13 of The Philippines’ Most Brutal Slam Bands
“See you at the slam!” That’s the slogan for the biggest metal festival in the Philippines, Pulp Summer Slam. Bands like Slayer, Behemoth, Death Angel and Whitechapel have played the festival in its 19-year history (Iron Maiden were scheduled for the 20th anniversary before the pandemic hit) alongside hand-picked bands from neighboring Asian countries and homebred Filipino artists.
Some might say, though, that the Slam lacks “slam.” While bands like Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Carcass and Nervecell have played the festival, the Filipino bands featured are often of the mainstream variety, and those looking for a wider view of the huge underground scene in the country will have to look elsewhere. But the festival is just the tip of the volcano when it comes to Filipino music.
Luckily, these bands aren’t hard to find; there are as many as there are islands, and in the heavy arms race, the Filipinos can give the rest of the world a run for their money. Take a look at festival flyers from the area and you’ll see dozens of logos in brutal typefaces. Death Manifestations, Mayhem Festival, Tagum Metal Fest and The Gathering of the Sick are but a few of the extreme metal festivals. The Davao Extreme Metal Festival might be the apex of brutal music in the nation so far, a two-day extreme metal festival featuring black, death and thrash bands.
Today we’ll provide a sampler of some of the most brutal groups in the country. The Filipino metal volcano runs deep, as there are a ton more thrash, black metal and grind bands smoldering across the landscape.
The perverse gore of Davao City’s Human Mastication came to fruition in 2002. These chewers of humanity throw death metal and goregrind with hints of well-placed groove and technicality into a blender, and after a few spins and grinds out comes albums like Grotesque Mastication of Putrid Innards and welcoming song titles like “Bizarre Museum of Eviscerated Whores” and “Your Rotting Body is My Art.” Their 13 Years of Masticating release provides a nice rotten sampler to their noise; never has the gurgle been used to such percussive perfection, which comes up like pungent bubbles in a humid, swampy hell of the band’s music.
The shockwave of Nekroholocaust has been rampaging around the Philippines since the early 2000s. After years in the underground scene and many splits and demos, they released their debut atomic blast of a record, Hymns of Ruthless Pestilence in 2017. Alongside their inhumanly insectile vocal delivery and machine gun drum blasts, the sound bites the band uses are of note; victims screaming and chainsaws buzzing act as bridges between verses on tracks like “Excruciating Savage Butchery.” As with a few other Filipino bands, they have joined forces with a Russian label, this time, Lord of the Sick Recordings, who will oversee the distribution of contraband in the form of their second album.
I have often wondered just how Cannibal Corpse stay in the state of mind required to create bludgeoning death metal in a tropical location such as Florida. Well, shit, the Philippines is even hotter, yet Davao City is a fertile hotbed for brutality with a handful of bands who push the limits of black, death and thrash metal. Cranial Torture are no exception, a group of depraved explorers whom use their musical tools to implement suffering. Sadistic Pleasure, released by Spanish label Pathologically Explicit Recordings, is a relentless, snare-abusing piece of work with vocals that sound like they were recorded by someone held in solitary confinement in the Davao Prison and Penal Farm.
Would you rather drown in pus or vomit? This three-piece band doesn’t give you a chance to choose as they shower you in both. These Cavite-based vomit crusaders worship the fast and slow extremes of brutality; they bring a crushing, mid-paced attack of death metal but play it in such an oppressive manner that you may go searching for your Mortician CDs afterwards for a breather. Fittingly, their 2014 EP is entitled Stoned to Death. Pus Vomit hit almost as hard as a bunch of jagged rocks chucked at your head.
Once you’ve wiped all of that Pus Vomit from your face and out of your ears, get ready for another rank splash with some Projectile Vomit. Just as green puke is forcefully propelled into the face of Father Damien Kerris in The Exorcist, the band heaves out short, violent bursts of brutal death metal which sounds as if it was recorded in a sweaty, grimy garage full of empty Red Horse beer bottles and rotting durians. “Sledge Hammer Skull Bash” may not be as catchy as “Hammer Smashed Face,” but will more effectively pound that cranium into dust.
Just when you thought you were out of the vomitorium, we pull you back in for one more heave in the vomit metal trilogy of Pus Vomit, Projectile Vomit and Impulsive Emesis. Like Lucifer Valentine’s films, the vomit gore motif has found its spot in both extreme cinema and music. It must be the bright green and yellow band logos on those t-shirts; Impulsive Emesis’ particular splat of slamming, brutal death metal likens them to Cerebral Bore with a hint of Aborted. The band usually goes full throttle, but they slow it down just enough for a sheet-soiling projectile breakdown or two.
A tsunami of blasts, gurgles, grooves, gutturals and any perversion you can think of, Panabo City’s Disastrous is Southeast Asian brutality personified. Since 2003, the ax, the smasher, the walking disaster that is Disastrous have released four albums following a torture box of demos. 2014’S Aftermath of the Apocalypse is a steamroller of a record with some interesting mixing choices; the bass is as prominent as a perverted puppet master’s strings. Russian label Coyote Records handles the lads these days, whom released their self-titled effort in 2020.
Sexual violence fits with brutal death metal like a fruit smoothie on a sweltering hot day. This band will not be the last on this list to remind you of your dark internet search history. There is something about the name Sodomized Assault, though, which brings to mind those classic GWAR shows where no rectum was safe. From Imus and Bacoor, Cavite, this death metal band grinds away without a drop of lube, but slows down the assault enough at times for you to feel every inch of torment.
It would be fitting to put on Cerebral Depravity’s demo as background noise as you start your shift at a slaughterhouse. The unrelenting assault produced here is almost euphoric, a barrage of carnage which is trance-inducing enough to put you in a state of Zen as you get to the killing floor. Their full length entitled Decades of Suffering (Centuries of Torment, anyone?) is due soon on Coyote Records, and here I am guessing you can judge a book by its cover: heads smashed, someone split in half and corpses strung up on poles. Just another day at work.
“Slam till you cum” is the catchphrase of Manila’s Clitoral Expulsion (a band name that just rolls off the tongue) and I don’t see how that’s a bad idea. Brutal, slamming death metal and psycho sexual themes go together like tentacles and hentai. The album art for their 2018 demo is a fascinating work depicting some vaginal alien beast. It features one of the most absurd song titles I’ve seen, like “Homochrist Urethral Abomination,” but don’t let the band name or song titles fool you: this is premier, clit-pleasing slam.
The intro scream to “Devoured by Vermin” is a defining welcome to the Corpsegrinder era of Cannibal Corpse on their Vile album. Consider the opening bellow on Necro Antagonist’s opening track, “Necromorphic Psychopathy,” from the album of the same title, a similar greeting to the world of Filipino death, grind and gore. The 18-minute release is a head-spinning assault of technically sound nastiness — the band is precise with their drum fills and acupuncture-like guitar squeals — dishing out more variables of pain just when you start to feel content.
The Beast Conde Massacre
The Beast Conde Massacre (referencing the heinous Vizconde Massacre, in which an entire Manila family was slaughtered in 1991) is a cacophonous, atonal, blast beat-addicted brutal slam band from Caloocan City. The band relies on hooks, enough to properly string up a corpse to display to detectives. You can tell by the catchy, crunchy grooves and savage breakdowns that they certainly love what they do, just as an Elite Hunting Club customer in Hostel loves what they do.
The motif of sexual violence found in the brutal death metal scene can be used as an umbrella for countless band names which wouldn’t look out of place on a Liveleak video recommendations list. True to their name, these lunatics from Zambales clench you by the nuts with never-ending blasts and gurgles which sound as if the gentleman on vocals had a mouth full of blood while recording. Their latest speaker-desecrating offering, Diversed Paradigm of Lunacy, was released late last year on Sevared Records. Go grab one of these gonads now.