Hats off to Relapse for another stellar year of quality extreme music releases. After blockbusters by MISERY INDEX, SKINLESS, SUFFOCATION, and FACEDOWNINSHIT, to name just a few, October 17th marks the release of an old school death metal monster called "Stinking Up the Night" by a Nicke Andersson (HELLACOPTERS, ex-ENTOMBED/NIHILIST) brainchild called DEATH BREATH. When you read that DEATH BREATH was "inspired by the recent resurgence of the classic old-school death metal sound" and that it is a "tribute" band that takes its cues from the likes of NIHILIST, old ENTOMBED, and REPULSION, consider that Andersson was partly responsible for creation of said sound. In other words, DEATH BREATH ain't your average wannabe tribute band, it's the real deal. And with appearances by Jorgen Sandstrom (GRAVE) and Scott Carlson (REPULSION), you damn well better believe that "Stinking up the Night" is as close to the genuine article as you are going to get.
So what about the album's 10 tracks? Each one nears the kind of perfection only found from bands that inhabited the late '80s/early '90s death metal underground. Starting with a filthy and natural (i.e., sans triggers and without the assistance of ProTools) that would make AUTOPSY proud, "Stinking Up the Night" is tailor made for those that are tired of technical overkill, pristine productions, and self-important musicality. There are so many wonderfully twisted cuts from which to choose. The thrashing "Chopping Spree" and "Heading for Decapitation" exemplify the kind of catchy derangement that only a scene progenitor could create. And yes, those sickening lyrics are every bit as fun as the copious amounts of motoring death/thrash, as well as the moments of repellant plod ("Dragged Through the Mud") and menacing, up-tempo gallops ("Christ All Fucking Mighty"). As gnarly as it all sounds, the instrument clarity is surprisingly good, so be careful to not equate a dirty sound with a muddy one.
There is one hell of a lot of killer guitar work on this baby too. Sure the riffing sounds great, but the axe attack is not simply brutal; it is interesting and entertaining. And that includes creepy instrumental (save for some brief and spooky background vocals) album-closer "Cthulhu Fhtagn!"
"Stinking up the Night" is old school death metal bliss. It is as simple as that. You will find few albums that pay tribute to the original masters as well as this one without coming off as mere style mimicry. This is about great songs, an authentic sound, and a big "fuck off" to new school metal. 'Nuff said.