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Gorefest used to be a band which reduced me to a squeeling fanboy. When “False” came out, it was on my “things I couldn’t do without an a desert island” and “things I would put into a ‘space capsule’” lists. Yeah, embarassing – to put it mildly. I even enjoyed “Erase”, which alienated much of the band’s death metal fanbase, and it was only the death’n’roll excesses of further releases which managed to finally put me off them for the next decade or so.
When “La Muerte” came out I was nearly impressed again. Still, nice though the album was, it had some major flaws. It felt a bit overlong and incoherent ( or sloppily-written, if you like). Take track three –“You could make me kill”; it starts with King Diamondesque guitar harmonies and is, by and large, a slow heavy metal song , but with unimaginative death metal drumming, which sticks out like a sore thumb. I could muster a similarly scathing comment about most songs, which just goes to show the album wasn’t exactly what I had been expecting the re-formed Gorefest to be capable of ( not that I really had been expecting that much; just a figure of speech, see? ).
Then “Rise to Ruin” was released and my prayers were answered. I’m back in the fanboy mode. I’m in awe. It’s almost religious. Most nights for the last couple of months my going-to-bed routine has been something like: “Gorguts? Gorerotted? Surely not Gorefest again?! ... Yeah, go on then…”
What exactly is so good about the latest release? In a word: everything. Although it doesn’ t feel so much different from “La Muerte” (take first tracks: similar sound, similar structure, similar riff count) it is that little bit better in every meaningful area. But then again, a little does suffice. Gorefest may not have been major mould-breakers at any point in their career, but this is the second occasion when they have used all the right ingredients in perfect proportions to achieve top-notch output. You’ve got it all here and then some. Apart from the trademark lotsa sludgy goodness interspersed with faaaarghst death metal passages and melodic leads there are some pockets of, well, experimentation? Nothing too off-kilter, of course. Take that middle bit in “Revolt”; it’s like a death metal version of the recitation passage in Maiden’s “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner”, isn’t it? Still, it does the trick surprisingly well, creating the much desired ominous atmosphere.
The overall sound of the guitars is a surprisingly contemporary mean of “False” and “Erase”. There is plenty of attention to details and though I would never call the band’s songwriting baroque there are lots of little hooks that dig into your subconscious. The first twenty-five seconds of the album alone make it worth your money. Isn’t that buzz of amplified guitar pick-ups with a few muted string creaks a brilliant idea? It gives you the feeling of having the band play a private show in your house, or you being in their rehearsal room. Then the riff kicks in and then the lead arpeggioed fast as hell in that unmistakeably GOREFEST way. Yes!
It’s just not my style to do a track-by-track, so I think this will have to do for now. If, like me, you love the masterpiece that is “False", you are likely to enjoy “Rise to Ruin” as much as I do. Quality, mate! Can they match it in future? I certainly hope so.