Internal Bleeding – Heritage of Sickness II
Reviewed: August 2021
Released: 2021, Comatose Music
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
If a demo compilation falls in the woods and no one was there to hear it, was it ever really released? If you’re Internal Bleeding, you find a better label distributor and re-release it with a “II” at the end of the title.
No disrespect intended to one of Strong Island’s finest, I’ve long been a fan of Internal Bleeding. Widely recognized as one of the originators of the “slam” movement within death metal, these guys are the real deal. But the band’s INVOCATION OF EVIL and PERPETUAL DEGRADATION demos were already released not that long ago under a similar HERITAGE OF SICKNESS moniker, albeit independently and likely without much formal distribution. And let’s not forget the ALIEN BREED comp which also featured these same demos and offered more bonus tunes. And the only real difference between this version and the previous iteration is the swapping of live tracks from then vocalist Keith DeVito and current vocalist Steve Worley. But we’ll save my nitpicking for a little bit later, let’s focus on the tunes themselves for the moment.
Most of the 10 demo tracks either made it onto the band’s VORACIOUS CONTEMPT debut or were peppered into later albums, but the young and hungry versions of those songs are still pretty great. “Epoch of Barbarity” is an immediate standout, as are the early versions of live staples “Anointed in Servitude” and “Inhuman Suffering.” Musically these are beefier versions than their full length counterparts, but there’s no matching Frank Rini’s demon summoning vocal gurgles on VC.
If you’ve already heard/owned the various previous iterations of these demos, there’s not much new to grab your attention save for a pretty thin sounding live version of “Focus” with current throat Steve Worley. I’m not sure if this was Comatose looking to make a quick buck or something the band was actively looking to re-release, but HERITAGE OF SICKNESS II could’ve been much more than what it is. I’m just spit balling here, but maybe tack on all of the live cuts from previous iterations and any other bonus materials along the way to make this the “definitive” version and call it a day?
But this is me playing Monday morning quarterback…If you’ve never heard these demos before and are a fan of Internal Bleeding or old school breakdown metal, this is a good find and Comatose Records is the right partner to help spread the good word. If you’ve been with the band on their journey for the last umpteen years and are looking for something fresh or different, this ain’t it. Either way, I’m looking forward to the eventual new album and seeing Internal Bleeding again on tour this fall. Slam like your life depends on it.