Excruciate (Australia) – Bound And Gagged

Excruciate are massive fans of Australian horror film ‘Wolf Creek’; their debut album, ‘Bound And Gagged’, is littered with samples from that film, with all the blood-drenched gurgling, feminine screams for mercy, and sinister slashing and rifle-cocking sounds intact. The first track (with possibly the most brutal song title I’ve ever heard in ‘I Fucked Her Chunks’- it has a percusiveness to the words themselves above and beyond the mere meaning) begins and ends with a sample from that film, and, in all honesty, it fits the music pretty well. There’s a certain predatory quality about this music, like a single-minded spree killer murdering as many as possible before the police are able to deal with the country-level threat. You can’t really call it atmospheric, but you can call it ridiculously violent and hateful.

The style played on this album reminds me a lot of mid-late ’90s brutal death like Fleshgrind; that band in particular seems to be a big influence, though the sound here is more modern, with less groove and more straightahead intensity. You know how those bands made brutal death metal by taking the general idea of Suffocation but removing the dynamics, thus making music that was convoluted and technical yet simpler and more direct than that band? That’s what’s going on in ‘Bound And Gagged’: a binary sort of brutality created by a constant pulse of blasting, squealing vocals, and ultra-tight guitarwork. Every note on the guitar seems as abbreviated as possible through excruciatingly tight palm muting occasionally breaking into rivers of tremolo before jerking abruptly back into that chug chug SQUEAL style that we all know and love. The music here feels immensely brutal, much moreso than most other death metal bands on the market, and part of this has to do with how direct it is. Binary drumming, binary vocals, binary guitars all just punishing the listener, like a slightly more dynamic Aeon.

The music here is violently amelodic and generally crushing. The somewhat degraded production, with thin, dirty guitars, actually somehow adds to the overall sound, especially with the ultra-tight string playing that defines this LP. To seemingly combat the incredible tightness and precision of the instruments are the vocals, sloppy, loose gurgles and squeals right out of goregrind. It forms a pleasant contrast to the normally technical and clinical delivery with an added grotesquerie that keeps it sick: the fantastic double-layered forty-two second growl at the end of ‘I Met Her At The Morgue’ is unbelievably cool no matter who you are simply due to how unbelievably excessive and hilariously sick it is.

This is about as brutal death metal as brutal death gets, so I can’t see this being something that detractors of the genre will enjoy. Fans of brutal death metal in its purest form will be utterly addicted to ‘Bound And Gagged’, though, and it’s easy to see why: everything’s undeniably and obsessively brutal, with each element calculated specifically to sound more vicious with every passing second. If you’re a big fan of Fleshgrind, Deaden, or other, similar artists, this is an album that simply has to be acquired to be believed.

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~ by noktorn on November 29, 2007.

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