Gruesome: Savage Land

East/West Coast veterans pen songs in the key of Death

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Many years ago, some smartass tried to sell some Sheavy albums as unreleased vintage Sabbath material on eBay. You could play the same trick with Gruesome, seeing as their debut sounds just like a long-lost recording that occurred in between Death’s Leprosy and Spiritual Healing.

Here lies the beauty of Savage Land: under no illusions about what it’s trying to achieve, it just asks you to become a willing accomplice. With the cat out of the bag before a note is even hit, Exhumed’s Matt Harvey can take his little ‘what if?’ game to the extreme.

So down to its Ed Repka cover (who also designed both Leprosy and Spiritual Healing), lyrical themes, double harmonies solos or even vocal patterns, apart from former Malevolent Creation’s Gus Rios’s almost too-perfect drumming, it has a field day resurrecting Chuck Schuldiner’s early spirit.

That’s quite a feat in itself but it’s one that wouldn’t mean shit if it didn’t have proper songs to speak of, and thankfully it does./o:p