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Anyone there who may fancy a classic American styled old school death fuckin metal from the early 90’s? Here’s something for you then… but be aware that Excavation is from damn Holland, not USA ha, ha! It doesn’t matter of course where the band is from, as long as the music is fine… besides, Holland always had some of the best death metal underground bands in history! So, quality was almost certain here!
"Gravemouth” demo was recorded in 1991 and production wise it surely lacks a bit of professionalism. It has typical harsh demo sound, far from polished and nice; it will make your ears bleed and head could explode, but you’ll like it and even ask for more. What else can you do, if you’re dealing with such a piece of rotten underground jewel? Personally I love the production of “Gravemouth”, so I cannot say anything bad about it – it’s just as death metal demo should be like. As for the music, well I already said that this is American styled death metal… Many riffs, also guitar sound and few other things, like some vocal parts remind me the mighty Massacre from their demos and the cult first album, just listen to the song titled “Damnation” and you’ll get my point! These riffs are just slashing and ripping through the ears without mercy and think of “From Beyond” as the close comparison (but also Asphyx, as the crushing, slow beginning of this song reminds me of these Dutch masters totally!!!)! Of course no way is ever Excavation going to be so great as Massacre – it’s not the same league – but still it’s more than just a decent listening, with catchy, moshable parts throughout the song. Definitely this is the highlight of entire demo.
But there are also songs on the demo – or maybe just their parts – which are less convincing, like “Pray For Death” track, which I find as pretty average, and which has pretty annoying intro – probably from C-class gore movie ha, ha. The song is pretty fast in some fragments, grinding with an axe, but I rather prefer slower tempos, like the beginning of “Excavation”, which starts again like a good old Asphyx from “The Rack” masterpiece. Unfortunately this soon changes into more Suffocation-esque grinding, which is a shame, because it would be cool to get one massively slow, heavy track! “Dream Escape” could easily find its place on any of the early Suffocation releases, while the title song is something quite unique, as it is almost 10 minutes long – what hardly any death metal band ever dared to do. The song itself isn’t discovering anything; it’s just plain, simple death metal, played mostly in mid paced tempos, but I have to say I quite like it and it doesn’t really feel like it’s that long. I guess it's one of the best parts of "Gravemouth"!
But as overall, this Excavation debut demo sounds totally fine to me… As I said earlier there may be some parts, which are a bit chaotic and not as good as others, but I can live with it.