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False? Not Quite! - 80%

corviderrant, February 24th, 2006

I really dug this album when it came out and I remember it as one of the few death metal albums from the early 90s that was worth a damn. Colin Richardson's production and mix really made these guys stand out as both professional and proficient, as you can hear everyone really well--even Jan-Chris de Koeyer's thundering distorted bass gets a fair shake in the mix. And it has a really powerful rumble to it underneath the guitars. The drum sound is slightly "plinky"--triggered, maybe?--but otherwise you can really hear Ed Warby's furious pounding in perfect clarity.

Jan-Chris' vocals also stand out, as instead of incoherent Cannibal Corpse-style (Chris Barnes era, anyway) grunting, he lets out a powerful roar that is remarkably coherent as death metal vocals go. He even made a point of dissing DM "vocalists" who "Cup the mic and bark like dog!" in the liner notes. It makes his politically and socially charged lyrics more convincing since you can understand him pretty well, obvious Dutch accent aside.

Did I mention his lyrics are politically and socially charged? A radical change from their earlier Cannibal Corpse-like gore nonsense era, and a change I enjoyed, as I prefer lyrics with some intelligence to them. And his lyrics were viciously barbed and pointed in addressing matters like fascism/National Socialism, racism, falseness and lies and hypocrisy, and of course that old time religion.

Musically the band shows it can hang with equal parts melody and chaos, as Frank Haarthoorn and Boudewijn Bonebakker lay down riffs and solos that are very heavy and melodic, respectively. Their leads are for the most part haunting and memorable (album opener "The Glorious Dead" is one fine example), but they can tear out Slayer-like atonal screeches and howls with the best of them. They even dish out a fine and poignant twin-guitar harmony lead segment in the last song.

"The Glorious Dead" and "Second Face" are good examples of their faster, more chaotic blasting approach, but they also unleash some killer slow tunes like the ultra-morbid "Reality-When You Die" (the ending riff benefits from squawking pinch harmonics that make it sound so much more evil!) and the wrenching "State Of Mind". J-C even whips out some Napalm Death-style high shrieks on the chorus of "Get-A-Life". Strong and relentless are the best words to describe Gorefest's overall approach musically.

This is really a good solid album with abundant power and conviction, and I recommend it to all serious deathsters who want a taste of what good Euro death can be.