I know I know, a couple of these guys were part of the Death to All touring machine that went around the world featuring past member of Death and various other notable musicians from the Death Metal scene, playing sets of Chuck’s masterpieces but wow…
Gruesome really have nailed what they have set out to do. I mean I haven’t heard any previous releases (not sure why they passed me by to be honest) but their mission was to write material that was influenced by all eras of Death. I mean isn’t it a strange existence sounding THIS alike? I mean, I really get the influence thing, of course we all do. You hear certain artists and you connect with them and their work. You feel like you want to do what they do but Gruesome literally sound like Chuck has visited them from beyond and given them these compositions and said, “go record these!”
I guess my last sentence there is kind of a back-handed compliment. I mean, these songs are really good, but I don’t think you can fully appreciate how good because you’re just thinking that I might as well listen to the real thing, and that’s the danger when you hear band so close to a classic outfit such as is here.
It isn’t just the songs though. The attention to detail is absolutely staggering. Again, another kind-of-compliment-I-guess! The drummers hat work and use of splash and china cymbals are straight from the Gene Hoglan tuition book. The mix on the kick and snare is basically the same as most of the mid period Death records. There are other production tricks that like the flange-effect on the odd bar or two of guitar and just the general tone of both the rhythm and leads are almost identical. No mean feat considering that a lot of tone comes from a guitarists fingers. As I said, hero-worship at its most thorough.
The vocals of Matt Harvey (yes, him from Exhumed) are not Chuck but in his annunciation and delivery, they aren’t a million miles away and you can see why he was such a good fit on Death to All.
I want to like this, really, I do, and I guess I do, I just don’t really know when I would listen again more than the few times I have done. I mean, Chuck and Death left behind quite a wealth of material that (although I wish we had more) I don’t feel the need to spend time on this. I will be honest, there are a lot of people digging it and that’s awesome, I am pleased about that because it is so well executed.
Hey, if you love Death, then its worth at least a spin, right? If you also are particularly fond of “Spiritual Healing” then “Twisted Prayers” is mainly in that neighborhood. Oh, and the Ed Repka artwork is, of course, superb.