Sabbath (Lords of this world) influences making grind outbursts. If there is one band that can be said to have copied Suffo, it is Pyrexia and only in Sermon of mockery which are the sides C and D of Effigy. Even on the vocals if you want Internal Bleedings Frank has a different style from the growls through stomach while Suffos Frank works more on the vocals with the mouth especially on the grunts. So we close this chapter.
1995 was a very strong year in the field of Death Metal: just think of Death’s Symbolic, Deicide’s Once upon the Cross, Sinister’s Hate, Dismember’s Massive Κilling Capacity or Benediction’s The Dreams you Dread, so such an album of course went somewhat unnoticed and is doomed to stay where it belongs… underground. It’s not an album for the general metal audience as I do not know if an average fan will bow while Frank utters E-Poch-of-Bar-ba-ri-ty… eeeahhh! Tolley shakes the cymbals… and the guitars of Pervelis (Greek from America) and Miola load…
The tracks that are a total of ten were not all new, we have 3 from the first EP Invocation of evil and 3 from the Ep Perpetual Degradation vocals in which Bill Tolley does flawlessly. The other four are in the same style as the trademark «God Of Subservience» which begins with the characteristic excerpt from the movie the Untouchables. Of course the track that opens the album Languish in Despair with the occult keys intro hits you in the chest with the huge bass of Brian Hobbie.
The bass is unreal and only Chris Richards could make it sound so sweet and feel like it’s climbing on you. On the drums, Bill Tolley molds nails and improvises (his best performance is in Driven for me) as the guitars release energy that makes you get up from the couch with your fists clenched and start banging on your own even in your living room.
In my 40’s I now visit this album very often so it lasted over time. Like it or not, Voracious Contempt is one of the most influential albums ever released. Ask various bands from New York (Dehumanized, Skinless, Repudilation), Texas (Sintury, Devourment), Spain (Reincarnation, Uncreation) and a few hundred others in Indonesia and elsewhere where Brutal Death Metal has flourished…
- Languish In Despair
- Anointed In Servitude
- Reflection Of Ignorance
- Epoch Of Barbarity
- Gutted Human Sacrifice
- God Of Subservience
- Prophet Of The Blasphemies
- Inhuman Suffering
- Despoilment Of Rotting Flesh
Interview with CHRIS PERVELIS
First record deal, on a label from the top shelf, recording on a studio where Celine Dion and other pop artists record… I mean it wasn’t Quali tone that you probably felt more comfortable… feelings, unforgettable moments?
I can remember when we first signed the recording contract, we all gathered in my apartment where I and Bill were living, and we signed the paperwork and celebrated. It was certainly and thrilling time. We had gone to Cove City Studios to do the album and we were really looking forward to putting our tracks down.
I think we were all pretty nervous, but after shaking off the nerves, we got down to business and the whole recording process went by rather quickly. We did very few takes because we were well rehearsed and also didn’t have much of a budget. Frank really had knocked things out of the park, he was so well prepared and he ripped through the vocals — they were just menacing! He was still finding his feet a little bit, but he really got down to business and unleashed.
Bill was on fire on the kit too, his double bass was tight and his grooves were really on the money; I think he pushed himself pretty hard on that album and it shows. Anthony and Brian were models of calm and cool, and both of them really did an amazing job with very few takes. On the other hand, I was a nervous wreck. I hate recording. Every time I have to track, my nerves just fall apart. I hate recording…still do to this day. I was extra nervous during the Voracious sessions, because this was the “big time;” a real album, not a demo. I made it through and I think I did pretty well, but it was grueling for me.
Our producer, his name was Dug, and he was a great guy. He got us a really cool, live sound and we were all pretty damn excited about the release once we left the studio.
So after all these years and many opinions heard did Scott Burns made a better mix or not? Did you fly at Morrisound?
Well, honestly, I think we were all pretty horrified by the mix. We liked the way it sounded before Scott got his hands on it. He tried to take a really street/honest sound and turn it into the “Morrisound sound,” and I don’t think it worked at all. I don’t necessarily blame him either, Pavement wanted his name on it, and Scott did the best he could with the direction he was given, which was to make it sound like an Morrisound album. But when the original sound is completely different, you cannot just bend something to make it sound like something else. A lot gets lost in the process, and a lot of those grooves didn’t come across as strong as it should have.
Adding to the problems listed above, we didn’t have money to fly to Morrisound and Pavement wouldn’t give us any money to go down there and oversee things. We wanted Anthony to go down there to make sure it was right, because he had the best handle on things, but Pavement wouldn’t budge. This was a critical error, and far more damaging to the sound of the album than anything else. There are so many editing mistakes on the Scott Burn version, it’s just horrifying. I can remember me, Anthony and Bill being just livid.
Do you feel this album is your peak moment? Although I love «Voracious to Death», I think «Driven» is more complete, more plural and hybrid.
Well, on one hand, I think Voracious Contempt is one of the most influential albums ever released to the DM scene. Overnight, it changed the mindset of hundreds of young musicians and bands. It was the culmination of all the work we did developing the SLAM sound. It was, to use a cliché, lightning in a bottle, released at the right time. The production killed the album though, and worse, many critics in the mainstream still didn’t understand what we were doing…but the fans understood, and they knew it was a genre defining release.
That being said, I don’t think it was our “peak moment». With every album we got better at both songwriting and playing live and I think that is reflected with each album, you can hear the progression. I don’t think you can ever have a “peak moment” musically, but perhaps you can popularity-wise.
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