Gruesome – “Twisted Prayers” (Relapse Records)
Man, if you loved “Spiritual Healing” by Death then you’re gonna love this! Continuing the legacy of Chuck Schuldiner comes Gruesome’s 2nd release complete with Ed Repka artwork and guest guitarist James Murphy!!! Founded by Matt Harvey, an underground legend in his own right through Exhumed, and featuring former members of Possessed and Malevolent Creation, this veteran band plays it authentically just the way Evil Chuck did and oh so well too, being a natural continuation rather than some retro rehash. Clearly acknowledged judging by their fanatical following right from the beginning just 4 short years ago, Gruesome brings all the gore and guts of the old school to current stages and festivals for all to revel in bloody splendour ha ha! Using the same logic of simple but massively catchy riffs enhanced by fretboard technicality and backed by a fierce, anabolic rhythm of vicious bass barrages and powering double bass drums, the 9 intense and even more addictive tracks do Schuldiner’s legacy proud along with commendations to the band themselves for their performances here. From the ultra brutal chopping bliss brought forth by ‘Fatal Illusions’ with its catchy tempo and time changes, accompanying melodies and precision drum work, Harvey and Daniel Gonzalez (along with Murphy) unleash those neo classical Rick Rozz solos to devastating effect and you are caught up in the mayhemic maelstrom! Roaring in with ‘Crusade Of Brutality’ and we’re back to the eternal glory that was “Leprosy” (my fave Death album incidentally) and the buzz saws along with the pumping drums do the work before the solos whip crack evilly away as a technical passage showcases the talents of all the guitarists. Whirring into diddly dee frenzy on ‘At Death’s Door’ matched by the piston double bass pedals, Harvey’s guttural roars pitch in perfectly to add to the shock horror possession that the incredible material has on the listener – quite simply, headbanging heaven ha ha! And speaking of possession, they even throw in a searing cover of Possessed’s ‘The Exorcist’ at the end so what more could you ask for?!?!