Gruesome’s “Savage Land” was one of the most exciting death metal releases in years. No band has ever captured the sound of early Death better, and for that reason, the follow-up release, “Dimensions of Horror”, was eagerly anticipated by me. The formula hasn’t changed here (though this release leans slightly more towards “Scream Bloody Gore”, whereas the previous release felt like it was designed as an homage to “Leprosy”), but the end result is very different. Part of what made “Savage Land” so brilliant is that it was written in the style of Death, but it didn’t feel like a rip-off of the band. There were a couple of close calls in terms of similar riffs, but nothing egregious. “Dimensions of Horror”, on the other hand, is a straight-up copy of Death’s material. Every single riff on this EP sounds as though the band picked one of Chuck’s riffs, altered it slightly, and put it on this record.
I’m a staunch defender of newer thrash and traditional heavy metal bands that have very little originality. There’s nothing wrong with carrying on in a style that you like. People often make comments like “why listen to Evile when I can listen to Metallica or Slayer”, but it’s always good to have more material if you like the style. In Gruesome’s case, however, those comments are entirely fair. There’s really no point in listening to this EP because you can hear the original riffs on most of Death’s early work.
In defense of the band, they’ve put together an enjoyable EP if Death’s riffs aren’t permanently wired into your brain. In fact, this is a very conflicting release: Death rules so much that despite all of the negativity this review has had, there’s not a second of it that could be considered mediocre. The problem is that it’s someone else’s music. Every element of this EP is great, from the riffs, to the vocal patterns and delivery, to the drumming, and even the production, but it just feels pointless. If you can look past the blatant copying of Death’s riffs, “Dimensions of Horror” will be in constant rotation, but “Savage Land” was a much better take on Death’s sound. For that reason, this EP is a major disappointment for 2016.
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"Scream Bloody Gore"
3.0/5 or 60%.
Written by Scott