Monday, May 13, 2013

Vomit Sodomy - Godfelch

What lurks under the underground...

This... this is it folks.  This is the holy grail of underground, avant garde black metal.  I joke about silly bands all the time, and it's no secret I'm really not much of a black metal fan in comparison to death, thrash, power, and trad metal, but believe me when I say Vomit Sodomy is the real fucking deal. They are easily, easily the most impressive band that nobody has ever heard of.  The fact that this was lost by history is an affront to extreme metal.  Never before has such aggression been put to tape in such a genuine, primitive form.  But before I can get to that, I have to tell you a story.

My grandmother has been using eBay since the month it debuted, basically.  She's made a small fortune off of scavenging for random antiques at auctions and flea markets and garage sales and things of that sort and then reselling them on eBay to collectors for whatever exorbitant costs that collectors subject themselves to paying.  For a grand portion of my life, that's how she's made her money.  Now, since I've grown up and gotten older and stronger, she's occasionally recruited me to come along to auction houses to help her carry larger items she may end up buying (desks, cabinets, et cetera).  This is integral to the review because you need to understand the amount of divine intervention that went in to me acquiring this tape.  One overcast afternoon in early August, she called me to ask if I could accompany her to a flea market out of town, since she had spoken to one of the venders and had a large desk put off to the side for her.  Of course I said yes, and so off we went.  Before getting the desk, she decided to take a look around for any other trinkets she could hawk, and so I decided to take my leave and explore for myself.

And that's when I saw him.

The guy looked... odd somehow.  Like he didn't want to be behind the table he was behind.  He was a larger man (aka: he was basically a beached manatee), and he had the unmistakable scent of cheddarwurst emanating from the deeper crevices of his amorphous midsection.  I would have avoided his stand like the plague if I didn't notice two things about him.  One was that he had a box of records and another box of tapes, meaning he was one of the only people here selling music in any capacity, and the other was the tattoo of the Elder Sign on his wrist.  So he had an interest in Lovecraft, which was both promising because that meant he'd probably have some cool occult based stuff in those tapes and horrifying because he looked like the singer of Smash Mouth if you'd filled him up with 150 extra pounds of cream cheese.  I greeted him as I approached, and he continued to stare, dead faced and catatonic at his table.  I began to think that maybe he was simply a very lifelike statue of a Nu from Chrono Trigger, but when I asked him if he had anything good for sale, his head snapped towards me so quickly that I swear I heard his neck break.

"You looking for something evil, kid?"  His voice was strangely weak for his gargantuan frame, almost mouselike.

"Well, yeah.  I'm definitely a fan of evil music" I responded nervously, motioning to my Exmortus shirt.

"Well then you've found the right place...." he choked out, holding for an uncomfortably long time on his last syllable.  His head slowly rolled back to where it was before he acknowledged me and came to a rest there.  He seemed to go back into his semi-lifeless state, so I decided to ignore him and just start perusing the tapes.  This dude wasn't lying, the box was full of great, hard to find and certainly malicious releases.  The first Samael demo, some Mantas, and even the Tirant Sin demo.  I was blown away, I asked him how he managed to find all this, but still he sat there, stiff as a corpse.  I didn't have much money with me and didn't want my grandma to be subjected to the obnoxious crap I listen to, so I decided I was only going to buy one tape and that was that.  My heart was pretty set on Tirant Sin, since holy shit that's death metal history right there, but as I was getting ready to take it out, something else caught my eye.

I'm not sure what it was about this artwork, but it was just so primitive, so earnest, and so goddamn brazen that I couldn't take my eyes off of it.  A decayed caveman, with a mohawk no less, brandishing a giant cock in one hand and a cross in the other.  Is he going to stab it?  Write on it (ew)?  Only that greave-adorned skeleton knows the answer, but goddamn I had to find out.

"Hey man, how much for the tape?" I asked.  Once again the dude's head shot towards me so fast that I actually took a step back in panic.  This time... he just stared at me.  He wouldn't say anything, he just stared at me with these lifeless, spherical eyes.  I'm pretty sure my bowels were about to evacuate themselves in sheer terror, so I just fumbled through my pocket, threw a wadded up five dollar bill on the table, and then turned and speedwalked the hell away from his table.

Nothing could have prepared me for what lay inside the plastic here.  I noticed the back was marked as "5 of 17", so this is officially the rarest goddamn thing I've ever owned, plus it just revels in blasphemy from the word "go", even down to the number of copies made.  I mean really, that's some hardcore shit right there, these guys really want Jesus to choke on it.

Since collecting a bit more and exploring more of the band's work, I've come to realize that Vomit Sodomy has always had a pretty diverse sound.  Basically every piece of music you can find by them is at least two parts black metal, but the third part has ranged from thrash, to death, to sludge, to punk, to even a bizarrely interesting blend of symphonic grind on Mediocre Blasphemy. While this is one of their less esoteric releases, Godfelch is definitely worth the price of admission.  It's like a much sloppier, dirtier version of early Sarcofago, with a much more profound black metal influence.  With this being such a short demo (seven tracks, all under two minutes barring one), there isn't a whole lot of room for variation, but the overarching attitude of it all keeps it interesting enough for me to not care.

One thing that could be really, really difficult to overcome is just how lo-fi this is.  I mean damn, you know the old derisive comment on how "this sounds like it was recorded on an answering machine"?  Well this was probably recorded on a pager. It's hard to make out any of the instruments, what with this being one big buzzy mess and all, but the guitar can usually find a way to cut through during one of the more traditional black metal tremolo riffs.  I think they take up most of the riffwork of the album but it's kind of hard to tell, the point is that I love it.  This shit sounds about as evil as evil can be, and there's really no room for polish in the utmost darks of hell.  While the riffwork can be hard to pick out, it exudes the attitude the band was certainly going for with flying colors.  And apart from the lo-fi sound, this is also as sloppy as toothless cunnilingus during shark week.  Honestly, imagine carrying a tray of steins of lager and half melted Nestle Crunch Bars, and now imagine stumbling and dropping said tray.  The resulting mush of tin and spillage wouldn't sound too unlike the drum performance. It's a chaotic, thin sounding cacophony that rarely seems to match with the guitars, but goddamn do these boys rock it.

It takes a lot of enthusiasm to make something this inept sound this awesome, and boy oh boy does Vomit Sodomy layer on the enthusiasm!  Seriously, I'm not one to really focus on lyrics, but I'm not sure I've seen such one-dimensional anti-religious as this.  It's hard to make out the lyrics, to the point where I have to admit I only have song titles to go off of, but it's still pretty clear which path these guys take.  For example, "Jesus - Knight of the Brown Hole" sure makes some pretty incendiary assumptions about our lord and savior's sexual preference (hint: it's blasphemous), and "Fatherfister" really doesn't leave a whole lot to the imagination.  It's actually admirable how many different sexual perversions they can throw at holy figures.  Vomit Sodomy is serious about their dedication to blasphemy, but I have fun with it.  And really, what else could I ask for?  Godfelch is one of those demos that you treasure more than you actually like.  I mean, apart from the only track over two minutes (the five minute long, doomy dirge of the title track), the tracks all kind of blur into this one wall of noisy intensity, and with the production being so intentionally primitive and the performance so drunkenly off-kilter, it's hard to just sit there and wreck your neck or swig a beer to this.  But what it is is charming.  I get butterflies listening to this, and you will to if you can ever manage to track down a copy.  When you listen to Vomit Sodomy, the band's energy rubs off on you.  That's what makes them worth it.

It really, truly is difficult to ramble at length about this demo that, in all likelihood, is only notable for its rarity, but I feel a connection that really makes it stand out in my collection.  Vomit Sodomy isn't the best band around, and I don't like everything they've done, but as a starting point there's almost nothing better than Godfelch.  It's a raw, chaotic, inaccessible demo, but it really showcases the mission statement of the band (Fuck Jesus with dynamite) and gives one of the most purely aggressive performances in decades.  Shit, I'm not even sure when this demo was released, to be perfectly honest with you.  There's no indication on the packaging, and the band is so scarce and obscure that the internet is no help.  Truly, Vomit Sodomy is an enigma, and Godfelch is one of the many notches in their bedpost that make them so worth tracking down. 

RATING - 93%

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