Released: 2014, Cyclonic Empire/Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Holland’s Bodyfarm step into the WABAC machine for their second album and travel to early ‘90s Sweden, when the likes of Entombed, Dismember, Unleashed and Grave were pioneering their roughshod death metal and its trademark Sunlight Studio-born buzzsaw tone.
The decidedly old school The Coming Scourge captures the grit, gruffness and chug of that time and place with remarkable, if reverential, aplomb for a good chunk of the album. Head-down, battering-ram tempos and gnarly riffs drive tracks like “Frontline Massacre” and “Vortex of Terror” with attack-dog fury and single-minded intensity. There's nothing terribly complex or involved here, just raw, retro brute force. The more primal, Viking metal tinges of “Enter the Eternal Fire,” which concludes the album, introduces more of the Unleashed - and even late-period Bathory - influence with its merciless pounding hooks.
Midway through, though, the band do change things up a bit and take The Coming Scourge in a more contemporary direction for a stretch that actually features the album's best and most varied material. The acoustic interlude “Eden's Destruction” segues into the black metally “Well of Decay” with its fierce tremolo guitaring and unexpectedly hooky chorus that come as a welcome surprise. “The Frozen Halls” contrasts that with its doomy, lurching pace before exploding near the end in a crescendo of blast beats and guitar grind. “The Siege of the Mind” offers a menacing, galloping groove and provides Scourge with its most mosh-worthy moments.
Bodyfarm are certainly more interesting and entertaining when they move beyond their old school comfort zone here. Though the throwbacky stuff is well executed and certainly powerful, it still sounds a bit too familiar and played out, leaving The Coming Scourge as a good album that could have been a great.