posted on 8/2007 By:
How badly do you need this little 20-minute anthology from Asbestosdeath in your metal collection? Well, I suppose it depends on how important the following individuals are to you:
Al Cisneros, Chris Hakius, and Matt Pike.
If those three names conjure the same warm, cozy thoughts of Sleep, Om, and High on Fire in your dome as they do mine, then you’ll probably want to get thine ass over to Ye Olde Heavy Metal Shoppe and toss some dubloons to the interweb immediately.
For those not already in the know, back in 1989/’90, Cisneros (bass/vocals), Hakius (drums), and Pike (guitars) teamed up with Tom Choi (guitars/vocals) to produce four tunes that would only appear on two very limited 7-inches: 1989’s Unclean, and 1990’s Dejection. Following these recordings, Choi bolted from the band to help start Operator:Generator and Noothgrush, and the remaining trio sludged forward as the seminal dope-smoking-dozer Sleep (with one-time Sabians guitarist Justin Marler as Choi’s replacement on the debut only). Following Sleep’s demise, Cisneros and Hakius later went on to form the droney-dubby-drawling Om, and Pike obviously headed towards higher and more on fire grounds. Bottom line: Asbestosdeath was very short-lived, but hot-fuckin’-dog did it represent an endeavor with a wealth of budding metal talent.
Each of the four tunes presented here are quite characteristic of what you’d expect from a pre-Volume One era Sleep endeavor, but instead of being soaked with bong water and Sabbath riffs, Asbestosdeath found itself steeped with punkier flavorings. Heavily bass driven, genre pushing punk-metal with smidgeons of Pure/Head era Jesus Lizard and Force Fed stage Prong (especially with the two Dejection cuts) mixed up together and dragged through Sleep-ish sludge. The earlier Unclean portion is aptly named, and tosses in a shade more grit to the music and bit more gravelly-rasp to the vocals, but all four cuts essentially follow the above principle guidelines.
Despite its relatively short length, this comp is definitely worthy of investigation for those interested in the early California sludge/stoner scene. I landed my copy for a mere $9 at my local shop, and I certainly consider it money well spent. Go forth and check out.
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