Release DetailsLABEL Vendlus Records
RELEASED ON 6/15/2005
posted on 8/2005 By:
These days packages from Vendlus are received with some enthusiasm from several of us in the MetalReview camp. With high quality releases from Audiopain, V:28, and The Mist and the Morning Dew, the small label has been showing quite well as of late. Earlier this year I reviewed the excellent The Traumatizer, Audiopain’s latest full length, which was actually a 2004 release. The band is currently in the studio working on their new album, and according to a band message on Vendlus’ website, it’s “the heaviest album yet”. In the meantime, Vendlus is releasing remastered versions of the band’s first three EPs. The first two, Contagious and 1986, both released in 2000, are already available. Their third effort, Revel in Desecration, will be rereleased at a later time. Thrash fans would do well to pick up all three albums. By the time, Revel in Desecration is available and the new one is set loose, you’ll be dying for them.
These Norwegians play a bloodthirsty brand of classic thrash with some black tendencies that will appeal to fans of vintage German thrash, as well as newer bands of the Uberthrash contingent like Aura Noir, Inferno, and Nocturnal Breed. As Audiopain’s work progressed, influences from bands like Voivod and Death also started to raise their ugly, banging heads. The result is a sound that is unmistakably old school without becoming completely formulaic and derivative. One might make the mistake of believing that, as enthralled with the past as the band is, that Audiopain would be content to hammer out an identical sounding, history-worshipping album every year or so, but the band has already demonstrated a creative evolution over their brief career. With each release they have refined their approach while remaining firmly entrenched in the ethos of the watershed period of the genre. (Contagious and 1986 were submitted to MetalReview together and are being reviewed at the same time, and therefore the reader will notice that up until now the reviews are the same.)
Before their current incarnation as Audiopain, the members played together in the late 90’s in a band that played a variety of styles of heavy music. The guys soon decided to dedicate themselves full time to the dark art of metal, changed their name and wasted little time recording Contagious as their first demo. While in some ways different from their later work, Contagious established a blueprint to which future efforts would adhere. This includes not only the stylistic foundation and development discussed earlier, but also to the way the band would structure their albums. These guys are no strangers to idiosyncrasy--each of their releases contains six songs; the fifth is usually an instrumental, and the sixth is the longest, and usually the most dynamic of the collection.
The band makes an immediate impression with “He Who Walks Among You”, a nasty, rapid-fire opener that is single minded in its thrashing, destructive intent. The trio slow down a bit at times, and “In the Grey” begins with a midpaced, fret sliding groove before launching into more of the same break neck thrash blitz. The second half of the EP however, is where most of the surprises are found. “Slave” is an infectious track that significantly ratchets up the black factor, thanks to the raunchy croaks of Sverre Daehli. The aforementioned role of the longer, final track is assigned to “Ego-Whip”, a song that is the most dynamic and highly developed of the bunch. Plenty of tempo changes, but all contain the same grimy, distortion heavy ethic--no acoustic guitars and clean vocals to be found. The oddest moment of Contagious is the eyebrow raising title track, which is a two minute instrumental based on retro jazz guitar work. Odd to be sure, but it’s executed in a manner that dismisses suspicions of your basic, run of the mill novelty song.
While not my favorite of the three releases I’ve heard, Contagious’ visceral aggressiveness makes it a quality debut and provides a convincing argument that the Audiopain of 2000 was a band of substantial promise. But unlike many bands who’ve been saddled with that oft awarded tag, Audiopain began to realize that promise quickly and consistently.
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