The Porcelain Throne: Dead Infection
Just when you thought this column was dead, Sweetooth0 (that is a zero, I promise) is back to bring it back to life with one of the most death-centric based bands the throne has seen.
When I think goregrind, a handful of bands immediately spring to mind: Carcass (old), Regurgitate, Squash Bowels (old), Last Days of Humanity, Lymphatic Phlegm, and the subject of today’s article: Poland’s Dead Infection. While the band originally began as a very raw sloppy death metal act and has lost some of the pure gore aspects on some releases, the band has always sonically maintained a singular gory aesthetic.
Dead Infection has had a heavily revolving lineup over the years, which has resulted in a fairly uneven discography featuring multiple stylistic changes. What has remained constant though has been the band’s signature “evil” guitar tone (only varying by how it is recorded/produced) and the insane and unique drumming of blaster master Cyjan.
As with most goregrind outfits, a lot of the band’s output is contained in several limited 7” EP’s and Splits along with some cassette demos. It’s tough to get the original releases, but luckily the band has had four compilation releases that collect the majority of this material. Most of the full length releases have also been re-pressed and made more widely available. The curious should be able to get their mitts on most of the band’s discography as of this writing.
World Full of Remains (Demo), 1991 (re-released in 1993 with re-recorded vocals)
Helpless limb, silent minds; Vulgar mass, eats your flesh; Putrid carrion, lasting pain; Eaten life, death is certain; Pain, scream, groan; Your blood is like a; Pus which is gore; Your flesh is full of; Biles, pus and scurfs; Repulsive stench of; Dead, sordid flesh; Your death is brutal; Biles, pus and scurfs; Your flesh is like a dead, stinking dog you; Change into remains; Which are dead, last chance; Is gone, but burnt; Dead flesh is blent; With black carbon.
The first demo is more of a primitive death metal effort. Production is predictably raw and muffled sounding, and the guitars have a fairly unpleasant scratchiness to them. But coupled with the unwavering utterly guttural pitch-shifted vocal performance, the atmosphere is undeniably heinous and gory to the extreme. The demo was re-released in a compilation in 1993 and was remastered with re-recorded vocals. This is the version I have heard so I can’t comment on the original release, but I imagine it’s probably pretty terrible sounding given what the updated version sounds like.
The lyrics here are nothing but death and gore written in humorous broken English. Amusing stuff, but it actually comes across pretty horrific when you read along while listening. It sounds like a moldy, pus dripping bio-zombie vomiting them out in a barely intelligible manner. The lyrics of “Intestines Change Into Carrion” are at the top for your reading (dis)pleasure.
This release is probably only going to appeal to fiends who lived through the tape trading years listening to fourth generation dubs and goregrinder freaks who dig on filthy, raw productions.
Start Human Slaughter (Demo), 1992
The second demo ups the ante on recording quality and performance significantly. Everything feels a lot tighter this time around, and the speed has been generally increased on all tracks. The death metal aspects are even more pronounced here. Frankly, this could be considered a proper full length given that it’s 45-minutes long and the production is actually pretty solid for the era. Vocals this time are deep, natural death roars that are pushed into the back of the mix a bit more, yet remain more intelligible than the previous demo. The sound is thick and muddy, like having a hot, rotten meat shake injected into your ear canal with the occasional squealing solo ripping through the murk. The songwriting actually reminds me of a less doomy Autopsy mixed with Symphonies of Sickness era Carcass, but the band still retains their unique identity and the songs are mostly pretty memorable. Solid stuff and would likely appeal to a fans of old school 90’s era death metal and goregrinders alike.
Surgical Disembowelment, 1993
Any shortcomings in the demos are killed off here. The sound is pretty much perfect for this sort of hybrid death metal-goregrind style. The atmosphere this thing exudes is like a reeking fog rising out of a mass grave where the bodies have all turned into poisonous sludge. The vocals are possibly the deepest gutturals to be belched out of the death metal underground (no effects peddles or pitch shifting either), and are pushed right up front in the mix. The solos are just chaotic squeals on top of the diseased bog that is the rest of the album. The drums sound incredibly natural here as well. In fact, this is one of the most organic sounding death metal albums ever released. The songs on here have some serious groove. If you can imagine soaking “Harmony Corruption” in congealed blood, you have an idea of what this might sound like. Certainly not for everyone, but if you can appreciate muffled and obscure sounding gory death, this will drag you into a muddy, vermin infested grave.
A Chapter of Accidents, 1994
The all-time classic Dead Infection release. One of the most ferocious goregrind albums ever released. What you get here is absolutely savage drumming, raw as fuck, but perfect for the style of production. It has distorted roaring vocals, vicious riffs aplenty, and a disgustingly perfect cover photo of a bloated rotten corpse face. It’s even somewhat of a concept album with most tracks being dedicated to a different lethal accident. If you claim to like goregrind and don’t worship this album, just hang it up man. The death metal aspects have been all but dropped here, stripping this down to what would become the rotten core of the Dead Infection sound.
The guitar tone is utterly filthy, evil and even more down-tuned than previous releases. A booming bass guitar is audible beneath, giving the album the low end heft of a decaying elephant corpse. The drumming is now almost constant blast beating, but with Cyjan’s unique ability to add a significant amount of groove and fills to what might seem at first listen to be an all-out blast assault. Vocalist Jaro makes his full length debut (he appeared on the “Party’s Over” split with C.S.S.O. which has its tracks re-recorded here) with an over the top display of hysterical, distorted caveman grunting and yelling and pig like pitch-shifted retching. I have serious doubts the man is actually speaking any of the words in the lyrics, as trying to read along quickly proves an impossibility. The lyrics themselves are fairly interesting in that they aren’t written like songs per say, instead opting for compact little pieces of prose detailing the unfortunate circumstances around a number of different ways people have died, in some cases culled from real life news stories. Suitably nasty stuff including: anthropophagy, being eaten by lions, vomiting into a patient while performing surgery, being splattered in a fallen elevator, and all sorts of other gleefully morbid stuff. This is the total maggot ridden, blood drenched package. MANDATORY!
Brain Corrosion, 2004
In the ten years it took for this to come out, many of the original “gore-core” had abandoned goregrind and moved on to either more politically minded crust/grind/mince or straight up death metal. Squash Bowels had dropped the pitch shifting and gore aspect and focused on being straight ahead grind. Malignant Tumour decided to follow the path of Agathocles and turn mince. Carcass was done by this point but had long since switched to straight up death metal and ended up Death n Roll. Xysma turned into a shitty rock band. Even Regurgitate dropped the gore aspect for Deviant. Dead Infection, while still retaining the core of their sound, certainly reduced the gore elements this time around as well. The progression between the two albums was clear following the EPs in between, but I have to say I miss the purity of the gore days. There’s a bit too much of an attempt at nonsensical humor which I feel is a bit disrespectful to the genre. That said, sonically this material is devastating. The most polished production the band has ever had is featured here. That evil Dead Infection guitar tone returns in possibly its ultimate form (although I am partial to the sloppier, gorier edge of the ’94 release) and everything is clear and powerful. Drumming is absolutely savage here. Jaro ditches the effects this time around, so you don’t get any of the really guttural aspect, but he sounds like he’s going to burst a blood vessel with an absolutely knuckle dragging, neanderthalic performance of caveman rage. This aspect of the album may turn some off though, as Jaro’s style tends to border on love it or hate it. This time they don’t even attempt to pretend there are lyrics, although I love to annoy my brother with the assertion that Jaro is definitely not just yelling and you can clearly here that there are lyrics. A kick ass album that will likely appeal the most to the non-initiated.
Thanks to Sweetooth0 for reviving my humble column. For the uninitiated, The Porcelain Throne is a column for guest submissions, specifically about a band you enjoy that doesn’t get much attention, but you think their discography deserves a spotlight. Download The Official Porcelain Throne Guidelines and send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.