There’s no school like the old school, or so they say. For me personally I would like to think that this modern age has still given birth to some exceptional bands, granted we may never see anyone reach the dizzy heights of mainstream success like the days of old but none the less Metal thrives at least in the underground. The old days had a definite sound though one that we see being replicated time and time again, are these rehashes what we want though?
Gruesome are essential the ultimate Death tribute act, albeit with original material. Their debut Savage Land captivated a fresh audience of listeners making them cotton on to the truest sound of Death Metal. I must admit the bands debut failed to really strike a chord with me but over time the Chuck inspired worship brought me to my knees eagerly anticipating the follow up. Well here we are with Twisted Prayers another testament to the book of Death, released through Relapse Records.
Instantaneously the Death sound is emitted from the opener Inhumane which coincidently also happens to be one of the strongest tracks on the album. Drawing influence from the Spiritual Healing and Symbolic eras of Death’s back catalogue this savage and borderline technical number shows us that Gruesome are here to bring the madness. A similar fashion is imitated throughout the first half of the album with A Waste Of Life and Fate adding more purist Death Metal riffs and drumming to the old school affair.
The second half of the album falls a touch flat however with the repetitive Death worship becoming almost too much leaving the remains of this release lacklustre and lifeless. Things to pick up with Twisted Prayers and even At Death’s Door has its moments, truth be told the whole album is great but you can’t help but compare it to its god that is Chuck Schuldiner. Every song in Death’s discography is a Death Metal banger, relentlessly catchy and mind numbing, where as this attempt at worship feels like the earliest demos in Death’s songwriting process.
My words may come across harsher than they should, genuinely all who like Death Metal should check out Twisted Prayers it’s an exceptionally solid old school Death Metal album in the modern era but it cannot live up to the ones it worships. Nevertheless Gruesome remain and will probably continue to be of the best of these modern old school bands.
(7/10 George Caley)