Metal Review – Gluttony: Beyond the Veil of Flesh

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Metal Review – Gluttony: Beyond the Veil of Flesh
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Gluttony: Beyond the Veil of Flesh
Death Metal
Vic Records
May 26th, 2014
Release length: 30:16
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Sweden’s Gluttony formed in 2009 as a return to the glory days of what Swedish Death Metal once was. “Less fancy stuff, more zombies” as the press release points out. What supposedly started out as a solo project for guitarist Anders Harris became a little more than that when fellow My Own Grave drummer John Henriksson and bassist Max Bergman joined the fold in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Anders was meant to be the vocalist as well, but eventually Johan Jannson of Centinex fame jumped in on vocals following the group’s 2012 demo Coffinborn, lending his voice to the 2013 EP Eaten Alive. Eventually they brought in Setherial‘s Magnus Odling to take on vocal duties before signing with Vic Records to release the first full-length outing titled Beyond the Veil of Flesh. Not only was the legendary Dan Swanö behind the mixing and mastering, but Gluttony also recorded at Unisound Studios. But is this enough to make this effort really stand out, or is it far from worth your time?

Beyond the Veil of Flesh carries a crisp audio value, but the rich buzz and twang of the instruments makes it a far more abrasive experience than your typical deeply tuned Swedish Death Metal assault. It also manages to capture plenty of enthusiasm from the band, even with the drums coming through pushed in the background just a bit to make it all violent and engaging. “The Revenant” explodes with a furious two-step introduction that creeps back in as a bridge for after the chorus, though the held notes and hooks create a truly eerie experience the harsher vocal range plays off perfectly, all leading to the somewhat epic conclusion that sets the stage for the highly aggressive faster paced title track. The energy keeps hammering away at your skull, even when shifting into some mid-tempo passages as you approach the two minute mark that commands you to bang your head along obediently or the band will happily do it for you against the nearest brick wall without any guarantees of your neck staying in one piece.

“Raise the Dead” keeps the creepy aura alive in the guitars once more, establishing a b-movie vibe the lyrical context of the dead coming back to life. The slower break about half way through carries the effect of the dead marching, and the drums really assert that behind the slower held notes. What really sticks out in this track is the twang of the bass guitar that’s not always heard. When you do pick up on it you gain an additional sense of dread, as if the zombie horde that was summoned are closing in on you. “Post Mortem Decapitation” also finds the drums asserting their dominance and importance in the mix, though for much longer. The deep machine gun-line bass kicks nearly mimic the sound of thunder rumbling in the mix while the cymbals come through a bit louder, pulling your attention away from the crushing riffs that can almost become hypnotic in the chorus.

But not everything on Beyond the Veil of Flesh are new compositions. All of the Coffinrot EP but the cover of The Rolling Stones hit “Paint it Black” is re-recorded and sticks out against all the new compositions. “Eaten Alive” is a slower paced cut that relies more on a stern groove to get the point across, which it does in the main verses. The chorus is a bit on the weaker side, but still rather catchy with a simpler lyrical presence similar to “Eaten” by Bloodbath as far as that structuring goes. “Coffinborn” is another standard mid-tempo offering that doesn’t really offer anything that memorable. It’s a solid track that finds the chorus almost trudging along. “On the Slab” feels that way most of the time despite picking up some additional speed for the main verses. There are passages that do amp things up that allow richer material to come through, as well as the build to a more dynamic conclusion on par with the previous two. Sadly these three aren’t bad, but there’s still a slight pattern to be found in their Hearse-style performances that confirm the growth the band has made over the years to distance itself from the typical foundations of the region’s style.

While the material that makes up the band’s earliest three compositions isn’t exactly the most impressive, Gluttony really show a good deal of growth between their 2012 demo and this debut album. Beyond the Veil of Flesh does a great job at asserting what blunt Swedish Death Metal is really about, punctuating that statement with zombie themed content that may be getting old at this point but fits right at home with this atmospherically grim release. Dan Swanö’s top-notch technical prowess only helps to ensure the right levels that never really change, often directing your attention to make you pick up on little things you might not have picked up on last time through. Beyond the Veil of Flesh isn’t exactly the perfect example of Swedish Death Metal thanks to some of the thin and uninspiring earlier material, but these re-recordings do manage to let the listener know Gluttony is still maturing as a group. For now fans of the style and how raw it can be will have plenty of reasons to revisit Beyond the Veil of Flesh and let their unholy undead legions of Gluttony tear your face clean off.

01. The Revenant – 2:49
02. Beyond the Veil of Flesh – 3:15
03. Eaten Alive –
04. Raise the Dead – 4:27
05. Coffinborn – 4:32
06. Post Mortem Decapitation – 2:57
07. And Then You Rot – 3:03
08. On the Slab – 4:06
Initial Pressing Score: 8.5/10

Gluttony
Gluttony

Digital review copy of this release provided by Vic Records.