To be a band of a certain era and doubly associated with the (then) meek and socially inept underground extreme metal fringe that was Portland, Oregon in the late 1990’s places a band like Lord Gore in the mind of many as a relic. If you weren’t there at the time buying up Razorback Records and picking through Barbarian Wrath and Moribund mailers for the most over-the-top brutality and anti-politically correct gore, hate and blasphemy know that you missed out on some of the finer curation amongst the flood of “Hey, we’ve got ProTools, fuck a producer!” bedroom extreme metal of the time. In hindsight you might not see the importance of limit-pushing bands like Thy Infernal, Engorged and Blood Freak but these were important structural components that brought many extremophiles to the pacific northwest to be disgusting, horrify, and not give a shit. Formed by members of the aforementioned bands, Lord Gore was a key point of ‘shock value’ early on as they’d punch the death metal up within the goregrind sound and amplify their core Impetigo, Mortician and Carcass beliefs into well… I guess I’d say most people remember the band for the anime cannibal orgy on cover of their first album ‘The Autophagous Orgy‘ (2002). It was just about that time where goregrind went in one direction and Lord Gore began to focus on something slightly more musical and ‘serious’ with elements of old school death metal, brutal death and a limit to the scuzz-and-belch persona that’d become a widespread parody of extreme metal by 2004 when ‘Resickened’ was released. This was the era of bands like Anal Gorecum Pissflap Slap so, the golden age… You know, its been about thirteen years since Lord Gore ended their gig so I don’t remember why they called it a day but, it made sense because they weren’t the most serious group of fellows and Razorback quietly kinda fucked off around that time. Well, they’re back at it since about 2017 and what better way to say hello than the ending to The Entity (1981): “Welcome home… cunt.”
If you didn’t take a closer look at the lyric sheet you’d think Lord Gore had come back with a WalMart-assed safe version of themselves. Hell, I’d been expecting cover art that’d incite the objectification fearing masses of today into a foamy-crotched furor but instead we get this neon alien brain dissection beauty instead. The innards don’t show any signs of the gooey, greasy over-the-top gore belching attitude of yore until the halfway point of ‘Scalpels For Blind Surgeons’ which finds guitarists Dr. Hordak Scum (Engorged, ex-Thy Infernal) and Maniac Neil (Blood Freak, Frightmare) otherwise cranking out the sort of upscaled old school deathgrind riffs they excel at. In the simplest terms possible, it feels like a more accomplished follow-up to ‘Resickened’ with the heft chunk of ‘Acts of the Unspeakable’ meets classic UK deathgrind style and less of the ole autophagous orgy action in hand. So… it sounds like a more groovy B-movie samplin’ Blood Freak? Yep, and that is a great place for Lord Gore to be in 2019.
No doubt most folks will find the punchy, growling, semi-melodic shove of this latest Lord Gore album surprisingly good and often incredibly brutal without ever diverging too far back towards the early 2000’s belch n’ battery years. Let’s reel it back in a bit for a moment, though, as I don’t want to give the impression that I’m a hundred percent into the goregrind (“Spare Parts”) side of things these days and don’t think this is really too far above average for a straight death metal-meets-goregrind influenced record. They don’t make ’em like this anymore for sure and that’ll be the main sticking point for folks who are either nostalgic or just aren’t all that familiar with the several generations of Impetigo and Carcass influenced fiends that’ve kept the gorecult alive for decades since.
You’ve heard it all, right? So why listen to this shit? The guitar work is surprisingly well written (“Enthenogenocide”, “Lord of the Flies”) and I’d say Gurge has never been more entertaining as a vocalist, as much as I did like his parts on ‘Midnight Murder Mania‘. It all stuck in my mind as a good mix of death metal, deathgrind, and that classic goregrind style which ends up being more ‘refined’ than you’d likely expect from Lord Gore. I’m not sure who necessarily -needed- this record but it is a worthy listen. It had to be great to be worth coming back to this band and I’d say they’ve nailed it with a record that serves as a strong reminder of their place in Portland death metal history while showcasing reasonable growth as musicians over the last decade spent in other projects. Abominant, riff heavy, and for sure a moderately high recommendation. For preview purposes I’d suggest starting with “Incubation Sickness” then jumping over to “Enthenogenocide” and “Lord of the Flies” for the best possible first impression.
Say goodbye to your muscles, skin, and hair. 3.5/5.0
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