If you’re ready to start off 2019 with as much brutality as possible, look no further than Meathook’s third full length Crypts, Coffins, Corpses which dropped on the very first day of the year. The Arizona based band has entered their twelfth year of existence but there was a fairly lengthy gap between this release and 2012’s Facing Deformity, with only a three-song demo in between. Though they may not deviate from what one might expect of brutal death metal, the songwriting and production values stand out and make Meathook’s latest worth your time.
One of the areas where brutal death metal can be hit or miss is in its recording quality. Though some may chalk that up to preference, the overly compressed and tinny nature of a lot of albums in the genre can make them hard sells. This is an area where Meathook once again stands out from the rest, as the sound comes through like a wrecking ball capable of demolishing everything in its path. There’s just enough separation between the instrumentals to allow the guitar work to grab your attention from one song to the next, and the overall sound has a good deal of old-school feel with just the right amount of modern sheen. When it comes to the writing, Crypts, Coffins, Corpses sticks with a familiar switch between unrelenting blasting and mid-tempo grooves that lumbers forth with precision. It may not be reinventing the wheel, but there’s enough variation between these shifts to make the songs distinguishable and the slower sections are sure to get listeners headbanging as hard as possible. Meathook keeps things on the short side with the whole album running at just over half an hour, and this allows the album to hit hard without dragging on to the point of repetition.
Vocalist Mars Gonzales has a guttural growl that perfectly suits the band’s material and adds an extra layer of grime and weight to each of the songs. While his pitch stays at a similar level for much of the album, the amount of distortion and inhuman feel of the performance is appealing. Rather than burying the growling underneath the instrumentals, on Crypts, Coffins, Corpses they’re slightly above them in the mix which makes each word seem that much more intense. Add in some well-placed horror samples at the beginning of some of the tracks, and you have a brutal death metal album that remembers to be truly brutal.
Meathook may be pulling from familiar territory, but they do it well and have enough slamming grooves and guttural blasts to hold your interest for repeat listens. For anyone with an interest in the brutal end of the death metal spectrum that wants a grimy yet well produced album, this is a great way to start your year off. Crypts, Coffins, Corpses is out now on Unmatched Brutality Records.
-Review by Chris Dahlberg
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