Review Summary: An incredibly fun album marred by an unhealthy obsession with horror movie samples.
Released in 1996, Hacked Up For Barbeque
is one of death metal’s heaviest albums and also one of its cheesiest. Featuring horror movie intros on eleven of its twenty-four songs, this album is not one to be taken too seriously. However, that doesn't mean that the creators of this album didn’t put effort into it. If you can look past the samples to start, the music contained within is well made and surprisingly unique, especially for the time. Being released in ‘96, this album came rather early in the genre for the level of brutality in it.
The vocals on this album are nearly incomparable due to how low-pitched they are. This has led to speculation of whether or not they are pitch shifted. Regardless, vocalist Will Rahmer delivers one of death metal’s most inhuman and monstrous vocal performances ever recorded. Immediately recognizable, these growls are one of Hacked Up For Barbeque
’s most appealing aspects. Pushed to the front of the mix, the vocals are understandably meant to be a focal point for the album. Rahmer keeps his vocals at a mid-tempo throughout most of the album, speeding up during some of the more grind-y sections. While some listeners may find the vocals uninteresting as the album progresses, the novelty of such grotesque growls keeps them from becoming particularly stale.
The guitar and bass are handled by Roger Beaujard and Will Rahmer, and wonderfully complement Rahmer’s utterances. There is close to no technicality in the playing of either instrument, but Hacked Up For Barbeque
doesn’t try to market itself as a technically proficient album. The riffs are simple and memorable and there are several standouts in tracks such as “Necrocannibal” and “Three On a Meathook” that serve as prime examples of what this album can accomplish. The production job on the guitars is also very distinct. The gain and distortion are turned to the max, and then some. This leads to an impenetrable cascade of noise that envelops the listener. When the grind aspects of the album come in, however, each song sounds similar to the next. This is not helped by the fact that the drums are programmed, so there is very little drum variation to help with the same sounding grind sections. The longer tracks seem to have better playing throughout, despite that extra time often being taken up by movie samples.
That leaves the worst part of the album, the aforementioned movie samples. While many death metal bands use a movie sample as the intro to their album or on one or two tracks, Mortician uses them on nearly half the songs. The average sample length seems to be over thirty seconds long with the opening sample lasting over two minutes long. Often times, the samples add nothing to a track besides an annoyance. Luckily, these samples could easily be skipped if you are streaming the album, or they could be omitted altogether with editing software if you own a digital version of the album, but the fact that they are there greatly detracts from the album. Even with the ability to fast forward past them, it is a major hindrance to have so many samples in an album.
Hacked Up For Barbeque
could have been a masterpiece, but, sadly, the sampling and repetition keep it from its true potential. Besides the obnoxious samples, the album long overstays its welcome, at a length of nearly fifty minutes. This album is best listened to in parts. Not only does this keep the production from becoming fatiguing, it keeps the rest of the album more enjoyable as a result. If looked at as an album not to be listened to all at once, but as one to be absorbed in parts, Hacked Up For Barbeque
becomes much less intimidating.