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I'm quite surprised that "To the gory end" isn't the well established album I thought it was going to be at the time of its release. Being from the U.K myself (along with the band) I was probably one of a handful to have actually have heard of this band, the rest of the world didn't catch on until much later mainly because of later releases, or simply because nowadays people are falling back into love with the oldschool death sound. "To the gory end" sure isn't no masterpiece but it is extremely catchy and the deliverence actually sounds evil! (Bands today take notes.) You can probably fire off a whole list of classic death metal albums from the 90/91 period and there are moments when this album shines, or in other cases more deservingly takes a backseat to whatever else was going on. I like this album but would I reach for it other "Testimony of the ancients" or "Spiritual healing"? Probably not but then again at the same time I would say it was just as listenable as "Human" which spawned a profound impact with in death metal, but I'm the one of a handul who does not think that album is one of the best of all time.
The album is quite simplistic...well when you compare it to the proggy jazz-infused death of the day, but for all intents and purposes this is a good portion of vicious metal. Vicious meaning to describe those vocals which surprisingly aren't to everybody's tastes, but I will claim the contrary they sound fucking evil, and if death metal does not want to strive to sound evil, then yes I have lost touch with the genre and I'm probably going to be perceived as a grumpy know-it-all. The guitars aren't extraordinary when it comes to the genre, but they have that robotic, detached feel to them but there are some more expressive riffs about the place, and this album is not bland nor faceless like some of the more exposed groups, where death metal had moved from the seedy back alleys to the college common room. Some tracks are more in place with thrash roots "CFC" springing to mind particularly. Some of the vocal lines remind me of something from "Morbid Visions" and although I am again one of a handful who doesn't dig that album, I always did appreciate the vocals and still do. "Into the acid" is still brutal but is what I like to call one of the mood setters. From the opening riff to the delayed drum beats, you know this is building up into something worthy of a headbang, and it reminds me of Critical Mass. "Sentenced to the gallows" carries on somewhat with the suspense with a mild acoustic passage playing as the opening electric power chords ring out, and when I hear this song I can imagine an awry execution scene from the dark ages. There are some other catchy songs, but that is all they are such as "Body count" good to bob the head along to but perhaps forgotten until you return back to the album.
I'm not really sure who to recommend this to, because I'm quite diverse in my tastes as well. But this is a breath of fresh air from some of the more intelligent death metal at the time, not to say this is a dumb and clumsy record. But I don't know if I would point a fan of Atheist or Pestilence post "Consuming Impulse" this way, but I like all that stuff man so who cares. This album is for a rainy evening with the boys, a few oldschool thrash records, and a few crates of headache inducing cider. Do enjoy...