ifteen years is an eternity for any band to stay together, let alone one that uncompromisingly titles their records things like Revelation Nausea, Blood Rapture and Raped in their Own Blood. But that hasn’t stopped the Brothers Gustafsson from bringing in a variety of collaborators to continue the Vomitory name. It’s been these two, playing guitar and drums throughout the band’s existence but, finally, with Primal Massacre we have an album where the lineup of the band has lasted for longer than one album intact.
As such, you might think it’s the right time to actually begin to assess Vomitory’s progression over time. You’d be wrong. Because there hasn’t been any. But, let’s be honest here: did we expect it? Probably not. The Gustafsson brothers and company have always excelled in pummeling the listener into submission, blast beat after blast beat. And that’s exactly what they do here. No apologies necessary.
The album begins with the title track, which is, as might be expected, a grinding hunk of driving guitar death metal. Erik Rundqvist’s voice cuts through the murk of the revolving guitars to spout unintelligible vocals (the words and phrases that do jump out are “retribution”, “the end” and, I think, “you’ve hit the jackpot”), presumably detailing a large-scale killing spree. But the lyrics are hardly the point and are, instead, meant to be taken mostly as further sonic detailing to the already massive sound that the band creates.
It continues on like this, relenting only for brief moments on songs like “Gore Apocalypse”, “Demons Divine” and “Condemned by Pride” before returning to the punishing grind of their technical and exacting style of music. But these moments nearly make the album worthwhile, displaying the group at their most swinging and free, able to switch tempos on a dime.
While it’s to the band’s credit that you can’t ultimately say any of the songs are bad, it’s also to their detriment that you can’t readily remember any of them soon after the disc is over. Vomitory is a legend in their field, honoring the fire of an extreme and uncompromising style of death metal. But one wonders what they might come up if they, just once, decided to deviate from the formula to do something else entirely. That being said, there’s a certain pleasure in knowing that, if all else fails, there’ll always be Vomitory to suit that particular niche in your musical life.