Swedish death metal … When asked, Stockholm or Gothenborg, what readily comes to your mind? If you answered the latter, or moreover, wondered what Swedish capital has to do with death metal, close this review and move on. If melody in death metal is an afterthought for you, but you immediately go for the “killing feel” of the guitar sound, Murder Squad has delivered on Ravenous Murderous. How could they not, if the players here have practically invented the sound in the first place? Entombed and Dismember, godfathers of the “other” Swedish death metal, their buzzsaw guitars dripping with anger and aggression, have contributed their members to Murder Squad. Equal parts Dismember, Matti Karki on vocals and Richard Cabeza on bass, and Entombed, Uffe Cederlund on guitar and Peter Stjarnvind on drums, Murder Squad do not joke with the band’s moniker. Combined with the lyrics and raw feel of the songs, Ravenous Murderous harkens back to the early 90s when Clandestine and Like an Ever Flowing Stream were all the rage.
Without describing the album track by track, it is obvious that Murder Squad is a bunch of whackos enamored with further advancement of guitar distortion of the death metal sound of early 90s. From the very beginning of the title track you realize this one is not going to be about the speed and harmonies. Instead, guitar sound on Ravenous Murderous is almost doomy, thick and stretchy, fit to cut with a knife. One has to have at least some liking for this almost elastic sound and mid-tempo speeds. Even mocking in-your-face thrash of I Am Eternal ends up with a doomsday slowdown over thunderous double bass. Faster tracks, Epidermal Massacre and Homocide, would be almost punky in character, if not for that monster heavy guitar sound. Bands solos are whacky, chaotic and coming seemingly out of nowhere, see opening of Spunkslut and outro of Army of Maggots after endless slow guitar loops.
Matti Karki has always been one of my favorite death metal vocalists, his throaty growls coming out of esophagus badly damaged with acid. Chris Reifert (Autopsy) “helps out” in spots, providing more outlandish higher pitched screams. On Born in Sewage, Bred in Bile the two switch leading and backing roles, and combine in the most blasphemous duet.
Dog Pound Audio Studio (Stockholm) provides the unpolished but booming production allowing every instrument to be heard and drum cymbals come off sounding as Peter is pounding sheet steel on Disturbing the Freaks and Hellish Blasphemy.
I will be honest here and admit that I like this style to be just a little bit faster and catchier, just like Dismember had it on Massive Killing Capacity and Hate Campaign. Tracks on Ravenous Murderous that fit into that formula, I Am Eternal, Masterpiece in Morbidity, Rising from the Ashes, seem to catch on with me and I keep humming those riffs. Once there is a riff to grab onto, the crazyass end solo of Masterpiece in Morbidity with lots of wham bars does not distract.
Ravenous Murderous is solid old school death metal, not very fast, and certainly not leaning into death’n’roll or Gothenburg melodic style. With all its unbelievably horrid realistic lyrics and “hells bells” atmosphere it is if it was made by a group of degenerate freaks high on something. And I mean it as a compliment. As solid as this album might be, I prefer Dismember’s latest Where Iron Crosses Grow as it provides a bigger number of memorable tunes.
Killing Songs :
I Am Eternal, Masterpiece in Morbidity, Rising from the Ashes
|Alex quoted 68 / 100|
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