Unearthing the Metal Underground: The Brutal Davao Underground
There must be something in the water down in Davao in the southern Philippines, because the sprawling city has produced some of the most brutal, slamming, and at times technical death metal in all of Southeast Asia in recent years. The global brutal death community is beginning to take notice of the Davao scene, as some of the bands are starting to get signed by labels of note in the sub-genre, such as Coyote Records and Sevared Records. Here are a few bands making more than their fair share of gurgling, putrid noise in Davao City, Philippines.
Human Mastication has been blasting out slamming sickness since 2002, and in that time has developed a rock solid international reputation as one of the top slam bands in the business. The early years of the band saw the release of a collection of splits and demos before Human Mastication was picked up by Sevared Records for its debut full length release in 2008, “Grotesque Mastication of Putrid Innards.” Sevared also put out the band’s latest EP, “Persecute to Bloodbath,” last year. Chugging, slamming riffs, disgustingly guttural vocals, liberal use of pinch harmonics, and some combustible groove are all key elements of the Human Mastication formula. This band is currently top of the heap in the Davao brutal scene, and 2012 marks a decade of dedication to unholy slam for vocalist Gee and his comrades in gore. Expect more trademark slamming groove from Human Mastication in the near future.
Can slamming brutal death be combined with technicality and groove? Yes, yes it can. Perverse Molestation, formerly known as Genital Warts, proves this on its 2010 album, “Sadistic Way of Intense Perversion.” Drummer Cyrel seems to have an uncanny knack for adding some grooving elements to his blasts, which makes the parts he plays almost polyrhythmic. Vocalist Jay adds his own brand of guttural stylings, while Gunny on guitar and Sandino on the bass provide some tech death moments that breathe new life into some intense and unquestionably brutal slam riffs. After putting out a self-released promo in 2009, Perverse Molestation was snatched up by respected Russian independent Coyote Records for the aforementioned full album. The band is currently writing new material and brutalizing shows around the Davao area.
Hailing from Panabo City, right next door to Davao, is Disastrous, another band of the brutal death metal kind. Active since 2003, Disastrous has release no fewer than four demos, and one full album, “Slavery of Disgusting Torture,” which came out in 2009 on Thailand’s Brute! Productions label. The album sees the band blast, gurgle, slam, groove, and grind its way through 10 tracks and just over 33 minutes worth of Southeast Asian perversion, with production that is refreshingly raw yet massive, and lacking that tiresome polish and sheen favored by some notable death metal bands on a few of the bigger labels these days. Indecipherable, rumbling mid-range gutturals, unrelenting blasts, and heavily chugged and pinch harmonized guitar stylings persist throughout, throwing in elements of Suffocation, Gorgasm, Devourment, and just about every different form of brutality you can think of. With no newly released material since 2010, we can only assume we are due for some new Disastrous tunes sometime in the near future.
These are just a few bands out of Philippines. If you know some others worth checking out, share your recommendations in the comments below. Check back in again next Monday as we unearth more underground metal bands.
Joe Henley is a freelance music journalist and editor currently living in Taipei, Taiwan. In addition to pulling vocal duty in a death metal band, he maintains a website on the Taiwanese metal scene and writes regular features on the touring bands that come through Taipei for a local monthly music magazine.
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