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Nightmare physicians - 85%

gasmask_colostomy, November 14th, 2020

These 4 French death grinders know their trade extremely well. Opening with ‘Autopsy’, a vividly sampled track with calm yet chilling narration from a mortician, the horrors of the human body are laid bare. This is not only another sick grind release though: Putrid Offal have lurked in the underground since 1991, splitting up and reforming without releasing a full-length of new material, and now cough up a cracking release based on Andreas Vesalius’s 16th century medical book Anatomica Fabrica. From the deep roars and sick, puking growls laid down by Franck Pieffer and a handful of guests to the ferocious riffing and dynamic changes of pace, Sicknesses Obsessions justifies the 3 decades of incubation.

Though slightly hinted at on a series of early splits and more recent re-recordings, Putrid Offal have really honed their musical style to an art form. Frantic blasting hammers through songs like ‘A Rot’s Caress’ and ‘Pallor Mortis’, yet the surprise use of operatic female vocals on ‘Glorify Me’ and ‘Viscera’ proves the depth of the quartet’s knowledge of pathology in aligning Enlightenment medicine with religious transgression. All the same, the wicked momentum of ‘Let There Be Rot’ and ‘Charnel House’ can’t be discounted either. Perhaps bound to be aligned with the Carcass school that includes General Surgery et al, Sicknesses Obsessions really merits wider listening, even beyond the Agathocles and Pungent Stench influences that birthed the band. After listening to such a thorough 35 minute sermon on the human body told through the art of deathly grind, one might even wonder if Putrid Offal were nightmare physicians in a former life.

Originally written for Metalegion #7 -

Putrid Offal - Sicknesses Obsessions - 89%

Edmund Sackbauer, September 10th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, CD + DVD, XenoKorp (Digipak, Limited edition)

Putrid Offal are some kind of cult band within the scene. They had been active in the underground during the nineties but disappeared at some point. Quite surprisingly they returned with an EP in 2014 and their first (!) full length “Mature Necropsy” on XenoKorp in 2015, which received quite positive feedback. Five years later they are back with album number two titled “Sicknesses Obsessions” and once again they bring a nice dose of relentless old school death metal with a few hints of Grindcore, which mainly come in form of the short song lengths and the appropriate lyrical themes.

All the trademark elements for that kind of music are in place: pummeling drum patterns, buzz-sawing guitar parts and beastly vocals are all present. The lads never sacrifice tightness and controlled playing and are still able to unleash the highest possible level of animalistic rage and fury. The sound is raw and quite Swedish sounding, putting enough dirt into the music to convince each fan of that kind of stuff. The riffing is straight-forward for most parts, departing from the main path only in exceptional cases. The trademark chords have a very traditional character and are pitched against some short but perfectly implemented lead harmonies.

The tempo is quite high in most songs with only a few well-placed groovier parts, which come as welcome chance to take a few breaths before the pummeling attacks star again. Death metal has moved in many different directions since its heyday in the early nineties. But regardless of what new and various sonic directions it runs headlong into, at its core it remains a subgenre obsessed with brutality, and Putrid Offal have no intention to change this fact.

As well something enjoyable is the structure and the progression from one riff and melody bleeding into the next one, and then another, and then again…until certain pieces are repeated all over again, often with some subtle adoptions. This also proves that the rhythmic content is well structured and properly performed, and while overall there is a certain monotony inherent in this album with all tracks following the same formula, the songs fly by and are real fun. The vocals are deep and brutal and thankfully the band abstained from implementing effects like pig squeals.

The production is absolutely brutal, with the HM2 (or something similar) used to get out a very crunchy guitar sound. The sound is thick and punchy, perfectly underlining the relentless nature of the music. That being said the mixing has been carefully done, so that no instrument nor the vocals get buried in the overall sound. While maybe not as outstanding as the recent output by their fellow countrymen and label mates Mercyless “Sicknesses Obsession” is a fun ride and thanks to a classic cover easily worth adding to the physical collection.