Review Summary: The soundtrack for walking through the fiery depths of hell while simultaneously having your dick mutilated and your ass pummeled by Satan himself.
There are always going to be bands or artists within music that slip under the radar and go largely un-noticed to listeners everywhere. This can be for a number of reasons, such as the record label the band are with, the inaccessibility of the music, or even through personal choice from band members. Perhaps one would argue that this is good for music genres such as death metal, as it helps to keep the band underground and they therefore are less likely to succumb to mainstream pressure.
A fine example of a band that makes great music and still don’t get much recognition at all is Seattle quartet Drawn and Quartered. This band has pretty much everything they need to compete with the heavyweights of the death metal genre; they have an awesome and distinctive band name, some cool album artwork, but most importantly, the quality of music is certainly very high. Naturally one would question why, after releasing six albums, this band still goes largely unheard of (the fact that at the time of writing, they only have a grand total of 24 votes for 6 albums on this website really sums this up).
Musically, Drawn and Quartered sound like the lovechild of New York bands Immolation and Incantation. The guitars are capable of ripping the listener’s face off with their brutal and certainly very memorable riffs, and pinch harmonics are vast in quantity, yet not at all overused. This gives the album a real apocalyptic feeling to it, similar to that of the type of atmosphere in which Immolation created in their huge success, ‘Close to a World Below’. The solos here are very well executed, finding the balance between melody and technicality, which many modern day death metal bands struggle to do.
As well as the guitars, the drums are excellent too, often thundering away with blast beats and double bass, but also slowing down and focusing more on keeping the rest of the instruments in time when needed. The bass for the most part is fairly audible, although at times buried beneath the onslaught of guitars and drums, while the vocals are deep and well executed, if not slightly monotonous (the vocalist sounds very similar to Ross Dolan of Immolation). Although the vocals are great, perhaps a bit more variety (such as high pitched shrieks, or at least a less monotonous sound) is needed to make the album as good as it can be.
The main problem with this album is that it drags on a little, especially to first time listeners. This is partly because of the monotony of the vocals, but also because the songs sound slightly ‘samey’ and hard to distinguish. Sure, there are variations with some tracks here (such as certain songs taking a slower tempo approach, like most of ‘Incinerated Faithful’), but there’s just not enough variation, and the listener might easily become bored. An example would be ‘Worshippers of Total Death’; a song which clocks in at over seven minutes but doesn’t manage to change much dynamically.
However, if you are an experienced listener of death metal then this shouldn’t matter much, as the album overall is really quite excellent. Whereas Seattle has produced very big bands over the past that are arguably over-rated, in Drawn and Quartered they have produced a band which has the opposite problem; their music is excellent, but they get hardly any recognition, which is a shame, because as ‘Extermination Revelry’ shows, they really deserve it.