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Whenever I hear this album chills shoot down my spine. It takes me away to the filthy, gore-soaked land of Creepsylvania, and I know that four devilish figures are waiting there for me. I am aware that such a situation sounds awful to the average person, but to us Ghoul fans, we know this means fun. We Came for the Dead!!! is a landmark album of the 21st century. That's quite a claim, but when you'll see what I mean when you here riff after riff and solo after solo that this record has to offer. Ghoul falls into place amongst bands whose debuts were nearly flawless with this wonderfully macabre release.
I'm not sure why Ghoul decided to change the sound of their band after this record. The production and instrumental tones of Maniaxe and Splatterthrash were nice, but not much can beat the great sound of down tuned guitars, blasting drums, and the pure old school death metal-like sound that We Came for the Dead!!! embodies. When you combine that with entertaining solos, vocals, and groove sections like at the end of "Tomb After Tomb," you get an unstoppable and deadly formula that will never cease to please. Cremator and Digestor show the traits of seasoned musicians without even trying. From the chilling harmonized leads and the sweeping solos like in the title track here, these two men can do it all. Fermetor laid out the foundation that those could play to, and has some of this best blast beats offered by any drummer of this era. Of all of the "Fermentors" that played in Ghoul, the one by the name of Raul Varela has been my favorite. This is one of the only Ghoul albums that features elements of grindcore, and that is what makes it so unique. Almost all of Ghoul's future releases would sound similar to each other, with a lot more humor on them, but not this one. We Came for the Dead!!! is everything that a death/thrash metal/grindcore band should sound like. There is a wonderful no nonsense kind of sound that this group of songs produces.
As mentioned above, there was a great groove to this album that went from start to finish and just seemed to get crazier and crazier as the album went on. "Tomb After Tomb," "We Came for the Dead," and "Graveyard Mosh" were groovy indeed and featured a wide array of tempos and keys. Despite the band's constant evolution, Cremator and his freaky fellows never lost touch of their sense of how to write catchy, groove centered music.
If I had to name one problem with this album, then it would be the intros. I know that the beginning of "Ghoul/Graveyard Mosh" is "cool" but does there need to be almost a minute and a half of silence? Nope. I don't want to have to listen to a long intro, but maybe a shorter one like at the beginning of "Tomb After Tomb." And the only other problem I had was that the extremely low gurgly vocals would get washed over by the band's full sound, but that's about it.
The amount of respect I have for Ghoul is immense. They know how to make a "gimmicky" album not cheesy, make gory death metal that doesn't sound ridiculously stupid, and most of all, they are masters of their instruments. This album shows just how well this band can dish out pure chaos. So when I hear a witch cackle over the sound of chainsaw guitars, I know that it's Ghoul and their creepily enjoyable We Came for the Dead!!!
By no means a parody, We Came for the Dead!!! is like a mischievous little brother for Carcass's Heartwork, a chunky and abusive riff-fest which honors its overt British influence by stamping on an incredibly hammy and entertaining shock rock concept. Some will no doubt scoff at this band's underlying 'Creepsylvanian' theme of morbid, hooded serial killers steeped in campy Halloween horror and cult cinema, much like there are basement boggarts who will whine over Finntroll or GWAR or any other costumed gimmick act (who back their image with appropriate music) while they fidget with the sticks/rulers wedged firmly into their rectums. Personally, I think this shit is amusing, and whereas the music and lyrics might resemble a good number of their Razorback kin, or the Californian act Exhumed, the fact that they've put so much effort into the cheap, consistent image of plaids, chainsaws and stage gimmicks, and created their 'own' horror story, rather than just endlessly cycle cult film samples as intros and lyrical inspirations, really earns a blood-smeared stamp of approval.
This was the group's first full-length after the Ghoul's Night Out demo (2001), and includes most of that material and a bunch of newer originals. While they weren't the first band necessarily to dive into this horror kitsch, or even the first on Razorback, they wound as arguably the band's biggest success story during that critical period in the early 'oughts when the label was emerging as an underground feast of imagery and 90s styled extremity, in stark opposition to the tech oriented Florida/NY styled brutality so popular elsewhere in the States. For good reason: We Came for the Dead!!! is not only chock full o'guts and riffs, written almost on the level of groups like Impaled and Exhumed (who some of these 'anonymous' characters have been involved with), but it sounds fantastic, and to think this is likely their 'rawest' full-length. Loud, crunchy guitars belt out hybrids of death and thrash/hardcore progressions, with a lot of muscle to the mid-paced chug, and plenty of airy, creepy leads to distract the listener from the rhythmic matrix. Drums have a lot of clap and splash to them, supportive of the guitars, and the bass does little other than pummel away the same notes that the guitars are usually spewing forth, but all in all it sounds really bright and entertaining when slathered in the mix of growls, snarls and sewer-ghoul which combined sound like an update of Symphonies of Sickness (albeit with a higher ratio of those lower, garbled gutturals).
We Came for the Dead!!! doesn't take as many liberties as its successor Maniaxe, which is a more varied album. You won't hear undead surfer tunes, just a steady barrage of organ-churning, aggressive riffs over blasted beats or thrash/rock rhythms. These are not complex compositions, but sort of cashing in on the whole retro thrash flavor while offering prostrate fellatio to Carcass, Impetigo and Repulsion. If broken down into individual riff patterns, there's nothing necessarily astounding or truly sticking to the ear, but when placed alongside the charismatic vocals and the occasional atmospheric bits, like the atonal organ ambiance that inaugurates "From Death to Dust", or the great Vincent Price sample that comes out of nowhere, it all wraps together into this mummified map of amusement. Occasionally the lyrics are self-referential to the characters the musicians have created, but usually they're about drinking the body fluids of rotting corpses, robbing graveyards and...collecting lots of cool dead stuff to decorate their crypts in Creepsylvania. It's aesthetically a hodgepodge of the Munsters, the Hammer Horror back-log, B-rate 80s slashers and a bit of Chris Barnes/Cannibal Corpse influence.
I have to say, as satisfied as I was that they got the guitars right in the intro, the additional cover of "Skull Beneath the Skin" from Megadeth's debut is probably my least favorite track here. They've done well to make it 'their own', but the riff progressions just don't match up with the Ghoulish frolicking of the originals, and so it seems a little tacked on. Otherwise, this is spot fucking on, with songs like "Tomb After Tomb", "Coffins and Curious" and the title track numbering among my faves in their catalog. I wouldn't go so far as to say this is a match for something like Exhumed's Slaughtercult, which is for me the album I rather wish Carcass would have written (before or after) Heartwork, but it's a loving spin on the tradition which does manage to best most of the other sound-a-likes. If you're into General Surgery, Carcass, Regurgitation, Impetigo, Autopsy, Blood Freak, or Impaled and you're not averse to the guys playing dress-up here, then this is well worth owning, and in my estimation nearly on par with its more quirky and unusual successor. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that these Ghoul two records, along with the debuts from Hooded Menace and Rogga's Revolting, comprise the very best I've heard from Razorback.
Ghoul, hailing out of the [sometimes not so] mighty US of A, are a four-piece band that have infused in their songs influences drawn from multiple genres; be it death metal, thrash metal, or grindcore. If that alone isn’t enough to convince you to BUY THIS ALBUM or any of their other albums, as they have yet to disappoint me or their other fans, then fine, I’ll further disclose to you why this album is worth getting. As I said, they draw influences from multiple genres. Many of the riffs found on this album contain a strong crossover thrash influence, and it works out blissfully. Add in a touch of grindcore and a pinch of death metal, and you’ve got yourself a fine mix in the works, kids.
From the slightly overlong (but still awesome) intro of Graveyard Mosh/Ghoul to the crushing headbanging goodness that comes after, this album will keep you entertained the whole way through. I’m not even kidding, nearly every single riff on this album is headbang-guaranteed. The very first riff on this album, albeit being a freakin’ incredible yet simple one, doesn’t serve as a fair prelude to what you will hear upon further listening of the album. Sure, it gives you a small peek at what you’re about to get yourself into, but there are so many varied riffs and styles on here that you really don’t know what you’re getting into.
People often tend to have qualms in regards to the production on many albums, and oftentimes it lowers their opinion on the album somewhat. In my opinion, the production of a certain album is the least important facet of it, and unless you cannot hear anything AT ALL, I'll [probably] have no problems with it; and this album is no exception to the rule. It is perfect, especially for the death/thrash style that Ghoul carry.
The guitars on the album are fantastic. There isn’t one bad riff (or song, for that matter) on the entire record. Every riff gets your veins pumping and your head drilling, and many of them are catchy as hell. As done as well on Mondo Medicale (Ghoul and Impaled share members, if you didn’t already know), the guitars are perfectly executed and the songwriting is great. All of the transitions in the album are exceptionally smooth. One example where this is especially manifest is in the song “From Death to Dust,” around the middle of the song, when the mosh-riff blasts and blows your fucking head off. Listen to it. Now.
Everything else on the album is above-average and as well deserves to be praised. Otherwise, I don’t think I have anything else to say about this record. Go out and get it now.
Originally written for http://ravenousreviewswebzine.blogspot.com/
Ghoul’s infamous antics make for never ending entertainment. Their lyrics, in particular, which deal with aspects of life such as ‘horror’ and ‘the dead’, as well as their unique dress sense sets them up as a rather humorous band, but their music should be recognised as a quintessential display of a demoralising hybrid which evokes essential imagery. Ghoul are stated to have started to show ‘the members’ appreciation for old school crossover style thrash metal’. This is apparent through their music which is home to distinctive thrash elements, as well as dealing with aspects of a prominent death metal sound and an aggressive grind influence just to top it off. ‘We Came For The Dead’ is recognised by Metal Archives reviewers as a delightful and devilish dose of hybrid metal that can be infectiously catchy at times. Too true.
Although I certainly don’t see this record as the pinnacle of the scene it is involved with (mainly due to the fact that I‘m not as big a fan of this scene as others), I do however recognise it’s fine portrayal of the lyrical themes which shouldn’t be taken too seriously. The idea behind records like this is, to me, just to have fun but to be taken seriously as musicians and writers of music. The most annoying aspect of music of this nature is that it’s far too short for my liking. Music which uses grind elements is bound to be short, and although I do expect it to be, it still irks me. I’m a fan of long songs and long records. It allows me more time to get to grips with the intentions of the band, but acts like Ghoul aim to keep it ‘short and sweet’. ‘We Came For The Dead’ is no different. Although the positives of this record by far outweigh the negatives, hybrids like this will never suit my needs in a wider sense due to their fast and short nature. Accessibility, in my eyes, is effected by this. The instrumentation laid down on this record isn’t going to appeal to everyone, especially those who appreciate more emotive works, with varying content. Much of the work on this record, although it does shift from who or what leads the performance, is structured in much the same way throughout. Of course, the brute force is contributed mostly by the guitars, which are excessive and lacking in eloquence. Ghoul aren’t about producing a sweet sound, lulling the audience into a dream like state where the most beautiful of visions will be portrayed, oh no, Ghoul are about rising the dead, dismembering your body and dancing a merry dead dance.
The intention seems to be short, sharp bursts of aggression and anger, which in many ways does suit the needs of the listener, as well as the soundscapes, but it isn’t preferential to me, as a listener. The vocals are typical of death/grind hybrids. Distorted, harsh growls that are screamed at a slightly higher pitches than regular death metal growls, which are low guttural growls. The pace of the vocals largely dictates the pace of the music, so both are in sync and work well together. Instrumentally, Ghoul are good, but not fantastic. The use of two guitarists is important to Ghoul, one playing a consistently paced structure, which forms the base of the work and the other varying tempos and often inducing solos into the mixture which form the base of the largely catchy work. Overall, Ghoul are fantastically catchy, which draws out some of the best elements of their work. To me, this record displays the brilliance in using dual performances. Whether it is in the vocal department, or in an instrumental sense, Ghoul use dual performances to display their humorous hammerings of horror. The production is well suited to the instrumentation. It’s edgy and cuts a hole into the hearts of the listeners with it’s brutish ways. Lyrically, Ghoul are ludicrous. They offer something different for fans of formulated genres, by depicting situations we’re not likely to often think about, unless of course you’re not of stable mind.
“deep in the catacombs, dripping with slime
potions and slaves I concoct
a bottle of bile, skull cap of chime
a bat wing wrapped up in a sock
elixirs of gore boil over and flare
as human entrails roast
the stench of the dead permeates the air
all things considered, its really gross.”
Exciting and fun.
The speed of thrash, the growls of death metal, the lyrics of a demented comedian, THIS IS GHOUL. Like a good horror movie, Ghoul strikes you with shock and awe but not in the horror aspect but in the talent aspect. Speedy riffs well timed beats and kick ass solos.
Ghoul’s debut starts off with a song called Graveyard Mosh/Ghoul explaining the band’s “story” of what they are. After that its just thrashing death metal with funny lyrics and a humourous overtone. Some lyrics are very outlandish and whimsical. The album has a funny theme of explaining the life of ghoul as they hunt and scare people and mosh.
Ghoul is just one of those good time bands with talent. The cover of Skull Beneath the Skin is fucking beautiful I felt like I was hearing it for the first time again. This album reeks of old school thrash and death metal with a Carcass meets Megadeth feel to it. This album makes you wish you were in a mosh every time you hear it.
This album will either get the words “ROT GUT” or “WE CAME FOR THE DEAD” stuck in your head. There are some really catchy riffs that will get stuck in your head too. This is a great release with great musicianship no matter how silly it is.
A WARNING if you don’t like this album or headbang while listening watch you back because Ghoul will come and PICK YOUR BONES CLEAN!!!!!!!!
This is an album that makes death metal and thrash proud. This is pure metal worship, paying homage to bands like Carcass, Death, and Megadeth. Catchy thrash riffs that gives you the urge to violently thrust your head back and forth. You could really hear the old school Anthrax and Megadeth influence in the riffing. Three different vocals attacks: the decipherable growly Carcass-style vocals, deep thick death metal growls, and those inhuman gurgles coming from the bellows of a monster. Drums never get all blurry, that's a good thing. You could hear the clear pounding unlike in a lot of other death/grind bands that do nothing but blindly throw in sloppy blast beats just because they can. There's solos in just about every song, not the most technical but damn good and still requires guitar shredding skill, works with their formula of simple old school hardcore thrash modified with the intense elements of death metal. Easy to get caught up in their infectious grooves, which they produce continuously. The intros some of the songs have got a creepy Halloween atmosphere. There really isn't anything to complain about, they give you all the solid qualities you want in metal: Good riffs, good solos, good drumming, good growls, good everything, nothing to bitch about. If you haven't heard Ghoul yet, you have no idea what you're missing. Death metal, grind/splatter/gore, thrash, hell, maybe even power metal fans, can salute Ghoul for this pure metal masterpiece that reminds us all of why we love metal in the first place. Gotta love that violent comic-style album cover too.
GHOUL - We Came For The Dead !!! (Razorback Records~2002)
Wow ! This is top notch Gore Death that has a good amount of humour and skill involved. The band, who has taken a liking to the old style horror movie themes, is made up of three guys who all take on vocal duties providing a multi faceted arrangement of gurgling, throaty and rough growls. The guitar excellence is demonstrated by the fact that not only is it full and crunchy but you also get some kick ass solos throughout ! These guys pay homage to some of the top Death / Grind bands (CARCASS, AUTOPSY, MACABRE) and do it damn well ! As an added bonus they also manage to spice up MEGADETH´s 'Skull Beneath The Skin'. So, if you miss CARCASS (especially, as I see the strongest influence coming from them) and love quality Death / Grind then don´t hesitate for a minute to head to www.razorbackrecords.com and order yourself this latest release by the undead. An outstanding album ! Recommended song: 'Tomb After Tomb'.