Review – Limbsplitter: Chloroform Cocktail

By -
  • Bio: Dan Baker - Drums
    Bob Buchanan - Guitars (lead)
    Dylan Gordon - Guitars (lead)
    Rob Lesniak - Bass
    Devin Swank - Vocals
  • Label: Self-release, Unmatched Brutality Records
  • Release Date: June 10th, 2017 / November 13th, 2017
  • Genre: Brutal Death Metal
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Cleveland, Ohio is proving to be one of the dominant sources behind new talent in the US death metal world. With the likes of Embalmer and Shed the Skin being two of the leaders of this charge (ironically both on the same label), it should come as no surprise that one of the latest talents in the brutal death metal world, Limbsplitter, hails from the same neighborhood. Originally formed as Bellicosity in 2011 until 2013, the five-piece outfit released a two song demo in 2013 under the new moniker, and then went silent as far as studio time went. It wasn’t time wasted, however, as four years later they released their debut full-length effort Chloroform Cocktail themselves in June of this year, then teaming up with Unmatched Brutality Records for further distribution by Unmatched Brutality Records. But was it an investment well worth making, or is this new outing nothing much to brag about?

Chloroform Cocktail does offer up a blend of various death metal styles and influences thanks in large part to the group’s robust lineage. Within its ranks you’ll find members from Forged in Gore, Sodomized, as well as ex-members of Pathology, Regurgitation, and even Chimaira. The only member without any noted ties to another group is newcomer Devin Swank on vocals, who joined the band last year following Bill Zakovec’s departure. The end result is a slab of brutal, goregrind, technical, and sometimes groove-laden mayhem often at breakneck speeds in a little under thirty minutes.

That said, things actually start off a bit on the tame side. Following a brief audio clip from the film My Best Friend’s Girl of Alec Baldwin describing a wild night of sex with his secretary, you are greeted with some tight death metal guitar work with an equally disgusting melancholic blend of melody and groove that offers a little more of a robust sound than what Job for a Cowboy has been churning out since signing to Metal Blade Records. Meanwhile “Caustic Cumshower” holds nothing back in its conquest for supremacy. Speed and technicality tear at your face for much of the performance, but it isn’t afraid to bare its fans with some hardcore commandments on par to Dying Fetus or the dominance of Aeon.

“I Ate Her Spine” dives head first into the brutality with an approach that can only be summed up as a structured chaos between bouts of bridging blast beats and a hint of b-grade horror prior to and including the eerie guitar solo that has some drumming comparable to Behemoth‘s “Slaves Shall Serve”. “Slaughtered Slut” comes at the listener with a hefty amount of speed, pulling from the likes of Dying Fetus and Suffocation while quickly growing into a more chaotic Cattle Decapitation persona to wrap things up. The end result is a furious bludgeoning to the face that only increases with intensity the closer you get to its conclusion.

The only major problem that seemed to really stick out with Chloroform Cocktail was an odd distortion to the cymbals similar to a cassette with a crumpled tape being untwisted and played back. It seems to creep in from time to time such as during “Jackhammer Sodomy”, but especially noticeable in the album’s title track a little more than a minute in when the pace slows down. The crashes just start to sound choppy, not to mention once in a while seem to just cut out as though Dan Baker grabbed that particular part of the kit to stop it from ringing out, which is highly unlikely given how it occurs when the pace picks up and the technicality offers very little time to do it without disrupting the flow of his performance. It could be possible it might be a compression issue within the mix itself or with the promo I received, but no other layer sounds impacted for the latter of the two to be the case. Either way, you have been warned, but take it in stride incase I may be wrong on this.

LimbsplitterWhile Limbsplitter do take a little from all walks of life in the death metal community, both locally and even globally it seems, there still remains a consistent sound from start to finish that helps distinguish themselves from all the other acts out there in the field. What could be considered pornogrind light with a brutal and technical death metal foundation, this five-piece never cease to offer up some truly deprived topics in the most relentless manner possible. If you want a sickening death metal album that doesn’t quit “like an epileptic at a strobe light convention” then this is an offering from the underground you don’t want to miss out on, especially since you’re getting a second chance at it with the initial pressing from the band itself currently being sold out.

LimbsplitterDigital review copy of this release provided by Unmatched Brutality Records via Transcending Obscurity PR.