Review Summary: For those who like more “death” in their melodeath
Formed in the early nineties and coming out of Japan, Intestine Baalism’s formation preceded the entire Swedish death metal scene (and the subsequent watering down of the Gothenburg sound). Intestine Baalism’s debut album An Anatomy of the Beast
was released in 1997 when Swedish death metal bands In Flames and Dark Tranquillity were at their peak.
Intestine Baalism’s sound may be melodic death metal, but it is really more death than melodic. Owing their sound to as much to early U.S. death metal bands as they do to Swedish melodeath bands, Intestine Baalism created a sound that is all their own. The biggest difference between Intestine Baalism and any of the Swedish death metal bands is the vocals which are much deeper and more guttural, somewhat reminiscent of Immolation’s Ross Dolan. In fact their sound more closely resembles U.S. death metal bands like Cannibal Corpse, Immolation, Incantation, Morbid Angel and Death as far as vocals and also in their musical technicality. There are some higher pitched “blackish” vocals that are very few and far between but they serve as a welcome change of pace for the monotonous death metal vocals.
Intestine Baalism employ multiple time changes, higher speeds for the more straight-forward death metal parts and they slow things down a bit for the more melodic elements, always seeming to find and adequate balance between both. There is even an acoustic track, ‘Burn Thou In Effigy’, that sets up the epic album closer ‘Tyrant’ which seems
like an instrumental but after about three minutes the vocals finally come in. The thing about An Anatomy of the Beast
is that while there is brutality and melody, the two elements don’t seem to blend together as seamlessly as the Swedish death metal bands do it; there seems to always be a clear separation of the melodic parts and the death metal parts.
Intestine Baalism blend brutal death metal with melody in a way not often heard. If you find Swedish death metal a step too light, or find traditional death metal too extreme, An Anatomy of the Beast
strikes a good enough balance to please people on both sides of that line. With An Anatomy of the Beast,
Intestine Baalism have created their own sound that’s not Swedish, not melodeath but melodic death.
Anatomy of the Beast