Monday, December 5, 2011

Poison - Bestial Death (1985)

Bestial Death is the second demo from the German Black Metal band Poison. Released in October 1985, this recording actually seems to show some attempt at cleaning up the band's sound, a little bit. Much like the rest of their material, the end result is very rough and primitive. This demo is interesting just to hear the evolution of these songs, despite the fact that the definitive versions would appear on Possessed By Hell, the November 1986 rehearsal tape.

The production is still poor, but not as raw as on Sons of Evil or those that follow. There is a claustrophobic feeling about this, lacking the space, reverb and echoes that characterize some of the other recordings. In particular, the vocals give the impression that Virgin Slaughter has the mic halfway inside his mouth, rather than just somewhere nearby. Even the guitars and percussion bear a sort of restrained quality, as if they are restricted and unable to exercise their full power. It is not too bad, but none of this reaches the same level as the later versions.

The songwriting seems a little more crude and one can tell that these tracks were still works in progress. The vocal patterns, often, are unnatural and not exactly as they would turn out later. The playing is a little sloppy, at times, and the songs just don't flow as well as they do on the recordings that come after this. Some basic structures are already in place, but it all comes off as a lot more crude than one would expect. It sounds as if the songs were still rather new, at this point, and still had some way to go.

Bestial Death is not a bad release, but it is not the greatest starting place for those new to Poison. This may be more due to personal preference than anything else, but this demo is a couple steps behind the likes of Sons of Evil or even Into the Abyss. By all means, give it a listen, but it would not be at the top of my recommendation list.