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Charnel House
From Birth to Burial
March 2002
Released: 2001, Independent
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

Charnel house kicks off with a cool sample and off we go, Classic American metal. What the hell does that mean exactly? Well, It’s not exactly death metal, the vocals are rough, raw and aggressive, often coming across more in a shout-style than pure screaming or singing. The drums are too slow to be speed metal or thrash, in fact the pace of the whole CD is mid-temp with occasional bursts of speed. I maybe would have preferred more speed with occasional lulls in tempo, but that’s just me.

So the best way to describe Charnel House is classic heavy metal. A nice blend of aggression and power. Not classic in the Iron Maiden way, more a modern edge with hints of Pantera, Pissing Razors or Skinlab. This NYC five piece put together quite a nice package although the cover is a little dull. An evil crib in a dark, rotted crypt or Charnel House would have been cooler, to match the title. Overall the lyrics are leaning more to the death side of things, with tunes like “Comatose in a Coffin” reading like classic early 90’s death metal and “Terrorist” are a little more modern and political. Good stuff!

CH write some good strong songs. The production is a little weak, but that is often the case for bands starting out, time and money are the enemy. With all the absolutely killer, high caliber competition out there, I would like to hear CH crank it up a notch, a little faster, a little heavier. They could also succeed if they tried to slow down and explore some of the great crushing grind-grooves that are on this disc. Either way would be good but right now it seems the band hasn’t quite found their true calling.

This one was weird, my critical instinct said there was not much special about this disc and yet because I couldn’t match any influences and the songs are well done, I ended up really liking it. I say this often but when CH gets their break, and I’m sure they will, if they get picked up by a good label that can get them a producer and studio they will be a force on the metal scene. The band are slated to appear at the NJ metalfest this year!
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