Spina Bifida - Ziyadah 2014 Reissue (CD Review)

04.Purest Queen

Bonus Demos:

Veronika (Bass)
Gerard (Drums)
Rob (Guitar)
Harrie Van Erp (Guitar)
William Nijhof (Vocals)
Jeroen van Veen (Bass)

Memento Mori presents a reissue of the highly underrated Death/Doom classic from back in the day by the Dutch band Spina Bifida. Now this is crushing Death/Doom, comparable to the likes of Disembowelment, Winter, Dusk (US), Ceremonium, Mythic, Rippikoulu, Sempiternal Deathreign, Castle, Symphony of Grief, Autopsy and Asphyx. The band doesn't waste any time on faint melodies but instead works to insinuate deafening sounds of Doom with the heaviness and aura of Death Metal. 'Ziyadah' has a strange appeal about it - you keep coming back to this album even after years because Spina Bifida has found a unique balance between Death and Doom, and here you have the band's entire discography, including the demo 'Symphony of Indictment'.

Forming in 1990 and releasing their first demo in 1992, the band can hardly be considered a founding father of the genre, especially by Dutch standards. The “almost” furtive release of 'Ziyadah' in 1993, the only album in their discography, on French-based Adipocere Records did not stir the scene back then, but has since achieved "Cult" status, one time bassist Jeroen van Veen, now plays with Within Tempation.

So after the pointless intro passes the first proper song 'Witchfire' starts, its a sludge/doom affair with growly and gruff vocals and little else in the way of musical structure.

'Reverse' has slightly more to offer with a slighlty more up tempo beat and a bit more guitar work thrown in along with a brief bass solo.

The death/doom element comes to life on 'Purest Queen', by far the best track so far, nice harmonic guitar riffs thrown in to bring some depth.

'Individual' becomes the next stand out track, first of all it has a great funeral doom feel but best of all is the vocals which are sung clean to start with with some nice backing and when its goes to the growl style it seems to fit the mood as opposed to just being the standard.

After the straight forward 'Aimless' comes 'Gotterdammerung' a song that could be mistaken for early Hellhammer, slow and doom laden crushing riffs over a basic drum pattern and near spoken death growls create a dark atmosphere.

The last two songs revert back to their basic sound and the outro is as pointless as the intro was.

The four demo versions are intresting as the songs seem slightly slower and more sludge than death doom style.

So all in all a pretty good album, wouldnt call it an underrated death/doom classic but i have heard worse, thing i dislike more than anything is the bands name!

Rating 8/10
For fans of: Hellhammer, Triptykon, Castle, Sunn 0))), Electric Wizard


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