Review: Audiopain “Contagious” CD

This is a re-release of the first demo from these Norwegians, originally released five years ago, and despite its raw recording, this disc ironically contains some of the better material I've heard from the band to date. Why? Well, I'm not entirely sure. The style is still a blend of classic thrash metal and a few dissonant Norwegian black metal riffs, but I guess it's a simple matter of the songwriting being stronger and more focused? I don't know, but as compared to their second demo these songs are a hint shorter and I'm definitely finding the vocals to feel more at home in these tracks, both in terms of the balanced mix and the performance. The shouts/screams just don't seem as strained here, and even though there are lots of dirty edges to the recording, it's all pretty evenly distributed, so it makes sense and works out in the end. "Slave" is among the more creative tracks here in its almost constantly dissonant riffing and snarled vocal delivery, so it's a shame that somehow the guitar work seems to become cluttered due to some mixing inconsistencies here, because a lot of the riffs are pretty damn cool but some details seem to be lost in the shuffle. The nearly seven-minute "Ego-Whip" closes the demo and is another that drops some twisted little discordant riffs amidst its Germanic sounding thrash runs, and is certainly not without its pounding midpaced power chords. But it's the opener, "He Who Walks Among You" that, despite its atrocious lyrics (see below) boasts the most efficient mix and blasts through three minutes of crazed thrash to make for by far the finest track herein. Elsewhere "Servants of God" is an oddly short midpaced track with a noisy lead break that kind of kills the vibe; and then the title track, another really short one, is an instrumental that's nothing but clean chords and jazzy percussion/bass that sounds like fuckin' lounge music or something. What gives!? Once more the layout stays true to the original artwork, and while I certainly appreciate that, it might not have been a bad idea to come up with a new layout and just include an image of the original cover in there somewhere, because this one really doesn't look so good in terms of the color scheme and whatnot. Of course, some of the lyrics here are the band's worst ever as well, what with bullshit content like, "I love to hear you scream, Feel my hands hitting on your ass, We live my twisted dream..." I mean, come the fuck on, I wouldn't stomach that from a high school band, who the hell writes this shit? I don't know, there are some really good songs here, but again the band has failed to completely win me over. Perhaps I'm just not fit to be an Audiopain fan?

Running time - 23:23, Tracks: 6
[Notable tracks: He Who Walks Among You, Slave]
Vendlus Records -