One of the things I love about death metal is that I always find it appropriate. Walking to work? Absolutely. Working out? Yes please. Spring cleaning? Why not? Volturyon, Swedish purveyors of all things death, are a band clear in their understanding of this and eager to churn out an absolute riff-fest to facilitate any and all spur of the moment gym sessions… or vacuuming. Although returning with their third cold slab Cleansed By Carnage, this was my first dance with Volturyon and after a cursory glance at the line-up, my interest was truly piqued upon finding Christian Netzell, formerly of In Mourning handling the drums and none other than the increasingly ubiquitous Alexander Hogbom (October Tide, Centinex) on vocals… could it be that the overlords at AMG had given me a quality release as my first assignment? As it turns out: yes, because this hits pretty damn hard.
The amount of gratification you will glean from this depends, in no small part, on your opinion of the George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher fronted era of Cannibal Corpse because despite hailing from Sweden and harboring the current vocalist of Centinex, Volturyon play a decidedly Floridian and particularly Corpse flavored brand of death metal. Opener “Pile of Human” sets the album up and encapsulates Cleansed By Carnage nicely with its concise riffing and penchant for robust grooves; the album follows suit almost entirely – occasionally peppering the blast-and-groove pattern with the odd vaguely melodic solo, something I found particularly redolent of the Jason Avery fronted Monstrosity.
There’s a lot of fun to be had on this release and during my first few listens, my neck suffered considerably. The huge, staccato chugging of “Fungus Coat” and “Hinterkaifeck” (narrating the still unsolved brutal German murders) had their wicked way with me and for a time all was well. However, after a while my attention began to stray from what is undeniably very black and white brutality. The obvious Corpse worship on “The Perfidious Idol” and “The Capital of Perverse Punishment” is unashamed and as a result fails to resonate with the roundhouse punch the rest of the album so deftly delivers, and thus my attention began to wander. Articulate and intricate death metal this is not, which by and large is fine, but if I wanted to hear a Scandinavian band playing an overt facsimile of this style, I’d do what everyone else does and throw on some Blood Red Throne.
I was, however, particularly interested to note that Volturyon manage to offer up some genuine malevolence amidst the brutality on a couple of the cuts here. “Swiping Salvation” and in particular, closer “Pleasure of Molestation” craft a surplus of ominous environs throughout their respective run times with the latter boasting a doom laden intro of nigh Asphyxian proportions. Alexander Hogbom drives the entire endeavor with his dry and concussive growls, putting in a performance and final product, which manage to topple both of his other mildly disappointing (I’m looking at you October Tide) releases this year. The muscularity of his delivery coupled with some seriously and deliriously infectious riffing kept my head in a perpetual state of motion.
Volturyon, have put together a belligerent bevvy of riffs which kept me in very welcome company all week. There is an overriding sense of fun on display here, and although Cleansed By Carnage in no way reinvents the wheel, it really doesn’t try to; originality is not what this band are peddling. It’s an unfortunate irony though, that from their most apparent advantage also comes their looming deficiency; that from the chainsaw wielding, bloodied madman on the cover to the so patently re-purposed musical themes, it was occasionally difficult not to want to dip into the discographies of the influences Volturyon so proudly display on their sleeves. A band I will undoubtedly be keeping an eye on.