Gruesome
Twisted Prayers

Back in 2015, Matt Harvey of Exhumed fame gathered some of his pals from Possessed, Malevolent Creation and Derketa and released Savage Land, an  almost note for note  homage to Chuck Schuldiner,  Death and the seminal Leprosy album. He followed it up with an EP, Dimensions of Horror  a more raw release that seemed more focused on earlier Death and Possessed  and while a quality release, it didn’t recreate the nostalgic glory of the debut album.

Well, Harvey and co are back  on a ‘Killing Spree’, releasing a ‘Living Monstrosity’ of an album. With Twisted Prayers, they may not be ‘Altering the Future’ but they will certainly deliver some ‘Spiritual Healing’ as the ‘Defensive Personalities’ playing on the album  might have had some ‘Genetic Reconstruction’ to clone a certain Death album almost note for note . And you don’t hear it, you might be some sort of ‘Low Life’ and its all ‘Within the Mind’.

It’s Spiritual Healing guys. The album is Spiritual Healing.

Yep. This album is a few chord changes and notes off from being a Spiritual Healing cover album. And it’s awesome.

From the creepy Ed Repka priest on the cover, the drum and guitar tone, the presence of James Murphy (who made his first notable appearance on Spiritual Healing) adding two solos on “Crusades of Brutality” and “At Deaths Door”, to Harvey’s vocal cadence and lyrics, adept listeners will hear a wide array of riffs and solos that pay tribute to the 1990 classic.  But Harvey and co do it with enough flare and energy to make it more than just a ‘name that song’ exercise, though identifying each song from Death is fun too.

The obvious nods such as “Crusade of Brutality”, “At Death Door” and “Twisted Prayers” (opening of Spiritual Healing‘s title track and its main riff), the opening lead of “Waste of Life” (‘Within the Mind”), “Lethal Legacy” (“Altering the Future”), “Fatal Illusions” (“Low Life”) and even sneak in a nod to “Born Dead” from Leprosy (“Fate”) and plenty I missed I’m sure, the album makes no bones about its influence and doesn’t wear them on its sleeve but rather on a tattooed the arm peeking out from a black, sleeveless shirt. But they also add their own twist on the classic album with tracks like opener “Inhumane” (with a video featuring Teeth of the Divine’s very own former scribe Jodi Von Walleghem).

A limited version of the CD ends the album with a cover of Possessed’s “The Exorcist” (the band also released a cover of  Chuck’s pre Death band Mantas‘ “Legion of Doom” via Decibel’s flexi disc series). It fits in perfectly on essentially what is already a cover album, but I’m curious if Gruesome evolve their sound as Death did and head into more Symbolic and Human pastures next.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
June 11th, 2018

Comments

  1. Commented by: Jay

    Total homage and patchwork assembly of the classic Death sound and a good one at that! I dig it and I’m always up for what Matt’s doing. He went that route on Scarecrow being a really solid replica of 80s thrash, of course Exhumed was his Carcass. Had the pleasure to interview him around the time he was doing the Scarecrow project. Really fuckin’ passionate about making music and the bands he admires and I always dig what he’s doing. Going to order a copy of this next paycheck


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