Clearly opting for an old school approach to death metal, Brutally Deceased play brutal, distorted riffs over vicious, propulsive drums and top the whole thing off with a guttural roar. So far, so deathly, but what sets these guys apart is their ability to instil their songs with a sense of melody and nuance that many death metal bands miss. For sure this is as heavy as it gets and the production is admirably raw, but every so often a solo pierces the gloom and you realise that there is more going on over the course of this thirty minute album than you might have originally surmised.
Opening with the perfectly titled ‘lustful sodomy in the house of God’ the title hints at an early-Cradle-of-filth playfulness while the music is suitably intricate with stunning lead runs permeating the murk. With elements of Darkthrone’s more recent motorhead-aping output as well as hints of Cradle and Satyricon, Brutally Deceased have a strong black metal thread running through their music – certainly the production has more in common with the blackened realm than with the glistening sheen of most modern technical death metal – but that rawness is what gives this album its character and it makes it a more engaging listen. The title track is up next and it has a chunkiness that recalls the Swedish death metal scene with throbbing riffs underpinned by devastating percussive blasts keeping interest levels high. ‘Blissful desecration’ tests Tomas Halama’s skills with the huge, thick riffs of the intro giving way to a searing verse whilst Zlababa slowly tears his throat to pieces over the vocals. As atmospheric as it is hard, it’s a great track that is heavy and exhilarating in equal measure.
Up next is ‘they shall feast’ a blistering attack on the senses that hinges upon one brutal central riff and Stefy’s quite phenomenal drum skills. It’s a startling heavy-metal attack that will absolutely slay live and which grabs you by the throat from the moment its riff detonates from the speakers with a force that causes the unwary to draw breath. Adrenalin fuelled, this is death metal as it is supposed to be, played from the heart with skill and conviction and it sounds immense. ‘…and here I die forsaken’ is equally epic in scale – the sort of track destined to become a live favourite thanks to its slower, darker approach. Like all good bands, brutally deceased have discovered that variation is required to make an album stand out and here the band emphasise their power with a brooding, slowed down piece of blackened thrash that recalls Slayer’s finer moments with a stunning precision and vicious animosity. ‘A life once aborted’ sees things return to their former blistering speed and the drums in particular (recorded without triggers we are informed) are deeply impressive although perhaps a little overbearing in the mix on this particular track. ‘Demise of the human swine’ is a misanthropic ode to everyone that has a slinky, complicated riff that slips in and out of the grasp like an eel before being nailed down for the pounding verse. ‘All that rots and withers’ is as fast as you could possibly want it with Stefy apparently endeavouring to give the berserker a run for his money before final track ‘override of the overture’ closes things with Thomas given one last chance to enflame his fret-board with his monolithic, stunningly heavy riffs.
Death metal is a genre that, when played well, stands at the very forefront of musicianship and extreme metal. It is also a genre that played badly can become overwhelmingly dull. Brutally deceased avoid the pitfall of the latter by mixing things up on the CD, with slower more methodical tracks breaking up the grinding speed and allowing a sense of light and shade to flourish within the album. Solos are tight and exceptionally good while the drums are in a league of their own, and yet what gives Brutally Deceased their edge is the raw, loose feel that everything has. While technicality and proficiency have their place, Brutally Deceased play with astonishing skill whilst still sounding like a band playing in a room together and I have no doubt that live they will be able to replicate their adrenalin rush songs. Occasionally the production seems to be in awe of the drums to the point of being overwhelmed, but overall this is a strong, brutal slab of pounding death metal that will sit proudly upon the shelf next to bands such as Slayer without looking out of place. Brutal and exciting, ‘dead lovers’ guide’ is a thirty minute adrenalin rush of the sort metal-fans are always looking for. Exceptionally worthwhile.