Did you know that Texas had more Swedish settlers than any other Southern state in the U.S.? Did you know there are over a dozen towns that dot the Texas landscape founded by Swedes? Did you know that the reigning king and queen of Sweden visited Texas in 1988 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first Swedish settlers in the area? Why is all of this somewhat useless knowledge being bestowed upon you in the review of a metal album? Because prior to this album you could easily exist on the knowledge that Sweden and Texas had nothing to do with each other, especially musically. That is until the debut full-length album from Dallas’ newest gift to the metal scene, Cleric
Put this record on and close your eyes…the buzz saw like guitars, the death n’ roll pace of several songs, even the hellish growls would all lead you to believe that you had somehow uncovered some great lost treasure of the early 90’s Swedish death metal scene. Before “melodic” became a prerequisite to Swedish death metal there were bands like Carnage, Unleashed and Dismember who took just as many queues from the crust and d-beat scenes as they did the metal world. They played it fast and brutal and gave every other metal scene in the world a run for its money as being labeled ‘the best’. If those bands had proverbial ancestors who migrated to the U.S. they would be most proud of Cleric for carrying the torch of the first wave of death metal done in the ways of those Swedish masters.
Yet despite the obvious Swedish influence, Gratum Inferno, is a distinctly American record. Born out of a scene that has recently produced such gems as Kill The Client and Warbeast, Cleric pay homage in ever so subtle ways to their own grindcore/hardcore/d-beat/crust scenes. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call this album a melting pot of styles all weaved together in a deafening cacophony of blitzkrieg-like sounds. This is a band you should honestly expect big, big things from within the metal underground in the future. There are few bands today putting out records with as much genuine gusto and virulent potential as this one. Gratum Inferno is out now on Tofu Carnage Records and you can listen to the entire album at your leisure over at the Cleric Bandcamp page.