Death metal necromancy involves the process of looking through the forgotten items of the 1990s to find those rare overlooked classics which might deserve a place on our microSD cards. As part of that quest, old demos like “Rancid Disembowelment” from Mortal Dread re-appear, which provides a mixed blessing because this is good stuff but probably remains forever at local band status.
The good: these guys have an uncanny ability to find the rhythms that seem intuitive, like something we might see in a dream or think we remember from childhood, and they build their riffs around these which creates a sense of the familiar being the alien and disturbing. That’s unnerving enough, but then they layer vocals on those which seem like a childhood monster come to life.
The bad: this band really suffered from lack of direction in that riffs borrow a lot from punk and heavy metal, which leads to a predominance of “happy” riffs, and songs are predictable enough in arrangement that you kind of feel like reaching for a Lone Star and Camel filter (because everyone in the 90s smoked those) while sitting at the counter at your favorite death metal dive bar.
At the end of the night, when everyone is so tired and saturated in experience that the truth comes out, this demo is not a forgotten gem although it has a lot that people could borrow. Some of the riff combinations are sublime, and the use of infrequent vocals that are more slashes of sound than words is almost subliminal in its effect.
“Rancid Disembowelment” however never really makes much of a point. Its songs gather promising riffs together and those kind of interact, but that interaction never goes anywhere. So, it won’t go on the microSD card after all, but it was fun to dig this up and imagine what it must have been like to go out and hear this live on a Friday night.