Thursday, 5 October 2017

Gruesome - Savage Land

GRUESOME - Savage Land (RELAPSE Records LP 2015)
I know that such idea as "tribute band" can be controversial. And there will be as many people, who will dislike it as there will be those, who will love it. Let's then skip this useless discussion and focus just on the music, shall we? Gruesome from Florida is obviously a tribute to the legendary music of Chuck Schuldiner and his band Death. Everything about Gruesome's debut LP "Savage Land" screams DEATH! The logo is in similar style as Death's. Some of the lyrics are about similar horror themes. They even used Ed Repka for the artwork, so the same artist, who did some splendid artwork for early Death albums. And obviously the music was meant to sound like Schuldiner's. To be more precise, it had to sound like "Leprosy". it was a purpose. 
Did Gruesome achieve that? Oh yeah! It amazes me how well they managed to capture that feeling of "Leprosy" and come up with similar music and style on these eight brand new songs. Exhumed's Matt Harvey is the man, who's mainly responsible for songwriting and I have to say he did great job and truly managed to recreate that characteristic riff and melody style of Schuldiner. Even his vocals sound a lot like Schuldiner's, who always had such a unique, screaming voice. Some people may say that he only copied ideas from "Leprosy", because clearly many fragments of "Savage Land" will give you a "deja-vu" feeling (especially beginnings of the songs). But who cares, if the result is so good and these new songs truly fuckin hit the spot? I wonder how much time did it take Harvey to get into this style and compose songs, which would actually sound great and interesting, and not just like useless copies. His riffs are splendid, I also love these very few melodic parts, which you can find on "Savage Land". The guitar work is excellent and the duo of Daniel Gonzalez and Matt Harvey really can match the quality of Schuldiner / Rick Rozz. Oh, their leads are fantastic and the whole guitar playing is smooth and aggressive. The drumming of Gus Rios is better than Bill Andrews'... So, what else can we wish for? 
I suppose the only question is who will want to listen to "Savage Land"? Moaners shall say that if they will want to listen to Death and "Leprosy", then they will spin "Leprosy", not its "copy". Some others will have doubts if we can even treat Gruesome seriously. Hmm, after an extensive listen to "Savage Land" I can say this: I've been a fan of "Leprosy" since I was a kid, I bought it on cassette around 1991. I know this album from every fuckin second. And I have to say that when I listen to "Savage Land" I have a feeling of listening to something I love, but fresh. It's not like a microwaved food, but rather making it again, but with fresh and new ingredients. Gruesome took the old recipe, stayed faithful to the old formulas, but came up with music, which sort of refreshed the old school death metal of Death. It was just nice feeling to listen to this record, it was almost like giving a spin to an unknown Death album. And this is probably why I like it. I may have had some doubts in the beginnings, but scepticism is always bad for music. It's better just to give it a chance. I definitely do not regret giving a chance to Gruesome. "Savage Land" is an awesome album and I can only recommend it. 
Oh, it's good to use your vinyl download card this time, as the digital file contains a couple of bonus tracks, which are covers of "Land of No Return" from Death and "Black Magic" from Slayer. Both very well executed of corpse! 
Standant tracks: "Trapped in Hell", "Hideous", "Gangrene" 
Final rate: 80/100 

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