GRINNING DEATH’S HEAD, No Afterlife (2009, Youth Attack)
I picture the artist commissioned to illustrate this album spending about five minutes thinking, “How am I going depict ‘No Afterlife’? Hmm,” before saying, “Fuck it. I’m just gonna do the band name.” Boom. Done. Although truthfully, this is a pretty awesome grinning death’s head. He clearly took a serious beating, and he’s still smiling. It all started with some asshole yelling, “Oh yeah? Well how’s about I wipe that smile offa your face for ya?” and it ended with the same asshole walking away highly frustrated.
This is the absolute worst sort of no-fi black metal bullshit. It sounds like the band set up at the bottom of a stairwell while one of their toadies operated the boombox “mobile recording studio” at the top. It’s basically impossible to tell what anyone is doing here, and I can’t imagine what this band was hoping to accomplish. I mean, maybe this sort of thing was shocking or transgressive or whatever in 1992, but in 2009? For fuck’s sake. Grinning Death’s Head used a big dumb skull for their subsequent demo as well (it’s a skull in a chalice!), but no way in hell are any of us at Skull HQ going to listen to this band ever again, for any reason.
— Friar Johnsen