CADAVERIC INCUBATOR – Nightmare Necropolis (2021)REVIEW

The surrealistic and often brutally percussive shaping of earliest Finnish death metal has been well extrapolated via interviews spanning these last two decades to the point that it now reeks of an almost savant occurrence, unintentional phenomenon resultant of a healthy thrashcore and grindcore obsession finding savage speed and brutality enough that it’d interrupted the late-to-the-party status of the country’s “proper” thrash metal scene. Just as soon as Airdash and Stone were “in” so were they trampled by the underground reverberations of ‘Reek of Putrefaction’ and ‘Severed Survival’ within just a few gore-spewing deathgrind bands. There were intermediaries, edge cases such as Protected Illusion who were caught in limbo between worlds that deserve recognition for representing hardcore punk, thrash, and death metal which embodies the generational gap itself but, no doubt Xysma (as Repulse) gets due credit for earliest visibility alongside Festerday and countless underrated gems via Necrobiosis and Paraxism who would chime in a bit later. This short lived impetus for death metal obsession within teenaged Finnish suburbanites undeniably built up steam via deathgrind during a two or three year period in the late 80’s and is largely responsible for the belching, brutal, and feverishly morbid basement-grinding nature of true underground Finnish death metal. The Rotting Ways to Misery book views the lineage in a similar, if far more thrash-obsessed, point of view and the folks in Helsinki-based death metal trio Cadaveric Incubator have their own take on display throughout their discography not only for the sake of being fans of the style but being formed by folks who’d participated in the boon of Finnish death metal demo mania in the early 90’s. Their second album, ‘Nightmare Necropolis‘, largely sticks to their guns beyond a highly anticipated debut while cutting some of the sloppy belch-grinder fun around the edges and delivering what could be considered a pure death metal album of the early Finnish persuasion, grind-heavy and featuring their own take on ye olde spooky gloom.

Though I will complicate the event with an examination of the band’s history, appreciation of their collective resumes and references to the filthiest Suomi classics the appeal of ‘Nightmare Necropolis’ is absolutely straight forward: Rotten and inventive Finnish death metal heavily influenced by early grindcore and death metal mutations, what we’d call “goregrind” back in the day or just ‘old school’ deathgrind today. Cadaveric Incubator have fucked around in the past emulating some of the pitch shifted and sampled twirl of the late 80’s Carcass-esque ruin but at this point they’re just hammering out a solid half hour of not fuckin’ around at all. Formed in 2004 with some direct ties to the split of brutal death metal act Deepred (see: ‘Prophetic Luster‘), this project continues the momentum of musician Antti Oinonen which’d been ignited in the late 80’s/early 90’s via formative versions of the underrated Excrement eventually landing in both Deepred and infamous old-schoolers Slugathor. After a demo (‘Resurgence of Morbidity‘, 2005) featuring ex-Nerlich drummer Teemu Mutka the band would split up in 2007 and resurrect with a new line-up in 2014; Now featuring ex-Carnifex, Festerday and current Graveborne drummer Pentele ever since. The difference between that first demo and the second (‘Unburied Abominations‘, 2014) is subtle in some sense, still recognizably the same songwriters with a more stripped back approach on the second demo, leaning into a ‘Swarming of the Maggots‘ demo-era Xysma sound more than anything else but cleaning up some of the death metal hits so that they line-up with a sort of 1993 feeling (see: ‘The Pile of Decayed Entrails‘) for a few songs on each demo. By 2017 one more member of Deepred was out, Lantern‘s session/live bassist was in, and a debut record (‘Sermons of the Devouring Dead‘, 2017) became the major statement of the band at that point. Songs like “Rite of Eibon” took their deepest, most serious stabs at classic Finnish death metal sounds moving beyond the ’89 burst of gore towards the most celebrated pre-death n’ roll arena of Finndeath circa ’91, otherwise their debut was more or less making good on the strongest pieces they’d been kicking around since the first demo.

Today there exists only a small camp of Finnish bands who successfully hone in on this specific niche and craft memorable and valuable records from auld dust and bones, in this sense we could rightfully compare Cadaveric Incubator to the relevant classics (Repulsion, Autopsy, Blood, etc.) but it almost makes more sense to suggest the newer breed of bands like Galvanizer and Sadistic Drive offer the most correct shared spiritus, a vibe that is filth-ridden, old school and diseased but pushing the possibilities and variety forward with more ‘serious’ musical application than we’d gotten in the late 80’s. No samples (ok, there is at least two), no squishy mouth noises, no pitch-shifted vocals (ok, maybe on a few songs), solely hammering death n’ grinding metal with a brutal and grinding edge constantly applied makes ‘Nightmare Necropolis’ a goddamned unholy full listen. As I’d suggested earlier the major point of virtue here is that these guys just don’t fuck around and waste time, the flashiest shit they’ve got going on within this half hour is “Frenzied Hatred” featuring a solo from Eric Cutler (Autopsy) which lines up with this whole sense that they’ve leaned into thrashing late 80’s death metal movement more this time around, expanding beyond the borders of Finland a bit in search of fangs to hook into the listener. That’d be the other main point of virtue here, they’ve put out a half hour record not for a lack of ideas but for the sake of condensing their most potent songwriting ideas into a blur of a record that impresses from the very first listen.

By the time “Necropolis” hits on the album we’re getting hit with blender-busting chunks of brutal death and grinding flesh, deeply inhaled vocals, gigantic distorted bass riffs, and the payoff for what the best points of ‘Sermons of the Devouring Dead’ had been getting at, something distinctly ‘early Finnish death metal’ in spirit that attempts to pump overflowing amounts of claustrophobic gore back into the system. “Sickly Obsessed” is a hardcore stewed grinder at face value but leaning into the riff we find some of the best patterns pulled on the album, rushes of early Morbid Angel grinds that’d stuck in my head long after. “Through the Flesh” is the one that took it over the top unto greatness for me, leaning into that Repulsion influence as hard as possible beyond some characteristic Finndeath riffs that roll-out with the exact right momentum built. The dual vocals on this song are damned good and I’d wished they’d used this more often to break things up across the full listen. Nothing against Side A but thanks to those last three murders at the end, Side B kind of spoils the pot with the ante upped for both pace and frequency of riffs. If these last few tracks indicate the future self of Cadaveric Incubator, sign me up for it. As far as my own taste in this early death metal and grindcore crossover made new yet remaining authentic these guys have hit it out of the park again, an even better run than before. The concise, straight forward nature of the listen paired with some serious attention paid to the details you’ll want to return to after each listen ‘Nightmare Necropolis’ may be the right stuff to knock the cobwebs off of folks who want an aggressive edge within their nowadays death metal exploits. A moderately high recommendation, higher for the late 80’s death/grindcore obsessives.

Moderately high recommendation (77/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Nightmare Necropolis
LABEL(S):Hell’s Headbangers Records
RELEASE DATE:May 14th, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp [All Formats]
GENRE(S):Death Metal,

Help Support Grizzly Butts’ goals with a donation:

Please consider donating directly to site costs and project funding using PayPal.