Released: 2005, Nuclear Blast
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.