I like to think of myself as an experienced metalhead, but sometimes there are bands that have been around for quite some time that are able to fly under my radar. Most of the time when I try to remedy that egregious oversight I am met with self-inflicted verbal abuse for not picking up on that group earlier on. However, there are also those that I wish were to stay buried within the catacombs of my ignorance. When I find myself in situations like this I will attempt to be as fair as possible, and today it is no different with Gory Blister‘s new album, “Earth-Sick“. Having been in existence since the early 1990s, Gory Blister seems to have always relied on word-of-mouth to promote their music. I knew next-to-nothing about this band, so after doing a little research I have come to the realization that they should be right up my alley, but I have been wrong before.
After a relatively useless forty-five second introduction named ‘The Bleeding’, the band produces a solid form of technical death metal on the title track. I guess if I were to make any sort of comparisons for those as unfamiliar with Gory Blister as I was, think of them doing it in a similar vein to Anata. What I mean by that is their brand of technical death metal isn’t so “out there” or takes a large amount of concentration to really appreciate. Using some melodic leads to help drive that point home, “Earth-Sick” comes strong out of the gate.
There is, however, a large problem that tends to exist with a majority of technical death metal bands, including Gory Blister. While most of the music is enthralling, there are points where it turns into just “another technical death metal record.” As I mentioned above, “Earth-Sick” does have quite a few melodic strong points that tries to separate themselves from the pack and it helps greatly. But, sometimes I can’t help but just feel myself wanting to hit ‘next’ on tracks like ‘Plague and Pray’, ‘Decanted Embryos’, and ‘Dominant GenEthics’. The musical talent is definitely there, but the main crux to creating a good technical death metal album is varying the song-writing a bit. Until ‘H.I.V.’ (which sounds like a spiritual successor to Spawn of Possession‘s “Cabinet“), it felt like “Earth-Sick” never really went anywhere for about twelve minutes.
Now is the time where I shed praise upon Gory Blister for being able to do this. The all mighty Egyptian demigod known as Karl Sanders (Nile) did lead vocals on ‘Soul-Bourne Maladies’ and ‘Serpent Verse’, and those songs are really good. They are far more straight-forward death metal than all of the other tracks and Karl’s deafening growls work very well with the music. It was definitely a nice change from the relentless technical beating your eardrums take throughout the whole album.
When you focus on the production values of “Earth-Sick” it should be no surprise to anyone that everything is just about as clear as can be. After all, this is a technical death metal album. The only things that I have a gripe with would be the vocals and drums. They just are not very strong most of the time and feel buried underneath the guitar at times. But let’s face it, we never listen to tech-death for the vocals, do we? Maybe it’s just me being picky. The drums are also triggered to high-hell, but they aren’t extremely obnoxious. Sometimes the undying snare gets on my nerves, but nothing too severe. It’s typical technical death metal production, really.
After this being my first Gory Blister album, I can see why I have never picked up on them until now. There really just isn’t that much to differentiate themselves from the rest of the sea full of technical death metal bands. There are some great ideas here and there, but they are far too short and tend to be dragged into the depths of mediocrity. “Earth-Sick” will definitely satiate fans of modern technical death metal, but it won’t make you go nuts for the band in any meaningful way. At least I got to hear Karl Sanders bellow out some growls.