The Porcelain Throne: Lymphatic Phlegm
It’s been a while since the last edition, but here we welcome Sweetooth0 to talk about a very filthy band. As I have very little experience with this level of chaotic noise, I’ll let the expert do that talking.
I first discovered these patho-gore fiends from the good ol’ Braindead Webzine sometime around 2001-2002. At that time I was on the warpath looking for only the nastiest, goriest death metal/goregrind, and rawest, most evil black metal, and Lymphatic Phlegm always stood out to me with their unique and completely deranged sound. Hailing from their lugubrious, dark and cold Brazilian morgue, these deranged pathologists produce some of the vilest tunes in the underground. The type of tunes that dissect you with a surgical scalpel while injecting you with some strange and horrific disease.
Basically, if you took the sound Exulceration achieved on Infernal Disgust, but taken to a repulsive extreme, you get the trademark Lymphatic Phlegm sound. Song titles and lyrics exclusively cover forensics, pathology, and gore, and always use (possibly) nonsensical medical jargon that soudns like it was copied directly from old medical textbooks, ala early Carcass (albeit completely straight-faced here). They’re cold, inhuman, and horrifying, or to my ears, utterly delightful!
Unfortunately, a large amount of the band’s output is in the form of extremely limited split 7” records and CD’s put out on obscure labels. Being the dedicated fan that I am, I didn’t let obscurity or small print runs stop me. I spent the next several years collecting every single release from the band (minus the original demo and a couple compilations they’re featured on) by scouring the web’s darkest holes.
Malignant Cancerous Tumour in the Epithelial Tissue of the Intestine (Demo), 1996/ Split with Flesh Grinder (the demo, with one bonus track not on the tape), 1999
Unless you’re a freak (and probably only if you lived in Brazil or happened to be in contact with the band) the split with Fleshgrinder is likely the only way you’ll be able to hear this demo recording. You do get a bonus track on here though. If the band’s later recordings could be described as being performed by a trained surgeon in a sterile, steel clad morgue, this music could be contrasted as back alley surgery with a rusty hacksaw blade; sloppy, filthy, and with a horrific atmosphere probably only comparable to a band like Catasexual Urge Motivation. Vocals sound like burping through a backed up sewer pipe, with one of the tracks featuring what sounds like a vomiting demonic baby Jeff Walker. Everything is drenched in massive amounts of reverb. Guitars are an echoic, hissing buzz, punctuated by the occasional short “Reek” style guitar squeal, like noxious gasses escaping out of a tightened organ’s sphincter. An utterly bizarre and cacophonous bass guitar forms the driving force behind the music and the programmed drums blast underneath it all in an almost plodding manner out of a drum machine that sounds like it’s on its last legs. None of the instruments seem like they are ever quite in time with one another, and the production is raw basement grind of the most hellish kind. This is probably not the best album in the band’s catalogue to start with if you’re not already a goregrind freak, as this is likely to scare most “normal” people away. However, it’s definitely an important release for the band, and mandatory if you’re a fan of the genre. The Fleshgrinder side ain’t half bad either.
Bloodsplattered Pathological Disfunctions (EP), 2000
Things tighten up considerably with this release, dropping some of the atmosphere found on the first release in favor of a more frenzied, noisy grind assault. Guitars are an angry carrion fly swarm of reverb and distortion with a steady onslaught on nearly inaudible temolo riffs that sound like a chainsaw cutting through bones in the back of an old abandoned semi trailer. The bass guitar has been reduced to a low rumble barely above bad tape hiss on a 5th generation demo tape. You get an ultra-skull smashing, tight as fuck programmed drum attack that actually features quite a bit of variation and fills along with the merciless blast beating. Vocals continue in strictly pitch shifted “sewer” vomiting mode, punctuated with a few animalistic sounding pitch shifted growls. All of this sounds even more moldy and brutal on the 10” vinyl re-issue. Admittedly, along with many of their middle era releases, the songs do tend to bleed into one another a bit, but with grind this raw and merciless that is to be expected.
Pathologist’s Cadaveric Fleshfeast / For an Apple and an Egg (Split with SMES), 2002
This is basically the point where Lymphatic Phlegm landed on their definitive sound. The production here has improved considerably. Now the bass and guitar are tightly entwined in a reverb drenched ultra-distorted assault. Due to the strength of the riffing, each song has a strong identity, with a stream of tremolo notes having an almost black metal feel, but with an atmosphere that fits the pathological themes like a latex glove. You’ll never be thinking about frozen forests or occultism here, only exploration into the hollowed inside of a cadaver on your mortuary slab. The pitch shifting on the vocals has been pulled back slightly, which allows more of André Luiz’ personality to shine through. He has tighter vocal patterns than previous releases, both contrasting and complementing the music perfectly. The vocals also take on a more vicious, bestial intonation than the previous septic-dripping sewer-spewing. The drum programming remains tight as a rigor mortis corpse’s bunghole and filled with tons of variation, giving the almost uplifting sounding riffs a savage edge. Oh, and they even drop a cover of “Happy Sickness of Life” by Exulceration, so it’s a nice shout out to their roots. Every time I listen to them I think of how they must be performing it inside of a homemade morgue built in their basement. The walls and ceiling covered with rusty sheet metal (hence the reverb) and the floor dirty, blood stained concrete, sloping into the middle of the room to a huge floor drain to carry away the blood and fluids from all of the bodies the band plays with while writing their songs. Unfortunately, I must also warn that the other side of this split by SMES is simply not my cup of tea. Electro-goregrind has very few acts that I can get into, and this shit just sounds too goofy and amateur to be paired up with such a strong first side.
Pathogenesis Infest Phlegmsepsia, 2002
Lymphatic Phlegm’s first true full-length recording is definitely the band at their most utterly pulverizing. The big thing that sets this release apart from all of the others is the totally brutal sounding drum machine. It’s so loud in the mix, and has so much overblown bass behind it that it’ll literally rattle your brain around in your skull. Track after track the drums mercilessly pound away at maximum speed, leaving you feeling cephalically bludgeoned when it ends. Think old Fuck…I’m Dead or perhaps old Agoraphobic Nosebleed for reference. Mieszko Talarczyk (of Nasum fame) mastered this one, and he definitely made this thing GRIND! The guitar and bass are, as always, drenched in massive amounts of reverb, but have a heavier low end on this album than most of the band’s output lending the always present melodies a darker more menacing tone. The vocal delivery sounds like a monstrous mutant beast in a frenzy growling through foam covered gnashing jaws while it rends helpless humans limb from limb. This album’s actually pretty easy to track down, and is their longest release at 31 tracks, so hit it up if you want to hear the band at their heaviest. Buy this slab of pathological insanity and revel in the filthy sewer that is Lymphatic Phlegm’s gore splattered sound!
Show-Off Cadavers – The Anatomy of Self Display, 2007
Lymphatic Phlegm’s final full-length release is the band’s magnum opus. Every element of their sound has been honed to a razor sharp scalpel edge. The technicality and tightness in the riffs and performance is really taken to the next level here. The production, while still dripping in reverb and filthiness, is crystal clear with tons of punch, with no single element overpowering another. The vocals are slightly less pitch shifted than on earlier releases and are in line with the two splits that preceded this (with Last Days of Humanity and XXX Maniak respectively, both highly recommended), and to these ears they’ve struck the perfect balance between all out gore and a more malevolent death metal assault. Even the artwork and layout on this release is really a cut above their previous work. This time you are treated to some striking up-close photography of silicone rubber preserved human specimens. The paper is ultra-glossy and the whole package is about as high class as goregrind has ever achieved. For newcomers to this band, and especially speaking for non-goregrinders, this is likely the best place to start. This release is truly a triumph in the genre and might open a few minds previously closed off to the usual sloppy, more derivative elements common to most goregrind. As much as I fucking love it, most bands, especially the drum machine driven ones, sound pretty similar to one another and “Reek of Putrefaction” must have been re-regurgitated by about a million gore bands by now. You don’t ever hear the term epic used to describe goregrind, but the material here really does sound epic, in the most heinous way possible; brutal, surreal, sublime, and maybe even morbidly beautiful. Highly recommended!
Thanks to the very descriptive Sweetooth0 for this recommendation that caused me to take a very long hot shower. Now that I have finally settled in in my new east coast home, I am ready to take more submissions so send them over! The Official Porcelain Throne Guidelines.