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Gorefest
La Muerte
March 2006
Released: 2006, Nuclear Blast Records
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

Dutch death metal gurus, Gorefest, have returned from a lengthy hiatus with LA MUERTE, a 64-minute trip down old school lane that immediately brings to mind the music of Swedish contemporaries Grave, Unleashed and Entombed. I will admit to having missed Gorefest the first time around and LA MUERTE is my first exposure to this band. After amassing six albums in the 90s, Gorefest went their separate ways after 1998’s CHAPTER 13, an album that moved away from the band’s initial death metal sound a la Entombed. Thankfully, the classic rock angle explored there has been dropped in favor of a return to their roots on LA MUERTE and Gorefest are ready to shake the cobwebs out at get on with things. Jan-Chris DeKoeijer’s bellow owes as much to Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway as it does to Unleashed’s Jonny Hedlund and in looking at DeKoeijer’s current photo, it appears that he spent his downtime as an Andy Warhol impersonator rather than honing his death metal growl because there is little to no variety in it. Guitars are thick and crunchy with a solid rhythm section laid down by DeKoeijer and drummer Ed Warby but Warby’s drums are placed a tad too high, often dominating the mix. Still, LA MUERTE sounds like Gorefest has embraced their true calling and barely missed a step despite an eight-year break.



“For The Masses” gets things moving with a swift kick in the pants by Ed Warby’s double bass assault. Frank Harthoorn’s riffs are basic and to-the-point without a lot of technical frills. In a parallel that the band may or may not accept, “When The Dead Walk the Earth” could easily be mistaken for a Six Feet Under song with a mid-paced groove, DeKoeijer’s ultra-low growl and the downtuned guitar riffs overtop of lyrics about mobile zombies. DeKoeijer’s call-to-arms at the conclusion of “You Could Make Me Kill” is believable enough in its dedication and it becomes obvious that Gorefest have been drinking from the well of Swedish death-and-roll bands on “Malicious Intent.” Unfortunately, Warby’s drums are just too dominant here and while the double bass is crushing, the cymbals pound away at your skull like the dreaded Chinese water torture. The first third of LA MUERTE is memorable and unyielding but the middle third totally falls apart with formulaic songwriting and a sense of sameness. The final third fares a bit better with impressive guitar solos from Boudewijn Bonebakker (great name!) on “Man To Fall” and “’Till Fingers Bleed” but the ten-minute instrumental title track that wraps up the album is a meandering, pointless mess that I will never ever have the patience to sit through again.



If one is to believe the hype perpetuated by the label’s promo materials, the return of Gorefest is akin to the resurrection of Christ himself, but it seems obvious to me that Gorefest were never one of the “heavy hitters” to begin with. Yes, LA MUERTE is a solid, old school slab of death metal but I am certain people were not lying awake at night, praying to the Metal Gods that if the stars aligned properly, Gorefest would one day patch up their differences and millions of fans could come out of self-imposed exile. Fans of Gorefest will do cartwheels but for the rest of us, there is no need to miss work/school to be first in line to pick up LA MUERTE on release day.



KILLER KUTS: “For The Masses,” “When The Dead Walk The Earth,” “You Could Make Me Kill,” “Malicious Intent,” “’Till Fingers Bleed”
Track Listing

1. For The Masses
2. When The Dead Walk The Earth
3. You Could Make Me Kill
4. Malicious Intent
5. Rogue State
6. The Call
7. Of Death and Chaos
8. Exorcism
9. Man To Fall
10. The New Gods
11. 'Till Fingers Bleed
12. La Muerte (Instrumental)

Lineup

Jan-Chris DeKoeijer—Vocals/Bass
Boudewijn Bonebakker—Lead Guitar
Frank Harthoorn—Guitar
Ed Warby—Drums

Other reviews

» Chapter 13
by EvilG

» La Muerte
by Lord of the Wasteland

» La Muerte
by Madman

» Rise To Ruin
by Mortuai


Next review: » Gorefest - La Muerte
Previous review: » Gorefest - Chapter 13

Gorefest
La Muerte
December 2006
Released: 2005, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 2.0/5
Reviewer: Madman

With all the reunions coming about in the past 6 years or so, it’s not surprising to find yourself being introduced to a band for the first time through their reunion album. Many times it’s an unfortunate situation since most reunion albums, even if they’re good, pale in comparison to the band’s past glories. Of course, there are exceptions, but, in general, you’re lucky to get something that’s good, let alone up to par with prior releases.



So here we are, it’s 2006; one year removed from Gorefest’s come back album, LA MUERTE and I haven’t heard a full album from this band before now. One thing I was wondering before I first listened to this album was whether I was going to get the death metal Gorefest or the death rock Gorefest that was prevalent on the last few albums.



The album opens nicely with “For the Masses”, which is a title that certainly betrays the music. Old school euro death metal permeates; this one certainly isn’t for the masses, in the general sense or in the metal sense. Lots of open chord riffs, a few blast beats thrown around, some very hoarse sounding death growls, a nice dose of melody, and some very heavy handed riffing make up the opening track. The overall sound is perfect for the death metal style, stripped down, dirty guitars with simple, yet effective, drums. Vocalist, and bassist, Jan-Chris De Koeijer, has a very hoarse delivery here, the main problem being that his voice is monotone and he doesn’t seem able to create very much variety within his voice, unlike many of the better death metal vocalists. Still, it does not affect the music in a negative way, just that it would have been a nice plus if he could have been able to throw in some little variations to accent the music here and there.



“You Could Make Me Kill” is a slow grinder. A fair amount of melody used to accent the music while rhythm guitars chug along. It’s interesting to hear the melody work in the chorus, especially against the death metal backdrop. Honestly here, at track 3, it becomes apparent that, while interesting, Gorefest don’t create music that is terribly enjoyable. Certainly all the elements are in place to create solid death metal and they even incorporate some interesting melodic ideas into the music, but it’s hard not to reach for the stop button, even if I do commend the band for not updating their sound and attempting to become overly brutal. In “Rogue State” the band create a simple groove, very rocking, but yet again, not terribly interesting. It feels incredibly dry and boring, there’s nothing I really feel like grabbing onto. Plus, throw in the spoken section before the solo and I really want to turn LA MUERTE off.



As the album progresses you get groove after groove after groove; the speeds ranging from slow to mid-tempo and rarely coming up over that. While I’m sure it’s fun for the band to play, it’s not something they play all that convincingly. “Man to Fall” brings the speed back up, going as far as to incorporate blast beats, but unfortunately I’m still just as apathetic to “Man to Fall” as I was to “Exorcism” (the preceding track). The rock and roll side of the band opens “The New Gods”, complete modern groove rock riff given the Swedish death metal guitar sound, which gives way to an almost Gothenburg-esque main chugging riff (with dual accents).



Gorefest, a reunion that needed to happen? Nah, not really. Though this isn’t coming from a long time fan of the band, this is coming from someone who’s only heard bits and pieces of the band’s back catalogue… so maybe, just maybe, this still might be for you.
Track Listing

1. For The Masses listen
2. When The Dead Walk The Earth
3. You Could Make Me Kill
4. Malicious Intent listen
5. Rogue State
6. The Call
7. Of Death And Chaos listen
8. Exorcism listen
9. Man To Fall
10. The New Gods
11. 'Till Fingers Bleed listen
12. La Muerte

Lineup

Jan-Chris De Koeijer - Vocals, Bass
Boudewijn Bonebakker - Guitar
Frank Harthoorn- Guitar
Ed Warby - Drums

Other reviews

» Chapter 13
by EvilG

» La Muerte
by Lord of the Wasteland

» La Muerte
by Madman

» Rise To Ruin
by Mortuai


Next review: » Gorefest - Rise To Ruin
Previous review: » Gorefest - Chapter 13





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