Review Summary: Welcome to "Civil Emergency". Would you set your stereo a bit louder, please, Ladies and Gentlemen! Now, you're going to taste the first two songs. If you thought them sucked, you better not waste your time for this death/grind stuff.
Tengkorak (English: Skull) began as death-grind band in mid-90s and released mini debut album titled It's A Pride to Vomit Him
in 1996. This debut EP is the first Indonesian independent release ever of death-grind act. Beside that, they are often considered the most famous Indonesian death-grind band in South East Asia regional metal scene. Tengkorak's lyrical themes concern on politics, social-protest, capitalism commentary, and even about anti-Zionism. Right now, come on take a look at their full-length album, Civil Emergency
Actually Civil Emergency
is English (or international) version of the previous album called Darurat Sipil
(Tengkorak's 2nd LP, released in 2001, mostly the songs are titled and sung in Indonesian). Contains fourteen songs and with forty five minutes of music, Civil Emergency
offers unrelenting and ruthless of death-grind performance. Of course, in two or three songs there are a few slow moments that allow the listener to take a rest for a while. The song like Addict Effect
is the finest example. The listener can freely and jokingly assume the song as "mellow grind". Ha-ha! However, just to be honest, it's not the best song of the album, it's the weakest, instead.
Let's forget the weakest and slow-mellow Addict Effect
, because the album as whole is quite good and fantastically extreme run of death-grind from beginning to end, with Addict Effect
as an exception. Civil Emergency
is the stuff that any death-grind fan can not deny. Its sophisticated relentless is too worthy to ignore! Tengkorak played with full energy and hard-deep intensity. Although it's difficult enough to memorize and differentiate each song in the first spin, but listen to each of it carefully will work finely. This such thing happened, possibly because of some songs have substantial similarity in songwriting composition, and if do not, at least it's due to the death-grind has its own characteristic in general nuance. However in this occasion, it's fair enough to recommend only the highlight songs. Although all song is fairly linear in quality, but the song such as Lunatic Leader
, Civil Emergency
, Official Lies
, and Political Scum
, are quite fine to be the first introduction to whoever wants to give this album a listen.
In relation to Tengkorak's musicianship, Civil Emergency
is a valid evidence that they have already matured as a band unit. The frontman and vocalist Ombat Nasution, probably he is a bit reminiscent of Barney's (Napalm Death) vocals signature. Ombat has what every death-grind act needs. He is able to deliver the vocals from high-ranged pitch of growls to mid or low, shrieks and sometimes angrily barks. Overall, yes, Ombat has done it perfectly. His vocals amazingly fitted the intensity of the music. Then regarding the guitars play, while Tengkorak offers nothing revolutionary for death-grind innovation, hmm, nevertheless they delivered a well-played of nice guitar riffs and chugged-rhythms. Basically, the guitarist played what any common typical death-grind act ever played. Yeah, this is just about another polished-work of down-tuned and heavy distorted guitars stuff. It's also about the high speed or mid-tempo of drums playing, or and blast-beats of drums hitting. Sometimes, for more variation or just for the intensity, Tengkorak did the drumming in the way of thrash metal style. Well, with all respect this release has reached its best in the side of production quality. And as the result, perhaps many death-grind fans won't be disappointed with this deep intense stuff.
Lastly, aside from their sort of similar songwriting composition that possibly will make the listener a bit boring, Civil Emergency
is really damn great album. Death-grind fans will feel and enjoy it with a strong passion. And for the larger audience, perhaps the highlight songs that have been mentioned above are enough as first introduction to how Tengkorak's Civil Emergency