Review Summary: The musical equivalent to having every bone in your body crushed and enjoying every moment of it.
Imagine being a member of a small squad of four or five people that ventured deep into enemy territory and found themselves holed up in a lone building. With food running low and ammunition even lower, the enemy, armed with artillery and vehicles of war, has very little difficulty advancing. Surrounded by your foes, the shells crash against your only shelter, the weak walls succumbing to the onslaught, and, as the building crumbles, you desperately struggle to escape from the falling debris. Listening to Cancer’s debut, To The Gory End
, feels very much like that.
From start to finish, To The Gory End
is one precise, directed aural assault. Imperial, titanic riffs explode around the listener like mortars, while bullet-like drum beats fly by and a low, raspy voice narrates your demise. Every once in a while, a shrieking guitar solo pierces the air. It’s true that, occasionally, an ominous string arrangement or a foreboding clean guitar may briefly replace the electric bombardment, but these temporary cease-fires are nothing more than a few wretched moments spent preparing for the approaching barrage.
If the above paragraphs did not imply it well enough, To The Gory End
. Every single riff, whether it’s a speedy, tremolo-picked run or a grinding battery of churning chords, is aimed straight at the listener’s skull, and every single one hits it’s target without fail. Not a single moment is wasted, and every single note feels like it’s absolutely essential to the album as a whole, causing the short opus (it lasts for little more than half of an hour) to feel very calculated.
Truth be told, the above descriptions could apply to numerous old-school death metal albums. If so, what exactly is it that makes To The Gory End
so special? Simple: all of the riffs, in their maggoty, disgusting glory, are impossibly infectious. In addition to (or, perhaps, despite) the heaviness, all of the riffs are well-written and rather catchy, as are many of the vocal lines (don’t tell me that after listening to Die Die, you’ll be able to get the chorus out of your memory).
In the album’s twenty years, very few have been able to eclipse To The Gory End
, which to this day remains one of death metal’s most essential opuses. Filled to the brim with skull-smashing riffs, this is a release that no fans of the genre should overlook.