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Noktorn, April 23rd, 2009

Based on almost nothing, I would say Engorged is the snake's head responsible for the thrice-cursed 'Razorback sound'; that combination of thrash, death, and grind which makes me want to have an aneurysm out of pure irritation. A small handful of bands have managed to pull it off and make it seem enjoyable- Splatterhouse comes to mind immediately- but for the most part it's a style which I find almost completely odious and embarrassingly insipid. This isn't an indictment of Razorback itself, really, because they've released a lot of music I really enjoy, but that particular style that label had such an infatuation with for a while is quite simply one of the most awful styles I've ever heard in extreme metal. And what better band to epitomize that sound than Engorged, a band with ties to both Frightmare and Blood Freak yet somehow more annoying than both of them combined.

First and foremost, this is excruciatingly long; clocking in at nearly an hour of b-movie samples and bland riffs, this is about fifty minutes longer than I could ever possibly stomach. But of course the whole problem with the length is predicated by the quality of the music itself, which, in my estimation, is pretty goddamned low. There's fourteen songs on this disc and they all sound exactly the same, and the one song that exists is a boring and go-nowhere procession of overused musical ideas and a lack of unique character. Engorged's style is exactly the same as any number of other Razorback denizens: fast, thrash-influenced death metal riffing over a more grind-inspired drum performance which is willing to go into a blast at times while high/low vocals alternate over everything. Variation is limited; occasionally a thrashy break will occur or perhaps the tempo will shift around a bit to allow for a power chord-based groove to emerge, but for the most part it's all about the thrash riffs and skank beats.

None of these elements are particularly offensive on their own, but Engorged uses exactly the same elements on EVERY FUCKING TRACK. There's almost nothing to differentiate one song from another apart from what boring, poorly implemented sample is used to introduce it, and this isn't even the kind of music where I can say it's 'consistent'. Although I guess it is; it consistently sucks and is a consistent waste of my time. Had I not heard this exact style of death/thrash/grind a dozen times before, this might have at least novelty to back it up, but unfortunately I have and so this just ends up sounding like the bottom of the barrel I've heard so often. The songs are lazily constructed with extremely similar death/thrash riffs being used on each track, an unvarying drum performance, and very simple, uninteresting vocal lines wrapping each track in a pretty bow of suck.

It's never the music of this style that ends up bothering me so much as its idiotic and repetitive aesthetic. I'm sure that everyone in the fucking world worships at the altar of old b-horror movies by this point, and it becomes incredibly irritating when I have to listen to yet ANOTHER band that thinks reiterating that 'Night Of The Living Dead' was, like, totally sick bro is a novel concept. The overly self-conscious songwriting and sub-Municipal Waste titties'n'beer lyrics are not only lame, but overused and uninteresting even in their best of incarnations. I fully accept that metal doesn't necessarily have to be 'serious' to be a quality listening experience, but it would be nice if the bands themselves would pretend to give a shit on occasion.

If you're a fan of the Razorback style of death/thrash/grind there's no reason not to get this, so why not go out and pick it up for cheap. I can hardly stop you. Anyone else, though, can easily avoid this stuff: it is a representative of a style with no redeeming qualities that in and of itself has even FEWER redeeming qualities, putting it somewhere in the negative redeeming quality territory. Utterly tragic music and agonizingly drawn out. This is like smelling the burning of your own scrotum.