Review Summary: Chunky Death/Thrash Metal with a hint of gore
Haemophagus from Italy brings excitement into your home. I don’t remember the last time death metal was so catchy and oh-so-delicious. Indeed, it even has that added gore value that is synonymous with the band’s record label, Razorback Records. It’s mixing the rollicking fervour of early Carcass with the simple but effective Death circa ‘Scream Bloody Gore’ riffing, adding a touch Spanish warmth and that irresistible old school horror appeal. After a prolonged intro, the band plays what could be the song of the year. I’m not into parties but holy ***, Partying at the Grave makes me want to belong. I would give my money to the band just because of this one song. It’s a perfect encapsulation of all that is good about the band – it’s dripping with flavour that would knock you unconscious. And you don’t tire of it, no matter how many times you play it. It sets a very high standard for the other songs. Speaking of those, they’re right up there too, more or less. Some of them are catchier than the others, thanks to the Thrash Metal styling. The urgency brings Repulsion to mind while the catchier, chunkier parts are reminiscent of Impetigo. The intent is to ingest them all and spew out a delicious, well-grinded spread of everything that’s good about metal.
What’s different about this form of death/thrash metal music is that it’s oozing with the old school vibe. It’s not too hard for this band, and that’s the band’s greatest charm. It comes naturally and you can relate to it instantly. The myriad influences are combined well into the band’s sound and it doesn’t come across as though the band is trying to go for anything particular just to cover that style. It’s all there and it’s presented impeccably. There’s also the punk-ish/grind touch, comparable to early Abscess but over here the context is ‘80s music probably, and so the expression is imbued with that aura. It’s very hard not to dislike. Simply put, the band has encompassed the best elements from the last few decades and dished it out without diminishing any of the essence of the eras.
Dismal Apparition is a delectable track reminiscent of the late ‘80s – when death metal was taking over from thrash metal. It’s wonderfully paced, spelling out the Autopsy-esque charm while raising the hair on the back of your neck. The leads are very stylistic and imbued with the old school feel. Vocals are similar to Chris Reifert’s albeit more restrained and that works well. There’s a gory coating over it all, but nothing jarring or too thick. The band covers it all while keeping it death metal, balancing the influences and tempos to leave you more than suitably satisfied. More variation would be welcome to break the monotony but the band is mixing it rather well, venturing into doomier Autopsy-esque territories towards the end.
Haemophagus shines when it’s at its rambunctious best and is very competent during other times. This one is hard to resist if you’re feeling nostalgic or just want to relive what’s good about the horror/gore-themed music without straying too far from death metal. This is one party that will have you moonwalking over your grandma’s grave.