Saturday, January 5, 2013
Gruesome Stuff Relish - Sempiternal Death Grind (2013)
This is a mass of ripping, flesh-shearing guitars and blood-dripping, splatter-gore vocals which once again falls under the categorization of Carcass banner-men. Thanks to a very bright and brash production and a varied enough palette of riffing dynamics, though, it manages to remain concise, concussive, and even enjoyable for much of its 37 minute length. The distortion is harsh enough that, at its busiest, it might become a fraction difficult to follow closely, but Gruesome Stuff Relish actually compensate for this by providing a lot of accessibility in the spikes of surgical, atonal melodies that spark up from the rhythmic bone saws. Tracks like "They Are the Plague" and "In Death We Breath" aren't contributing a lot of novelty to the genre, but the constant flux between driving D-beat rhythms and vile twists of archaic death metal notation does keep the ear affixed as the blades descend. Add to this the thick, monstrous bass, which isn't itself very standout but definitely gives the riffing some added breadth and texture; and the nice, clean snap of that snare drum, very audible alongside the denser guitar tone, and you've got a fairly pleasant knife in the eyes.
I also did dig the use of organs and synthesizers to consistently affirm the band's giallo/horror influence, it definitely is another example of how the band are atmospherically evolving. In truth, I wouldn't mind some more of this to help differentiate the Spaniards from other like-minded outfits, but I realize that too much orchestration/effects would create a stigma for many of the band's likely fanbase. The vocals here are no less than what you'd expect, a pairing of snarls and guttural grunts, but I'll also give some credit that the raspier inflection seems like someone has just thrown up, the throat is full of bile and each line is delivered with a real, painful nastiness that pushes it past mere acceptability into gruesome entertainment. Another strong point are the breaks, as in "S.O.S.", where you get that thick, pulsating, distorted bass and the more whispered, dry vocals and background effects. Sempiternal Death Grind is not overall a massive evolution of Gruesome's style, and in truth there are very few memorable riffs you'll feel summoned back to after about 15 minutes, but I will say without hesitation that its appreciable subtleties make it the best record I've heard from them to date.
Verdict: Indifference [6.75/10]