Seven Doors – Feast of the Repulsive Dead Review

U.K. death metal strikes early in 2023 with a debut full-length from Seven Doors, the one-man OSDM project by Ryan Wills. With a horror-inspired theme and a firm grounding in the classics like early Death, Massacre, and Cannibal Corpse, Feast of the Repulsive Dead’s formula is riffy, relentless meat n’ tatters death designed to keep one foot on your neck and the other up your strata-chocolata. And in this, Mr. Wills is quite successful, displaying an ear for hooky riffs and pulverizing compositions. Nothing here is farm fresh and the entire point is to exhume the rancid husks of the past and parade them through the streets and into your living room for one more ghoul’s night out. It’s a gruesome and profoundly unoriginal strategy but it just might work (again, for the millionth time). Let’s commence the ceremonies and see what’s behind the cryptically numbered doors.

After a charming intro steeped in the Italian horror soundtracks of the 70s and 80s (written by Acid Witch’s Slasher Dave), you’re off to death race 2023 with the bruising free-for-all of the title track. It’s like a best-of collage with bits of Massacre, Autopsy and early Death sutured sloppily together, but the tasty riffs and frantic energy keep you nailed to the listening wall throughout. Mr. Wills is an inhuman riff machine, hurling a steady stream of ass-kicking leads into the void and he spices things up with surprisingly melodic and technical solos that hint at the works of James Murphy and Chuck Shuldiner. “Stalked, Strangled and Stabbed” sounds like a wisely rejected Cannibal Corprse title and there’s more than a little of their caveman death in the writing and delivery. “Welcome Back to Life” has especially stout, stomping riffs and a focused assault that makes one feel like lifting heavy things for no good reason. There’s even a faint whiff of Bolt Thrower buried beneath the remains. “The Hack Shack” similarly features ripping brainbuster lead lines and enormous energy output approaching prime Swedeath territory, and “Isolated Existence” loots the crypts of early Slayer for a thrashy, vulgar display of borrowing. Cuts like these suggest Mr. Wills is capable of some big, scary things indeed.

There are some dodgy moments scattered about the crime scene, however. “The Morbid Mortician” is much more generic in flavor and consistency, lacking the hooks and sheer force heard elsewhere. It’s like a third-rate Cannibal Corpse outtake and just doesn’t bring me to the morgue for the autopsy and ice cream social. “I’ll Swallow Your Soul” is better but still not a complete triumph and leaves an underwhelming impact. Otherwise, this is an entertaining platter with some very good moments that stick in the ribs like a freshly sharpened K-bar. At 44 minutes, Feast feels just about the right length and doesn’t overstay its rotten welcome. The production is fine too with a beefy, abrasive guitar up front and in your face.

With Ryan Wills tackling everything everywhere all at once, it’s hard not to be impressed with what he’s cooking. He’s a very good guitarist and quite adept at crafting heavy, crushing death riffage. His soloing is fluid and emotive, making visitations to tech and prog territories along the way. The best tracks work due to his brutish leads and the album is full of romping, stomping guitar heroics that’ll force a smile from even the most jaded metalhead. His death vocals are very effective, often sounding Rogga Johansson-esque, and his bass and kit work are solid as well. I came in expecting drum machine bludgeoning, but as far as I can tell, he’s really bashing the skins into gut paste.

Feast of the Repulsive Dead is a wargrinding battering ram of an album with riffs for days, and I can certainly get behind that. It has some glitches but they aren’t dire enough to derail the album’s fun quotient, and there’s a lot to like here. I’m looking forward to hearing more from Mr. Wills and Seven Doors. His template is a good one and delivers more often than not. I recommend answering the door(s) and seeing what lurks on the other side. Bring cheap beer and low-rent friends or vice versa as the situation allows.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Redefining Darkness
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: January 27th, 2023

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