Monday, April 06, 2009
MUTATION- Void of Disharmony 7" EP (Die Hard Version)(Nuclear War Now! Productions 2006/1992)
--sojourner at 2:25 AM
Before extreme metal has gotten the kind of popularity and hype these days, most of the people in the early '90s tend to associate the music with stereotypes in racial, religious and even moralistic aspects, which can be very far fetched and exaggerated. However, it does have its basis when it comes down to the group of people who would readily accept this music form. Malays can pride themselves with a long, enduring tradition in rock/heavy metal that has been very well estabished since the old Geylang Serai scene. And on the hindsight it is pretty uncommon to hear Chinese people playing or even listening to metal especially with this generally prude and less adventurous population (which maybe makes me weird because I am Chinese and I listen to metal).
Well, Mutation for that matter is a death metal band led by Roy Yeo, who is as Chinese as Jackie Chan sounds like to you and they have a reasonably big impact in the underground. The band besides Roy who does vocals (and who very much later runs Pulverised Records) also consisted of Yiu Leng Hiang on guitars/bass and the godly Ayong handling the drum kits (who is a Malay with a cult reputation for playing in Singapore's legendary Leviathan, and of course most famous for his role in Stompin' Ground and his label Dies Irae Productions). Their 1991 demo “Malignant Existence” is arguably one of the best death metal demos that ranked highly up there with other cult classics like the Abhorer and Profancer. I remember to heart the scary intro with monks chanting at a funeral procession before hell breaks loose with the deathly blasting monstrosity of “Nocturnal Reincarnation”, haunting my dreams ever since.
This "Void of Disharmony" 7” EP I am reviewing right now is the much anticipated reissue of unreleased recordings from 1992, kudos to the great work from Nuclear War Now, a label specialising in the filthiest and most extreme of cult metal. I am extremely privileged to get myself a copy of the “Die Hard” version of this release, which features coloured vinyl, a poster, a sticker and a nicely embroidered patch. Here, Mutation has somewhat updated themselves with a more brutal and modern sound. There is one track here “Cannabilistic Horror” which was originally from the '91 demo, but with a more prominent guitar sound, better productions and a more brutal death vocals. The other track is the rare unreleased one, titled “Ceased To Be”, which is played in the same tradition, heavily inspired by the chugging grating bludgeoning of Swedish bands like Grave, Dismember, etc. The other notable band playing in the same style at that time is Silent Sorrow, who has later cleaned up their acts and became the Concave Scream that everybody likes.
I am always happy to review a metal release, since my background is metal. It is an acquired taste for the permanently head damaged and I am glad that's the way it is. But being the skeptical fogey I am, I have an exclusive taste only for Singapore's late '80s to early '90s death metal like Mutation for example. Nowadays, I find many so-called local metal bands playing broken wristed and diluted "metal" very distasteful yet they carry so much attitude with their arrogant mannerism and outfit. Back in those days, metalheads with their t-shirt and jeans moved in the crowd like wolves in sheep clothing. The new kids are really sheep in wolves clothings with their fanciful adornment and whatnot. In that period, when even the leftest of the dial alternatives are somewhat denounced and reprobated in our local climate, the ones who dared to scream, thrash and bash to utter anarchic subversion stood out as the true rebels. Respect for the true underground of the past.