Review by Luka on March 7, 2002.
How much grind is too much grind? Relapse’s "Contaminated 3.0" compilation is too much grind. Aside from obvious stand-outs like the death metal masters Nile and Amorphis or the doom-obsessed Morgion, this stuff is just a sickening collage of blast-beats, guttural vocals and mean, low guitars. A compilation like this is useful solely for going through three hours of fifty different bands and checking out the ones that really stand out, meanwhile vainly trying to retain some small handle on what your notion of ‘music’ used to be. As this kind of album makes a traditional review quite impossible, I’ll quickly take you through a few artists that happened to bend my ear in a different way.
Nile - Well, of course. "Black Seeds of Vengeance" by many is already considered one of the best death metal albums ever. Their mix of Ancient Egyptian atmosphere with purely technical extreme metal has made them the kings in their genre.
Origin - Technical, fast, brutal, and unpredictable. Really cool and well-produced.
Incantation - Slow, oozing, death metal. Strong dark atmosphere but somewhat hard to sit through.
Dillinger Escape Plan - Absolute chaos! I don’t know whether this is just mindless noise or pure genius. Incomplete bars, complex riffs, jazz inteludes, inhuman drumming, it’s all locked up here, and not very happy in its surroundings.
Amorphis - Finnish legends that started out as straight-forward death metal and slowly morphed into one of the best melodic metal bands in the world! Relapse’s finest contributor!
Luddite Clone - Strange mix of death and black metal sprinkled with bits of thrash here and there. Very interesting, except for the generic vocals, of course.
Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Definitely my favorite grind artist here! The fastest and most complicated shit I’ve ever heard. A drum machine is used and fits the music much better than any human player (if one were actually able to play the notes).
Mortician - Absurd death metal. The lowest-tuned instruments and vocals possible, definitely a fun listen for a minute or two before your ears start bleeding. This is extreme in the world of extreme.
Morgion - A very talented doom metal band that is capable of creating an atmosphere that takes you far, far away from reality. Slow and melodic, really stands out from the legions of the violent grind bands. Good stuff.
Nebula - Total 70’s old-skool hard rock! Cool solos, driving riffs, a completely intoxicated singer... What the hell is this doing here?
Blood Duster - What do you get when you mix old punk and new grind? Blood Duster and "Grunk".
Disembowelment - Amazing! O.K. it’s obvious that you must stumble upon at least one real winner while going fifty bands, this is the one! Low tuned death metal with vocals that sound like strange noises coming from an ancient crypt. Such a cold and dismal atmosphere! Total darkness! This is a band I am definitely checking out after one song, worth buying this whole damn CD!
Bottom Line: If you want a rough idea of what the term "extreme music" means, pick this up. Very useful to get a first impression of the some of the hundreds of death metal and grind bands out there.
Rating: 5.3 out of 10