Expunged is a new Canadian death metal band, barely a year old at this writing, but their debut self-titled EP which we’re premiering today quickly blasts away any idea that its members are newcomers just taking their first tottering steps. And indeed they are not tyros.
The band is the brain-child of W.D., who has been the principal member of Dead Soul Alliance, and before that the guitarist of Evolution Fail, whose demo was released in 1997. Joining him in Expunged are drummer K.F. from the old-school death metal band Töteblut and vocalist/bassist J.S. (aka Jo “Steel” Capitalicide from Ice War, among other bands).
The experience shows on this new EP. It is a stunningly good musical house of horrors, one that draws influence from a range of Swedish and Finnish death metal bands going back to the late ’80s and early ’90s. But rather than sounding like some kind of retrograde re-hash, Expunged is an electrifying experience, one that delivers cold, crushing power, lunatic frenzies, ghastly atmosphere, and the kind of melodic and rhythmic accents that make these five songs memorable.
“Disposed in Chaos and War” and “Melting Flesh” make for an eye-popping one-two punch to open the EP. There’s a raw and abrading HM-2 tone to the riffs, which create crazed and contorting sounds of moaning, yowling, and writhing tumult, accented by eerie, shrieking leads, undergirded by earth-heaving bass and drumming that batters, cavorts, and stalks. The music slows into sinister, lurching cadences, in which the shrill leads become even more demented, and the riffing is also capable of morphing into the vicious grinding sounds of a big bone-saw doing its gruesome work.
Meanwhile, the vocals are themselves gruesome and grotesque monstrosities, mutating from cold-blooded growls to blood-freezing roars of utter fury and tyrannical howls, all of them vomited from a throat that sounds choked with bone and gristle.
In those songs and elsewhere, the band prove themselves highly capable of surging to heights of mauling and mutilating chaos, but in “Putrefying Mind” they also segue into sinuous melodies that channel bereavement and anguish, and in “Dark Age Crusade” they’ll give your neck a good workout with a methodically jackhammering riff, while also intertwining perhaps the most pestilential and rotten melody on the EP, a queasy rendering of suppurating degradation, laced with a trilling lead that conveys misery and feverish despair.
To close the EP, Expunged bring all the ingredients together, creating what might be the best song on the record. “Your Demise” is both mauling and mutilating, deranged and devastating, poisonous and pile-driving, cloaked in the oppressive gloom of catastrophe and lit by the fires of massed funeral pyres.
Rather than all the preceding words, maybe all you really needed to induce you to listen is the fact that Expunged is being released by Hells Headbangers. It has an imminent release date, on 12″ vinyl and digital, of April 24th. It was mastered by none other than Topon Das of Fuck the Facts at his Apartment Two Studio.