Echoes of Dismemberment
Hack ‘n’ slash flashbacks
dB rating: 8/10
Release Date: November 25, 2016
Label: Unspeakable Axe Records
Delaware death addicts Scorched navigate the blood-soaked cross-section of horror and death metal on their debut LP. Despite the cartoonish grotesquerie of the album’s cover—and the self-applied R-rating implying cooperation with the puritan squares over at the MPAA—Echoes of Dismemberment doesn’t settle for the empty excess of mainstream torture porn. With its balance of spectral eeriness and Scandinavian death worship, Scorched swiftly bury initial fears that they’re yet another Cannibal Corpse copycat (killer).
Commencing with synths that intermittently resurface, retrowave artist Phantasma (Mikael Simpson) lends the flavor of vintage John Carpenter by way of Hammer’s Gothic vamp flicks. Synth passages aside, Echoes of Dismemberment is a 40-minute killing spree, complete with all the gore-spillage and dubious morality usually reserved for a 90-minute VHS. Invoking Grave’s meat-grinder might and the cavernous atmospherics of Hooded Menace, Scorched double-down on groove without tethering themselves to a default mid-tempo stomp. They may revere the old school, but Scorched aren’t exhuming tired riffs from the death metal graveyard here. The funeral bells and supernatural droning of “Dealings of a Gruesome Kind” conjure images of Let Sleeping Corpses Lie and Evil Dead, where every gray countryside and remote cabin is a playground for sinister forces. While some adventurous choices don’t pay off—like the front-stage vocal mixing on “Autopsy Incomplete” and the queasy, detuned wobble of “Fluorescent Lights”—Scorched build and release cinematic tension like each song is a grisly set-piece. If you’re looking for (video) nastiness, Echoes of Dismemberment is your midnight ticket.
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