While there’s much debate over whether or not Death actually invented the death metal genre, their impact and influence on countless bands is undeniable. Saying that a death metal band is influenced by Death is like saying a doom band is influenced by Black Sabbath. There are some cases, like with California’s Laceration, however, where the comparison is actually useful.
Formed in 2006, Laceration play a classic form of thrashy death metal reminiscent of Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy-era Death. There are no gimmicks, no synthesizers, no costumes, just fast, heavy death metal with no frills. Remnants, their latest release, is a compilation record that collects all the tracks from their Realms of the Unconscious and Consuming Reality EPs, as well the tracks from their split with Tinnitus. The musicianship isn’t overly technical, though the lead guitar work is sometimes pretty impressive. Rather than confuse listeners with flashy six-string pyrotechnics or jazzy time-signatures, Laceration goes for the gut-punch with some thrashy, pounding riffs that will have you wanting to hit the closest circle pit. “Self Deprivation” is a particular high point, with a melodic lead guitar bit over a mid-paced intro riff, providing a bit of atmosphere before giving away to a quick, groovy riff. The vocals remind me of Chuck Schuldiner’s trademark snarl, with a slightly higher-pitched tone than the usual gruff death metal grunts.
Regrettably, Laceration’s older material doesn’t seem to have been remixed or remastered at all, meaning that there is a noticeable difference in quality between them and the newer tracks. It’s a shame that all the tunes didn’t get a little polish and shine, so as to give the album a more consistent sound quality.