It’s a strange time to be talking about death in the United States with all of the happenings this past week, but onward we go. Luckily, death metal isn’t here to actually do you harm or maim your children; it’s here as an escape that definitely digs deeply into rotting guts now and again. It’s horror that unites with some of our gnarliest nightmares come to life in music form.
Vancouver-based death metal power Grave Infestation digs back into the sub-genre’s formative years with their vile, disgusting debut offering “Persecution of the Living.” If you like this style more gruesome and drowning in doom, you’re likely to be right at home, your senses being bombarded with forces that slither from their final resting into a different kind of damnation on this earth. The band—vocalist/guitarist GC, guitarist BC, bassist TS, drummer AS—already roused interest off two well-received demos, but those just set the stage for this 10-track destroyer that helps you suspend for disbelief for a bit and immerse yourself in unthinkable terror.
“Intro” is a brief lid lifter that lets the spirits into the room, washing into “The Conquest of Pestilence” that erupts right away. Guitars wail as harsh growls curdle, and energetic fire opens gooey wounds. The drums pulverize as the energy causes your blood to rush, and then it’s on to “Slaughter, Then Laughter” which starts balmy and in confusion. The playing slowly melts as the trudging pace increases, and nasty growls make your flesh bake as the furious elements get rowdier. The band hammers away as the bruising increases, returning to humid, poisonous terrain. “Persecution of the Living” tears itself apart at the seams, the growls assaulting you as the playing puts you in a vice. The leads spindle as the tempo explodes, the rhythm section doing its best to turn your bones into paste. “Can You See the Pale Horseman in the Distance?” starts in a dust cloud from the drumming, guitars wail, and the speed takes off, threatening your safety. The guitars glimmer and strike, spiraling off into insanity, taking you with it and disappearing into the soil.
“Plague of Crypts” jars hard, bashing your head again the ground, the growls mangling your muscles. Once again things are fast and violent, leaving no room to grasp for safety, and then the guitars slice into flesh, flattening victims and smashing skulls. “Death of the Last Individual” mauls in a nasty fury, letting the guitars come alive with electricity, vicious howls leaving scarred flesh behind. Guitars spiral out of control and make the room spin dangerously, and then it’s on to “Human Jigsaw Puzzle” that lands heavy blows moments into its run. The riffs swim through swamps, the playing melts through rock, and the heat continues to increase, finally allowing mercy once it slips away. “Eternal Oblivion” starts feeling like it’s twisting your muscles, your face engulfed in flames. The band thrashes away with precision, the growls try to cave in your face, and a snarling guitars race leads right into hellish madness, slipping into the brief “Outro” that lets coldness grip your soul one last time.
Grave Infestation leave no meat on the bone with “Persecution of the Living,” as it’s very clear they have consumed every bit, the blood and guts included. This is death metal that gnaws at you, sickens whatever is inside your stomach and has no concern whether their bloodlust is too warped for your mind. This is a crushing dose of death metal that feels like the subgenre never left the swamp and only decay and torture are on the menu.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/graveinfestation
To buy the album or for more on the label, go here: https://invictusproductions.net/