Saturday, June 23, 2018

Full Length Review: GRUESOME Twisted Prayers (Relapse Records) by Dave Wolff

Photo by Ryan Tamm
Twisted Prayers
Place of origin: Arroyo Grande, California; Miami, Florida
Genre: Death metal
Release date: June 1, 2018
Available on CD, LP, deluxe LP, cassette, and digital formats
Gruesome’s similarities to Death hit me from the beginning of Inhumane; the guitar progressions and mid-tempo percussion can pass for a track from Death’s album Spiritual Healing to the uninitiated. To explain why this is, the band was formed when guitarist/vocalist Matt Harvey and drummer Gus Rios got acquainted through their involvement with Death To All, a series of tours involving live tributes to the late Chuck Schuldiner and his long lasting contributions to extreme music. It was something of a jest when the suggestion came up that they write original compositions homaging the legendary Florida thrashers. The idea eventually became serious and led to a series of demos, EPs and full lengths. Would it be possible in 2018 to personify the attitude and technical prowess that made Death a household name the world over? Twisted Prayers shows they have the tribute down pat; the Death album that could have been but never was. The rasping vocals, the inventive Egyptian guitar progressions, the sophisticated leads and even the production perfectly emulates Death’s groundbreaking approach from 1988 to ‘90. Hiring Daniel Gonzales of thrash/death metal legends Possessed and Robin Mazen of unsigned doom/death metallers Derketa cements the stance Harvey and Rios set out to recapture. I read they have been well received by reviewers and fans since they started releasing their work to help sustain the legacy of Schuldiner and his band. Twisted Prayers is making me want to re-experience Death’s discography from Scream Bloody Gore to The Sound Of Perseverance. Moreover, recording covers of Possessed’s The Exorcist (from their debut Seven Churches) and Mantas’ (pre-Death) Legion Of Doom (from the 1984 demo Death By Metal) serves to remind me again why I became a thrash kid in the first place. -Dave Wolff

Band lineup:
Matt Harvey: guitar, vocals
Daniel Gonzalez: guitar
Robin Mazen: bass
Gus Rios: drums

Track list:
1. Inhumane
2. A Waste of Life
3. Fate
4. Lethal Legacy
5. Fatal Illusions
6. Crusade of Brutality
7. At Death's Door
8. Twisted Prayers
9. The Exorcist (bonus track)
10. Legion Of Doom (bonus track)

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