So you're a big fan of Death, Obituary, Autopsy, and Morbid Angel are you? Well welcome back California's newest and most popular revival of old school death metal, Gruesome. The band blew up big time last year with their debut LP, Savage Land. For a while, there was scarcely a rock you could hide under without some small mammal crawling up to talk about this album. The band (featuring current and former members of Exhumed, Possessed, Malevolent Creation, and Derketa) self-produced the new EP, Dimensions of Horror with Jarrett Pritchard at New Constellation Studios in Orlando, FL. It is a tribute to Death's Scream Bloody Gore (which is also being reissued) and features cover art once more by Ed Repka (Death, Atheist, Massacre).
I'll be honest and admit that I didn't see what all the fuss was about over Savage Land. I liked it enough, but I've never been much of a Death or Leprosy fan. My personal OSDM fav went to Diavolos. Even so, I appreciate what Gruesome are doing. Creating a throwback sound can be difficult to do if you are still trying to stand out, but this is a band that has managed to walk that line like professionals. And all the while they don't take themselves too seriously. A lot of what was great about the 80's and 90's era death metal was that it was taking awful things and flipping to script on them in shocking and sometimes humorous ways. This EP does that. Exhibit A below.
If you took the time to watch that video and didn't at least crack a smile, you are dead inside. Gruesome is the B-Horror movie of death metal right now, and they are owning every second of it. More importantly, the music is solid. Tracks like "Forces of Death" and "Seven Doors" are brimming with energy. The raw production amps up the nostalgia factor while the snare drum caves in your skull due to its relentless and violent pounding. The guitars are not to be outdone with the alternation of gloomy power chords and tremolo hooks so fast they threaten to wear the fingers down to the knuckle.
When your album features a song called "Raped By Darkness" calling back to Evil Dead, you know you're doing something right. This album is just plain fun, end of story. It's not original, it's not a textbook example of high caliber songwriting...but it never set out to be those things. In a way, my own rating system doesn't apply here, because this music comes from an era that didn't give a sh#t about that. Dimension of Horror cares about two things: inducing head-banging and being as anit-pop as possible. Simple goals thoroughly achieved. Let's party.