Nourishing The Spoil (2013)
USA, Brutal Bands, Brutal Death Metal
Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t rightly know what’s been going on in Death Metal lately. Everywhere I look it seems like yet another band has released/is releasing a groundbreaking, game changing record. It’s hard to make heads or tails of, honestly. With so many perfect albums (there really is no other way to put it) already out from last year/on the way this year, I have to ask myself how some bands will ever manage to go further than they already have; how exactly does one redefine perfection? That’s a question with too many answers and no answers at all simultaneously…and it’s the question I have to ask about ‘Nourishing The Spoil’, already one of the greatest Brutal Death Metal albums I’ve ever heard. ‘Reek Of Pubescent Despoilment’ was and still is an excellent CD but this…this is something else entirely. There hasn’t been a Brutal Death Metal album this original, destructive and quite literally INSANE since ‘Suffocated And Embalmed’ from 2007. A lot of albums have come close, the most recent of which was 7 H. Target’s debut but ‘Nourishing The Spoil’ is the first in just about seven years to actually break through that threshold. 2013’s barely even begun and already I have a pretty strong hunch which album’s going to end up my #1 by the time next January rolls around…this one. Granted, there’s still a whole year to go and ‘Nourishing The Spoil’s gonna have some pretty stiff competition from Wormed, Suffocation, Internal Bleeding, Disgorge (maybe) and the aforementioned Pencil Lead Syringe (What a showdown that’ll be) but there’s no way in hell this album won’t end up in my Top 3 of 2013 at the very LEAST.
Much like my ‘Technical Classic’ article on ‘Slowly Peeling The Flesh From The Inside Of A Folded Hand’, I’m going to need to address everything ‘Nourishing The Spoil’ has to offer piece by piece to ensure that I can properly articulate how much of a triumph this album’s turned out to be.
First and foremost, Blue Jensen’s vocals. I can say without hesitation that the vocals on this album will end up the best Death Metal vocals of 2013 as well as a milestone in Death Metal vocal history. Think about that for a second; this year has no shortage of amazing vocal performances already what with Defeated Sanity’s latest and Katalepsy’s ‘Autopsychosis’ but with Wormed’s latest on the way, Phlegeton is also a guttural contender in 2013…and he may not be able to beat this. Yes, I wrote what you think I just did; Phlegeton, second only to Matti Way in the history of guttural vocals, may not be able to surpass what Blue Jensen’s accomplished here. I want you to appreciate how amazing it is that I’m even able to CONSIDER writing something like that given how much of an unapologetic Wormed fanboy I am. Nevertheless, the soul piercing, mind raping gutturals, growls and shrieks on ‘Nourishing The Spoil’ are leagues beyond what almost everyone else is doing in Brutal Death Metal. Jensen’s gutturals are so revolting on this album they managed to make me feel physically ill on just about every track. That hasn’t happened to me since I first listened to ‘Cranial Impalement’ by Disgorge. Beyond that, the vocal delivery itself is not only astoundingly fast but remarkably pronounced. For instance, at about 30 seconds into ‘Voyeuristic Engagement’ there’s a series of guttural/shriek transitions so smooth, fast and clear I could hardly believe what I was hearing. This is the kind of performance most Death Metal vocalists can only dream of giving and I’ll definitely be raving about how legendary it is for years to come. Anyone who disagrees or complains can suck a bag of dicks.
Secondly, Randy Thompson’s guitar/bass work. I’m at a complete loss for words just THINKING about how monumental ‘Nourishing The Spoil’s riffs are. I’ll just come out and say it; short of ‘She Lay Gutted’, these are the most savage and well written collection of Brutal Death Metal songs I’ve ever heard, bar none. I can’t believe I’ve found an album that actually poses a threat to Disgorge’s magnum opus but here it is, staring me right in the face. I haven’t found a single hiccup, problem or lag in the composition or execution of Randy’s guitar/bass patterns. Lightning fast riffs insane/vicious enough to make Quakers feast on their young, pinch harmonics as devastating as a trachea crushing sucker punch from Mike Tyson, slams heavy enough to make Godzilla shit himself; you name it, Randy’s redefined how amazing it can sound. Not to mention his bass work, which gives the best bassists in the genre a run for their money. I haven’t heard Brutal Death Metal riffs flow this perfectly since…well, ever. In the absence of any other accolades, (which is practically impossible with this album) ‘Nourishing The Spoil’ has the best song progression/flow of any Brutal Death Metal album I’ve ever heard. By this point I’ve lost all conceivable count of how many precedents and things I’ve taken for granted as a Brutal Death Metal fanatic have been shattered by one of this year’s earliest releases. It’s as if Guttural Secrete sat down as a band and listened to the very best Brutal Death Metal albums from the sub-genre’s inception to the present day, then when all was said and done they turned to one another and said ‘FUCK THAT SHIT, let’s make something even better!’ Mission accomplished fellas…(basically)
Thirdly, Mike Fitzgerald’s drumming. Similar to his band mates, Mike’s drumming lies somewhere between delightfully impossible and ‘HOW IN THE FUCK DOES HE DO THAT?!’. Mike’s not a speed-trumps-all, power hitting or creativity above all else drummer; he’s a hybrid of apocalyptic proportions. As soon as you think you’ve figured out what he’s going to do on any given song, he makes a mockery of your expectations. Looking forward to an insane blast beat? Too bad bitch, it’s time for a alternating fill/double bass pattern that’ll blow your tits off. Think the guitar, bass and vocals are loud? Mike’s drumming will make sure you come away from ‘Nourishing The Spoil’ with the happiest case of tinnitus in human history. On an album already so terrific, Mike is the only kind of drummer that can get the job done. As I’ve said in other reviews, not just a good drummer that’s technically proficient but a GREAT drummer whose passion for the music and his band are as clear as his innate talent.
Fourthly, the atmospheric interludes/portions/outro of ‘Clotting The Vacant Stare’. It was a ballsy move for such a hard hitting Brutal Death Metal band to include such hauntingly beautiful instrumental portions in parts of their music but it works so well to create palpable sensations that I can’t help but love them just as much as the perfectly written Brutal Death Metal on the album. If ‘Suffocated And Embalmed’s atmosphere was one of claustrophobic, asphyxiating insanity/rot and ‘Slowly Peeling The Flesh From The Inside Of A Folded Hand’ was pure entropy, ‘Nourishing The Spoil’s atmospheric accomplishment is one of profound, disturbing character. The album paints a clear picture of a psychopathic butcher much like the one on the album’s cover. As the albums starts, the sample from Eye For An Eye clearly illustrates the emotionless depravity required to commit such terrible acts of violence and rape;
“What…you want me to say I’m sorry? Could have been anybody. I don’t even remember what she looked like…it’s nothing personal.”
“She was seventeen years old. She was 5’2, she had brown eyes. Her name was Julie…she was my daughter.”
“She was a great fuck.”
By the time the outro of ‘Clotting The Vacant Stare’ begins, the killing spree has ended. The nameless victims have rotted into indiscernible mounds of maggot infested flesh. Eyes fixed in perpetual horror and agony have long since glazed over. The butcher is exhausted but nowhere near finished. Limbs that have decayed the most are chopped off and put into black trash bags. What little flesh he wishes to keep is neatly arranged and when he’s finished, the most he can muster is a sigh. A small unsatisfied sigh, since he knows that his work will never truly be over. As he starts up the van he uses to abduct all of the nameless beauties he’s defiled, he stares into the gaping hole of the past; the looks of joy and innocence on his victim’s faces stare back, a grotesque physical salute to the ignorance of his presence and their eventual torment. They giggle and chat about meaningless tripe with their equally empty headed bimbo girlfriends, unaware of the truth. The harsh uncaring truth of their precious mortal coil, one that this butcher intends to remind them all of. The van speeds off into the darkness. More families will shed tears for their precious daughters in the weeks to come. For now, they are all his.
Pretty intense, right? Only the very best Brutal Death Metal albums are capable of such illustration. Of course, this is only the image I was given by the music but I’m sure I’m not the only one. (Maybe I am and I’m just a sick fuck. That’s possible too.) To be honest, my only complaint about Brutal Death Metal albums this thematically rich is there are so few of them. However, for as few as there are, now that ‘Nourishing The Spoil’ has arrived, the trilogy of legitimately insane thematically rich Brutal Death Metal albums that began with ‘Slowly Peeling The Flesh From The Inside Of A Folded Hand’ and continued with ‘Suffocated And Embalmed’ is now complete. ‘Slowly Peeling(…)’ is the inescapable terror, ‘Suffocated And Embalmed’ is the grimy, never ending corpse ridden dungeon and ‘Nourishing The Spoil’ is the madman wearing a coat made out of human skin. I think I’m going to be listening to these three albums back to back for a LONG time…
Finally, the production. Holy sweet flying fuckballs, the production. I’ve raved on and on about this album but quite frankly without this production job ‘Nourishing The Spoil’ wouldn’t have come together nearly as well as it has. Sure, musically it would have still been perfect but without this exact production, it wouldn’t have reached the potential it has and deserved to reach. It’s dense, it’s clear, it’s rich; it’s mixing and mastering genius, plain and simple. Matt Bruenig, you deserve a goddamn medal. No, scratch that; you deserve your own committee with Erik Rutan and a few other mixing masters of your choice that can prevent production disasters like ‘At The Gate Of Sethu’ or ‘Dingir’ from occurring by any means necessary. You are clearly more qualified than the vast majority of so called producers out there and you deserve every bit of kudos you can get. Bravo good sir, bravo.
Well, 1800 words later, what else can I really say?
I knew I was going to love this album from the minute it was announced but I had no idea it would be the revelation it is. This is the kind of album that comes out and destroys any pitiful semblance of standards or ‘classics’, the kind of album that is simultaneously an affirmation of everything right & true about Death Metal and a bold, daring modern masterpiece that manages to outclass just about anything you can pit it against. Is ‘Nourishing The Spoil’ better than its two direct counterparts ‘Slowly Peeling The Flesh From The Inside Of A Folded Hand’ and ‘Suffocated And Embalmed’? Yes and even though it’s difficult to admit, I don’t see this as a loss for Terminally Your Aborted Ghost or Pencil Lead Syringe. Their albums set the stage for the greatest trio of Brutal Death Metal albums imaginable. Is ‘Nourishing The Spoil’ even better than ‘She Lay Gutted’, an album I’ve heralded as the peak of Brutal Death Metal for as long as I’ve been a fanatical fan of the style? I don’t think that question can be answered properly until a couple of years have passed. Let’s just say for now that ‘Nourishing The Spoil’ is the closest thing to a second coming there’s ever been.
‘Reek Of Pubescent Despoilment’ was a superb debut. ‘Nourishing The Spoil’ is one of the greatest sophomore albums ever made and already vying for best Brutal Death Metal album I’ve ever heard. Thank you Blue, Mike, Randy and Matt. If you ever play in Seattle you can come to my house and fuck my sister.
Oh wait, I don’t have a sister…ehh, we’ll work something out.
Here’s to the longest review I’ve ever written! \m/