Metal Mind's on another gold disc reissue tear: keep your eyes peeled upon this label's release lists. Currently they're pushing back catalog releases of PRIMAL FEAR, MNEMIC and defunct Dutch death-metal masters GOREFEST.
Metal Mind offers a lot of double-album packages, including BENEDICTION. GOREFEST is getting the royal treatment with the re-release of "La Muerte" as a single shot, plus two-for-one packages featuring "Soul Survivor", an album most fans rue, and "Chapter 13" on one, and the band's debut LP "Mindloss" with "Demos" on another.
When GOREFEST first began in the late '80s, death metal was still wrangling followers throughout the world. The success of DEATH, POSSESSED, CELTIC FROST, SODOM and DARK ANGEL propagated a global support system that nurtured a vicious new breed of bands that came along as metal music was dying off in North America. What this also meant was a change up to the form. Chuck Schuldiner and in their own right, the VOIVOD and ENTOMBED camps, showed the world there was a place for signature changes in music customarily expected to roll out at perpetual beats per minute.
Thus "Mindloss" is a product of its time. It's fast and it's slow. It's rough and it's polished. It marks a transitional period in death metal, yet still serving as an impressive debut for a future underground legend. As GOREFEST first gained attention with their meaty "Tangled in Gore" and "Horrors in a Retarded Mind" demos, the two were mashed together with an upgrade in production by Colin Richardson (CARCASS, NAPALM DEATH, FEAR FACTORY and MACHINE HEAD) as the "Mindloss" album.
While received favorably by the metal public and press of the time, GOREFEST themselves still maintain issues with "Mindloss". Jan Chris de Koeijer himself states in the liner notes of this package, "I had long dreamed of making my first record. I saw myself coming home, put the CD on, getting myself a beer and listening to it all the way. Proudly and gladly at the same time. But I have never had that feeling with this record."
The members of GOREFEST, historically their own worst critics, have felt the culmination of "Mindloss" was "laborious" and therefore unsatisfying. Drummer Marc Hoogendoorn needed 22 takes for "Confessions of a Serial Killer", and reportedly issues over style clashes were a rut the band needed to overcome. For certain, hearing the "Mindloss" songs in demo form on the second disc gives fans appreciation for how much work went into these tracks, regardless of how GOREFEST themselves may feel about the final output.
"Foetal Carnage", "Gorefest" and "Decomposed" are three of GOREFEST's absolute best tracks, showing what the band was capable of at full speed, even with interjecting decelerations. The winding chords and tuneful harmonies all but undercut the flogging aggression on "Foetal Carnage", and even during the transitional, hardcore-based slowdowns, this one's a fast-chomping buzz bomb with screaming solos as remarkable as the droning melodies. Sidebar, the ghostly piano notes opening the hellish onslaught of "Gorefest" are a minute touch of grace you didn't get too often back then.
The helpless feeling of entrapment that marks the unpleasant theme of "Horrors in a Retarded Mind" (now politically incorrect to say, sheesh) is best felt by the song's slogging drag and glubbing chords, but once the track picks up the pace for a brief moment, the guitars (a tad sloppy on the solo) wreak havoc before digging back into the oppressive trudge. The song's slowness is an asset, as much as speed is for the next track, "Loss of Flesh". As much punk as death metal in the humming chords on "Loss of Flesh", the chattering tempo and bullish ralphing overtop separates the two styles inside the song.
The abrupt pace changes on "Mindloss" are perhaps passé to some listeners who have long been weaned on it by newer bands. Still, what GOREFEST was tinkering with on this album was adventuresome, if indicative of where death metal was inevitably headed in 1991. The album remains today a curious yet satisfying, brutal listening experience, particularly with "Demos" lying within immediate grasp.