SCENTERIA, Art of Aggression (2004, New Aeon Media)
An interesting attempt to make one very dull and boring skull look somewhat arty, with the tiled/mosaic sort of treatment. Mission half accomplished. The mid 2000s was when a ton of metal album cover art was rendered in browns, and while this one is mostly on the bone-white end of the spectrum, it has that same dull color scheme so many albums of this era had. Dull, dull, dull…but perfectly big and dumb. We roundly approve!
As with the album cover, Art of Aggression is competent and professional, but lacking in all originality. What to call this? There’s a strong foundation in post-’80s Testament and Overkill style thrash (chunky and downtuned), a hint of melodic death metal (they are from Sweden), and you assume they have a few Pantera records in their collection. Cut-and-paste death/thrash typical of the aughts, but if In Flames had written songs like “Dead Point of View” or “Acts of Lunacy,” older fans would have lapped it up instead of shying away from whatever it is In Flames is doing these days. “Dead Point of View” is a good summation of the cover art too.
— Friar Wagner
OERJGRINDER, Skull Head (2005, demo)
And thus, with this Belgian band, the Skullection begins delving into the depths of obscurity for worthy skull covers. This one’s big and dumb mos’ def’! Plain white skull over a combat-green background, and the demo’s called Skull Head, which makes us wonder: what other kind of head is there? The band’s completely unmemorable name is written in terrifically unreadable death metal graffiti that we wish wasn’t obscuring the skull so much, but the unimaginative concept here is one we cherish.
At least this band knows it: the slogan over the top of the skull reads: “Creator of Stupido Grinding Stonecore.” As death/grind goes it’s as competently played as it is white-label generic. The kind of stuff that’s fun and funny for about 30 seconds, then you move on and remember there’s more to life than this sort of time-wasting superficiality. They may have grown up a little since this early demo, I don’t know. They’ve released six albums since this demo came out, in addition to the almost mandatory splits and EPs favored by bands of this sort. They’ve even recorded some “acoustic grindcore” material. It all makes me want to scream “grow up!!!,” but then again I’m a grown man writing about skull album covers, so what do I know?
— Friar Wagner