Now, here’s a band that’s very near to my cold, cold heart. Gruesome originated as a tribute act on the Death to All tour, until, much like the Thin Black Lizzy Star Riders, they decided they couldn’t record any new material under their original moniker without creating decades of bad karma. I’m not sure how Matt Harvey and company came to choose Gruesome as the name of their Death-inspired outfit, but I think it’s a fine name, indeed. I would totally put that on a t-shirt and wear it.
Following the breakout success of their Relapse debut, Savage Land, in 2015—which features the feel-good death-metal hit of the summer—the Gruesome boys are back to tide us over with this six-song, 20-minute EP. Suffice to say, fans of Death, Possessed and Morbid Angel would be best to add this to their Mother’s Day list… provided you’re not partial to Illud Divinum Insanus (Morbid to the core since 1984 and all that jazz).
Dimensions of Horror descends into the Morrisound Zone with “Forces of Death,” an old-school 80’s ripper that sounds like Razor gone rancid. (No, not the pop-punk outfit!) The chorus is pure Schuldiner: “Forces of death/Taking your last breath/Severing your head/Forces of death” served up in slow motion. “Raped by Darkness” is a full-out assault, with Venomous verses leading into a winding, menacing bridge/chorus a la Cannibal Corpse. “Amputation” is two-and-a-half minutes of cutting, slashing fury, a hacksaw blade to a rotten limb—just the way death metal is supposed to be.
But the true pièce de résistance is the fourth track, “Hellbound.” A ripping thrasher with a catchy chugging chorus that recalls Death’s “Pull the Plug,” this is easily the best song named after Hellbound.ca that I’ve ever heard. And the title track ain’t too shabby, sounding sorta like Possessed’s “The Exorcist” as performed by Cannibal Barnes. (I don’t care what you say, I’ll take him over Corpsegrinder any day!)
This outfit is truly worthy of the Gruesome moniker. Now where can I get that t-shirt?