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Still bulldozing toward a record deal - 94%

Gutterscream, March 13th, 2005
Written based on this version: 1989, Cassette, Independent

"We dug up little Cathy today. We dug her up so she could play. We fucked her hard, we had our way with her corpse on exhumation day..."

A year passes since the NJ four-piece's furious '87 demo, Death Warmed Over, and like I said in the review of that slab, they're going to be heard, record contract or not. No line up changes or additions, and expectations of rage dangle from my thoughts. Six searing tracks later and my expectations haven't committed suicide.

Splattered Remains features quite a few songs that would be drafted into their sole lp's catalogue, but the real enjoyment of hearing these songs again is witnessing their original design undisturbed by the three years between demo and lp; "Rift of Hate", "Deeper Demons", "Anti God", and "Sado-Masochists from the Grave" (re-titled "Feeling Pleasure Through Pain" for the lp). What's even more interesting is realizing that some of these original versions are just as good as (and in instances possibly even better than) the reworkings for Dreaming With The Dead.

With "Rift of Hate" all is pretty parallel in thrash intensity until the chorus charges over the hill. While the chorus on the lp version melts down to a super-slow chugger with backing vocal cries and Ruth digging deep for more demonic zest, the demo's chorus only bogs down to a moderate jog with Ruth's usual roar and much less backing vocal ardor. The revamped chorus definitely strengthens the song's overall identity, providing a real stand-out point in the track, yet the original that had already given me whiplash for three years has that flowing simplicity that seems to connect - maybe it's just me, but I think both are formidable.

The "Anti God" versions hardly stray from one another, both maintaining the jackhammer double bass at the start, the weird vocal/rhythm interaction, and Ruth's immense scream (with the one on the lp underscored by a guttural growl that still amazes the hell out of me). Meanwhile, the demo's "Sado-Masochists From The Grave" detonates a slightly larger mushroom cloud than the re-titled lp track does, perhaps a half-notch faster here with unusual lung pitch diversity and a more dominantly refaced chorus.

As far as the demo-only stuff, "Exhumation Day" has always been a high point of the tape and it is a shame it only sees the rays of daylight here. Morbidly humorous gore lyrics, a chaotic main riff, and a doozy of a chorus provide all the nourishment this thrash assault needs, and the wickedly stylish way Ruth sings the line "sodomize your lovely severed head..." is just a treat. The finale on the tape, "Stone Garden", is another whirling onslaught of speed, intensity, and perhaps the most memorable chorus of the bunch.

The production takes a minor upturn from Death Warmed Over, but is still layers away from the mix on their '90 demo and light years from the one on the lp. Being so used to lesser productions on most earlier demos, the muddiness and unkempt form is almost a welcome, if not expected, feature.

Yet again, this will not awaken a record contract for the band. They'll have to wait two more years and a couple hundred screams.