Review Summary: Childish, disgusting, sewerish death metal. Oh yeah, baby.
Each of us has our very own guilty pleasures, even if we don't admit it publicly. It could be that TV series with the emotional depth of a Venezuelan soap opera or that Chuck Norris movie with performances worthy of a school play. The bottom line is that not everything that feeds our basic entertainment needs is considered intellectually stimulating by many, nor does it need to be. Sometimes all I want is a no-brainer, whether it's an action movie, a low-budget horror flick, or some straightforward death metal that awakens the Neanderthal in me. And Ohio’s foursome Sanguisugabogg, with their nauseating gore formula, fills that spot reasonably well.
Designed to be guitarist Cameron Boggs' one-man bedroom project, Sanguisugabogg quickly evolved into a quartet with the addition of rhythm duo Cody Davidson & Ced Davis and vocalist Devin Swank. Their gore-themed cavernous death metal which, in the guys' own words, aims to be a bloodsucking toilet that sucks the blood out of our precious butts, soon captured the attention of the underground circuit which welcomed their debut demo, Pornographic Seizures
, with considerable enthusiasm.
Two years later, the sewer boys are back in the blood-sucking business with their debut album, Tortured Whole
, which, as the title suggests, continues to orbit disgusting NC-17 themes. However, it showcases a sound aesthetic different from the previous demo, abandoning the cavernous atmosphere in favor of a crystal clear production in which a high-tuned snare drum stands out. This type of tuning won't be to everyone's liking but it is an important differentiating element, a bit like the programmed ride cymbal in Slugdge's Esoteric Malacology
. Another novelty is the slam-ish groove featured in tracks like 'Menstrual Envy', 'Dragged by a Truck' or 'Dick Filet'. The addition of brutal death metal elements to the band's old-school midtempo formula has caused a significant mutation in their DNA, giving it a more cartoonish and distinctive character. If on one hand the snare drum has inadvertently become a main actor, the lead role is still shared by Cameron Boggs' nauseating riffs and Devin Swank's demented sewerish vocals. This duo feeds off each other, much like Scott Hull and J.R. Hayes.
As I hinted earlier, the band mostly relies on doomy midtempos which makes its death metal relatively accessible within the canons of the genre. I would even say that in a bizarre way these guys produce mainstream filth that can easily reach younger audiences, even if they are unfamiliar with extreme metal. The pinch harmonics in 'Menstrual Envy' and 'Dead as ***', or the tasty mid-paced groove in 'Dick Filet', are just a few examples of the awkward catchiness that gravitates Sanguisugabogg. The balance between OSDM and slam in songs such as 'Dragged by a Truck', or the way 'Gored in the Chest' blends doomy riffs with nasty tremolo pickings are also worth mentioning as they mirror the band's current hybrid mutation.
Despite the massive toilet filth, the listener never feels overly suffocated, both due to the midtempo nature of the songs and the interludes, 'Pornographic' and 'Interlube', which act somewhat as resting points and brief contrasting moments. The rather goofy and amateurish approach of the former emulates the cheesy ‘80s synths, further enhancing the overall B-movie vibe. This contrast, though unexpected, is consistent with the kitsch concept, thus generating greater chromatic richness to the filthy surroundings.
has the intellectual depth of a chewing gum and the aesthetics of a filthy toilet, but as someone once said: "Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it's a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe."
I can't promise you that Tortured Whole
will unveil the secrets of the cosmos, but I can guarantee you a hell of a good time if you take it for what it's worth.