Formed in 2009 and featuring members of Blasphtized, Scatorgy, Kraanium and Embryonic Depravity, Engorgement unleash their first auditory secretions in the form of Excrutiating Intestinal Lacerations this year. Since their inception, they’ve been cutting their teeth on the live circuit in the South of England, having supported brutal talent from at home (Amputated) and abroad (Severe Torture). Engorgement serve up a cannibalistic feast of blast-ridden, slamming, gurgling foetor. Complete with suitably gory cover art by Vlad Melnick this package is 22 minutes over 7 tracks of no nonsense brutality, and contains not one single moment of originality.
These brutalists, like so many exponents of their ilk, seem to have two settings; blast and slam. The riffing oscillates between staccato, pinch harmonic-peppered, down-tuned frenzy, to stomping slams, but both sound so much like stock riffs, they may as well have lifted them from some kind of preset riff catalogue on a more brutal version of Cubase: [insert slam riff here] or [brutal DM fast riff no.4]. I have to qualify this by saying that the playing is competent, and Engorgement clearly know their patter in terms of brutal DM, obviously being devotees of Devourment, Ingested and the usual suspects. I’ll make the further concession that this is not easy to play, and would have some merit in terms of heaviness if considered in a vacuum. Moreover, James Murphy‘s ( no, not that one!) vocals are the kind of ultra-low guttural, which if not relying on inhales and if properly projected deserve ample credit for their register. However, they fall prey to the common shortcoming that his enunciation consists entirely of vowels, thus rendering any actual lyrics accompanying these compositions tantamount to redundant.
Forgive me if I relapse into soapbox-mounted demagoguery here, but it’s my considered opinion that if you are going to release a brutal death metal album of any value, you need to throw in a few surprises. A few examples which spring immediately to mind are Human Filleted’s Hideous Sculptures of the Dead with its unexpectedly melodic breaks and tracks which fade out and then back in again, perpetuating ball-shaking choruses. Also Leptotrichia’s The Repository, which throws out the curveball of an entirely unpredictable, yet perfectly interwoven acoustic passage on the album’s outro. The least predictable aspect of Excrutiating Intestinal Lacerations is the use of a sample, probably from a horror film.
My theory is that Engorgement have been vomited into being with the primary objective of playing live, and that creating a body of recorded output was simply a logical progression, rather than an out-and-out necessity – and the fact that the band have made this release available to stream for free (see Facebook page), tends to lend credibility to this assertion. This is just the sort of visceral fare that would potentially be very well received by audiences who are just the wrong side of tipsy, and I can certainly envision my unsteady self stomping away to this in an ill-lit room. As a recording, however I can see little laudability here other than to demonstrate a thoroughly typical example of the genre.