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Dank Slams

DANK SLAMS: The Definitive History Of Slam With Uncle Cam (Part 2)

In last week's installment of Dank, we introduced you to a very special guest columnist by the name of Uncle Cam, who went on to prove why he is the Professor of Slam. Dude has been around a long time. In fact, he was destroying pits/groovin to REAL earthquake-inducing breakdowns before most of you were a glistening little deathcore kid at the end of your dad's festering phallus.

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Anyway, Unkie Cam had a lot to say last week, so we invited him back to lead a second semester of slams at Dank High.

The curriculum this time around will focus on the mid '90s through to the present, with titans as diverse as Skinless, Devourment, and Dying Fetus. Uncle Cam also delves right back into the underground, and digs out some gems from Buried Beneath, Lesch/Nyhan, Mangled, Coffin Rot, Damonacy, Catalepsy (no, we spelled it right… read on to find out), among others.

Anyway, recess is over you sick little fuks! Get your History Of Slam book out, sit your ass down, and pay attention to the brutality that is about to unfold. Take it away, Cam…

Cam

 

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CAM: So, let's start today's proceedings with the mighty Exhumed, who are – and always have been – my band for insane breakdowns. That being said, before the Relapse years (pre-2005) is an entirely different ballgame. Listen to the first minute of their amazing 7" Excreting Innards that dates all the way back to '92…

Exhumed

CAM: Another killer outfit based out of Rochester, NY was Buried Beneath. They had the satanic imagery but – holy muthrfuk – their tunes meant so much more to me then that. Check it…

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CAM: What really got me was this little grinding death metal band from Pennsylvania called Lesch/Nyhan. It was through a tape trading friend (Justin the drummer from Grotesque Infection) who did a compilation tape called Grindrot that I found this little gem on. The vocals. The guitars… THOSE BREAKDOWNS! Seriously this was probably my fav album/demo/tape/band for many many years. Of course, I loved some of the big metal bands but, by this point, it was Lesch/Nyhan all day, every day…

CAM: Slam? What was that? Back in those days, we still just called it death metal or grinding death metal or whatever the fuk. I'll say that the first few Cryptopsy releases had unimaginable breakdowns. Which also lead to incorporating much of the breakdown sound in some bands that I was in at the time, such as Mangled and Coffin Rot…

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CAM: We can't forget about New Jersey's Damonacy, who I ended up inviting to play the Niagara's Death fest (Canada) in May 93'…

CAM: Then there was LA's Catalepsy (not to be confused with Russian slamaniacs Katalepsy)…

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CAM: These guys were a brutal foursome out of L.A., which I found on the compilation The Heralds Of Obliveon, released in '93 on Roughage Records. Another notable band from the comp was along with DECOMPOSED, who also hailed from Cali…

CAM: So, this went on for many years until me and a friend , Metal Dan, began a radio show for Brock University called Chronic Aggression. Doing this show lead me straight into a whole new era of brutal. A trusted label for me at the time was Repulse Records, who had signed the incredible Imprecation. Such an amazing band, but I felt like something else was needed. It was also around this time ('97-ish) that I started getting promos from Morbid Records, which included Dead, Agathocles, and… Dying Fetus! Who the fuck is this Dying Fetus? The breakdowns found on Killing On Adrenaline were just what Dr. Slam ordered. Was this a new era?

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CAM: Back over at the Brock University Radio Studio, we scoured through their music library in an ongoing effort to find some killer hidden treasures. We came across a band called Rotting, straight from our very own backyard in Newmarket, Ontario. Over the following years, we became good friends with the guys, and they were later signed to a label called United Guttural Records…

CAM: Speaking of United Guttural Records, it was around '99 that I first acquired the internet, which allowed me to research what this label was all about. It was here where I was introduced to the likes of Devourment, Skinless, Ton, and Malignancy – all at the same time! Now THIS was a label I could get into! The next time I was able to hang with Rotting vocalist, Korey, he handed me Deaden's Hymns Of The Sick and Skinless' Progression Towards Evil. Man, that Skinless! This thing contained breakdowns beyond breakdowns, and was an album that didn't leave my CD player for many years…

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CAM: Then there was Devourment's debut album Molesting The Decapitated, which dropped in '99. Perfection. The vocals were some of the sickest sounds ever heard up to that point. How 'bout that pinging drum, or that first crushing slam riff in the opening track "Festering Vomitous Mass"?

CAM: It was around this time that I began seeing the descriptor of 'Slam' used more and more, particularly with bands such as Eternal Suffering, Dehumanized, Prophecy, and, of course Dying Fetus. Along with the mighty DF, many of these bands are what I suppose you could call the catalyst for what would eventually become the sub-genre of slam. If this is where things were heading, then count-me-the-fuck-in! So, after about ten years or so of wondering what to call this style of brutal-as-fuck music, it turns out that what I was, in fact, an official slamophiliac!

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CAM: I'm gonna stop here, as I'm pretty sure that most of you know the rest of the story. I suppose the larger narrative to this piece was that there was a time, long ago, where brutal death metal aficionados had no clue what we were really looking for, as t here existed no rule book for this music. There was no tag applied to this music that we loved. It took hard work, and lots of research, to satisfy our lust for all things more-brutal-than-brutal. I obviously try to keep up with today's BSDM/slam, but I'm starting to get the feeling that too many bands try too hard in their quest for the ultimate breakdown – everyone trying to out slam one another. By doing so, it starts to lose feeling – what it is that made this music so special to begin with. Finding that ultimate breakdown/slam is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but when you do come across it, man, it's like a hammer to the fucking cranium!

In the end, I don't profess to know everything that's going on – there is just way too much. I'm just a guy that was around when this shit was birthed from the feculent, deliciously rotting orifice of brutal death metal. To this day, I remain great friends with many of the bands mentioned. But, most importantly, this little romp back in time has allowed me to express how much of an impact these trailblazing bands had on me. This stuff – this time – defined who I am today. Sure, Ozzy and Maiden blew my mind as a youngster, but death metal is – and will always be – the most influential style of music to ever grace our shitty existence.

Now, slam on and be awesome everyone… and never forget the roots of this music we all love so much! It's important.

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