Sunday, 22 April 2012

BAPHOMET - The Dead Shall Inherit (1992)

01  The Suffering
02  Through Deviant Eyes
03  Leave The Flesh
04  Valley Of The Dead
05  Torn Soul
06  Vile Reminiscence
07  Boiled In Blood
08  Age Of Plague
09  Infection Of Death
10  Streaks Of Blood

If you were to take into account the success and popularity of New York bands Suffocation and Immolation, then it must come as a surprise that someone like Baphomet, also a son of the Empire State, never really went anywhere. Not entirely sure why that is, the band managed to sign to Peaceville Records in the 1990's for their only full-length LP, so it shouldn't have been for a lack of visibility. I suppose where their peers went for a busier, more challenging grasp on the death metal genre, Baphomet stuck more to a tried and true formula that was becoming ever more apparent by 1992 and didn't take many risks at all. In fact, this ends up sounding a good deal like Bolt Thrower in more ways than one, except perhaps with a greater emphasis on the undead and the unholy than weaving tales of the various battlefields visited by humanity.

The approach to songwriting here is very obvious from the start, the band seeks not to impress with expansive song structures or odd time signatures, they seek to simply beat the living hell out of your ears. Once again, I am constantly reminded of Bolt Thrower, or maybe "Harmony Corruption" era Napalm Death, nothing but constant bludgeonment usually at mid-tempo with occasional use of blast beats. Yes, I suppose you could dub this an "old school beating." Is this a bad thing? No, of course it isn't.

From the start of "The Suffering," the album doesn't give much of a breather, the hefty production job being both confrontational, intimidating, and balanced. The guitars have a nice punch to them, the drums make their presence well known without being overbearing, and Tom Frost's vocals have a demonic nature to them but maintain a certain human quality (as opposed to the deep grunted style heard in Cannibal Corpse or Demilich.) Lyrics are pretty well written all things considered, focused on death, mortality, gore, murder... you know the drill.

"The Dead Shall Inherit" is a hard album to speak of because the style is so familar to so many, and this does nothing to deviate from the formula. Its basically by the numbers death metal, complete with an airy production sound and that cheesy album cover (which is pretty awful to be honest). The band would trudge on for a bit longer, changing their name to Banished in 1992-93 to avoid confusion with the now ironically more obscure German band. They would release one more album in 1993 before waving goodnight to the death metal world, being one of those bands to fall through the music biz trapdoor. My only real gripe with this album is that guitarist Dave Craiglow doesn't play a single solo. I'm very fond of hearing good lead work on record, so it did put me off at first. I suppose it was something different at the time, but it's a shame that it has become somewhat of a trend to tone down any showmanship. As for this LP, Peaceville re-released it in Digipak form in 2006, which is the copy you're most likely to find, and is the one I currently own. I'm not a particularly big fan of digipaks, but I wasn't too displeased with this one. As it stands, "The Dead Shall Inherit" offers you nothing you have not heard before, but if you're like me, you love this stuff when it's done right. Not outstanding but by no means terrible. Stand-outs include; "Valley Of The Dead", "Boiled In Blood" and "Through Deviant Eyes".

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