Feb 062023


(Here’s Wil Cifer‘s review of the new album by Ohio-based Sanguisugabogg, released on February 3rd by Century Media Records.)

Normally this brand of death metal is not my thing. Early Cannibal Corpse was once my go-to for this kind of thing, which these days often gets labeled as gore-grind. These guys are clearly tired of being tied to such labels, and aside from the low guttural vocals, they have set themselves apart from being another spawn of Cannibal Corpse’s mutilated womb with their fetish for grooves. There is a pungent whiff of hardcore to some of their riffs, which have the breakdown feel.

Normally when it comes to a band that knocks my headphones back due to the sheer density of their sound, my first concern becomes, can they write songs? The first two here earned a thumbs up in this department. Thus the challenge for a band who lives off brutality for the sake of brutality was to keep interest. Which they did with their evershifting flow of groove-drenched riffs.

Perhaps Century Media inspired them to get serious about what they are doing. The production is pretty polished, and all of the tones are more dialed in than what you expect from this sub-genre. Their front man has gone on record saying lyrically this album is less about gore and more about the psychology behind fetishes. But with a song called “Testicular Rot” I find this hard to believe; maybe that statement only pertains to some of the songs. His grunts are not the easiest to decipher. “A Lesson in Savagery” finds them conforming more closely to the modern standards of death metal. The chugged guitar is intense, and the drums are more nuanced as the double-bass runs you over.

Even the pig squealing on this album does not get under my skin like it normally does. Despite the very cranky old school Cannibal Corpse snare sound, the drummer continues to be the one who really steps up his game for this album. This makes moments that might seem lackluster with someone else on the throne work for this album. The bass making itself known at several points here is also a key selling point. Things feel darker and more oppressive going into “Mortal Admonishment.” The groove of the verse is pretty typical for the more brutality-focused strains of death metal, and what feels different is the subtle hardcore influence on the riffs that makes this song work.

“Proclamation of the Frail” finds spastic bursts of speed tossed into an otherwise impressive chug that hits with metallic power. While the vocals have stayed at the same monotone gurgling, they ride the grooves in a very purposeful way that keeps you from getting bored with them. The last song has one of the album’s most infectious riffs, one that proves a valuable lesson the band learned regarding how you can be heavy as a hundred fucks and still write good songs.

This might not be my preferred sub-genre of death metal, but it proves that if something is done well enough, a band can still win me over. This album has them poised to take their gruesome antics to a larger audience, and I think even long-time fans of the band can concede that this is happening on the band’s terms, with little of the heaviness compromised. After going into this album with some apprehension, it grew on me with each listen, so if this vein of death metal is already in your regular rotation, start stretching your neck muscles now.



  1. IMHO, this second album is less memorable than the first. The first had this great 420/Mortician vibe, and sounded so stupid it was fun. This second one is more serious and not so fun. Perhaps it’s because of the change in line-up, the former guitarist is gone.

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