February 21, 2008 | , | 3.5

Salt the Wound, Carnal Repercussions

Salt the Wound’s debut release through Rotten Records is full of ear splitting death metal that draws inspiration from he likes of All Shall Perish and The Black Dahlia Murder, but the group has enough talent in their own right to blow past those comparisons with ease. Mixing crushing death metal riffs with hardcore like breakdowns the band shifts tempos quickly and violently leaping from devastating double bass blasts to melodic metalcore guitar work.

Guitarists Vince Stropki and Jake Scott shred through amps with a mixture of bare bones, bludgeoning death metal riffs and gut churning technical leads that’ll leave the listener breathless and in a cold sweat. Bassist Abe Zielenic lends his expertise to a bruising rhythm section that sees Brandon Tabor leveling cities with his impressive drum work. Vocalist Kevin Schaefer has a variety of delivery methods that keeps the album from being one dimensional — combining deep guttural growls, hardcore barks and extreme grindcore pig squeals to great effect. As impressive as his range is, the true joy of this album is the twin guitar work from Stropki and Scott. Their interplay is worth the price of admission alone.

The Beginning
The opening track is a simple minute plus intro with chaotic noise courtesy of layers sound clips and static. Accompanying the din of commotion is some impressive drumming and riffing that ends in a violent breakdown, shifting into the first true song on the album.

Better Than This
“Better Than This” opens violently and quickly with beefy riffing and guttural vocal work. The band leaves it all out there for every one to see as they shred through metalcore guitar work and pummeling drums with a technical flare. Leaving no prisoners behind, Salt The Wound make an impressive opening impression with their leave no one alive approach to technical death metal. I’m really digging the final chorus and it’s sheer aggressive nature.

The Conformist
Tortured screams get the next song moving along with chugging riffs and heavy handed drum work. Once the band settles into a groove it’s a violent ride through head banging fun. If there’s one thing that really doesn’t appeal to me regarding Schaefer’s vocals it’s the contrived pig squeals that he uses on occasion to change up his delivery. It’s just one of those deliveries that rubs me the wrong way. Despite my own personal feelings toward that vocal style, his delivery is everything you could want in a technical death metal experience.

We’ll Sleep Until Sunset
“We’ll Sleep Until Sunset” starts off aggressively with maniacal drumming and shredding riffage. It’s high pace is a welcome change to the chugging nature of the previous tracks. The boys do slow it down a bit just before the one minute point with a nice breakdown like effect before shifting again into a Black Dahlia Murder inspired bit of thrash.

The opening shouts work really nicely to shift up the band’s sound a bit before they devolve into a churning mass of technical death. There’s a nice groove through this song that’ll have you spraining a few vertebrae as you tear around your room in a chaotic frenzy of flying hair and fists. It’s easily one of those songs that’ll have you ready for action, especially with the group chorus lending a perfect moment to scream along with the band.

Featuring a guest solo from Mike Wilson (Abigail Williams), “Gannon” runs at full bore through it’s entirety, rarely letting up for a moments breathe. Wilson’s solo kicks in around the 1:10 mark and it simply shreds.

A Slight Burning Sensation
I’m not sure if I really want to know the cause of said “burning sensation” but this track’s lyrics are quite personal regarding someone’s relationship with an ex-girlfriend. Schaefer’s vocals are over the place on this one, shifting styles in a single line of lyrics. I love the bit of drum work starting at the 1:40 mark.

Peas and Carrots
Another song of heartbreak leaves the band crushing speakers and amps with violent drum work and huge riffs. There are some great moments of trading guitar work between Stropki and Scott with galloping riffs and technical leads.

I Swear the Visine is for My Allergies
“I Swear the Visine is for My Allergies” starts off with some higher pithed screams and massive riffs. Tabor’s drum work is impressive at the onset of this song as he hits technically and soundly. There is a galloping groove through this one punctuated by melodic hooks.

The Rape and Pillage of Spisville
I’m not sure who’s providing the second set of vocals or if it’s all Schaefer, but the layered effect it has is a nice addition and helps separate this one from the rest of the album. I love the churning slowdown that the band has just ahead the one minute mark, before accelerating the pace to devastating levels. There’s a huge breakdown at the 1:45 mark that will have you set for destruction in record time.

Carnal Repercussions
The title track starts off with one of the more memorable riffs on the album before shifting into a blackened thrash attack. This one has Black Dahlia Murder written all over it, yet the band mixes up all sorts of other elements into it to make it their own. There is a beefy bit of breakdown fueled riffs at the 1:25 mark that shift into some tremendous hooks shortly after.

The End
The final track is a subdued outro with background noise and orchestral elements. The guitar work is melodic and heavy with a doomy edge.

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Favorite Tracks:
Better Than This
The Rape and Pillage of Spisville
Carnal Repercussions

Additional Notes: