Over the years split releases have unveiled and brought forth some of the finest metal moments, whether in the introduction of new bands or the union of might between already established bands. The Sacrificial Slaughter vs. Enfuneration album released via Horror Pain Gore Death Productions is another entry in this fine tradition of marrying striking and impressive music and bands. There will always be exceptions but the years have shown some vital and essential releases and this ten track explosion of thrash/death metal not only adds to the list of notable unions but lays down a claim as one of the best releases heard this year. Sacrificial Slaughter and Enfuneration are two bands that grab the listener by the scruff of the neck with their uncompromising and destructive sounds. Though neither could be classed as hosts of the most violent and brutal sounds around they both consume and stretch the senses with pummelling riffs and abrasive melodies to ensure full satisfaction.
The first half of the album sees Sacrificial Slaughter unleash five stunning songs that eagerly and powerfully immerse the ear in death metal thrust forth with thrash intent and urgency. The songs are the first new songs to be released since the band’s 2009 release Spontaneous Suicide. The Californians are not newcomers having formed in 2001, their dominant sound and live shows including the sharing of stages with the likes of Master, Pestilence, and Vital Remains, gaining them great acclaim and a reputation of one of the most formidable underground bands in the US. Consisting of vocalist and band founder Steve Worley, guitarist Viking James, drummer Bryan Roth, and lead guitarist, bassist and backing vocalist Necro Nick, Sacrificial Slaughter dish up a quintet of death-thrash masterpieces that leaves the senses staggering under their intense brutal riffs and heart gripping grooves.
From the first brain crippling riff of opener ‘Reign Of The Hammer’ coming in off an orchestral intro with blood curdling screams, the band whip up an aggressive frenzy within the ear. Raw and unforgiving the song is an incessant maelstrom of ear bending riffs and incisive and wonderfully intrusive grooves that linger longer and drive deeper than on the majority of similar veined songs anywhere. The combined vocals growl and spill venom as directly as the guitars slice up the senses once the riffs have robbed them of all feeling. ’80 Proof Justice’, ‘Ruthless and Truthless’, and ‘Compound Fracture’ carry on the wonderful sonically splitting sounds, the middle track of the three a delicious hell driven assassination of the senses and the best on the whole album. ‘Acid Reflux’ completes Sacrificial Slaughter’s part of the riff fest, the song summing up the glories across their contributions to leave the listener drained and breathless.
Whereas Sacrificial Slaughter carry a fun element that intertwines with the mesmeric grooves and numbing riffs the more tradition death metal sounding Enfuneration deliver their music with a graver and blackened intent. Formed in 2006 out of the great band Blunt Force Trauma and Skullpl8, the group from Oklahoma City has shared stages with the likes of Vital Remains , Kataklysm, Abysmal Dawn, and Rigor Mortis to garner a strong following and eager support. The line-up of Dave Thompson (guitar / vocals), Bryan Nikkel (guitar / vocals), Bryan Carman (bass guitar), and Rodney Cochran (drums) give to the album five blistering tracks that wear away the nerves with their caustic grinds and overwhelming riffs. Arguably the songs bring nothing new to the genre, being steeped in vintage death metal sounds but it is hard to remember many other offerings from the same well that excite and wind up the energy as satisfyingly as Enfuneration does. From ‘Insidious Domain’ right through to ‘Grieving Process Denied’ the sounds rumble into and crush the ear and beyond, the incessant assault a mesmeric tumultuous storm upon the senses.
Though every track is impressive and rewarding the stand out one from Enfuneration is ‘Stygian Darkness’. With mighty heavy sounds and malicious intent tunnelling deeper and without a relinquishing of the intensity it carries more malevolence than any other song on the release. This is aural sadism which is as equally received and enjoyed as it is menacingly given. After the bands violation across their five tracks the listener is left in a daze from the guttural growling vocals as harsh and punishing as the riffs, and the acidic guitar sounds leaving raw wounds within their victims. Combine both bands and the album is one of the most wonderful barbaric attacks heard this year, just imagine if the bands were to breakout really cataclysmic sounds.
Sacrificial Slaughter vs. Enfuneration is simply a classic, a triumphant collection and deliverer of some of the best thrash/death metal tracks heard this year. It would be a real shock if these bands do not leap up numerous steps in metal as the album finds more and more hosts to violate.