(This is the first Part of a week-long series of reviews by DGR as he tries to clear out a back-log before year-end Listmania descends.)
With year-end season quickly approaching it’s time for the final sailing of the good review ship. This time, like every year, there’s a collective of music that’s been unleashed over the past few months – and earlier, because the search for new noise never really stops – that deserves to be written about.
Whether it’s a surprise release from a larger name or a ‘why did we never follow up on this’ way down the line, this attempt to briefly review a whole smorgasbord of metal releases that emerged over the last few months is an effort to get some names out there before year-end season fully takes over the website and yours truly does the annual exercise of numbering things for my own amusement.
Throwing yourself into the heavy metal maelstrom never stops being fun – especially when you emerge from the other side with no clear idea how you’re still standing – so who knows what else we might discover in the near future. In the meantime though, here’s the first installment of a huge batch of offerings that may please the musical hordes.
Exhumed – Worming
There was a sigh of relief uttered when the new Exhumed release flopped onto the proverbial review plate when it dawned on yours truly that the group’s surprise late-October release was just an EP.
Worming consists of four quick-and-dirty songs that see Exhumed hammering through what the band do best – thrashier death-grind riffs full of vocal interplay that goes from snarling high to a belching low that could challenge rumbling geological patterns in how far they can crater recording frequencies.
On this sudden hit to the system three of the four tracks barely escape the two-minute range – “N.M.F.O” gracefully glides over just a minute – plus one beefy motherfucker in its title track at four-and-a-half-minutes, landing the grand total at about eleven-something. Which, considering the band’s storied history and overall collective, isn’t too far off from chopping the group’s previous full length Horror – another October release – into a neat half with its mostly two-minute collection of death metal and grind collisions.
It’s obviously a little less twistedly-ambitious in the way Death Revenge was and smaller in scope, but considering the way Worming seemed to explode out of the ether in the same way as Horror did, it makes sense. They’re a band within their gore-soaked comfort zone here. Worming sounds like Exhumed crashing a van in reverse into the side wall of a studio, setting up their gear, hammering out four songs, and then loading everything back into the van and peeling out just before someone turns up to investigate what the fuck had set off the motion alarm at two in the morning.
Grand Cadaver – Into The Maw Of Death
Mikael Stanne has become quite the busy individual, not only with Dark Tranquillity sparking back to life with recent touring plans but also with the launch of another project alongside a smattering of In Flames alumni in the form of The Halo Effect. However, if you’re seeking something meaner, grimier, and a whole lot more thumping-dumber, then the Swede-death throwback project of Grand Cadaver is what you’re after.
They have unleashed their full length – the suitably titlted Into The Maw Of Death – upon the world for a delicious thirty-six minutes of music. Long-time death metal fans won’t be shocked to learn that the album plays it pretty conservatively when it comes to the music. That’s been the purpose of the project since the group’s formation in the plague year of 2020.
They’re a gathering of seasoned musicians who wanted to bash out a smattering of chainsaw riffage and hefty groove and they’ve been fairly successful so far with the band releasing the EP Madness Comes – covered right here – and now a full-length.
What is suprising though, is that even though there is an exceedingly recognizable core of death metal coursing throughout Grand Cadaver‘s veins there is a slight tinge of melodic ear that is bent in the band’s songwriting.
You’ll hear it early on before Grand Cadaver settle more into the primal beating that defines much of the band’s tumbling into the abyss, and it would be easy to see the early grouping of “Soul Infestation”, “World Mausoleum”, “Grim Eternal”, and “Reign Through Fire” finding its way onto people’s infectious song listings. “Soul Infestation” is strong enough, in fact, that an argument could’ve been made for that to be the opener, versus the very traditional “Disanimated”, which actually starts events off.
Into The Maw Of Death is about as meaty as they come, and we’re pretty big fans of the constantly rolling guitar riff style that came tumbling out of this genre, so another festering death metal pile is always welcome in the NCS halls.