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When “Genocide” hit the marketplace the Polish death metal scene was well established, and internationally known for its craftsmanship and impressive technicality. Yattering, the band to name itself after a demon from a Clive Barker novel, had always been a tad different than most. While more conventional and straightforward than its preceding two releases the band’s final recording, the aptly named “Genocide”, was an effective semi-conceptual album marred by cosmetic shortcomings and a few lunkheaded decisions on part of the band. In the decade that Yattering were active, from 1996 to 2006, they released three death metal albums, of which “Genocide” is the third. The interesting serial killer narrative is made ineffectual by abysmal linguistic shortcomings, and a native English label that apparently didn’t care enough to correct any of it.

It was the first and only on the Candlelight Records imprint, which usually specialized in black metal - and the most bass-heavy and drum-centric of all three Yattering albums. “Genocide” is a good album blemished by an unflattering yet very crunchy production, and some puzzling creative choices. For example the title track ‘Genocide’ is little more than a segue which could have easily been integrated into one of the actual songs, and what purpose ‘Message to M.A.R.I.O.’ is supposed to serve remains a mystery. ‘Non Typical Homo’ briefly reprises the central ‘Genocide’ riff construction, but does nothing of note with it. ‘Non Adapted Socially’ has maniacal laughing and an insult thrown at the expense of one Mario, probably an indirect callback to the earlier ‘Messsage to M.A.R.I.O.’ In retrospect this is juvenile when you consider that the band had some business – and personal conflicts with the strong-willed Mariusz Kmiolek, Vader manager and CEO for booking agency Massive Music, with whom the band briefly worked. That Kmiolek is also slandered in the thank lists makes the whole even more tedious and childish. Conflict can be a great source for inspiration and creativity, but this is a farcry from the way Fear Factory handled its troubled working relations on the serviceable “Archetype”.

Even though “Genocide” is the most conventional and elegant of all three Yattering albums, it is far more creative and daring than many of the established bands of the time. It occasionally ventures into quirky territory through its use of samples and effects, and that is detrimental to its overall effectiveness. On the whole it is a commendable exercise in technical death metal that never forgets to stay groovy. No matter how strong or visceral its impact might be, the album moves in two directions at once. It tones down the chaotic and unhinged songstructures in favor of more traditional and straightforward songcraft, but the playing is some of the most technical and demanding Yattering would ever commit to tape. The conflicting objectives in the writing and playing blight the effect of what by all accounts should have been the band’s breakthrough record. Why opt for more structured and groove-filled compositions while playing the most technically demanding and difficult material through out? It is a confusing creative choice, and it is not very surprising that the band fell in disrepair after the lukewarm reception the record received. Not even the decidedly good-looking promotional video for ‘Panic In the Sea Of Blood’ could help boost the record’s sales.

There’s more that keeps Yattering from reaching greatness and unlocking their full potential as a band. The booklet includes lyrics and production notes, all of which are riddled with spelling – and grammatical errors. Candlelight, in its benevolent wisdom and being native English speakers, apparently didn’t care enough to correct any of these, or to have a staff member proofread and bring them to the band’s attention. The liner notes especially suffer in that regard as they struggle to summarize and explain the heart of the band’s serial murder concept, and fail miserably because of the poor linguistic skill on display. The fact that the band go out of their way to clarify that they had assistance in that department makes it even more embarrassing. These aren’t the liner notes you’d expect in the average Behemoth or Nile record, but many of the explanations border on the unreadable, and only serve to confuse the listener even further. Apparently there’s supposed to be some kind of narrative flow to these songs, but the band’s precarious grasp of the English language makes it hard to bother with. Some of the lyrics were written by Świerczyński, but nearly half of the record has input by other writers from within the band’s entourage. Had the linguistic side been handled more gracefully the band would have been able to measure itself with its properly budgeted peers. Vader was able to overcome its linguistic shortcomings, so there’s no excuse.

For the third and final time the band convened at Red Studio in Gdańsk, Poland with producer Piotr Łukaszewski. There’s a level of clarity to “Genocide” that “Murder’s Concept” missed, but both records share the same crunch. As this was Yattering’s most bass – and drum-centric record it is no surprise that both instruments feature prominently in the mix. The guitar tone is as concrete as it has ever been, and the vocals remain as percussive and dense as before. The artwork by Krzystof Iwin upholds the homicidal infant themes of the previous record (and the companion live DVD “Creative Chaos”). For the first time every little detail that drummer Marcin "Ząbek" Gołębiewski puts in can be clearly heard. The vocals by bass guitarist Marcin "Śvierszcz" Świerczyński sound better than before even though he isn’t the most amazing voice in death metal to begin with. “Genocide” is a record of compromises, most of which end up working in favor of the band. It’s the odd quirks that end up taking down this formidable album somewhat. As one of the more technical and quirky Polish death metal bands Yattering’s three-album run is testament to a band not willing to compromise its vision for anything or anyone. That its perseverance and persistence didn’t translate in success (artistic, commercial or otherwise) only serves to remind that it isn’t necessarily the established bands that deliver genuine quality, but very often the overlooked ones.

After the dissolution of Yattering in 2006 the majority of its members moved on to new projects and bands. Mariusz "Trufel" Domaradzki (guitars) went on to form death metal outfit Masachist in 2005 along with former Decapitated frontman Wojciech “Sauron” Wąsowicz. Marcin "Ząbek" Gołębiewski (drums) enrolled in Anti-Motivational Syndrome, a rock band. Concluding, vocalist/bass guitarist Marcin "Śvierszcz" Świerczyński went on to front Ogotay, a Gdańsk-based death metal unit featuring members from long-running genre pillars such as Mess Age and Pandemonium, in 2011. Only second guitarist Marek "Hudy" Chudzikiewicz seems to have not resurfaced in a new project in the subsequent years. Of these projects Masachist has enjoyed moderate success in Europe, while Otogay seems to be on the way up as well.

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As Vader rose from behind the Iron Curtain in the late 90s, it was inevitable that its success would spawn a swath of devotees in the homeland. The industry went on a signing spree for Polish bands in the wake of Vader’s success, and as a result a lot of bands were offered recording contracts by established and newly minted label imprints with varying levels of success. One of these signees was Yattering from Gdańsk, a technical death metal band that named itself after a demon entity from a Clive Barker novel. Season Of Mist, who had previously specialized itself in black metal of various stripe, had begun to bring in more death metal with the signing of Fleshgrind, Necrophagia and a host of others. Although Yattering didn’t lack in expertise, it were other factors that led to its demise. In the decade that they were active, from 1996 to 2006, they released three death metal albums, of which “Human’s Pain” is the first.

The first Yattering album is far more conventional, and not nearly as unhinged sounding as their magnum opus “Murder’s Concept”. Of the three death metal albums that Yattering released in their decade of activity from 1996 to 2006, “Human’s Pain” is the least adventurous of the trio. As one of the more promising additions to the emergent Polish scene of the day, Yattering were struck by an array of questionable business decisions, and unfortunate touring debacles – which eventually led to its demise. The band’s first album is where they laid the foundation of their style, and proved that technicality, groove and musicality can work in unison.  Unlike any other Yattering combines sophistication with pummeling brutality and disturbing lyrical content. Even at this early stage in its career Yattering proved to be of equal merit as long-standing institutions Behemoth, Lost Soul, and the globetrotting pioneers themselves: Vader.

819_photoAfter two independently released demo sessions, the band had acquired enough of a following and label interest to issue its 1998 debut. ‘The Feeling’ opens the record, after a pointless, almost 2 minute long intro aptly named ‘Intro’, and instantly notable is how out-of-control and unhinged Yattering sounds. Even though “Human’s Pain” is the band’s most conventional sounding record, it is reminiscent of early Cryptopsy in how chaotic and abrasive it is in construction.  The most obvious influences are the inevitable Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation and Vader. Gołębiewski makes a star-making turn in ‘Unnormally Zone’, ‘Fourfold Change (Demon’s Inoculate)’, and ‘Eyes Can See’. In comparison to the record that followed the leads are rather sparse on the debut, but whenever they appear they are skillfully done, and add a lot to the tension of the moment. The bass guitar is integral to each of the tracks, and its throbbing tone adds a lot of body to what is otherwise a disorienting assault on the senses. “Human’s Pain” is unrepentant in its relentlessness, and completely savage from beginning to end.

No matter how good Yattering are from a technical standpoint, vocalist Marcin "Śvierszcz" Świerczyński is unremarkable despite his apparent rabid intensity and commendable bass playing. The usage of studio processed screams, whisphers and shrieks offer some respite from percussive vocal assault. The guitar work in on the safe side, and guitarist Marek "Hudy" Chudzikiewicz wouldn’t go all out until the second album arrived along with second guitarist Mariusz "Trufel" Domaradzki. It is drummer Marcin "Ząbek" Gołębiewski who is the true star of the line-up, and it is no wonder that he would briefly replace Doc in Vader for some pending touring commitments in the late 90s given his performance here. That remains Yattering’s biggest problem as a band, no matter how good each musician is, from an individual – and collective point of view, most of the material here is squarely focused on showing off each of the members’ technical skill. On the successors to this album that fault would be duly rectified, but “Human’s Pain” is a technical exercise first, and the songwriting for the most part is secondary. Thankfully most of the songs adhere to rather standard formatting, but even then they are sometimes hard to tell apart, even after a dozen of intense listens.

The album is closed off with a pair of odd cover tracks from influential thrash metal titans Slayer and famous grindcore practitioners Brutal Truth. While the latter is understandable and halfway expected given the nature of the band’s chosen genre, to hear Yattering cover a tune from Slayer’s “Divine Intervention” is kind of puzzling. Especially in the light of how that album was that band’s creative death certificate, and you’d halfway expect them to cover them a tune of one of Slayer’s much more rightly legendary earlier albums. The covers are executed with all the speed and technical finesse you’d expect from skilfull players like these, but their addition feels like a quickly discarded afterthought at best, and it doesn’t add anything to the record whatsoever. Why these cover tunes weren’t released in form of a stopgap EP along with some live recordings is the biggest, and most obvious question to present itself. It concludes “Human’s Pain” on a somewhat confused note as none of these two tracks add any additional value to a solid but not very individual sounding package. It did help further strengthen the notion that Poland was the new haven of extremity and untapped talent.

“Human’s Pain” was recorded at Selani Studio as a trio, vocalist/bass guitarist Marcin "Śvierszcz" Świerczyński, lead/rhythm guitarist Marek "Hudy" Chudzikiewicz and drummer Marcin "Ząbek" Gołębiewski, with Andrezej Bomba producing. There’s a surprisingly prominent place for the bass guitar in the music, and it possesses a thick earthy tone that is responsible for the band’s bottom-end heaviness. Overall “Human’s Pain” is an impressive slab of Polish death metal, but it misses the distinct songwriting that made Vader, Behemoth and Lost Soul household names in the scene. Yattering’s debut album was a commendable exercise in technical skill and high-velocity battering, but it didn’t have the staying power of Behemoth’s more death metal oriented material, and certainly not of Vader’s first three-album streak of excellence. While raw in execution, and crude in its songwriting “Human’s Pain”, despite its considerable flaws, was impressive enough to launch the band’s career. A career that should have been more fruitful than it was.