Vomitory – All Heads Are Gonna Roll (Metal Blade Records)Friday, 26th May 2023
The original run for Swedish death metal act Vomitory went from the late 80’s until 2013 – with eight fine studio albums assaulting the airwaves. Most ardent followers have their favorites (put Blood Rapture and Primal Massacre in this writer’s essential playlists), but after four years of being on the sidelines, the band would play the Summer Breeze festival in 2017 as a tribute to former European Metal Blade manager Michael Trengert, who passed away when the band split. Well twelve years removed from their last record Opus Mortis VIII, the quartet returns to obliterate as only they can through the aptly titled All Heads Are Gonna Roll.
We will get ten tracks that should remind the old-timers that this band live for brutality, speed, and savage power through their punishing rhythms, equally massive bass/drum foundation, plus the extra melodic twists against some sinister growls that keep the focus on heavy-handed death that’s unrelenting. Even when some sections slow down into a mid-tempo, militant d-beat stomp during “Ode to the Meat Saw”, the riff swirl and tremolo picking promotes exotic mystique, as bassist Erik Rundqvist barrels over the landscape through his evil, captivating growls. The varying levels of intensity when drummer Tobias Gustaffson pushes the accelerator makes “The Deepest Tomb” plus “Disciples of the Damned” dangerous for those who choose to venture into these shark-infested waters. Expect wild lead breaks, sinister riff transitions, and this massive aural swirl that cannot be denied when it comes to Swedish death – featuring a bit of a Slayer-esque twist around the 2:30-2:41 section of ‘Disciples of the Damned” guitar-wise. Sometimes the tempo shifts come out of nowhere – this scribe betting the “Pull the Plug”-like groovy passage within “Dead World” a homage to the US scene, while closer “Beg For Death” contains some doom-like harmony accents to convey the atmospheric despair present in the main riffs.
If it isn’t broken, don’t go tinkering around with the formula. It’s as if Vomitory just stepped back into a comfort zone, sifted through the best riffs available creatively, and positioned All Heads Are Gonna Roll into a rally cry that these veterans can still maintain aggressive, European style death with speed/accuracy to deliver another high-quality platter.