Gruesome is a US Death Metal band that was formed in the wake of the infamous “Death to All” tour and features Matt Harvey of Exhumed on vocals and guitars as well as Daniel Gonzalez from Possessed also on guitars, the band also features Robin Mazen on bass and Gus Rios on drums. Gruesome is a band that pays tribute to Death and Chuck Schuldiner, which shows in not just the way their music sounds but even in their logo and album art and like Death their lyrics tackle subjects such as Death, Evil, Gore and Cannibalism. To date, Gruesome has released two demos, two EPs and two full length studio albums.
Right away from the opening track I can hear that this album has a very old school feel to it, its brutal, its gnarly and the gore seeps out of the guitar licks from the get go, the signature blast beats and double bass style, its kinda like if old school death metal had a much more cleaner production and more regimented feel. Speaking of Old School Death Metal, the track “A Waste Of Life” made me think of Spiritual Healing, even though this band has elements that really sort a separate them from the band they constantly pay tribute to, this song is straight up an almost direct continuation of Spiritual Healing, everything from the structure and composition to how the instrumentals sound and the vocals, close your eyes and if you don’t imagine Death then you’re either a liar or don’t remember Death that well. I feel like the melodic and more faster and distorted guitars are a bit more layered with the bass and drums on this track than with others although to be honest I would have preferred it if the drums had a bit more of a noticeable punch to it. That being said so far so good.
The groove on this album comes from a lot of the guitar solos, they are kinda turning up and elevating the songs in this, which is a welcome change as in the past few years I have seen a lot of death metal bands really vamp up the grooves through their drums and bass lines, so its kinda nice to see it done a little differently, in a way that doesn’t take from the old school style that this record is. “At Death’s Door” is my personal favourite on this album, full on shredding away and doing a dance of death on the fretboards, a very relentless song that has a thrash/death kinda style to it. Solos add some grooves and the vocals are quite catchy, I imagine that this song is gonna sound pretty amazing live.
To wrap this up I would have to say that so far in 2018 this is one of the more promising records released for the Death Metal genre, while it doesn’t really carry over anything that’s completely original, it does stick to a tried and tested formula that works. And that’s a good thing, this album and band knows what it is and stays firmly on that path, it doesn’t trip over itself and is a style of death metal that is always quite fun to hear. Chuck would definitely be proud.