Reviewing metal is a bit like supporting your favorite sporting team, perhaps minus the level of frustration and crippling emotional baggage such loyal support can entail. You get your purple patch winning streak of good to great albums, ups and downs, and the inevitable string of losses, controversies and extreme fluctuations in-between. And really there’s never a dull moment. I’ve been on a pretty good run lately, with no real stinkers in a while, so it’s with equal parts excitement and trepidation that I delve into the debut full-length from Melbourne, Australia’s Contaminated, hoping to keep the wins ticking over. Glance at the cover art for this grotesque slab of stripped-back brutality and immediately you get an insight into the album’s grimy and barbaric death metal aesthetic, unleashed in all its fury in what is likely to be one of the most gruesome releases of 2017. Crafted by the hands of Aussie underground scene veterans, Contaminated live up to their chosen moniker with uncomfortable ease and while the album has some issues and certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted, it’s a hell of a punishing ride.

Contaminated takes brutal old school death metal back to its deepest, darkest underground roots, lumbering forth on the back of a pungent atmosphere of putrid riffs, blasting drums and hideously brutal low growls. It’s dense, uncompromising stuff, torching the notion of subtlety and modern embellishments in favor of basement dwelling, bog monster extremity. Basically, Contaminated create some of the ugliest death metal going around and Final Man is the band’s grisly debut statement of trend-killing intent. Song titles like “Squalid Survival,” “No Time to Rot” and “Mired in Shit” do excellent justice to the sonic pummeling and flesh tearing grinder Contaminated put you through, hacking and bludgeoning with complete disregard. The guttural, blast fueled tirades border on the incomprehensible and chaotic, held together by the lively performances.

Contaminated sound like they were birthed in the deepest, dankest crevices of the brutal death underground, chowing down on early Incantation and diSEMBOWELMENT for inspiration, and sharing an unhealthy appetite for the most cvlt, old school underground European and American death metal. And when coupling bowel rumbling force and tearaway carnage with carefully deployed, rib-cage crushing grooves and death-doom slogfests, Contaminated impress. They occasionally shoehorn in solid variations to offset the indistinguishable and muddied elements that lends the album a one-dimensional feel, but it’s not enough to convincingly overcome the album’s flaws. This casts doubt over longer term enjoyment and replay value, with the blurry song-writing compounded by the monotonous nature of the sick vocal atrocities. But at maximum potency Final Man is a fitting homage to nights spent enclosed in dingy, run-down music venues and empty dive bars to witness the most brutal underground band nobody has heard of strut their stuff for the sheer passion and unhinged love for their underappreciated brand of brutality.

As terrifyingly intense and savage as Contaminated sound at full speed, they’re at their most lethal and memorable when slowing the tempos to the fetid, sludgy crawl of ominous instrumental “Starved,” the similarly crushing moments on “Their Future,” and the blast-infused, funereal death-doom demolition of “Mired in Shit.” These sporadic moments balance the brutal death with doom and sludge, and the devastating execution in which Contaminated ply their trade is certainly impactful, but the songwriting doesn’t quite hold together across the album. Production-wise, everything about Final Man sounds huge, dense and almost overwhelming in its heaviness, sounding unclean and stripped-back, bruising and unforgiving, despite the unfortunate compression.

Despite its flaws I’ve enjoyed aspects of Final Man, savoring the suffocating weight and uncompromising filth-riddled assault that lays waste to everything in its path. Unfortunately, amidst the plethora of high-quality death metal albums so far released in 2017, I can imagine Contaminated getting lost in the shuffle and struggling for regular play. Nevertheless, for hardcore underground fiends, Final Man has enough redeeming qualities to warrant a thorough investigation. Going back to my introductory sporting analogy, Contaminated’s Final Man represents that feeling you get when your team fires off some brutal cheap shots, plays like dogshit the whole game, but somehow jags a win in a contentious, ill-gotten manner, leaving you feeling kind of dirty and frustrated, yet shamefully satisfied.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Blood Harvest Records
Websites: pestilentialdecay.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/pestilentialdecay
Release Dates: EU: 2017.06.09 | NA: 07.07.2017

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  • drug_genosh

    More like 6/5. Hot, sweltering & punishing bog monster metal back from the dead (just in time for summer!). It’ll have its way with you, loose a few of your limbs and then be on its way, leaving you awash in horror, exhaustion & riddled with VD. And goddamn that artwork.
    I will concede that this might’ve been a 7/5 if they whittled the track listing down to an EP, but I would never want to offend this pus beast of an album.

    • How is there not a band called Pus Beast?

      • drug_genosh

        I think you might’ve just willed it into existence. Check the promo bin!

      • Brutalist_Receptacle

        LEMME SEE…
        ANAL PUS
        EXQUISITE PUS
        GASTRIC PUS
        LIQUID PUS
        PUS LACTATION
        PUS VOMIT
        REGURGITATED PUS.
        NOPE, SORRY BUD, FRESH OUT OF PUS BEAST.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          I went to the Metal Archives and those are all real bands, 10 Metal Cred points to you!

  • Wes Allen
    • Phil Daly

      Or indeed Megaslaughter’s “Calls From the Beyond”, from way back when.

  • Thatguy

    I’ll take your word that this is a mixed bag, but the embedded song is pretty good.

    • Luke_22

      Although I appreciate your trust in my opinion, give it a listen. There’s a lot to like and plenty of people will get down with this, it just didn’t quite come together for me. There’s a few very good songs though.

      • Thatguy

        Yep, I certainly intend giving the full album a listen.

  • Ferrous Beuller

    It looks like someone melted the Metaluna Mutant from This Island Earth…

    • KBien13

      I’ve seen that movie way too many times thanks to MST3K!

  • Reese Burns

    Oof. I really like this. Perhaps more than I should.

  • Apple Tree

    I really like this record

  • Christopher

    The embedded track was grimy.

    5/5 so far.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Few are those chosen to bring forth music mired in shit. Though “bowel rumbling force” many have, true, filthy Death Metal is something “ne’er so well express’d”.

  • Westpaceagle

    Art of the year for me

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    No Time to Rot is the dinner party anthem for 2017!
    Your mark is too mean. Let me work it out for you.

    Illegible band logo +2
    Black and white monster art +1
    Contaminated sludge monster +0.5 (bonus marks)
    Demented caveman vocals +0.5
    Guitars that sound like the bowel movement of a passed out wino +0.5
    Putrid groove in Boneless Man +0.5
    Giving away a couple of tunes on BC +0.5

    band logo not illegible enough -1
    Insufficient cowbell -0.5
    Using ‘shit’ in song title + guitar sound, taking things too far -0.5
    Wearing no shoes and camo shorts in live photos -0.5

    Yep it’s a solid 3 or more easy.

    • drug_genosh

      “Wearing no shoes and camo shorts in live photos -0.5”
      theyre Australian, isn’t that normal?
      just bumped this up to a 3.5!

      • Strapping Old Fart

        Ah I don’t know, isn’t the -0.5 penalty for “insufficient cowbell” WAY too lenient? That’s my main gripe with this record. As with life in general.

        • Drew Music

          Got that fever, eh? I was thinking the same thing. Insufficient cowbell = straight to 0.0, do not pass go and do not collect $200.

          • Strapping Old Fart

            Damn right! Music to my ears! I recommend “Scaling the Gods” by Ancient Ascendant for the discerning cowbell enthusiast. And there’s always “Too Much Bongos : +2.5” Acrania.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            lol

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          While I have sympathy for your positions I don’t make the rules and standards must be maintained…

          • Strapping Old Fart

            Be that way then, Mr. Grown Up!

        • drug_genosh

          we can add cowbell into the remaster! non stop cowbell 24/7

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            +2

    • Excentric_13073

      It looks like they’re giving away the whole album on Bandcamp? That’s gotta be worth a whole point…

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        That is worth an extra point! They had a couple on offer yesterday, will go back and check it out. The two songs are pretty cool.

    • ssorg

      Band logo is times new roman compared to, say, Blood Incantation’s

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Yes they lost a whole point for that…

  • Tofu muncher

    Listening to the embedded song made me burp uncontrollably, and that’s a good sign. Tagged.

    • [not a Dr]

      You may want to check the expiry dates on that tofu…

  • Drew Music

    This is pretty fuckin solid, Nathan Explosion could stand to utilize a little more body in that growl but otherwise this sounds quite promising.

  • rumour_control

    My favorite setting, and accurately described:
    “dingy, run-down music venues and empty dive bars to witness the most brutal underground band nobody has heard of strut their stuff for the sheer passion and unhinged love for their underappreciated brand of brutality.”

  • frygriffin

    seen these guys play heaps in melbourne! CAN CONFIRM – THEY ARE SIK. this record rips hard, but their live sound is something else.