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Bowel Stew: Debridement

Perhaps it’s just that I am desensitized after all these years of death metal and brutal death metal fandom, but there is rarely a release anymore that is so violent and well done that I stop everything to check out what the gore is all about. This isn’t the case with the band Bowel Stew‘s new album, Debridement, which immediately grabbed my attention the moment the image loaded on my screen. And why is that? Well, for one thing, it’s not just going for the gore and nudity value, just some crummy image distorted, and not just a random picture of a dead body or its parts, all of which I’m sick to death of seeing (pun not intended, by the way). So, given the actual effort put into the imagery gracing the front of this release, reminiscent of adorning a Mortician album back in the day, I couldn’t help put slap this one in and sample a few songs. I was not let down.

In fact, I actually am not all that far off with the Mortician reference. “Cruentatio Cadaveris” spends nearly two minutes with an audio chunk involving the Salem witch trials with a man trying to prove the woman as a witch [something I learned appears a few times more after composing this article]. I’m not entirely sure where the clip comes from, and even a search of the quotes yielded no results for me, but the impact behind the dialogue is strong enough on it’s own without knowing the source, trudging into a steady blastbeat filled world of grinding brutal death on par with the aforementioned band. Distorted guttural vocals gargle forward with random bouts of snarls just shy of being pig squeals, while the down-tuned guitars and dominating bass chug right along. Towards the end is when that attitude becomes most impressive, hitting as if a sudden slam that refuses to slow down in the slightest, but never dropping that effect either.

Thoroughly impressed already, I went into “Hung, Gutted and Degloved” with great excitement. No audio sample or chunk kicks this one off, though. Instead it reminds the listener of the existence of that rawer production masked a bit by the tuning. It doesn’t last long before the band throws some additional technicality into the main verses following the early underground trash demo recording style introduction. The complexities do sometimes seem a bit off time in some spots, but it only adds the sensation of pure adrenaline to the raw brutality behind this fairly short track. I wish there was more to this one, really, but it being under a minute and a half doesn’t really hurt anything.

“Liquefactive Necrosis” carries a lot of the elements that made the previous track so much more primal compared to most brutal death metal bands today. If anything, it feels like a natural expansion to it, really. T key difference is the blistering drums and loud pulse of the bass guitar only make things sound as though a layer of gore and filth had congealed over the final product. Sure that’s prevalent throughout the effort, but it’s more obvious on this one, and it works wonders for how you perceive the performance. A little past a minute in, however, you can start making comparisons to early Carcass and Cattle Decapitation, both in their demo recording days (none of this being a bad thing at all), but laced with the vile atmospheres of early Autopsy, or even Mexico’s Disgorge.

“Exasanguinate the Vermiform” is just madness unleashed. The uneven drums against the groovier guitar chords at the start, a style you might overlook at first, lend an eccentric tone to something you might expect on a far more violent offering from Cannibal Corpse as far as the music is concerned. That is replaced with some chaos not too long after, as well as a nice segway to grinding brutality once more about a minute and a half in. From here on out that off-kilter element becomes an explosion of rage, as if someone pushed to the edge having snapped, seeing only red while wrapping their hands around the nearest source of said frustration, choking away the life as the drums continue to pound visceral demands you’re too far gone to ignore until that very deed is done.

Not since the early nineties have I come across a new brutal death metal album that gets it this right. And perhaps that’s because we’re actually dealing with a band from that era. Bowel Stew originally formed in 1996 under the name Monolith, having changed it in 1999, and unleashing aural carnage ever since. The releases, however, have been limited, which is a shame, but perhaps the reason for the quality behind the two full-lengths they issued prior, both of which receiving high praise all around. Of course, there are a good five splits in between and, after hearing this outing, I feel need to be added to my collection as soon as possible. That is how powerful the impact of Debridement has been for me on the first spin alone, and I implore you, if you’re a fan of the day of raw, disgusting, and violent brutal death metal from the analog days, Bowel Stew‘s latest is something you’re going to want to keep an eye on.

Of course, you can expect a full in-depth review soon, as I am definitely not done with this one yet…

Bowel Stew
Bowel Stew

Digital review material for this article provided by Pathologically Explicit Recordings
via Transcending Obscurity PR.