Church of the Dead
Vol. 1 Stay Out of My Grave
Released: 2013, Night Lust Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
I’m a sucker for some quality old school, blood, guts, n’ gore death metal, which is precisely why I’m digging Finland’s Church of the Dead so much right now. The band’s debut EP, VOL. 1 STAY OUT OF MY GRAVE was released in January, and is a middle finger in the air “F@#K YOU!” to anything resembling modern metal. Reminiscent of bands like Massacre, Dismember, Necrophagia, Autopsy, Obituary, and then some, Church of the Dead summon the best elements of an era since passed, but without sounding dated or retro. Quite to the contrary - it sounds fresh and genuinely pissed off, and it sounds gloriously goretastic.
VOL. 1 STAY OUT OF MY GRAVE features 3 tracks and an intro, each of which are stylistically a bit different but all of which retain the overall vibe of the band’s mission. “Nekrovulture” is full on galloping speed death, and while I’m not exactly sure what a “nekrovulture” is from a zoological standpoint, the song itself is a ripping first impression. Vocally, the band employs a Carcass/Exhumed style high end scowl/low end growl approach that helps to add some flavor to the tunes, and is much more interesting than the usual guttural grunts and barks. “Beheaded, Scooped, & Displayed” is a more mid-tempo cruncher, but no less musically threatening, and “The Abyss” sits somewhere between its predecessors. Riff wise it reminded me a lot of those classic trance inducing Bolt Thrower rhythms, which is to say, it’s pretty awesome.
I cut my teeth on this breed of death metal during its glory days, and it’ll always have a special place in my cold, blackened heart. But there’s a lot of bands that miss the mark when trying recreate that vibe, and thankfully Church of the Dead is not one of them. The band’s got some Euro festival appearances lined up for the Spring and Summer, with plans to release VOL 2. TERROR TALES sometime around May of this year. Which if VOL. 1 is any kind of indicator of what Church of the Dead has in store, consider VOL. 2 to be on my most wanted list for 2013. VOL. 1 STAY OUT OF MY GRAVE is sick, scary, old school fun, and it’s a release that any serious fan of the genre should check out. Visit the Church of the Dead website for purchase info and a Night of the Living Dead inspired video for “Nekrovulture”.