When you put enough talented musicians in a confined area together for an extended amount of time, eventually they’ll make some great music together. That’s exactly what happened when Exhumed front man Matt Harvey and Malevolent Creation drummer Gus Rios while working together on the “Death To All” Tour a while back. While playing classic Death tracks together, the two eventually decided to jam out some original material. Cut to the present, and here we are talking about Gruesome.
Rounded out by Daniel Gonzalez of Possessed on guitar and Robin Mazen of Derketa on bass, the four-piece’s eight-track debut Savage Land will see an April 21 North American debut on Relapse Records. Being that the project was spawned out of love and admiration of all things Death, it’s fitting that this album was recorded in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida’s Riversound Studios and mixed just across the state in St. Petersburg. Even the album art was done by the renowned Ed Repka, who’s made art for bands including Megadeth, Atheist, Massacre, and of course Death. Harvey’s comments on the project paint a vivid image of inspiration and direction:
“We had such a blast writing and recording this album, I just hope people enjoy it half as much as I enjoyed doing it. It was a great experience working with my friends in Florida and getting to write and record my take on the Death sound. I’m beyond happy with the way everything came out and I hope people take it as the loving, respectful piece of work that it is.
I know that sounds counterintuitive for a death metal album, but the whole band is really a super nerdy fan letter to Chuck [Schuldiner], James [Murphy], Rick [Rozz], Terry [Butler], Chris [Reifert], Paul [Masvidal], Sean [Reinert], and Stevie D [DiGiorgio] for making records that have given me literally decades of enjoyment. Having had a chance to meet and hang out with all of those dudes from the early Death days, with the exception of Bill Andrews, has been nothing but humbling, rewarding, enlightening and has only deepened my love for the band and made it that much more personal.
So I decided to write an album about ’80s horror movies and deadly diseases, which is what anyone would do under the circumstances, right? Anyway, if you like late ’80s Death, I sincerely hope you enjoy our take on it, which is really what this album is, with all the drippy blood and inverted crosses in the logo that that implies.”
If there’s any doubt that Savage Land may not deliver on the sounds and identity of late ’80s classic death metal, listen to the teaser clip for yourself and see if you’re still not convinced. Even the production quality appears to have been handled with the utmost respect to replicate a sound and style in which anyone can travel back in time and sneak it in to a pile of Death, Obituary, and Morbid Angel cassettes and no one would bat an eye. Here’s the track listing for Gruesome’s Savage Land:
2. Trapped In Hell
6. Closed Casket
7. Psychic Twin