GOATPENIS, Pulverize the Human Race (2007, Satanic Skinhead Propaganda)

The skull:
“It is done, master. I have destroyed the humans!”
“All of them?”
“Yes, my lord, all of them, completely.”
“Did you pulverize them, my humble servant?”
“I stripped their flesh from their very bones, to the last mewling child. Only skulls remain.”
“I asked you to pulverize them!”
“You mean, literally crush them into small bits?”
“Of course, your wickedness. It’s just that… I thought you meant that metaphorically, like a fancy way of asking me to kill them all…”
“SILENCE! You have failed me!”
“My lord! I don’t understand!”
“I do not expect you to understand, only to obey! Guards, seize him! Send him to the crushing pits of Zithron, so that he may learn the true meaning of ‘pulverize.'”
“NOOOOO! My lord, have mercy!”

The music:
I’ve always had a fondness for Goat* bands. A sort of abstract fondness to be sure, as I think the only one I ever heard before was Goatwhore. Maybe I also heard Goat Horn at one point. But really, how could any band with a name like GoatPenis (let alone Goat Semen, Goat Anus, or even Goat Thrower) possibly be good? Avoiding these bands’ music seemed the most prudent strategy, and I have no regrets. But now duty calls, and I bravely answer! Of all those Goat* bands, GoatPenis are surely one of the bigger names, so it stands to reason they’d be better than most, right? Well, let me tell you: they are not good. I listened to some recent stuff, and it’s almost as good as an early Carcass demo, minus the subtle cheek. This weird mid-career demo, composed of three re-recorded older demo songs, is much worse than that, though. To be fair, the original tracks merely aspire to a Hellhammer level of instrumental competence, so it must be said that GoatPenis improved somewhat from their earliest days (in the early 90s) to the mid aughts, but really, I would expect them, or any band that was trying at all, to have gotten a little better than this with fifteen years of practice. Them again, there are literally thousands of bands who not only think that death metal peaked in 1986, but that it is physically impossible for it to ever be better than it was back then, as if Sarcofago’s first demo pushed right up against the very limits of human dexterity and engineering prowess. Considered by that standard, I guess GoatPenis are… pretty good? Maybe even slightly above average. It’s all a Goat* band could hope for!
— Friar Johnsen


FOUL STENCH, The Bone (2007, Ukraugh Productions)

The skull:
A super close-up of a shadowy skull, this BDS begs the question: which bone is the bone? The human skull at adulthood is composed of (roughly) 22 separate bones, although this fellow here, lacking a jaw as he does, would be made up of fewer. So which one is it? The sphenoid? The ethmoid? One of the superior maxillaries? I suppose it could even be the vomer, although I should doubt that even Foul Stench are so gauche. One thing is certain: if this album had been called The Tooth we wouldn’t have nearly so much to speculate about.

The music:
After recording three demos in the late 90s, Foul Stench broke up, but nearly ten dormant years later, they regrouped at last. Demand for the Stench was simply too great to ignore! From every corner of the internet, devoted fans begged, pleaded, for Foul Stench to rise again, and the Stench, beholden as they are to the devotion of their public, put past differences aside and came together anew to deliver unto the world the moderately competent death metal it so sorely lacked. The Bone is the first comeback release from these Dayton stalwarts, featuring such now-classic Stench cuts as “Pack a Bowl,” “Skull Fukd,” and “Singing About Pussy”. Honestly, The Bone is not nearly as bad as I was afraid it would be: imagine a mix of early Obituary and Gorefest with a liberal pinch of D-beat, and you’ve more or less got it. The sound is good and the performances are all around above average for this sort of thing. No, it’s not winning any prizes for originality, but when you’re talking about weed-obsessed midwestern death metal, expectations must be calibrated appropriately.
— Friar Johnsen


IRON MONKEY, Ruined By Idiots: Live and Unleashed (2002, Maniac Beast)

The skull:
A closeup of a skull in a light box. As cheap and bland as possible. Maximum stupidity from a band that specialized in the same.

The music:
By the time Iron Monkey’s debut was released on Earache, it was clear that the label was ruined forever. Sure, in the early days there were Sore Throat and Fudge Tunnel albums to contend with, but at least there were Bolt Throwers, Carcasses, Nocturni, and so on to keep the average high. When Iron Monkey dropped, they shared roster space with Ultraviolence, Dub War, and Pulkas. Truly a dark time. At least Iron Monkey were undeniably a metal band, even if they were just a shitty British take on Helmet and Clutch. Ruined By Idiots collects all the live and radio sessions (plus a few studio cuts) that you labored so diligently to avoid in the first place.
— Friar Johnsen