embalmer - crypt coverThe most lauded element of Ohio gorehounds Embalmer‘s past work was the deranged voice of former vocalist Rick Fleming. As cited on their Wikipedia page (clearly written by someone close to if not in the band), “In 2013 the band parted ways with vocalist Rick Fleming, who subsequently robbed the band of the remainder of the band fund before going into hiding.” Under the “Former members” section he is listed as “Dick Fleming.” Not likely a typo. Ahhhh, Wikirevenge! According to Fleming himself (when interviewed by fellow legendary death metal vocalist, former Internal Bleeding gurgler Frank Rini), “They owed me money and they think I owed them. I tried to negotiate and I had property broken and vandalized.” So, the most defining member of the band now gone with clearly no chance of reconciliation, can Embalmer carry the gory goblet forward?

The Buckeyes of brutality’s second full length in 27 years, Emanations from the Crypt, is a vile piece of shit and I mean that in the best way possible. As if Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was based on a snuff film instead of a Disney cartoon, this is the most maniacal and demented Embalmer have sounded since the Rotting Remains demo. Best known for the 1995 EP There Was Blood Everywhere, plainly stated, Emanations wipes the floor with it. While new vocalist Paul Gorefiend doesn’t quite scrape the depths of the guttural as Rick/Dick did on their “Angel of Death,” “Bone Box,” he comes damn close right out of the gate on “Dead Female Stalker.” At a short 2:18, the album opener makes it clear that Embalmer are back with not just a vengeance but a bloodlust so strong they’re leaving a trail of drained and violated corpses in their wake. The mere 31 minutes that comprise this beast packs enough of a beating to leave the listener battered and bloody but with a sense of filthy guilt as if your own trouncing turned you on. You can’t help to wonder what’s so fucked up about yourself that you find pleasure in something so perverse.

“I Am The Embalmer” follows and for over two minutes blasts along at breakneck speed, but despite the lack of variation in tempo, works so well thanks to the infectious guitar riff the song is based around. Then, just when you think you’ve wrapped your mind around the chaos Embalmer are bridling, the title track slows things down to a funereal crawl and Gorefiend finally cock punches Fleming with a belching bellow so deep it hits China. The longest of the tunes written by this lineup at 3:44, “Emanations From the Crypt” displays that Embalmer are more than just shock and awe and, despite the unwavering ugliness, have some solid songwriting skills. This is most evident on “The Casket Calls,” which never goes beyond a mid-paced sludge but loses none of the edge or insanity because of it. Around 1:18 into blaster “Botched” the band drops a Chris Farley riff that may be the thickest throughout this whole abomination and play it for only 30 seconds, showing some serious restraint. The production has a live and cavernous feel similar to Deranged‘s Rated X, an earmark of the gore and death genre that keeps things sounding wet and visceral, adding to the disgusting undertones.

Like the dearly departed Eric the Midget, Emanations is short but savage. The performances are organic rather than machine-like as is often the case with many bands that tread similar gore-infested waters. These fuckers sounded genuinely demented, not like a bunch of jocks that decided to start a grind core band in between reps at the gym. The penultimate track, “They Can Smell Our Blood,” (the last song proper aside from outro “The Graveyard Fog”) is a re-recording off their debut full length, 2006’s 13 Faces of Death. It’s easier to overlook one of, if not the most overused samples in death metal (“When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth” from Dawn of the Dead) considering this was originally released over a decade ago. Playing the two back to back makes evident how much nastier 2016’s Embalmer are. Rare is it that in this age of broadcasted beheadings and mass killings worldwide that a slab of music can make the skin crawl, but Emanations does just that. Fucked up music for a fucked up world that has restored my faith in inhumanity.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Hell’s Headbangers Records
Websites: hellsheadbangers.bandcamp.com/album/emanations-from-the-crypt-2 | facebook.com/embalmerofficial
Releases Worldwide: April 1st, 2016

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  • Wiki-Wengeance!

  • Kalsten

    That song sounded great. I like the cavernous mood, and I think that the production is great for that! I’ll keep an eye to see if they release it in Bandcamp :)

    • Name’s Dalton

      It’s available for pre-order now.

      • Kalsten


        • Name’s Dalton

          Why, Bandcamp, my good man. That’s where I found it.

          • Kalsten

            I think my brain is malfunctioning (I’ve been writing my PhD thesis non stop for the last month), but when I go to the bandcamp linked at the end of the review, I see that they are selling the album “There was blood everywhere”. How can you see the album of the review in their bandcamp?

          • Name’s Dalton

            I had the same issue, so I searched “Embalmer” and found the album page.

          • Kalsten

            Oh, thank you for the tip :) Maybe they changed labels or something?

          • Name’s Dalton

            There Was Blood Everywhere was released on Relapse. New album is on Hell’s Headbangers.

          • Ein Sophistry

            For some reason, I read that as “Hell’s Hamburgers.” I assume those are made exclusively with sacred cows.

          • Name’s Dalton


          • Many thanks! Just updated it even though it is a long ass URL. Also, “Polar bear fell on me.”

          • Name’s Dalton

            Obscure! I like it.

  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    This is vile in a way 99% of brutal death metal is just incapable of achieving. Spot-on review, and the “wet” sound you mentioned here is just disgusting in the best way.

    • Thanks my friend!! It took death metal to make disgusting beautiful!

  • Martin Knap

    I need this kind of shit in my life!

  • Name’s Dalton

    Pre-ordered. Loved the review, Al. Cracked me up.

  • Thatguy

    Yep, very nasty and a great review.

  • Westpaceagle

    Wow,spot on review. I feel disgusting but can’t help smiling/grimacing.

  • Reese Burns

    Yeah, this is an insta-buy for me. Great review.

  • Pimpolho

    It sounds perfect for anyone who likes death metal. I do not like death metal. It still sounds dope as hell. I like this.

    • You SAY you don’t like death metal, but I’m pretty sure you’ve ok’d some melodeath in the past. Soon, the brutal death shall take you. And lock you in a room. And. Well I think you know what happens next.

      • Pimpolho

        Spooky Scary Death Metal. Yeah, i like Amon Amarth, Insomnium, Krisiun, Kataklysm… I doesn’t go much further than that. I tried to listen to the new Wormed album and was like “nah”. If i get locked in a room with Brutal Death Metal, i will try to play a gory and butchery game of chess with it. Really not my thing.

        • I like Kataklysm up to and including Temple of Knowledge (Kataklysm Part III). When they stopped sounding insane I got bored

          • Pimpolho

            I really liked Of Ghosts And Gods. I still listen to it on occasion. Thanks to Diabolus.

          • Pimpolho

            Sylvain was for sure a damn beast, though.

          • Sylvain made the band for me.

        • Westpaceagle

          Its a slippery slope Pimpolho…probably because it is covered in gore. I used to avoid brutal death, and still find most of the bands repetitive and uninspiring, but then something like this gem from Embalmer gets its rusty hooks in you, and the next thing you know you are looking for the most outrageous nonsense on bandcamp because Cattle Decapitation sounds too mainstream.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    I’m disappointed in myself that it’s taken me this long to realise your username is just a play on “I’ll kick your ass”

    Unless it isn’t and that’s your actual name, in which case I am either terribly sorry or extremely jealous depending on your reaction.

    • It isn’t, it’s Greek.

      • [not a Dr]

        That just raises more questions…

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Woah, what a review… Kudos, Al, you could sell a comb to a bald person.

  • Gaëtan Baratin

    The sludgy riffs in the embedded track sound like the illegitimate child of Black Sabbath and Deicide.

    • Crap, I wish I had thought of that….

      • Gaëtan Baratin

        Edit the review, I’ll pretend I didn’t see anything. 0:)

  • Dobbie03

    I need this.