-by Devdutt Nawalkar
Album: “Absorbed In The Nethervoid” (2009)
Razorback has always been a home to niche bands. It used to be gorish grind in the nascency of the label with bands like Catasexual Urge Motivation, Impetigo, Gruesome Stuff Relish, Gigantic Brain, Birdflesh and WTN among others that found a cozy nook under Bill Nocera’s label. The trend shifted to cartoonish death/thrash/grind with bands from Portland like Lord Gore, Frightmare, Ghoul, Engorged, etc spearheading the assault. This phase generally had the most detractors due to the sameness of the music which resulted in somewhat unfair charges of gimmickry levelled against the label. Over the last 3 years or so, focus has shifted to bands plying the old school death metal trade with some absolutely crushing releases barging through the door. Crypticus, Hooded Menace and Decrepitaph have all served out tempting platters of the old sounds in the last one year. Claws from Finland are the latest addition to the roster and a much welcome one too.
Claws play old school death metal in the Swedish/Finnish vein. Period. All the usual references are present here – a bit of Carnage, a bit of Grave, a bit of the Finnish Abhorrence, some Funebre and so on and so forth. To be honest, there really isn’t much to talk about once you slap the old school label onto a band. It’s all been done before and, unfortunately, done much better. Claws, however, break the trend of substandard rehashes (It probably helps that they’re Finnish). Great songs, great solos, great production, and a length that doesn’t outstay its welcome, are all factors that contribute to the making of a very enjoyable record. This would make a great companion piece to Funebrarum’s ‘The Sleep of Morbid Dreams’.
People fling about the word ‘necro’ rather carelessly to describe any old school death metal. Dismember’s great but they’re not necro. Grave were necro on ‘Into the Grave’ but they aren’t anymore. Deathevokation or Evocation, albeit extremely awesome, are too melodic to be necro. To these ears, necro is a somewhat amorphous niche defined by a certain cavernous, bowel distending quality to the music. Funebrarum have it in spades and so do Claws. Highly recommended for all old school fans.
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