Our purveyor of darkness Chris Cleo takes a listen to the new release from Vomitory, here’s what he thinks…
If you’re anything like me, you’re after the most rabid, ferocious, skull pummelling metal; and if you’ve done a fair amount of digging around – you managed to find Vomitory. They should be known as nothing less than one of the hardest hitting death metal bands and rightfully so – their run of full length LPs in the 2000s leaves little standing in its wake. After a 12 year absence of new material, the 9th LP ‘All Heads Are Gonna Roll’ is set to hit the shelves just in time for summer to roll around, where aside from the title that stinks of pizza thrash (we all have a soft spot) I was eager to get my hands on some new Vomitory riffs.
I went into this spin with a pretty clear picture of what I thought Vomitory IX would be. As someone who’s spun all of their previous albums a fair few times I know that Vomitory is Vomitory – nothing more, nothing less. Atonal thrashy riffs fire like 9mm rounds through catches and stabs while twisting their way round blast beats at breakneck speed with the occasional death metal breakdown and slower, chuggier song. If I had to have summed up the band very briefly before this listen, I’d have said that its straight up thrashy American death metal – despite hailing from Sweden that’s known for its own style of riffage. After hearing more grind elements and D-beats on their last full length ‘Opus Mortis VIII’, I had just passed it off as a quick answer to adding some variation to the arsenal of tempos throughout, but I didn’t expect this to be one of the main focuses of the new album.
‘All Heads…’ starts out as – you guessed it – a Vomitory song. The title track and opener is by far the best song here, simply because… it’s the fastest. I’m not saying that the fastest, most frantic song will always get my pick for favourite track, but when I listen to Vomitory I feel the need… for speed (that was a bad one oh boy). Other standout tracks are ‘Disciples of the Damned’ and ‘Dead World’ because – you guessed it again – they’re the second and third fastest tracks here. The only reason I haven’t listed ‘Decrowned’ as one of the standout tracks (even though it’s hard as hell and fast as a damn bullet) is because it sits right behind the opener and almost melds into one long track. At this point I was still under the impression that this was going to be another tried and true Vomitory onslaught, whereas with the aforementioned two tracks on the B-side, I was quite literally scratching at the walls begging for more of that deathly-thrashy goodness to pin.
This makes it sound like I’m about to cry and complain about something, but realistically there’s nothing to cry and complain about. I’ve already mentioned that there are grindy and more hardcore elements that have cropped up on previous Vomitory albums before, and at first I was just a little surprised when I heard them being ever more prevalent on ‘All Heads’. I’ve always thought that if you can play a D-beat under a death metal riff then it’s too slow, which is never in a million years what I’d have thought I’d be thinking about when listening to Vomitory, but you cannot deny anyone their roots. ‘Ode to the Meat Saw’ is quite literally HM-2 Swedish worship, and after putting me in the mood to spin ‘Like an Ever Flowing Stream’ for the thousandth time, it’s nice to hear some more variety in a Vomitory album. The only thing that left me wanting with this was the last track ‘Beg for Death’. Planes soar overhead as a crushing intro kicks in… I thought it was going to build up to a ‘Blood Rapture’-esque slower track to close off the album but no – more fucking D-beats. That would’ve been the only real thing that was missing from this album – a slower, crushing epic to end on, but hey at least there’s yet another shift in atmosphere.
Is this a conscious effort to make a more longform oriented album? Who knows – and who cares. When you’re in the business with Vomitory, you’re after chaos and fury and little more. Was I left wanting in places? Sure – the closing track didn’t grab me by the balls and crush them like a table vice (at least as hard as I’d have liked) and the melody in Raped, Strangled, Sodomized, Dead didn’t really tickle my fancy, but in the end Vomitory really is Vomitory – and I can’t say that I haven’t at least heard hints to these elements in their previous albums, and by no means did this album run through song by stinking song. Be sure to put at least the fastest tracks on this record into your playlist so that you can try and break the sound barrier in a residential area, and dish up the slower, punkier yet more complex tracks if you’re feeling hungry for more of that juicy goodness. If you’re a fan of super thrashy death metal or have heard one minute of a Vomitory song previously, you’ll know to give this a spin or two (or ten), but if you don’t think this is anything special at least this’ll mean that you’ll have the chance to see Vomitory on tour supporting what can be seen as another extremely solid Vomitory release. The band have definitely not tried to reinvent the wheel but you will never be left asking yourself: ‘WHO’S THE KING OF KINGS!?’
Vomitory – All Heads Are Gonna Roll is out on the 26th May 2023 via Metal Blade Records