Saturday, September 06, 2014

Review: Embalmer - There Was Blood Everywhere

Despite their six demos and singular LP, the one album that comes to mind when anyone mentions the infamous Embalmer is, of course, the EP There Was Blood Everywhere. The album title itself invokes goosebumps, and when the cover art is thrown in,,, it's truly a combination conceived from nightmares; Wes Benscoter is a fucking genius artist. Originally released by Relapse Records, this iconic release has been picked up and reissued by none more appropriate than Hell's Headbangers Records. The short EP is widely revered, but is the cult hype that surrounds it justified?

Genre: Death Metal
Release Date: June 20th, 2014
  1. There Was Blood Everywhere
  2. The Necro-Filing Cabinet
  3. Blood Sucking Freaks
  4. May the Wounds Bleed Forever
  5. Rotten Body Fluids
  6. Bone Box
  7. Morbid Confessions
  8. The Cellar
Total Playtime: 24 minutes, 57 seconds




Rating: 8.5/10







Despite their six demos and singular LP, the one album that comes to mind when anyone mentions the infamous Embalmer is, of course, the EP There Was Blood Everywhere. The album title itself invokes goosebumps, and when the cover art is thrown in,,, it's truly a combination conceived from nightmares; Wes Benscoter is a fucking genius artist. Originally released by Relapse Records, this iconic release has been picked up and reissued by none more appropriate than Hell's Headbangers Records. The short EP is widely revered, but is the cult hype that surrounds it justified?

Right from the beginning the listener will be met with obscenely annoying, high pitched, agonized screams by vocalist Rick Fleming. Over time, however, these vocals can grow on a person, but the initial listen can leave audiences in a state of unwelcoming shock. The deeper growls that lay underneath are more pleasing and eventually take over the latter portion of the material, to much rejoice. Although, the shrieking madness that comes from the high set of vocals contributes to the extremely raw, aggressive, chaotic mood of the album.

Much like Mortician, the guitars are tuned excessively low. Due to the drop tune, the compositions are given a unique sound; in some cases the rhythm guitar is hard to distinguish from the bass, however the latter has more of a woody overtone to it that eventually makes it easier to recognize to a trained ear. A couple of the better tracks have much to attribute to the bass, for instance the small solo in "May the Wounds Bleed Forever" and the overall delectable "Blood Sucking Freaks". The lead guitar has its moments, tangling small solos in with the fragmented compositions.


Doubtlessly, the tempo fluctuation across the tracks will keep the attention of audiences, in "The Necro-Filing Cabinet" alone the velocity morphs every five seconds during a particular segment. Although officially classified as death metal, Embalmer embrace a huge influence of grindcore within There Was Blood Everywhere, as opposed to their earlier demos; a perfect example being the Rotting Remains demo that's included in this compilation. Much of the speed variances are initiated by the drums, which are made up of a small and primitive kit; the snare has a very tin-like pop to it, further reinforcing the rawness of the content. Blast beats are plentiful, along with other basic beats that are easily executed on a minimalist kit.

The inclusion of Rotting Remains (tracks 5-8) officially classifies this release as a compilation, but it's more appropriate to think of this extra content as a bonus for a reissue. The inclusion of the demo material really puts the career evolution of Embalmer into perspective; their earlier content is by no means tame, but it's definitely not as aggressive as There Was Blood Everywhere. The vocals aren't nearly as emphatic, but holy hell the guitar 'chainsaw' during "The Cellar" will make any gore fanatic wet their panties. Depending on taste, some may find themselves favoring the demo over the actual EP, although if given the chance the chaos will grow on a person over time.

To put it bluntly, There Was Blood Everywhere is not going to be everyone's cup o' joe, and that just weeds out the weak. This album is sheer madness, from beginning to end, a truly horrific vision in lyrical matter, instrumental composure, song titles and album art. As mentioned before, those initial harsh screaming vocals will eradicate a good set of listeners before they give the content a chance; but after the first listen, it's obvious that they play a major role in creating the mood and terror of the album. The grinding hack n' slash progression of the material is very Mortician inspired, and many fans of the band may find themselves enjoying the more outlandish Embalmer. An extremely cult classic, worth every minute of the experience; if the EP content doesn't get you, the demo content will. If this one doesn't grow on you, well... then suffice it to say that there will be blood ...everywhere.

Digital Download Provided by: Hell's Headbangers Records

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