Gorefest : Soul Survivor
(Nuclear Blast - 1996)
First of all, let me point out that I'm not a big fan of the Death Metal genre and certainly no expert on the matter. But I do occasionally listen to Death bands that I consider to be deliverers of quality in their field. Gorefest is one of them.
Death Metal fans think they're so extreme, but in the end they're more conservative than a mainstream Pop fan. They hate (fear?) change. Nothing may touch the brutality of their favourite music. No one shall deviate. Speed is the norm. A groove is forbidden. Melodies merely tolerated as long as they don't take the upper hand. Any reference to other genres other than Black Metal and the most brutal forms of Hardcore is met with hostility and ridicule, because DEATH METAL IS FOR MEN!
Well,... no,... Death Metal is for boys in their rebellious phase. Eventually you sort of grow out of it or/and expand your horizon. For Gorefest 'Soul Survivor' was their coming of age record. They kept the Death sound but took their feet from the gas pedal and added a whole lot of groove and classic Metal influences, hailing back even to 70's Black Sabbath. The result was macho and powerful but with restraint and therefore more menacing sounding than ever. They no longer let the power control them. They controlled the power instead and transformed it into these awe inspiring Groove/Death songs that'll grow hair on your chest just by listening to them. On top of that they have a vocalist that's one of the few in the genre that actually sings. His low pitched rough voice and his technique are impressive and puts most grunt singers to shame.
My guess is that 'Soul Survivor' might have pleased quite a lot of fans of bands as varied as Pantera, Motörhead, Black Sabbath and Spiritual Beggars. So I can also understand that a fair part of their earlier fans (probably the youngest or the most dimwitted) weren't that pleased to find out that Gorefest's music was "pure" no longer. Open your ears, boys! 'Soul Survivor' is a monster of an album. It just takes enough subcranial activity to understand this. There you go. You're welcome.