Reviewed: July 2012
Released: 2012, Southern Birgade Records
Italian old school deathsters Natron have been blasting their brand of brutality for 20 years now, with 5 full length albums, and EP, and years of extensive touring under the belts. To celebrate their 20th anniversary, Natron has decided to go back to their first recordings, 1996’s UNPURE (EP) and 1997’s HUNG, DRAWN, AND QUARTERED (full length) and re-record the best tracks with better production, calling the 8 track album GRINDMEISTER. Some bands do this very well, Testament comes to mind with FIRST STRIKE STILL DEADLY and Suffocation tends to re-record an old song on each of their albums. Relapse Records has been releasing remixed and remastered Death albums for the last year or two and now SPIRITUAL HEALING is in the works. I tend to be a hard ass that prefers original recordings over re-recordings, but if something was recorded low budget a remix can be great. Since I have no prior exposure to Natron, I unfortunately don’t know what the original recordings sounded like.
This is solid old school death metal. “Morgue Feast” starts with a zombie intro reminiscent of Mortician before kicking into grinding guitars and blast beats. The song structures remind me a lot of Suffocation with frequent tempo changes and breakdowns. Nicola Bavaro sounds a bit like Frank Mullen from Suffo but lighter, not quite and guttural and easier to understand. There is just a touch of old PENETRALIA Hypocrisy here, which makes sense since Peter Tagtgren produced Natron’s second album “Negative Prevails”. Solos evoke a blend Suffocation and Slayer. All of the songs here are good; my favorites include “Quarantine of Leprosy” and “Flesh of a Sick Virgin”, which has a ghoulish creepy intro. Also included is a decent cover of Terrorizer’s classic “Dead Shall Rise.” My only complaint is none of this is original, but at least Natron was clearly influenced by death metal royalty.
I don’t know how I missed these guys, but if you did like me GRINDMEISTER is a great place to start. If you like Suffocation, check out Natron, you won’t be disappointed!
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