Someone forgot to put the surgical steel away, so Consumption grabbed it and started cutting. On Necrotic Lust, Hákan Stuvemark of Wombbath applies his gift for blending the heavy and the catchy to an album of straight-up Carcass-core. These nine symphonies of sickness aren’t trying to hide their debt to the English masters of grinding death metal; the promo copy makes the connection explicit, and Jeff Walker himself takes over lead vocals on “Ground Into Ash and Coal.” The band exists somewhere on the Gruesome Continuum–they’re willing to flirt with tribute act status if that means they can pump out new variations on the jams that inspired them. Where Gruesome has taken a few (wildly entertaining) stabs at capturing the vibe of various Death albums, Consumption sets out “to make the album Carcass never made after Necroticism–Descanting the Insalubrious.” Talk about leading with your chin! The album that Carcass did make after Necroticism is considered pretty good by a few people. How does this alternate-universe version of Heartwork stand up?
Necrotic Lust is a pond stocked to the brim with melodeath bangers. Stuvemark has a knack for crafting addictive choruses, and he puts that talent to work right out of the gate with a trio of monstrously sticky standouts (“Suffering Divine,” “The Last Supper,” and “Necrotic Lust”). Consumption‘s knack for getting under your skin evokes not only their idols Carcass, but also Exhumed at their Necrocracy-era catchiest. The weighty guitar tone here never lets things get saccharine, even while Stuvemark tears off solos that recall Ryan Knight’s tenure with The Black Dahlia Murder and (of course) Bill Steer. The “verse-chorus-verse-solo” structure prevails throughout, but a few effective changes of pace (“A Secret Colisum,” “Offspring Inhuman Conceived”) keep the listener engaged for all of Necrotic Lust‘s forty-seven minutes. It’s, um, not as good as the album that many credit with inventing melodic death metal, and curse them for distracting me with the comparison to Heartwork in the first place. But Necrotic Lust is still a ferocious good time, a platter of death metal anthems that brings summer to a close by carving its melodies into your auditory cortex.
Those melodies! They writhe into your skull like the Ceti Eels from The Wrath of Khan, leaving you subservient to Consumption‘s will. Stuvemark and drummer Jon Skåre have sharpened their scalpels since debuting with Recursive Definitions of Suppuration.1 The songs are tighter and more dynamic on Necrotic Lust, and just about every goddamn one comes complete with a stirring chorus. There are no bad tracks here, but the album reaches its peak midway through. Jeff Walker and Stuvemark contribute a duet of snarls and growls on “Ground Into Ash and Coal,” and then “Offspring Inhuman Conceived” roars through seven minutes of stylish tempo changes. The band paces themselves admirably. Instead of petering out, closer “Devices for the Sentenced” spits out one final chorus that could have come off the line at a Swedish songwriting factory.
This kind of tribcore isn’t to everyone’s taste. There’s a lack of ambition baked into the concept, which is probably why these projects tend to be side hustles. I could do without the pointless samples, usually featuring Vincent Price, that the band has chosen to open each song. And while we’re at it, Necrotic Lust might deliver a fleeter experience by shedding one of its nine songs–although I honestly couldn’t tell you which one I’d clip on the merits. But don’t mind Ferox while he picks his nits. Consumption‘s sophomore platter goes down fast and smooth, with the production leaving some rough edges in place so you never forget you’re listening to grind-inflected death metal.
On Necrotic Lust, Consumption utterly fails to replace Heartwork. Big fuckin’ surprise there. On almost every other front, the album is a smashing success. Necrotic Lust works as an homage to Carcass, but take away the tribcore trappings and you’ve still got an album of grinding melodeath that stands tall on its own.2 This one is packed with rippers from stem to stern; deduct half a point for being derivative if you must, but when you’re done being such a fuddy-duddy, Consumption‘s death metal earworms will be waiting to burrow into your brain.