July 28, 2008 | | 3

Embalming Theatre / Hacksaw Surgery, D-Composition

As far as splits go this one does a decent job of juxtapositioning two some what like minded bands with different sounds. Both bands deliver brutal, grind-core in their own maniacal fashion and each group has there moments, but this is pretty much a one sided release. The main fault to this release is the production of the separate halves. One is powerful, rich and in the vein of most typical grind releases. The other, well, let’s just say it’s muddied production is less than stellar.

Through the first ten tracks, Embalming Theatre tear through crusty gore-grind with the sickening efficiency of a turbo-powered chainsaw. The production is spot on, never highlighting one portion of the band’s sound over the other, yet presents the groups assault as a cohesive, pummeling sound. I’m definitely digging these guys.

The second half of the split, six tracks by Australia’s Hacksaw Surgery, is a bit weaker when it comes to the production. Overall, there sound is less grind and more traditional death metal, which is cool by me — it adds a nice contrast to the other half of the split. It’s just that when compared to Embalming Theatre’s tracks, these six songs sound pretty amatuerish. Again, that’s probably due to the production and recording, but it still affects the overall listening experience.

The brief intro is just some background noise fading in from silence and ending in what sounds like the theme song from some old feature film.

Do You Hear Me?
“Do You Hear Me?” is actually a pretty catchy track. The overall feel of the track is that of crushing grind, but it slows to incorporate groove oriented riffing and rhythms. The vocals are guttural and evil. It’s definitely a slick track.

Buried Alive I: Undead in the Morgue
This next one opens up with unrelenting drums and standard grinding guitars. It’s got a classic sound that’s infectious. It’s got an extended foreign language film clip in the middle before the band jumps into the blender again with crusty guitars and bruising rhythms.

Travelling Dismembered
Thick, beefy riffs and maniacal drumming keep the pace moving at the speed of blood jetting from a ruptured jugular artery. It’s also punctuated with a sound clip before the band gets back to the bludgeoning.

The Ultimate Pregnancy-Machine
This one starts with a clip that may be from the same movie as the clip in “Buried Alive I: Undead in the Morgue.” It lasts about 30 seconds before the group erupts in a grinding assault. The :50 mark sees some groove-laiden riffs before the shifting back into the grinding attack. I love the fact that these guys are willing to throw a little groove into their mix.

With the Flesh of the Deceased
“With the Flesh of the Deceased” starts off in straightforward death metal mode for the first 10 seconds or so… then all bets are off as the group descending into a churning and blinding grinding blast. The riffs at times on this one have an Entombed/Unleashed feel to them that’s refreshing. I also love the fact that they end the song with a clip from The Cryptkeeper.

Lucid Fairytale
Covering one of my favorite Napalm Death songs, the group does an admirable job of living up to the legends. It’s a damn good interpretation of the song — I had to play it a few times before moving along to the next track.

He Raped His Dying Daughter
This next one explodes out of the speakers with a maniacal lust for death and grind. Manic blats shift to Slayer like riffs and back again at breakneck speeds.

Buried Alive VII: Watch Them Dig Your Own Grave
Retelling the story of The Donner Party, the group do so with crushing riffs and driving blasts. If my history classes were like this when I was in grade school, I’m sure that I would have paid much more attention.

Combine With a Turbine
The final track for Embalming Theatre on this split is an aggressively paced attack on the senses. Deep guttural growls and creative drumming pummel you for the first thirty seconds, softening you up for the… the devastating playing of a SchwyzerÅ¡rgeli (a small accordion). It’s use in the song is oddly effective. It’s, to say the least, an interesting and creative way to wrap up 10 outstanding tracks.

Hacksaw Surgery make their presence felt with a more traditional metal instrumental. Driving drums and melodic guitars set the mood nicely. It’s just too bad it sounds as though it’s on an old cassette tape playing inside of a barrel of toxic sludge.

Severed And Eaten
“Severed and Eaten” is a pretty standard death metal track. Driving drums and evil guitars work with the guttural delivery of the lyrics pretty well. Again, not to harp on the production, but it kills the song. This is a short one overall with good drumming and decent guitar work.

Born on a Vomit Soaked Operating Table
Wasting no time, the group get right down to business with this next one. It’s a shame that the vocals are nearly unheard through the recording/production of this one. It’s got a very thick layer of static over the entire track, but from what you can hear the drums are pretty good and the guitars aren’t half bad.

Mangled by a Lawn Mower
I like the opening riffs to this one before the band picks up the pace rapidly with speedy drum work and the arrival of the growls. There are some nice melodic guitars, as well as a short lived, evil lead at the :50 mark. The layered screams to end the track are a nice touch, as well.

The Aussie Grind Anthem
This is probably the best of the band’s tracks — only because you aren’t subjected to the production for more than 8 seconds. In classic Napalm Death fashion, the group lets loose with a few thick riffs and a couple of drum beats before calling this one done.

Hacksaw Surgery
Chugging riffs and creative drumming get this one going as the muddled vocals come in. It’s got a distinct Entombed/Unleashed sound to the guitars which I really dig.

~ ~ ~

The differences between the sound of the two bands on this split definitely makes for a nice contrast, but it’s the recording/production of the two halves that really make or break this disc. Some of you may not have an issue with the muddled, garbage can recording style of Hacksaw Surgery. Some of you will. It’s safe to say, however, that the metal on this split is unrelenting, beastial and caustic.

Favorite Tracks:
All of Embalming Theatre’s songs

Additional Notes: