The 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.
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