Quick survey, if I was to tell you about a new album called Forensic Nightmares by a new band called Cut Up, what particular sub-genre of metal would they most likely slip into? Unless you’ve answered with a sarcastic jazz-funk-core style reply, you’ll be pretty spot on. Forensic Nightmares is a straight ahead death metal album. No messing about with synths or choirs, just death metal as it was meant to be.
Of course, to call Cut Up “new” isn’t particularly accurate. True, the band was only formed in 2014, but the death metal aficionados among you will know of the decades Tobias Gustafsson (drums) and Erik Rundqvis (vocals/bass) had with Vomitory. That last sentence is bound to get your collective interest as Vomitory were no laughing matter.
Joined by Anders Bertilsson and Andreas Björnson, the foursome are gearing up to release the first Cut Up album. Early impressions are good. From a production point of view (and from the point of view of someone wearing decent headphones), the sound is spot on. Enough low end in the drums to rattle your eyes at a high enough volume (ah, hearing damage), bass cutting through solidly such as in Bunker Z16. I’ll never understand why some death metal bands bury the bass, it’s so important in getting that heavy sound. The guitars are distinct, clean enough for the riffs to shine and individual notes to sound out but still satisfyingly dirty. The vocals sit on top of the pile like the cherry on the (rotting) cake.
Official Video for Burial Time
Onto the vital aspect of any record though, the song writing itself. All the members of Cut Up are old hands at the death metal game by now and it shows. The mixture of full on speed with slower groovier tracks is comfortably done. Remember the Flesh is a good example of that, opening with a slow, sludgy beat it grooves along before kicking up the speed.
Other times it’s just speed from the start, A Butchery Improved, for example. Avoiding falling into patterns helps keep the record surprisingly fresh even towards then end where some bands fall into the trap of becoming too repetitive.
They aren’t reinventing the death metal wheel by any means, but they’re definitely adding their own polish to it. The riffs are surprisingly catchy but the drums are a personal highlight of the album for me. As much as I like death metal, constant blast beats or constant bashing on the snare from a lot of bands has given me ear fatigue. I find myself zoning out before a songs even part way done. On Forensic Nightmares it’s different though. Utilising his past experience, Gustafsson delivers an array of drum patterns and it’s these patterns that hold my attention and control the foot tap/head nod. It also helps that there is no deliberate low-fi sounds to it. No attempts to sound brutal by fucking with the sound quality. The tracks are clean and well produced, yet are still heavier than a rampaging elephant.
I don’t really have to convince many of you to check the album out; with Vomitory in the bands past, most of their fans will be coming over to hear what is new. However, for the rest of you, I heartily recommend this. Like I said, it isn’t anything particularly new, but sometimes you just want to enjoy some solid tunes, and Forensic Nightmares is full of them.
Forensic Nightmares is out June 30th via Metal Blade. Like the band on Facebook for more.
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