Here’s that name again, Tito Vespasiani, you know, that all around champion from Everlasting Spew Records? We have a saying over at The Metal Wanderlust, well, I do anyway, and it is as thus. “When Tito speaks, we listen”. Pretty straightforward really, but the dude really knows what he likes, and what others like. So a little while ago he sends me a message asking me if I’ve heard of a UK based Brutal Death Metal band by the name of Bludgeon. No, I had not, but he had my immediate attention. They were looking for some more reviews for their debut album “Devoted to Lunacy”, and he wondered if I may be interested. Silly question really ha-ha, of course I bloody well am, and to cut a long boring pile of shite short, here I am about to avail you of said lunacy.
Brutal Death Metal has always been a mixed bag for me. I have always been a lot more comfortable in my usual stomping ground of Death, Doom, or Blackened Death, or any combination that contains any of those three genres. Brutal and Tech bands had to really show me something that was a little more than just flat out bonkers or diddly widdly guitar histrionics to get me more than a song or two into an album, and that is after all what personal taste is all about. I don’t really care how loud you are, how many strings you have on your chosen instrument nor how many different scales you had absorbed by the age of twelve, the music is all that matters, and this shall always remain the case. It is to be said, that even though recommended by a man who certainly has some exceptional nous when it comes to Metal in all it’s glorious forms, I was a little worried.
So, forming in around the mid nineties, these lunatics (yes, I am gonna play on the album title for all it’s worth) released about four demo’s, the last being 2013’s aptly named “Promo”, and a split with fellow crazy fuckers Corpse Carving and Twitch of the Death Nerve in 2005 before this, their debut album finally made its way into our hands. “Devoted to Lunacy” could well be a mission statement for all intents and purposes, as it is plain to see these lads have never given up on their dream, no matter how sick or twisted that dream may well be both aurally, and no doubt in a lyrical sense.
Stylistically, there can be no doubt whatsoever that Bludgeon aren’t pulling anyone’s leg when they call themselves Brutal Death Metal, and after a charmingly creepy little intro (called “intro”, fancy that), they then proceed to show you just why they rightly deserve their place in the halls of the genre. Opener “Fascination With The Lifeless” is about as straight to the point as you can get. One big mighty roar from guttural throat meister Zach White (no relation to Jack White as you will soon learn, and fuck him anyway) and you know you are deep, deep in the proverbial shit. Ferocious fretwork, diabolical double bass kicks and riffs that could well crack the very surface of the earth if put into the wrong hands are the order of the day here kiddies, and so it goes for the most part throughout.
Although maybe seemingly chaotic to the unknowing, or even God forbid uncaring, this is a tightly controlled unit of sheer madness. Yes, lunacy is indeed the order of the day as they pile each maniacal musical passage upon the other in the most, well, brutal kind of way one could imagine. It needs to be said at this stage that they are using a drum machine, and that’s probably not a bad thing as no human could possibly dish out this kind of pummeling song after song and remain sane. It defies belief that the rest of the band can even keep pace with the damn thing, and it’s not so uncommon a thing these days now really is it. It also has the added bonus of being bait for the naysayers. Always good fun to argue the merits of particular music and it’s way of delivery on social media hey! It also has to be noted that one of my other favourite albums of the year is by a band called Acts of Swine. On “Sadistically Speaking” these clever little piggies use one too, and they also will rip your head off and shit in the remaining hole trust me.
Enough of that. So from track three “Cognizant Dichotomy” and on for a few more you are treated to more of the same brutalization, Tim Lee and Chris Mansfield are certainly no slouches in the old guitar department, Tim also handling drum programming duties, and he must be a right nutter to come up with this stuff as you will see. This is not the work of the unskilled by any means, the riffs are so intricate and intense, and yet equally intelligent and extremely coherent at the same time. A lesser bunch of mortals would make this sound like a dog’s breakfast. It is also worthy of noting that as the tracks flow on our good mate Zach shows a reasonable amount of variety in vocal performance, all of them utterly filthy, and probably manifested out of some horrid English sewer full of deranged pigs and other mutant abnormalities. I can honestly go out on a limb and say that at times his delivery almost makes one of my all time faves George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher sound almost angelic ha-ha.
It is around “Hideous Malformations Through Incest”, and “Cattleprod Episiotomy”, tracks six and seven respectively that I really begin to take a shine to this release, mainly because of the judicious use of a few somewhat slower passages of riffery. Yes, that fucking pounding machine keeps throwing rocks at your head, but the space allowed to the guitar work really emphasises just how ridiculously brutal these guys can be. Sure, I’m not saying they have turned into fucking Candlemass or anything of the sort, but the music, at least to me seems to open up just a little more. Ditty number eight “Malefic Volition” gives us all a brief insight into the talent that such lunacy must contain within, being a classical little number that would have easily sat well on any early Morbid Angel album to be honest, and it is quite delightful.
Rest assured though folks, your brutalization and buggery is not over yet. “Before The Taxidermy Begins” will beat the stuffing out of you with a combination of sheer low down grunt and technical wizardry, ending with, correct me if I am wrong, a burp of sorts. Ha-ha, I like it! “Erogenous Catamenia” is a clot filled chunk fest of bloody proportions, and I suggest you do not look up the meaning, period. An absolute riff wielding monster of massive enormity, and a personal favourite. Closer “Tenebris Aeternum” has a hint of the everlasting about it, almost as if these bludgenous buggerish bastards are bidding farewell but hinting that they will be back to beat us and brutalize us some more in the not too distant future. I’d be fine with that.
As mixed a bag as Brutal Death can be for me, I’m going to say this one is a fairly big yes, and also state that the more times you give it a spin, the more you begin to appreciate their collective lunacy. Not for the weak, not for the wannabe, this is pretty heavy going in almost every aspect, and a well worthy listen if you like your music to not only move you, but to bruise you as well. Nuff said, get it into ya.
Rating – 4/5
Be beaten within an inch of your life below!