Sunday, November 6, 2011

Title Fight 2011: JGD vs. Judge Shredd


The other day, JGD and Judge Shredd came to blows over the merits of Suffocation's 1991 classic Effigy of the Forgotten versus Beheaded's lesser-known Ominous Bloodline. In order to help these gents bury the hatchet once and for all, as IllCon Director of Quality Control, I sanctioned an independentanalysis of the two records. Fortuitously, they lend themselves nicely to comparison. Each peddle a similar vein of technical slam, Beheaded with a decidedly grindy approach and Suffocation with a jazzy one, both have 9 tracks, both fall just shy of the 40 minute mark, etc. So we have our baseline; next we need a rubric. In order to drill down to elements that account for the major genre identifiers, after careful review I selected five criteria: musicianship, production, songs, slamz, and intangibles. Each criterion carries a maximum score of 5. This process enabled me to fairly pit a veritable slam classic against the underdog, a relatively obscure album that earned the Judge's unqualified recommendation: no small praise, mind you.

Before you get started, go grab the Beheaded from the Judge's post.

Now here is Effigy of the Forgotten in case you left yr copy in the car.

Now let's get it.

MUSICIANSHIP - Suffocation 5, Beheaded 3
Both bands posses top-notch rhythmic chug and an uncanny knack for propelling songs with strategic time changes, but Suffocation took this category easily. The solos, flecked with jazz, chromatic scales, and non-Western lines, allow Effigy to tower over Ominous. Throw in tons of whammy dives and pinched harmonics and you've got a recipe for a classic. Ominous' solos on the other hand come off as somewhat limp and were hurt by the fact that they sound like they are played on the same ultra-down-tuned guitars that carry the rhythm. Everything sounds like it was played on the G string which gives it this weird chopped and screwed aspect (that sounds awesome on paper but it's not really). Plus, the drumming. Yeah, they can both play 600 BPM but I'm pretty sure they didn't have drum triggers in '91.

PRODUCTION - Suffocation 4, Beheaded 3
This was comparing apples to oranges. If you're into warm bass tones, chunky drums, analog tape hiss, fat cables, etc., you're voting one way. If you're into the sonic equivalent of crisp lettuce filtered through a hard disk, you're voting another. You can prolly reckon which side I fall on. The Beheaded album has this sort of deathcore sheen that I can't stomach but that could be a matter of personal preference. I'm not about to introduce an argument about analog vs. digital because then the real nerds will come out the woodwork. But I will agree with The Judge about the drum tone: total weirdness (two snares?) that adds heft to each song and kind of rules. They actually got a point just for the drum sound.

SONGS - Suffocation 5, Beheaded 5
I gotta hand it to Beheaded here, they come through with some boss tracks. Tons of variety, interesting time changes, identifiably proggy read of brutal DM, each track is equipped with a good, solid structure and plan. Track-for-track, Beheaded matches Suffocation's impeccable ability to make a fairly proscriptive genre compelling.

SLAMZ - Suffocation 4, Beheaded 5
Before yr all WTF DUDE this was a controlled scientific study so it's a FACT. Please hold your questions for the end. This victory was enabled by the aforementioned drum tone and, indeed, learning at the left hand of the genre masters, Suffocation. This was a controversial category because, overall, Ominous Bloodline slams harder. HOWEVER, the slamingest track on Effigy, "Infecting the Crypt," slams harder than the slamingest track on Ominous Bloodline, "Rooted in Profundity."

+1 to Beheaded for being from Malta. There is something to be said for conjuring abstract, abrasive DM in the Mediterranean vs. doing your thing in Long Island. +1 to Suffo for overall weirdness (jazz scales, eastern melodies), ideas, and variety. +1 to Beheaded for getting the job done with just 4 commandbros instead of 5. +1 to Suffo for artwork.

FINAL SCORE: Suffocation 20, Beheaded 18

In conclusion, Mullen and co. FTW. However, Beheaded is nipping at their heals with a solid effort. A classic, maybe not, but definitely worth your attention. That score is way closer than what I predicted going into this experiment. So kiss and make up, JGD and Judge Shredd, you're both winners.

Since we're sharing our fav brutal DM albums from weird Eurozone nations, I present you with 1997's Union Carbide by the Czech Republic's Garbage Disposal. This album rips on all fronts: slamz, skillz, songz, intangiblez. Vocals take the Demilich/Wormed approach you've been getting a lot of here at IllCon lately and add a hypnotic dimension. Bass work is rad and the overall highlight on the album, which is unusual in metal. When they bring the bass to the front of the mix they drape it in this Alice in Chains chorus effect which makes me nostalgic for the mid-90s. A couple tracks fall into a Coffins-esque death/doom plod which provides relief from all the face-pummeling slam. I dunno, just download the feckin' thing, yiz cunt.


Judge Shredd said...

I came out a lot better in this than I expected. I definitely made the mistake of confusing "personal favorite" with "masterpiece," not doing that again. Effigy is a stone cold classic that invented a genre.

Remember that Suffo did this 14 years before Beheaded did and that should count for a lot, cuz we are all here because of them (including Beheaded). And Metal Archives agrees: Effigy 12 reviews for 93%, Bloodline 5 reviews for 91%.

Judge Shredd said...

And this should go without saying but i got mad respect fo JGD, been following tha Doorway for years now.

Shelby Cobras said...

I disagree, JGD is a bag of dicks.

A solid write-up though, D.U., and fair. I do think clinical, pound-for-pound analysis may be impossible in the matter, considering every Hessian's familiarity with (and subsequent unequivocal adoration of) Effigy. It is the classic death metal Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

DoomUnicorn said...

I give the Judge credit for even going out on a limb trying to introduce a new classic into the Slam Hall of Fame. I don't think I'd even have the stones for that.

The Classic Death Metal Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. I think you have the title for your next lecture series, Cobras.

JGD said...

Shelby is absolutely correct - I AM a bag of dicks.

Helm said...

Thorough scientific analysis, I approve.

Anonymous said...

this stuff is all boring only human waste is ok. brodequin much bertr

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the Garbage Disposal album. Even after a single listen, this is already a death metal favorite for me. If I could just get that piece-of-shit cover (Just what kind of 16-bit villains do they have in the Czech Republic, anyway?) on a t-shirt, I can die a happy man.

DoomUnicorn said...

@ anon, me too brother, me too