Death Metal Underground

Expurgate – Dementia Tremens (Comatose Music, 2013)

by Brett Stevens
March 4, 2013 –

expurgate-dementia_tremensIn the style of blasting gurgling death metal that filled in after bands ran out of ways to pay homage to Suffocation, Expurgate unmoor a first album that is genre-consistent but shows promise in that these songs do not fade into a wall of noise.

Most bands in this style are unable to differentiate between riffs or songs very well, and so produce large amounts of very similar material. Much of that occurs because the style demands it; as a subset of death metal, it rewards only some of its techniques. The result becomes to the listener a vast flat space composed of necrotic vocals and chugging, blasting riffs with no real variation.

Dementia Tremens does not assault this basic tendency but injects an individuality to Expurgate into these songs through the distinctiveness of each song, and the tendency to vary pace just enough to allow some tension to build before its release in blasting, slamming, chugging and gurgling guttural mayhem.

While this is a strong first effort, it is going to hang out at metal’s second tier because while it is more distinctive than most of this genre, it is still relatively limited in technique and as such, songs are very similar. Expurgate are great at charging riffs and chugging tempo shifts, but would benefit from some of the fast-fingered phrase riffs that gave death metal much of its imaginative power. It also might help if this vocalist changed up his two vocal styles periodically, or toned them down to allow the song to expand around him.

Despite those small glitches, Dementia Tremens is a strong first effort that presages a great possible future for this band. If they keep developing, they’re going to hit on something interesting that can rise above the rest of this niche sub-genre. If they go further into being more like the other bands, they will be a reasonable option but not stand out more than that. Since they clearly have the ability, let’s hope they shoot for the higher goal.

5 comments

  • Metal Command

    I like the way you put the youtube links after the review. I scroll down and click one before I start reading, and so I’m hearing the song while I read.

    Here I have to say that Expurgate is moron death metal. It is moron death metal that is slightly better than the rest of the moron death metal, but still, it’s best to be a moron before you listen to this because it’s designed for morons.

    It’s ironic that DMU spent so much time bashing the new Darkthrone, which is vapid but not moronic, and now comes along with a semi-positive (it is kind of vague) review of this moron death metal as it is appropriate for anyone but a moron to listen to this moron metal.

    Can someone clue me in as to why one moron band is Ok but the other moron band is bad?

    1. Chuckie

      Well all Burt Sorgelson related reviews have a sleight of hand type of approach to trolling the underground. They will bash cult bands like say Sabbat as a way of saying they’re immune to mindless fandom, criticizing its “cyclic simplicity” (which Sabbat aren’t really) then turn around and put something far more simplistic like Cianide on the pedestal. It’s complex assholism that seems tailored to make sure you’re wrong no matter what, that’s about all I can say, this site is still useful for finding good new bands and old classics. Anus is some fine writing, it all has valid points to make so I take the good and leave the neurosis behind.

    2. deadite

      “I like the way you put the youtube links after the review. I scroll down and click one before I start reading, and so I’m hearing the song while I read.”

      I do too! Makes it so much more easy to check the bands out. In terms of the layout the new deathmetal.org site definitely has its shit together.

      As for this band….well I’m sure Unique Leader’s or Gutterchrist’s crowds would love them….

  • Parasite

    I thought Anus/DMU were against misogynistic lyrics in death metal? The first lyrics I could make out in the first song was something about cutting up a cunt and watching it bleed.