Cropsy Maniac: Shear Terror

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Cropsy Maniac: Shear Terror
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Cropsy Maniac: Shear Terror
Brutal Death Metal, Goregrind
Deadbeat Media
April 15th, 2014
Release length: 9:25
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Cropsy Maniac is a North American Brutal Death Metal group forged in the states of Kentucky and Oregon. The four-piece, which contains members of Among the Decayed, Goatsoldiers and Wormfood, brought the entity to life in 2013. In the time to come there were two digital EPs that dropped through the group’s Bandcamp account to round out the end of the year (Nightmare Disorder and Evil Holidays), both of which introduced their new bass player Patrick Bruss. However, before all this happened, there was a five song EP titled Shear Terror, which featured the now absent Kevin Herr. This recording was unleashed through the notable underground Death and Grind beast known as Deadbeat Media. But is this debut effort worth the asking price, or is this a band better left buried in the backyard in shame?

Shear Terror carries a rich and robust analog sound common to the days of early Goregrind and just balls out brutal bands like Regurgitate and General Surgery. There’s also an obvious Blood Freak influence that former members Travis Ruvo (drums) and Kevin Reece (vocals) clearly incorporate. The thick, down-tuned instruments pummel away at the listener from a band that clearly was born and bred on the Swedish side of Death Metal, making the vile, yet fast paced and fun performances, all in a sadistic manner, of course, making it hard to walk away from.

But while this is a gleefully twisted release overall, there’s a sense of dark humor and general unease that can be felt from time to time. “Cirque du Absurd” kicks off the recording with eerie carnival music before slamming into some thick and addicting Death Metal grooves that eventually give way to bouts of blast beats and two-step drumming. The mixture of vile growls and rasps are the perfect match for the aural bile, though they can become far more eccentric in later songs, as if almost spewing gibberish whilest frothing at the mouth, such as in “Creepy Things”. The longer track length there also gives the band time to expand on their material foundation a little more, though only to maintain a punishing faster pace that only slows down briefly to build towards an eccentric off-beat chunk towards the end that effectively throws you off a bit.

The last two tracks are more on par with the post-introduction material of “Cirque du Absurd”, assaulting you with some slower segments of intimidation, infectious grooves, and even more of that snarling vocal style that intimidates you as much as the blunt musical instruments do. This is a nice summary for “I Strangled Mine”, a track that has more in line with Mortician lyrically, though “Shear Terror” has more of a surgical touch one would find on an early Carcass or Impaled release. This variety is topped off with a cover of Haemorrhage‘s “Dawn in the Rotting Paradise”. It’s good for what it is, but the band drops a lot of what makes Shear Terror such an engaging album for the sake of staying true to the original, leaving a notable difference between it and the rest of the album thanks to the cleaner sounding guitars and less aggressive presence.

Shear Terror is a hidden gem within the growing world of Brutal Death Metal and the Goregrind revival (the latter has never really gone away, but seems to have been rejuvenated recently). There isn’t a dull moment to be found on this brief EP other than the dulled impact of the cover track, and it captures every aspect that makes this sort of genre not only stick, but have you crawling back for more. Hostile, sinister, unpredictable, and a bloody good time (pun intended) that leaves you walking away with a smile from ear to ear, Cropsy Maniac put their best on the line for this love letter to the violent eighties and nineties era of the style, and the respect for it clearly shows every second of the way.

01. Cirque du Absurd – 1:45
02. Creepy Things – 2:16
03. Shear Terror – 1:43
04. I Strangled Mine – 1:30
05. Dawn in the Rotting Paradise (Haemorrhage cover) – 2:12
Initial Pressing Score: 9/10

Cropsy Maniac

Digital review copy of this release provided by Deadbeat Media
via Transcending Obscurity PR.