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Dr. Shrinker
November 2004
Released: 2004, Necroharmonic / Blood Harmonic
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

Does anyone out there still remember Dr. Shrinker from Milwaukee? The band recorded three demos (the last two were truly brilliant) and unfortunately disbanded for good around 1990-91. If you were involved in the underground tape trading scene back in the day, I’m certain Dr. Shrinker’s name popped up when checking through huge tape lists of other traders around the world. I first became familiar with them when Chris Reifert from Autopsy sent me some flyers about the band’s first two demos and recommended them to me. I’m glad I ordered Dr. Shrinker´s demos straight from the band because I still, even today, consider them as one of the most unique, interesting and catchiest death Metal bands ever! Any way, if they’ve remained an unfamiliar name to you thus far and you haven’t been able to check them out, then here’s your chance to correct that minor flaw in your collection.

Roy from Necroharmonic Productions made a great move by re-releasing all the Dr. Shrinker demos in one package in 2003 and I can tell you that this CD belongs in the “must get” category, particularly if totally frenzied, twisted, sick, gut-ripping, death metal means anything to you. As far as uniqueness was concerned, they were basically without any serious competition because no other band sounded like them in the early 90s. They were the true uncrowded kings on the very top of their own hill until the day they were no more. Now the music lives on through this disc which is a perfect run-down of Dr. Shrinker’s whole career, presenting perfectly how unique, talented and highly original they actually were in the early underground death Metal scene.

The first twelve songs on GROTESQUE WEDLOCK are taken from the band’s heavily traded 45 minute WEDDING THE GROTESQUE demo which they recorded in 1989. That demo starts off with an intro that has been borrowed from the “Hellraiser” movie. Right from the first song “Tools Of The Trade” all the way up to “Wedding The Grotesque” the whole demo is nothing but pure death metal heaven. Dr. Shrinker’s savage, excellently murderous, sinister, insane, mesmerizing, necro-harmonious, pummeling, relatively technical, frighteningly enjoyable, shamelessly catchy, at places even kinda primitive and simply damn ear-tickling death metal has left it’s mark in my memory books as one of the finest gems of the early underground death metal scene.

The next two songs on the disc, following the WEDDING THE GROTESQUE demo, have been taken from Dr. Shrinker’s most mature and finest work ever, THE EPONYM demo. “Tighten The Torniquet” and “Germ Farm” are true works of a genius. Both songs show clearly how much the whole band had matured from the days of their original demo recorded in 1989. I really cannot put my thoughts into words in order to describe what a couple of fuckin’ killer songs those two songs are. If I recall correctly, Earache Records was interested in signing Dr. Shrinker during the time they got this demo released. It’s a huge pity that they disbanded before they could get signed.

The last five songs on the CD are taken from the band´s 1988 demo titled RECOGNITION. This is Dr. Shrinker in their most primitive and raw form when they were still looking for their own brand of sound and wanted to be recognized by releasing some noise amongst the other up-coming death metal acts in the underground Metal scene. However, the whole CD is an absolutely fine tribute to one of the most underrated, highly remarkable death metal bands ever. Dr. Shrinker were, are and will always be the true gods of sinister death metal.

So get this - and learn a bit more why so many consider the late ´80s / early ´90s underground metal scene as the classic era of the underground metal scene... ;=)
Track Listing

01. Tools Of the Trade
02. Mesmerization (of a Corpse)
03. Fungus
04. Rawhead Rex
05. Cerebral Seizure
06. Dead by Dawn
07. Open-heart Surgery
08. No Way to Live
09. Pronounced Dead
10. Chunk Blower
11. Bacterial Encroachment
12. Wedding the Grotesque
13. Tighten the Tourniquet
14. Germ Farm
15. The Command
16. March of the Undead
17. Graphic Violence
18. Inverted Direction
19. Free At Lasssst!!!


Rick Noonan – Vocals
Jim Potter – Guitar
Chad Hensel - Guitar
Scott McKillop - Bass
Tony Brandt – Drums

(NOTE! Dr. Shrinker had the abovementioned line-up in their last recording titled THE EPONYM 2-song demo in 1990 / Luxi ´04)

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by Luxi Lahtinen

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