After two releases, Gruesome finds themselves in a precarious position. With “Savage Land”, they created the most authentic Death worship to ever exist, but on “Dimensions of Horror”, they took it too far. The songs went from paying tribute to Death to straight-up ripping them off. “Fragments of Psyche”, their next EP presents an opportunity to reinvent themselves by moving deeper into Death’s career. The target this time around is “Human”, and much to Gruesome’s credit, they’ve rediscovered how to be inspired by Death without stealing their riffs this time. The title track on this album could be an unearthed gem from the “Human” sessions and no one would ever know (aside from some slight production differences). The unique intervals and riffing style that characterized this period are in full form on “Fragments of Psyche”, and one can’t help but be impressed by Gruesome’s commitment to perfecting this sound.
And then there’s the rest of the EP. The remaining 6 tracks consist of a cover of “Choke On It” (one of Death’s most underrated songs, as it has insane harmonies and bouncy riffing), and 5 demo tracks of songs that appeared on the band’s debut. Unfortunately, as a purchase, this is all somewhat worthless. “Savage Land” practically is “Leprosy”, so there’s no real value in covering a song from that album. There are some slight differentiating elements to make it sound as though it was written in the "Human" era, but nothing all that major. Additionally, the demos don’t sound all that different from the final product. Ultimately, it makes “Fragments of Psyche” appear to be a very padded release. There’s only 4 minutes of real substance on this 31-minute EP. That doesn’t mean you should avoid it, but rather just pickup the one new track on iTunes and move on (or get the 7-inch, which has only the original song and the cover). Gruesome once looked like a promising project, and the potential is certainly still there, but the band should work on making another full-length record of songs that use Death’s tropes, and not their riffs. It likely doesn’t even matter which era they pay homage to, as Gruesome has the talent to pull all of them off; they just need to be more focused, and stop releasing things for the sake of releasing something.
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"Fragments of Psyche"
3.5/5 or 70%.
Written by Scott