Gruesome - "Twisted Prayers"
Gruesome “Twisted Prayers”
With the opening moments of the record you may feel lulled into safety with a familiar vocal delivery with thrash elements infusing the sound together, has Chuck Schuldiner come back from he dead? No, but that is just the tip of the Gruesome iceberg. Soon swirling lead guitars take hold with bombastic death metal riffage betraying every sense of sound you are perceiving. This is the new sound of Death. A sound that Gruesome started as a love letter to the late great band Death and Chuck Schuldiner respectively. Daniel Gonzalez and Mat Harvey and their dual talents do such an immaculate job of keeping the spirit of Death alive and well with the album Twisted Prayers.
The second track “A Waste of Life” throws back to Scream Bloody Gore type song structure with crushing yet simplistic riffs abound, but when the leads come in and harmonize so perfectly in sync the song begins its decent into a new dimension of sound.
“Lethal Legacy” is more solo than riffage, each guitar part is played so incredibly well that you would think they’ve been playing these songs since the early 90’s. The drum parts that go in between the solos stand out with their quick double blasts that seamlessly interweave into every note with ease. Its cohesive and staggering.
“Fatal Illusions” has such a unyielding and solid head banging riff that will make you want to punch a baby or two. Its groovy and technical in its execution.
“Crusade of Brutality’s” opening moments remind me very much of Castelvania, in fact this whole track sounds like an excellent vampire slaying track. When the solo kicks in around 2:27 you get that feeling of triumph having made your way across the castle killing corpulent and rotting things leading to the inevitable final battle with Dracula himself! Now, I realize the song most likely has nothing to do with Castlevania, but for me thats the feeling this song invokes within me.
The title track “Twisted Prayers” is just another completely grievous opening riff traversing into faultless leads that decent into a swirling hammer on pull off opening moments of the imminent guitar solo of hypnotizing proportions. Which then goes back into that vexatious opening riff. Its interstitial moments are thrash heavy propelling the song forward in expeditious time.
The album closes out with a thrash heavy song called “The Exorcist” it starts out with the theme song of the movie and just beings it’s onslaught of an unrelenting thrash attack. Its a solid song to go out on, but there are moments in the track near the end where the drums feel repetitive. But hey, that's thrash metal for you.
The cover is done by a legend in his own right, Ed Repka. Who did all of Death's covers as well as covers for bands like, Sanctuary, 3 Inches of Blood and Megadeth to name a few. The cover is awesome and encapsulates the title of the album perfectly. The only weird/funny thing is why the souls coming out of the bodies look like sperm? I don't know, but it made me laugh.
There are moments and riffs in some songs that you hear and go “Oh! That kind of sounds like that riff from this Death song” but you cant quite place your finger on which song and from what album, that speaks volumes as to how the band manages to play and write these songs and making them their own without 100% just covering or ripping off any Death song.
The album and members within have become so much more than a “Death worship” band, sure they keep the spirit and essence and sound of the band alive, its a forceful homage to Death, but they still craft songs that are so uniquely their own that its hardly fair to make the comparisons. (Even if the comparisons come straight from the members themselves) Every member of this band is in another excellent death/thrash/doom band themselves. Robin Mazen comes from Derketa, Matt Harvey is from Exhumed and Daniel Gonzalez has played in Possessed. Gruesome take the spirit of Chuck Schuldiner and propel him and his playing style into the modern era with ease. And hopefully people who like this band will go check out Death as well, a band that changed the landscape of modern death metal forever.
"Twisted Prayers" Gets a solid 7/10