Deathvomit / Necropolis
There’s a reunion of sorts on the cover of Engorged. A man-eating crocodile, hordes of rotting zombies, undead soldiers of COBRA, terrorized women, shit there’s even the Not Man from the old Anthrax album covers. Does this hint at all at the contents within? Oh my fucking god yes, greatness (and maybe even hell) awaits! Fucking COBRA soldiers (from good ol’ G.I. Joe) with maggots in their mouths!
Engorged are so fucking grimy and lo-fi. The drums sound like pots and pans being beaten by a hyperactive toddler. The guitars have that godlike muddy thrash demo sound, except for the solos, which ring out surprisingly melodic. And the musicianship goes beyond the usual realms of gore, voraciously consuming and regurgitating retro thrash and classic heavy metal. The vocals dip and veer wildly from a possessed rasp to a demented gurgle, to a hardcore bellow, with surreal shades of old power metal vocalists surfacing like zombies. There’s such a demented purity to their music and their unwavering devotion to their aesthetic touchstones — death metal, cheapo horror movies, and the villainous COBRA militia.
Firstly, they open the record up in style with the “chew bubblegum and kick ass” line from They Live and invoke the mighty S.O.D. with their own powerhouse stomp “March of the Engorged.” It ends, ahem, with a small sample of Cobra Commander from the G.I. Joe cartoon (someone’s been reading my diary)! “Cobra Rage” kicks off, as the song of my dreams should, with a sample from G.I. Joe of COBRA Commander and the Baroness brainwashing the audience at a rock concert, segueing into wicked thrash and a scream of “Coooooooobra” that would make Cobra Commander proud (in fact the vocals are all high and raspy like Cobra Commander). Remember when The Ramones covered the old Spider-Man theme? This is nothing like that. “Cobra Rage” revels in the dark underbelly of an organization of killers that sought to overthrow the US government, with the coolest outfits ever. And the song is probably their catchiest yet, all the best bits of Dark Angel and old Carcass compressed into perfection. And the “Kill! Kill! Kill!” chorus? Goddamn!
“Death Metal Attack” is cool on a conceptual level — because songs that explicitly reference the danger of metal are so necessary to keep up the essential sociopathic mystique of this music (YOU can’t understand this) — and a musical level. The distortion is so thick and muddy that you can feel it settle in your lungs. It’s a mid-tempo, double-bass laden, old school mosh classic that has deathgrowls interspersed with gruff, barked vocals, evoking the more Cro-Magnon ends of hardcore and crossover. “White Line Nightmare” is a blur of speed that still manages to distinguish itself from the grind-death masses with an incredible chorus, and catchy thrash riffing that almost sounds wrong (melodic). Engorged know what they’re doing as far as balancing the disgust with good songwriting. “Beer Guts” breaks out both the chainsaw samples and the insidious deep as fuck death vocals that sound like they are emanating from within the bowels of a corpse. Sick stuff — they did this on the Carcass tribute record.
The album closes with a serious conceptual coup. Four successive songs all titled after, and centered on, THE classic zombie flicks. So you’ve got “N.O.T.L.D.” (guess), “Dawn of the Dead,” “Zombie,” and “Day of the Dead,” all peppered with snippets of dialogue from each of these masterworks. Plus it sounds like Engorged are having a fucking ball during these songs, bloody tongues wedged in decaying cheeks. “N.O.T.L.D.” opens with the “They’re coming for you Barbara” bit, and actually, is a fucking scary song, all menacing riffs and subhuman groans. When one of the vocalists rasps, “Run Barbara… they’re coming for you,” I almost wet myself. “Dawn…” is very Repulsion-y in its ear-tearing grindcore and pained screams of “Dawn of the Dead!” “Zombie” is a creeping monster, and the beginning and ending interludes sure do sound like “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” “Day of the Dead” closes out a strong album with a last burst of Carcass gore, and by the time the sample of the female zombie says, “I can feel myself rot,” over an extended coda, I’m already hiding under the bed.
Necropolis Records: http://www.necropolisrecords.com