More than any other medium, music makes the listener feel a unique picture. I’d never heard Mest before this year, but “Rooftops” puts me right back into that glorious summer between grade school and high school where fun was everywhere and worries nowhere. This year’s records by Midnight Priest, Paladin, and Idle Hands scored my week-long summer trip to South Carolina with friends and family, and those records evoke memories more vivid than the photographs do. It’s winter again, and Ulver’s first three records express the beauty and wonder of the season that left us when we grew up and got annoyed at clearing a foot of snow off our cars so we can dutifully trudge to work. Horrific Demise’s debut record Excruciating Extermination conjures a world where Harambe comes back and decides to use your scrotum as a speedbag. That’s right, it’s one of these again.
Horrific Demise’s lineup has an extensive collective resume (Gorgasm, Necrotic Disgorgement, Lividity, etc.), but such minor details are for the birds when you’re getting clobbered by a nonstop barrage of classic Florida death metal like Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, and Monstrosity but with added slams. Lead guitars are the good stuff like Monstrosity’s latest and Deicide circa 2006. Vocals avoid slam’s gurgles and burbles, opting for something like primo Benton mixed with Corpsegrinder on Vile. Bloodbath’s Nightmares Made Flesh is a spiritual companion to Excruciating Extermination, as both records are a fun-filled and riff-laden celebration of classic death metal with a modern touch and real passion. But enough of that — it’s too close to objectivity. Let’s get back to Horrific Demise’s special ability to wreck your innards better than two 40s of Olde English.
“Born from Brutality” has my favorite metal false start of the year, beginning with some Spanish-sounding acoustic guitar, transporting you to a Telenovela set. Then the death metal barges in — the on-set bull goes berserk, and you’re gored and dragged through a nearby China shop. The searing solo is the burn of alcohol sloshing into open wounds as you’re dragged through the abutting tavern. It’s over in an exhilarating three minutes. The best part? There are still eight more songs here that will warm the death metal fan’s heart by cleaving open his chest with an axe, forcing a flamethrower into the cavity, and letting it rip. As one example, “Cleansing the Putrescence” has an Internal Bleeding influenced slam so thuggish that when I listened to it in my car my windows were immediately smashed, my wallet stolen, and my left eye black.
Excruciating Extermination is so chunky that it absolutely decimated its competition at a chili cook-off. Horrific Demise just fired your personal trainer and took his job. Excruciating Extermination is the brutal hammering of falling privates-first into a running jackhammer. Horrific Demise represents more Florida-style death than getting eaten by alligators on bath salts. Excruciating Extermination shreds harder than an industrial-sized woodchipped stuffed with the bodies of the entire Manson Family. RIYL: Death metal. RIY-Don’t-L: wimps and posers.
Tracks to Wreck Your Neck but Help Your Bench Press Stats: “Born from Brutality,” “Maggot Ridden Human Feast,” and “Until Only We Remain”