|Embalming Theatre/Hacksaw Surgery|
Company: Grindhead Records
Reviewer: Al Kikuras
Will remind you of the glory days of the Death genre
Ahh, Embalming Theatre. One of the unsung heroes of death metal. Hormones From The Dead, their '95 release on No Escape Records, had me crapping my pants. Now they are back witha release on Grindhead Records and I am happy to hear that they haven't lost any of their charm on the ten tracks that make up their half of this split. Emblaming Theatre are a quirky but solid grinding death metal band that incorporates melody, the occasional curve ball of a hand clap or just straight-up bizarre part, but maintains being heavy and brutal throughout. But... somehow... friendly. Like a sick dog that you want to pet but you're kind of worried you might catch a parasite or it might turn on you and take off a few fingers. The song "With the Flesh of the Deceased" alone has more good riffs in it than entire Unique Leader Records discography combined. "Combine With A Turbine" is primo Embaling Theatre. Blasting and grooving and then a breakdown that has an almost reggae feel with an accordion part and deep guttural vocals. Like Macabre if they slowed down, with ET it is all about the attitude and the majesty of the riff and it doesn't get much better. Give me old school and memorable over the death metal Yngwie any day.
This is my first exposure to Hacksaw Surgery. The production is muddy in an appealing demo-sort of way, with the vocals often overdriven. I love it because it reminds me of old demos from bands like Decomposed (the NY one), Corpse God (the one from Pennsylvania), and Pax Mortis. Now, I realize those are bands that most of you are probably woefully unfamiliar with, but if you are at all an old, gnarly death metal flunkie like I am you will know the kind of stuff I am talking about. In fact, if this isn't a demo set to wax (there's a throwback term for you), I'll eat my feet. In the wake of Embalming Theatre's tsunami of deathy goodness, Hacksaw Surgery falls a little flat. They do throw you for a loop here and there, and I like the stuff they have on the split... it is good, nasty death metal. However, hearing the two back to back you just can't help but notice the huge difference in the power of the punch both the material and sound have from each band's half. Did that sentence make sense? Fuck it, I don't know. It is still early (11 AM) and I am not even halfway through my coffee. Going back and listening to JUST Hacksaw's half for the purpose of finishing the review, the boys can certainly hold their own and I absolutely would like to hear more from them, but following something like ET's frenzy they might have wanted to get into a real studio.
Well, it's a short split at just over 20 minutes so I'd call this more of an EP than a full-length, but even if you're paying a full-length price it's worth your green to hear two death metal bands that will not only remind you of the glory days of the genre, but open your ass up wide and cram 25 years of death metal history up there until it pops your eye right out of your head.