Written By: Gothmog
Death metal has pretty much gotten to the point where if you’re not doing something new and cool with the genre, then you’re damned to be unknown for the rest of your career. Even though tours like Summer Slaughter are covering every corner of the genre, some bands are just not willing to progress any further and stick to what isn’t broken and doesn’t need fixing. It’s always been a selective genre for me, one where I rarely find a band that catches my attention and keeps me interested. Slaughterday’s EP, Ravenous is self described “old school death metal” and it’s pretty much the bastard child of Autopsy and Entombed, taking writing and production cues from both bands respectively. So is this traditional-influence a bad thing?
No. Ravenous is a purely fun death metal EP (Depending on your definition of “fun”) that does their influences justice. And if you’re like me and impatiently waiting for the next Bloodbath album to come out, or for something along the lines of Left Hand Path era Entombed, then you’re totally in luck. Slaughterday have those fuzzy guitars like true Entombed worshipers, but they also have those inexplicably nasty moments that make Autopsy so heavy.
The title track starts off as your standard death metal fare and it immediately becomes obvious how influenced the band is by classic death metal, judging from the rushed tempos and the blistering guitar work. But around the two-minute mark, things start slowing down and getting filthy as Slaughterday takes the bridge and stretches the song out. The tempo shift helps keep the song from becoming background music for browsing the internet, and it really helps it come into its own.
Similar approaches are taken throughout the rest of the EP as Slaughterday channels that slow tempo, nasty death sound to makes some incredibly enjoyable moments for a genre so commonly associated with songs over 190 BPM. The intrinsic satisfaction within the material is helped by the band and their production choices. The Entombed style guitars (Provided by Jens Finger, also the bassist) make even the faster parts sound filthy, and combine that with vocalist/drummer Bernd Reiner’s low growls and grunts and you’ve got something that sounds really gruesome and horrible. Sitting in the middle of everything is the band’s extremely fat bass tone, which adds a considerable punch to the already fuzz-heavy guitars. It’s not the best produced death metal you’ve ever heard (far from it), but considering their influences, it’s perfectly acceptable.
Lyrically we’re not breaking any ground here, either. It’s your standard death metal stuff, with violence, death, and the whatnot being the main topics. Closing track “Ave Satanas” makes the switch to Satan, but considering it’s a Acheron cover, it gets a pass. However, something feels odd with closing the EP with this cover, as the last impression of the band you’re getting is them playing another band’s song.
But even with these gripes, Slaughterday are enough to hold you over until another great death metal album gets dropped. The old-school style is welcomed and their tempo shifts keep things interesting, avoiding what could otherwise subject their music to a “been there, done that” reaction. They wear their influences much like any metalhead would wear his favorite band’s patches on a denim jacket, and that’s perfectly okay because they manage to hold your attention for the entire EP.