October 1, 2009 | | 3.5

The Accused, The Curse of Martha Splatterhead

The Accused: The Curse of Martha Splatterhead

Heralded as a driving force amongst the early 80’s crossover movement, punk thrashers The Accused are back with their latest helping of caustic metal, The Curse of Martha Splatterhead. While this isn’t a true reunion of the group — founding member and guitarist Tommy Niemeyer is the only one returning — the band’s reincarnated form delivers a sound straight out of the crossover heyday.

Niemeyer’s guitar work is nasty, raw and life threatening, plunging from thrashing riffs to gutter punk tinged noise. New vocalist Brad Mowen lets loose with a volley of ear splitting shrieks and growls that fit the band’s style nicely. The rhythm section carries the guitars and shrieks along at break-neck speed with thundering drums and thick bass. That all said, Curse can seem one-dimensional at times, but that’s really all this band is about — splitting your skull with crashing, violent crossover thrash.

The Splatterbeast
The frenetic journey through 14 songs in about 29 minutes starts off with a slow build up to a frantic delivery of rabid drums, searing vocals and driving riffs. Thanks for easing us into the rusty blender.

Stomped to Death
You’ll certainly feel stomped to death after listening to this album a couple of times in a row, but not so sure you’ll feel that way after only two tracks. This song, however, is a nasty meeting with a crowbar in a back alley, complete with thick riffing and violent vocals.

Bodies are Rising
The group barely rests before classic riffing gets this next one under way. Rapid fire drums and punk tinged riffs dominate the song, barely making it to the two minute mark. This one is quick and raucous.

Festival of Flesh
“Festival of Flesh” starts off much slower and with more groove than the first few songs, giving it a great vibe. The layered vocals are a nice addition, as well. A couple of nicely timed tempo shifts prepare you nicely for an explosion of noise and chaos around 1:35 that’ll leave your head spinning for the remainder of the song.

Elijah Black
Distant, rumbling bass and a sound clip get this next one going as massive riffing and a nicely timed scream come in around the :30 mark. I’m loving the thicker, rougher production to this album. It definitely compliments the energy with which these guys perform.

Scotty Came Back
Manic drums and immediate explosion of vocals keeps the blood flowing as The Accused tear through “Scotty Came Back” is complete and utter disregard for your (or their own) well being. Damn this song moves — even during the dramatic slow-down right before the final eruption.

I can honestly say I’ve never heard a sewing machine sound effect during a metal song of any sort, ever. It’s sort of bewildering. Once past that, “Hemline” has a nice slower start with some memorable guitar work before jumping to a busy punk/thrash mosh pit fueled by a nice mid-tempo pace. This is one hell of a catchy song.

Die Violently
The old school flavor of “Die Violently” makes it feel that much more sinister of a song. The pace is like that of an unrelenting mad man. The vocals are violent and delivered with vehemence. What more could you want from a song so aptly titled? Oh, perhaps a lead (1:38) that shred nicely.

By the Hook
After the rather abrupt end to “Die Violently,” this next one picks the pace back up quickly with bludgeoning drum work and thrashing riffs. The accelerator is pegged to the floor for the remained of the song. Awesome song.

Avenue of the Dead
“Avenue of the Dead” starts off with light guitar/bass work before jumping into a busy downtown intersection with massive, catchy riffs and a slightly muffled vocal delivery. This one is dirty and evil. The 1:38 long song ends way too soon. Quickly, hit repeat before it’s over.

Fuck Sorry
A weird jazzy intro gets this one going before a big scream brings in some funky guitar work that we haven’t heard on the album so far. There’s a great deal going on in this short song — quick tempo changes, groove, thick riffing and beefy drum work.

Martha’s Disciples
There’s a nice grind/crust feel to “Martha’s Disciples” that makes the song sort of hard to ignore. The infectious guitars and crazy vocal delivery certainly make is a standout song on the album.

Seriously Dead
I love the opening to this next song. Big riffs, great drumming and an off kilter on/off signature make it one of the more unique tracks on the disc. This is crossover thrash with a very modern touch. Way cool.

Splatter Rock II
The final song starts off with steady drums and nice bass work to get the head nodding lightly while guitar noise comes in here and there over the first 50 seconds or so. At that point the vocals come in with sludgy, textured riffs. Again, there are some more nicely timed start/stop moments on this one that keep it from getting too overbearing. The lead at 1:50 is sweet, as well.

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