Nerve Saw – “Peril” (Testimony Records)
Formed a decade ago when Sadistik Forest bassist / vocalist Markus Makkonen decided his own band were heading into a more technical direction, and in a strong desire to return to the classic death metal defined by the likes of Obituary, Six Feet Under and Master, Nerve Saw was born! Despite recording a debut EP called “Call Of The Casket” in 2010, the label didn’t sign the band and ultimately never issued the release until Old Skull Productions decided to pick it up and issue it in 2017 – some six years later. During this time, however, Markus decided to evolve the sound further to include Finnish punk as well expand the solo project into a band with the recruitment of guitarist Heikki Matero (Farewell, Se, josta ei puhuta) and drummer Michael Dorrian (Anatomy of I, ex-Doomspeak, ex-Mutilation Process, ex-Sinister (live)). The result is “Peril”, which truly lives up to its name! Besides its obvious old school brutality of filthy guitars and massive distorted bass, the punk element adds a nasty edge along with Makkonen’s own highish raw vocals which lend more to black metal – so, a truly amazing blend of styles across the 11 electric tracks here. Best of all though, is that the material features tons of balls heavy death n roll grooves that brazenly swagger and waylay into you at every instant, and as such make this debut truly catchy as well as extreme! Just check out the grim and nasty main riff on ‘Empty Heart’, as its gloom doom utterly drenches your soul while Makkonen’s screamo simultaneously rips out your heart in a classic example of how a simple but highly riff can be employed to devastating effect! Rocking in faster is ‘P.I.A.T.’, which also brings in a massive death n roll groove made all the more intense by Makkonen’s huge, distorted bass and contrasts so well with his throat raw singing. Reminiscent of Motörhead with Matero’s punky guitar and its chugging rock n roll beat is ‘The Eye Of The Golem’, stoked by Makkonen’s twanging rhythmic bass and Dorrian’s double bass drumming roaring out another catchy but also somewhat epic atmosphere in a nice twist. Closing in the feedback of ‘Wolves Of The 80s’ it’s just distorted death n roll abundant with its thick, filthy riffs coolly sliding in the massive grooves touched off by Matero’s melancholic melodies in a fine nod to the old school of Grave, Dismember and Entombed. A monster release in every regard, this one cuts straight to the bone over and over again.