13 Faces of Death

I honestly never saw the big deal with Embalmer. 3 ultra cult demos, then a ‘Best of..’ on Relapse Records back when death metal was a its very peak? Bug Whup. And apparently the rest of the metal world doesn’t see the big deal with them either seeing as they re-united in 2005 with little fanfare and the metal worlds was so impressed with their re-union they signed with….Pathos Productions.

So now there is ‘new’ album, and as if their There Was Blood Everywhere release on Relapse didn’t rest on their underground status and demo laurels enough, 3 of the 13 tracks here (“Into The Oven”, “Rotten Body Fluids” and “There Was Blood Everywhere”) are re-workings of already re-worked demos. Way to come back with a bang.

But, all that being said, 13 Faces of Death ends up being a pretty solid sloppy, gory, muddy, oozy and sample filled slab of retro death/grind. Nothing that seems to point at their somehow legendary status, and certain to be forgotten in the mire of today’s better quality acts, but for those of you who still like over the top gory lyrics, artwork and burps, this will fill a void.

Of the material old and new, there’s nothing here that makes me really love the album, but there’s nothing to make me throw it out the window either. The songs, despite all their imagery, samples and themes, really are not that particularly heavy, technical or nasty as compared to many bands nowadays who are simply faster, heavier and gorier. There is a distinct retro feel (which fits Pathos Productions and thier roster) to tracks like “Vengeance Through Homicide”, “Mutilation at the Altar” and “Horrific Disdain” that come across as sort of rougher Cannibal Corpse-lite without the complexity or a more polished Autopsy without the heft and dark humor.

The fact is, Embalmer have been surpassed both musically and lyrically. They may have been one of the most extreme, gory bands of the 90’s but now in 2006/2007, the band sounds a bit worn and tired and lacks the legendary discography of Autopsy and their other peers. So despite a commendable effort in 13 Faces of Death, it’s a bit redundant.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 27th, 2007


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