CANNAE, Troubleshooting Death (2000, East Coast Empire)

The skull:
Staring at a screengrab of this weirdly glowing skull, filthy with gravegrime, a weary Hyderabadi tech support agent asks, “Have you tried rebooting it? Is the skull plugged in?” He’s never quite understood the job of troubleshooting death, nor is he even comfortable asking who is ultimately paying him, but the wages are good. “Maybe these thorns are the issue. Were they there when the problems started?” He’s going off script, which rarely makes anyone happy, but he doesn’t know what else to say. “That stuff in the background is probably blood,” he muses. “Maybe when the flesh was removed…” he begins, when the caller curses at him and hangs up. He doesn’t care. He’s paid by the call, and the queue is deep.

The music:
Typical deathcore crap, a mix of the worst Obituary riffs and desultory breakdown chugs. There’s not much to say about this kind of music, so I’ll take this opportunity to appreciate the editorial decision of Metal Archives (the Council’s second favorite internet destination) to deny this entire style a place in its hallowed halls. For as much as I hate this stuff, I’d say it’s undeniably metal, and while all deathcore is completely awful, the same can be said of pornogrind, which is heartily welcomed in the Archives. One imagines that the embargo is not based on the music, but on the haircuts, or maybe the logos. Who knows, but it’s just another reason Metal Archives rules, even if it sometimes makes our jobs here at Skull HQ a little harder.
— Friar Johnsen


EYEHATEGOD, Southern Discomfort  (2000, Century Media)

The skull:
Surrounded in a square of thorns sits the Eyehategod non-logo and a skull looking bleakly off to the left. The smudge on its forehead is like some weird Ash Wednesday rite, and it’s a simple black and white. Nothing going on here, really…about as much thought went into the album cover as the music inside.

The music:
I liked Eyehategod for about two minutes in the early ’90s. Their take on doom was novel, and you know the take I’m talking about: rancid, crusty, bluesy, sick…but after you peel away the veneer of vomit and blood you face an endless procession of generic sound-alike riffs and bullshit vocals that just add insult to injury. And maybe that’s the whole idea. Depravity and emptiness. Southern Discomfort collects various stuff from between 1993 and 1996 — split tracks, single tracks, demos. Go for it if you just can’t get enough Buzzov*en or whatever. I’ll stick to Saint Vitus and continue to have a grudging respect for the unlikely legacy these guys have created over the years.
— Friar Wagner