The concept of the one-man/one-woman band is not a new thing. We can take this all the way back to the 13th century – back to a time when it was popular for weirdos and village idiots to traipse around playing a pipe and tabor (aka snare drum) simultaneously. In fact, there exists a very well-known Elizabethan-era woodcut that shows a lone clown playing the pipe and tabor. Yep. Even the golden age of English history had creepy as hell clowns doing weird ass shit, scaring the bejeezus outta kids and adults alike.
Anyway, moving into the here and now, one-man bands are once again doing weird shit, only, this time, we've traded in the pipe and tabor for brutal-as-fuk earthquake drops, and the woodcut clown for morally questionable album covers and indecipherable logos.
There is no doubt we are in the era of the 'I still live at my parent's house and I'm 42' home studio. As such, slam is rife with bros doing their one-man thing – be it really fucking good… or reprehensibly bad. Either way, it makes for more music, more often, which, on occasion, produces some really killer stuff.
Of course, there are the kings of one-man slamming brutal death metal. These are the guys that hit with top notch slam – talented mofos who have amped their shit up to bring you incredibly pro stuff – stuff that they tour worldwide (looking at you, Shaun LaCanne!).
So, to sum up, let this very special installment of Dank Slams be your one way ticket into the bedrooms and basements of these cheeto-dust-in-the-beard dudes (and an occasional beardless lady, as you will read)… let's do this.
PUTRID PILE – THE PLEASURE IN SUFFERING (2005)
What can one say about Putrid Pile? I mean, it's one friggin guy (Shaun LaCanne) who literally gives the slammin power-trio that is the almighty Dying Fetus a run for thier damn money. You could argue that this isn't straight-up slam, as it definitely has a thrash sensibility to it, particularly on the sophomore effort, The Pleasure In Suffering. In fact, this here is the album that spawned the classic track "Food For The Maggots", more recently covered by Spain's Analepsy (previously featured here) on their debut full-length, Dehumanization By Supremacy.
PHALLOPLASTY – SYSTEMATIC MUTILATION (2014)
If Mortician went slam, you'd have Phalloplasty. From the mind of one Zack Shaw, it's the decidedly industrialized drum machine and buzzsaw-like production that breathes some much needed old-school life into the sub of brutal slammin death metal, which can often sound lifeless and a little stale – in a beefy-all-the-time kinda way. If you like your slam sans pomp and circumstance, with a touch of goregrind and BDM, this is your guy. Get in – crush ass – get out.
HATE INCLINATION – RECIPROCAL RITUAL OF MUTILATION (COMP 2015)
Easily among the best of the newer acts to enter the one-man arena. This song, originally penned for a demo, was re-recorded for the Gutted By One Man compilation released by Rotten Music. Band man, Caleb Liles, is a veritable slamnado. This straddles that fine line between cranium-crushing slam and tech death. That said, the tech-y elements are utilized in such a way that compliments the slamming pit-riffs – taking great care to never overshadow the brutality on display. Gotta love a guy who is obviously talented, yet humble with his technical prowess.
RENDERED HELPLESS – UNSTOPPABLE PARASITES (2015)
From Christchurch, New Zealand comes Alexander Paul – vocalist of semi-superstar slammers, Organectomy. When not sucking back the mic juice with his main band, Alex spends his free time in the parasitic world of Rendered Helpless. Since it's conception, Rendered Helpless has released a few crude sounding demos, and more recently a full-length album entitled Unstoppable Parasites. I gotta say, Alex has touched on something cool here, providing a unique and refreshing take on some of the tropes associated with the sub-genre – especially as it relates to the vocals. I'm really looking forward to a sophomore effort.
NUMBERED WITH THE TRANSGRESSORS – COMMENCING THE MECHANICS OF DISMEMBERMENT EP (2014)
Yeah, the name has a slightly deathcore ring to it, though, the music contained within their 2014 debut EP is about as far as you can get from sweepo bangs, plugs, and skinny jeans. The name is in fact taken from Isaiah 53:12, which reads: "Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors" – a prophecy which Jesus said was to be fulfilled in him, Luke 22:37". Not that any of this matters. What DOES matter is the music – which is filled with solid, pounding, brutal death metal. It's obvious that band mastermind Zack Plunkett prefers his slam to have some old-school charm.
FIGHT THE DEMIURGE – THE WAR AT THE EDGE OF EXISTENCE (2014)
Well, I've saved the best for last – and not because this is the lone one-woman slam band on today's list (yep, I said 'one-woman' – get your festered phallus out of your cheeto-encrusted mittens, fellas). Fight The Demiurge, featuring the multi-talents of Samantha Michelle Smith, is a project that started out playing deathcore/southern/groove metal, but has since assumed an entirely different musical direction. With a clinical-yet-old-school sounding production, The War At The Edge Of Existence is – at its core – a slam band with a unique focus on melodic and hypnotic atmospherics. It gets even better, with Samantha laying down some of the best gutturals I've heard in a long time – think Demilich-like consistency and prowess.