Friday, April 20, 2012

Killed by (Asbestos) Death

By now, most of you probably know that Asbestos Death was the band that morphed into Sleep after releasing a pair of singles that were reissued by Southern Lord some years back. The rest is history, but allow us to set our time machine to revisit the days when the thought of releasing even one of those singles was probably considered a silly kid’s dream. Throughout the 1990s, the Asbestos Death demo was an item on many a tape trader’s list. The problem was that not one single copy was remotely listenable. Even my tape—given to me by someone who (supposedly) bought it from the band personally—was of horrible umpteenth-generation quality. To merely be able to hear the damn tape required turning the stereo volume up all the way, in which the background hiss was much louder than the music itself. I hope that you remembered to turn the volume back down after you were done listening to this stupid demo. 

Modern technology has made it much easier for losers like me to nerd out on trying to make crappy-sounding demos like Asbestos Death sound at least a little bit better. We sort of managed to accomplish this feat, so we figured we would introduce Asbestos Death’s demo from 1989 to the blogosphere. Don’t raise your expectations too high, because this is not exactly a high-quality remastering job or anything. The background hiss is still there (spoiling the quiet and moody moments), but the recording has at least been rescued from its previously unlistenable depths. If you think you can boost the quality even further, you are certainly welcome to try. I will even send you the WAV files if you contact me.

Anyway, this demo was recorded back when Al Cisneros, Tom Choi, and Chris Hakius hung out at places like Gilman Street and probably hoped that the dudes from Neurosis would refrain from beating them up. Of these five songs, only one—“The Suffering Continues”—was re-recorded by Sleep on their first album, so this is probably the first time that many of you have heard these songs. Twist up a doober of dirt weed and enjoy. 

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