Turbocharged’s leader Ronnie “Ripper” Olson was the bass player on a few of Gehenna’s ’90s releases and, more significantly for myself, the vocalist/bassist on Vomitory’s early creations including their mighty debut. It seems a strange coincidence then that just last week I was absorbing myself in Cut Up’s first disc, the product of another of Vomitory’s founder members, Tobias Gustafsson. Where that band incorporates a few more dynamic influences to their Swedeath, these guys are already three albums down the line, kicking out a formula which wears a belligerent punk influence. Admittedly, Turbocharged are not one of the most visible bands on the death metal landscape but it takes more than a low profile to kill death (punk) metal bastards such as these.
‘Dark Era’ is the perfect introduction to Turbocharged’s world despite its strange opening narration. The death metal is bass-heavy and straight forward, blasts and double bass banged angrily out. Automatically Master springs to mind as a comparison, albeit a Swedish variant, and ‘old school’ really is the word (or two). Aside from the brain damage inducing approach, it’s refreshing to hear a production devoid of digital cleanliness. On that note, Olson sounds as cool as ever and, like Speckmann, he’s just as enraged. In contrast to the latter’s political/societal scorn, the Swede reserves all his rage for Christianity, with one ploughing, belligerent death metal attack following another. From the humdinger ‘Popecleaver’ – just check out that unhinged solo where the bass crawls all over the place – to ‘Where the Sodomites Never Burned’, we are confronted with numerous crunching riffs and also a few of those more open Swedeath chords that all hurtle by to foot stomping effect.
In addition to Master, there are necessarily Motörhead comparisons to be drawn in the mentality and delivery of this raging slab of sweaty, blood encrusted death metal. In keeping with this thought, there are moments during the album where it does seem to be ‘more of the same’. Certainly on the first listen, the midpoint where you reach ‘Dead Flesh Monument’ (more driving death/thrash riffs) and ‘Massive Worldwide Armageddon’ (another straight forward piece of rage) hammers home the fact that there will be no divergence in the musical formula. But if you persevere, it batters and bruises enough to get away with any repetitiousness. On ‘Militant’, fittingly, despite death metal riff progressions and flourishes seeping out, the solo is more rock ‘n’ roll than it is, say, Slayer. Perhaps the most memorable track of the bunch, thanks to its intensity and morbid grooves – as well as its brilliant title – is closer ‘The Left Hand Psychopath’. Aspects like the cluster bomb kicks at its end simply kick arse.
Although overall ‘Militant’ is a bit long and may have benefited from a couple of songs less, there’s enough immediacy, charm and nuance across its forty minutes to qualify it as a worthwhile purchase. Going back to that other recent Vomitory bi-product mentioned at the beginning, I’m inclined to rate this at the same level. Because we are deluged with sophisticated production values and mm perfect delivery in this world we know as death metal (not that I am accusing Cut Up), it’s nice to hear something so unconcerned by modernity. And, more importantly, ‘Militant’ does that most important of things: it gets feet stomping and heads banging in honest-to-Satan fashion.