Released: 2007, AFM Records
Bloodsoaked German quintet Debauchery have returned with their fourth full-length CD since their 2003 debut, and in case you somehow couldn't tell from song titles like "Masters Of The Killing Art" and "Baptise This World In Blood," they play death metal...mid-tempo, downtuned, heavy-as-all-hell, no-frills, gory-lyric-strewn, glass-gargling-vocalled death metal. If that description sounds vaguely familiar to you, there's a good reason for it. Debauchery are basically the German version of Six Feet Under, down to the fact band founder Thomas's vocals sound a lot like those of Chris Barnes.
Now with that in mind, you may recall a couple years ago, Six Feet Under released (or perhaps "puked up" is a better term) GRAVEYARD CLASSICS 2, which featured a rather monotonous cover version of the entire AC/DC classic album BACK IN BLACK. Looking at the cover of BACK IN BLOOD, and noting its similarity to the cover of BACK IN BLACK, you may think to yourself "uh-oh. Not again!" Fortunately, Debauchery's latest release is not attempting to remake the AC/DC institution of rock, but instead creating tracks inspired by the music of that album. While most of BACK IN BLOOD is written very much in the (sliced open) vein of SFU, songs like the "Hell's Bells"-ish opener "Lords Of Battle," the hilariously over-the-top "Butcher Of Bitches," and especially the absurdly catchy "Death Metal Maniac" were clearly inspired by the works of the Young brothers and contain a similar sort of hard rock/metal 'three chords and an attitude' style the Thunder From Down Under are (in)famous for. The lyrics and vocals? Well, those are another matter entirely, but suffice it to say they work well enough in their context - fans of gore-soaked death aren't going to find anything too far removed from what you'd expect from any given SFU release. The remaining tracks on the album are no slouches either, and with the exception of the title cut - which drags on at the beginning for way too long - everything else here is all killer, no filler. Every song is chock-full of groove-laden, whiplash-inducing riffs, spastic, chaotic guitar leads, and gutteral vocal roars. Favorites are hard to pick as they're all solid tracks, but "Manhunting" is the fastest of the bunch, blazing along with murderous intensity, "Masters Of The Killing Art" has a monster groove to it, and "Praise The Blood God" scores the win for most "evil"-sounding with its sadistic-toned, effects-drenched chorus.
Then of course, there's the bonus CD, which in itself is reflective of Six Feet Under's much-maligned GRAVEYARD CLASSICS albums...except Debauchery had the good sense to record their cover tunes and give 'em to the listeners as "bonus tracks" rather than to put 'em out as a separate release and expect their fans to cough up the money for it. And, like all cover-related CD's, the results vary greatly from one track to another. Faring best are the Rammstein track, which was pretty vicious to begin with, and - unsurprisingly - the Six Feet Under track, though oddly enough, Debauchery choose to play the latter on acoustic guitar but with the death vocals still in place. Most of the rest are exactly what you expect...musically getting relatively close to the original but utterly butchering the vocals. If you have a sick enough sense of humor, you can enjoy this and laugh along with the band as they obviously don't take these renditions...or themselves...too seriously but most listeners will probably listen to this once for the train-wreck factor of not being able to look away and then never play it again.
Bonus disc aside, this is a damn good, damn brutal midtempo death album which suffers somewhat because of its highly derivative nature - but not much, because Debauchery is nearly as good at being SFU as SFU are themselves. If you just can't get enough of this style of death metal, you cannot go wrong with BACK IN BLOOD.