Released: 2001, Independent
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
As you might guess from their name, Mangled are a death metal band. Off the top of my head I can’t think of another death metal band from Holland, but the land of windmills, wooden shoes and legal marijuana has brought us a competent, if standard, death metal band, and their album MOST PAINFUL WAYS which delivers nearly all that it promises.
There are no surprises here. Guitar riffs are thick and meaty. All tempos are very fast. Vocals (Pepjin Houwen is credited here) are of the traditional “Cookie Monster” variety. This is most definitely a European style of death metal – not as bone-dry as the Swedish stuff derived from Entombed and Dismember, but not nearly as sludgey or “wet” as the Florida stuff. To be honest the tracks on MOST PAINFUL WAYS blurred together after a while. Track three, “Evil Terrestrial,” stood out during my listens, having a somewhat unique rhythm, and the history buff in me has to give Mangled kudos for even attempting “Warfare Embowelment,” a heartwarming death metal tribute to the 1944 D-Day landings. (“A ripped off leg hits me in the eye…abraded limbs fly through the sky…stand and fight for the freedom of the world…more are ghastly mutilated…in the next assault.”) But I have to admit there’s something quite comforting in the furious sameness of death metal. When you put on an album like MOST PAINFUL WAYS you know every track is going to be a brutalizing experience, and you know you can depend on bands like this to never let you down. The metal is well-played, generally well-written and excellently produced. Therefore, you can’t really argue with it.
Mangled is not the most innovative, original or noteworthy death metal band out there. But they’re not bad, and I think just about any serious fan of death metal will enjoy MOST PAINFUL WAYS. Picking up this album, or even reading their band name, promises, “You will hear unrelenting death metal.” Mangled delivers on that promise.
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