GRAVE INFESTATION – PERSECUTION OF THE LIVING
DEATH METAL FOR DEATH METAL'S SAKE
With the band name and album title you know fine what this sounds like already. The gory sleeve art and songs called Slaughter, Then Laugher, Plague of Crypts, and Human Jigsaw Puzzle only confirms that this won’t be competing with the new Liam Gallagher or Christina Aguilera offerings in the summer album charts.
This is death metal. The primitive, sludgy, maggot-ridden, basement torture horror movie type. With not even a faint trace of originality, you will have heard this countless times before. So how do you write an album review of something that hasn’t been a novelty for about three decades? What reserves of wit and waffle are needed to give an original description of the unoriginal? Well, handily, the whole task is made easier, much easier in fact, when the material is really good and, mercifully, Persecution of the Living isn’t just good, it absolutely rips.
If you like your death metal unreconstructed and of the wobbly down-tuned, drain-full-of-innards variety then this will indubitably hit the fetid G-spot. Put simply, Grave Infestation absolutely go for it. Persecution of the Living is a pummelling blender of primitive, murky Autopsy, Obituary or the echoey rumbling of Hellhammer. If you think that is not an uncommon concoction in this genre, you would be right but the likes of The Conquest of Pestilence has a riveting uncaged, incendiary energy and feistiness that fair gets the blood pumping.
The riffs billow enthusiasm and vim with careering, but optimally placed, time changes and gutsy slams. Some of the punky bassiness bounces along with demented glee and is augmented by caterwauling guitar squeals and piledriving bludgeon and addictive riffing. The energy levels fuel things along for the duration of the record though it isn’t all warp speed as the title track has a reverberating, tortuous crawl and - believe it or not - a really neat ‘chorus’ hookline and Plague of Crypts is slow-mo horror. The vocals are entirely in-keeping though pretty much invariably set in the low-register under-the-floorboards guttural delivery. The drumming performance, meanwhile, is particularly strong and consistent with piston-like hammering during the driving thrash passages but with fills and flourishing that optimise rather than over-decorate the tempo changes. The whole thing is over and done with in under 40 minutes and leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, which is as it ought to be.
Essentially this is death metal for death metal’s sake. It’s immune to trends and doesn’t care a jot what decade it might be. It’s played by musicians who are fans. It’s a type of music that never really dies, but instead just grimaces away in its own world in a darkened corner in vomit-stained boots, waggling its tongue and pulling devil horns. Absolutely, repulsively glorious.