Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review: Bookakee - Whorrific

Bookakee is a name that has been dripping like venom from the tongues of the ravenous metal fans in Montreal, Quebec Canada for the last couple of years; there has been nothing but an ongoing onslaught of praise for their lewd onstage antics and brutal sound. This is only enhanced further by having a five man line-up of the most well known and hardest working members, namely guitarist Mat ParĂ©, vocalist Philippe Langelier and drummer Jean-Philippe Bouchard. Active since 2007, the group released their EP Invasion of the Depraved in 2011 and have now followed up with their hour long full-length debut album Whorrific. Is it indeed as awesome as you're expecting it to be?

Genre: Progressive Death Metal, Experimental
Label: Unsigned/independent
Release Date: December 13th, 2013
  1. Intro
  2. A Night to Dismember
  3. Whorrific
  4. Return of the Living Dead
  5. Perverted Monolith
  6. Bookakee Blast
  7. Muerte Peluda
  8. DBS
  9. Insulated Room
  10. Carcass Coffin
  11. DK
  12. Usurper
  13. Invasion of the Depraved
Total Playtime: 1 hour, 02 minutes, 41 seconds


Rating: 9.0/10






Bookakee is a name that has been dripping like venom from the tongues of the ravenous metal fans in Montreal, Quebec Canada for the last couple of years; there has been nothing but an ongoing onslaught of praise for their lewd onstage antics and brutal sound. This is only enhanced further by having a five man line-up of the most well known and hardest working members, namely guitarist Mat ParĂ©, vocalist Philippe Langelier and drummer Jean-Philippe Bouchard. Active since 2007, the group released their EP Invasion of the Depraved in 2011 and have now followed up with their hour long full-length debut album Whorrific. Is it indeed as awesome as you're expecting it to be?

Yes, yes it most certainly is. The material is as brutal as the cover art depicts, which was done entirely by Philippe Langelier. The album is pretty lengthy, clocking in at just over an hour, which seems absurd for the type of metal at hand however in the long run it works out in favor for Bookakee, which is a feature in itself; a lot of bands tend to do themselves in with lengthier releases over forty-five minutes, especially within the brutal/death metal category. Each member is fluent in the arts of technicality and classical, which gives the content an overwhelming sensation upon the first go-around, the listener will find themselves needing more than one play through to soak up everything this release has to offer.

If you name it, or even think it, Whorrific definitely has it; from grindcore to death metal, brutal death metal, technical death metal, technical brutal death metal, brutal technical death metal, black metal and lounge (okay, well more along the lines of jazz)! There is a rabid sensation of extreme chaos from beginning to end which is brought on by the constant high tempo musical compositions, written mostly by lead guitarist SP Gagnon, and the consistent flow of genre changes that happen multiple times on each track. This feature causes the material to come off unkempt and undirectional, however it's a controlled chaos that very few bands have the mastery to pull off without the record ending up as a complete disaster; one might say that this album is a brutiful disasterpiece of master musicianship.

Philippe is an absolute vocal wizard who has harnessed the power of all prominent metal genre vocal styles and has tastefully disseminated each one throughout the album. The listener will find themselves greatly enjoying his pig squeals, which are actually too few if there are any downsides to the vocals, and random grunts, chokes, coughs and other fill-in features. Even his standard death metal growls aren't so standard, they go above and beyond with amazing characteristic and switch on a whim to brutal gutturals or shrill highs. This album should really come with a warning, "May Cause Listener to Never Enjoy Another Boring Ass Death Metal Vocalist Again". Often times the vocals are indeed layered, where shrill vocals will be backing Philippe's deep growls and this provides a great depth to the material, contributing to the aforementioned controlled chaos of the album.


The bassist, Jo David, completely obliterates the mid-ground of Whorrific with an unending assault of twangy technical bass grooves that never cease. The most stand-out bass moment that comes to mind is one of simplicity yet it's ridiculously effective; the crazy bass slides in "Carcass Coffin". The track that shows off the highest standard of technicality has to be "Bookakee Blast", where Jo practically carries the entire song along his low to mid fret range. There are also some really great jazzy, lounge type interludes and segments in assorted tracks such as "A Night to Dismember", "Perverted Monolith", "Carcass Coffin" and "Invasion of the Depraved" that are served up by both the bass and guitars with a little bit of the drums contributing here and there. These classical jazzy areas add in an air of class, as well as are a subtle breath of oxygen, in a rather helter-skelter and clustered environment.

Just like the rest of the album, both guitarists do an outstanding job in their perspective rolls. It's amazing that Simon-Pierre Gagnon wrote nearly all of the compositions on his own as they're extraordinarily elaborate. Just as the vocals, the guitars contribute a little bit of everything on the album. The lead guitar has a very brutal death metal tone to it and is almost always showcasing methodological ear candy; the leads that stand out the most are found in the vibrant and spacey solo on "Bookakee Blast", as well as the entirety of the instrumental South Park dedicated track "Muerte Peluda". Unfortunately Mat's rhythms tend to fall down in the frenzy of the album, providing little more than filler riffage to keep dead air at bay, although his galloping palm muted riffs are displayed in their gritty glory in the aforesaid song.

Lastly, the drums are just another incredibly insane element that drives the anarchy of the material. Lasting on the same pattern for mere seconds before transferring to another beat or rhythm, Jean-Philippe is a shifting beast behind the skins. Flying double bass kicks litter the material along with other furious skilled footwork while his hands make use of every element on his kit. His beats are tight, the hits are typically fast and light but it all has a heavy impact on the content.

Not only are the compositions elaborate, but the musicians pull them off effortlessly and fluidly; neither a beat is missed nor a lyric late. Now while the previous paragraphs amount to nothing but sheer praise, there are a few minor concerns about this album. The audio presentation could've been executed better, the entire album is mixed heavy onto the left speaker instead of the weight being distributed evenly. If the mixing had been more surround instead of monaural the content could've had more dynamic sound, deeper bass impacts and more room for the rhythm guitar. The other concern is that most of the lyrics, for the exception of a couple of songs, were written by two people that aren't in the band. While this isn't anything major, it's almost always more preferable when a vocalist writes their own lyrics, but then again not everyone is a writer; this is just something that stood out, and it's not score impacting. The last thing to notate here is that four of the thirteen song track-list come from Bookakee's Invasion of the Depraved EP, so the material isn't entirely new however they have been rerecorded.

Holy fucking shit, Bookakee will completely blow you away with their thick loads of genre mashing bliss in Whorrific. You want grindcore? Done. You want death metal, brutal death metal, technical death metal, black metal, jazz, lounge? Fucking done. You want a Spanish inspired classical bonus track? God damn done. If you've yet to hear Bookakee then I have no idea why you didn't just stop reading after the second paragraph to run out and buy yourself a copy of this album. This is album of the year material right here, it's a must listen and must own!

Physical Copy Provided by: Silver Wings Studios

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