As a lifetime fan of metal, very few things or bands truly get me excited about new releases. I mean, when you grew up listening to the birth/early stages of Thrash and Death Metal the bar has been set pretty high, and today’s music usually seems too often to fall short. I know what you’re thinking, “OK Granddad, get off your high horse and stop yelling at the kids to get off your lawn”. Well, I’m sorry (NOT SORRY) but it’s the truth as I see it. Lots of new tunes out there, but it’s far and few between to find material that has that “it” factor. But I just found one, Gruesome’s Twisted Prayers.
With a release date set for June 1st via Relapse Records, Gruesome’s new album Twisted Prayers is plain and simply fucking brilliant! And guess what, boys and girls: brilliant has an I and T in it, which spells “it”.
It’s no secret that Gruesome is a band that pays straight homage to Death Metal pioneers Death (the band) and Twisted Prayers from the first play sent me back to 1990 when I first bought my cassette copy of Death’s classic Spiritual Healing. Ever have one of those music moments when the hair stands up on your arm? Well, this was one for me. The sound, the feel, the familiarity of it all,was sensory overload for this “Granddad”.
Gruesome members Matt Harvey (guitar/vocals), Daniel Gonzalez (guitar), Robin Mazen (bass), and Gus Rios (drums) have already created a ton of killer material on their previous Gruesome releases: Savage Land, Dimensions of Horror and Fragments of Psyche. But Twisted Prayers is on a whole other level.
A few things that really stand out on this album
Matt Harvey’s strong vocal style is made for this brand of Metal, and I think if Chuck Schuldiner was alive (RIP) he would fully agree. I personally don’t think anyone else could pull off the sound of this band, or its homage to Death like Matt does. There are moments on this album where I think I’m listening to Chuck; it really is that strong of a performance.
Matt and Daniel’s guitar work, holy shit, what a team. The first thing I immediately took notice of was the tone and the sound of their guitars; it had (once again) the “it” factor. The friendly playing back and forth off of each other, playing simultaneously, BIG sweeping guitar solos and then right back to blistering paces, these two guitarists created a beautiful, living piece of art that made me feel like a kid again. Well done, Dudes!
I find most of the time with Death Metal bands the bass gets blended in so much with the guitars everything has a tendency to sound the same and it’s hard to differentiate them. Not on this album, and not with Gruesome. Robin Mazen is a true renaissance woman – anybody in the Metal scene knows this – but she also plays one hell of a bass. Firm, thick, clean, groovy bass lines can be found throughout the entire record. I’ve said it a thousand times: I’m a sucker for killer grooves and Robin brings plenty of those to enjoy on this album. In the words of Lloyd Christmas, “I like it a lot”.
Last, but certainly not least, Mr. Gus Rios. The first sound you hear on Twisted Prayers when starting the song “Inhumane” is those drums. Gus’s playing style on Twisted Prayers (like all Gruesome albums) is straightforward, precise, smooth, effortless and to the point. And let’s not forget his sneaky double bass drumming; it is so damn good. I appreciate a drummer that doesn’t fuck around and throw in a bunch of useless garbage into a song where it’s not needed or doesn’t belong. That makes for a good record, and this one just happen to be a great one. Killer drumming, Brother!
Ever have a moment in life where you’ve heard, seen, or smelt something that whisks you away to when you were young, and it brought you comfort and or a feeling of joy? That is exactly what Twisted Prayers did for me, comfort food so to speak in musical form.
Listen, I’m not here to blow smoke up anybody’s ass – I’m here to give you my opinion, and my opinion is this is going to be my album of the year. I realize it is only May, I understand there is a lot more music to come in 2018, but I highly doubt anything is going to come close to the happiness Gruesome’s Twisted Prayers has brought me.
Hey you, fellow Metalhead, you owe it to yourself to be happy too. Pre-order this album, you will not regret it.
GRUESOME on tour
7/19/2018 Obscene Extreme 2018 – Trutnov, CZ
7/20/2018 Hydrozagadk – Warzawa, PL
7/21/2018 Red & Black – Chorzow, PL
7/22/2018 Modra Vopice – Prague, CZ
7/23/2018 Free & Easy Festival – Munich, DE
7/24/2018 Durer Kert – Budapest, HU
7/25/2018 Metaldays – Tolmin, SL
7/26/2018 Viper Room – Wien, AT
7/27/2018 Master Of The Unicorn – Ernsthausen, DE
7/28/2018 Stonehenge Festival – Steenwijk, NL
7/29/2018 Bastard Club – Osnabruck, DE
7/30/2018 Immerhin – Wurzburg, DE
7/31/2018 Nomansland – Volmerange-les-mines, FR
8/01/2018 7er Club – Mannheim, DE
8/02/2018 Wacken Open Air – Wacken, DE
8/03/2018 Klubb Dissonans – Jonkoping, SE
8/04/2018 The Crypt – Linkoping, SE
8/05/2018 Underwerket – Valby/Copenhagen, DK
8/07/2018 Chemiefabrik – Desden, DE
8/08/2018 Musik und Frieden – Berlin, DE
8/09/2018 Partysan Open Air – Schlotheim, DE
8/10/2018 Das Bett – Frankfurt, DE
8/11/2018 Helvete – Oberhausen, DE
8/12/2018 Alcatraz Open Air – Kortrijk, BE