It is fair to say that there has been a feverish and increasingly growing appetite for Canadian death metallers Gorelust since they disbanded in 1996, a hunger and attention as new genre fans discovered and devoured the band’s one and only album Reign Of Lunacy which was released the previous year. The acclaimed encounter became a hard to get, desperate to have proposition; that, fan clamour, and no doubt a personal passion for the band in PRC Music owner Rémi Côté leading to a long awaited re-release at the end of 2012 with the label. Now twenty years after their debut’s original release, Gorelust return with its successor and it is as if the band has never been away.
Feeling as if it comes from a time only moments after its predecessor but offering a fresh and modern brutality, We are the Undead is a ravenous beast of a proposal. Consisting of songs written before the band came to an end alongside new offerings, the album is old school death metal at its invigorating predatory best; arguably not loaded with major surprises but still sheds plenty of shadow over similar genre driven releases from younger and newer bands. When there is skilled craft and creative hunger inherent in a band it does not go away with time, the evidence right here in the cold embrace of We are the Undead.
With four of the five which released Reign Of Lunacy back on board, the Québec quartet open up We are the Undead with Lunacy Still Prevails…. It is a scene setting intro primarily, but a viscerally haunting coaxing with a threatening atmosphere and textures drawing ears and imagination into the raw turbulence of the following Rape the Rapist. The drums of Francis Marmen are an immediate flurry of intimidation and brutality, their threat matched by the throaty tones of Pascal Chevrier’s bass and the still distinctive and recognisable guttural roars of Jean Beaulieu. It is a thick and ferocious combination bound in the coarse riffery and sonic enterprise of guitarist Martin Fournier, it all uniting for a nostalgic come modern fury.
The imposingly solid start to the album is pushed on again by Entering the Kill Fest, its initial tenderising of the senses a tasty appetiser for the striding stalking of riffs and rhythms which take rein of the track soon after. There is a swing to the grooves and in less open declaration the delivery of Beaulieu, whilst the sonic invention of the guitar is a searing captivation. Mostly though, the track is pure anthemic temptation, a gripping persuasion emulated in the contagion of There Is No God. The song mixes its gait with fierce charges and more intensively threatening saunters accosting the senses, that alone inescapable bait though it is the primal growls of Beaulieu which put the tang in the poison, especially in the closing seconds where surely his throat lining was torn to shreds.
The album’s title track steps up next providing vicious smog of malevolence and musical savagery, as well as one of the loftier peaks within We are the Undead. Like a hell bred hound with a glint in its eye before ripping out its victim’s throat, the track sizes up and devours ears and psyche with addictive rhythmic bait and a torrent of unpredictable and swiftly changing riffery. It is a fascinating and blistering incitement, vocals and guitar ideation both an enthralling and flavoursome colour to the primal trespass of the listener.
The pair of Penetrating the Weak and City of the Cannibals keep this new plateau firmly prowled by the album; the first offering a rapacious and tenaciously attentive examination of the senses. Once more hell for leather onslaughts are fluidly led in to slower intrusive crawls and just as seamlessly out again. Every second of the track is a descent into the bowels of emotional corrosion and aural violation. Its successor has a more tempestuous almost bedlamic nature and enterprise to its body. Marmen as everywhere batters and bludgeons the senses with tremendous spite and inventive craft whilst musically the song is a maelstrom of sound which never settles in one thought for long. This ensures intrigue and pleasure is high and expectations left empty apart from being swamped by an old school sound which heavily satisfies every constant want from a death metal tempest.
Decapitate the Holy Whore and Farewell to the Flesh both have ears and appetite licking lips again. The first of the two is another delicious stalking with riffs and grooves as infectious and venomously bullying as the deep caustic scowls of Beaulieu and the rugged and salacious tempting and swings of Chevrier and Marmen respectively. Farewell to the Flesh is similarly sculpted in its template but soon spinning a web of sonic enticement and alluring colour through Fournier’s adventure and arguably the most compelling and tasty bassline on the album. Another pinnacle of the excellent release, it again has a more chaotic potency to its design and intent, and maybe it is telling that the very best songs on the album are those with this looseness and slightly experimental character.
We Are the Undead is completed by the hellacious Wretched Life, a final tsunami of death metal voracity to bruise ears and ignite the emotions. It is simply a fine end to an excellent encounter. As suggested earlier, Gorelust and We Are the Undead are not rewriting death metal or really challenging its boundaries, but without doubt both are giving it a thoroughly enjoyable treat.
We Are the Undead is available now via PRC Music @ www.prcmusic.com/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=1249
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