Spawning from the scene of Italian metalheads comes a death metal group by the name of Membrance, dropping their first record late last year by the name of Abyss. Simply put, it’s a nicely produced death fest containing harsh but crisp riffs, guttural and gory vocals, all glazed over with a lively feeling. Some might call this “death ‘n roll”, when brutal bands incorporate rock ‘n roll song complexion into the mix. Frankly, that’s what makes this release so unique, and coming from someone who has a harder time getting into death metal, I will say that this makes it a lot more pleasing. Of course, not everyone could pull this off, but fortunately, they do.
Signs of this come into play pretty early on, with the first glaring example being the groovy kicker “Rotten Broken Bones”. While it kicks off with the same energy burst of the previous track “Shreds Of Flesh”, it then takes a turn to extreme melody and jam friendly rhythm. Believe it or not, keyboards and pianos are actually tossed in from time to time to help it with that friendlier flow. Tight basslines are laid down to also give this a boost, and you can feel it pumping through very well. Don’t let any of this fool you, because it’s still aggressive as hell! Dropped, thundering guitar leads are placed in and around the groovier areas to fill in the cracks, and the way the two flow together is on point. The lyrical themes of blood, guts, dismemberment, etc. certainly toughen this up too, and to be honest, it’s quite humorous at times.
There’s one issue I have with this, and it’s going to be somewhat biased; the vocals. They aren’t bad, in fact the guttural outbursts and black metal-esque screeches are executed very well. I just can’t get into this vocal style, especially the guttural ones. For those that are into that though, this would be a great treat. The way I see it though, it isn’t concise enough to go with the excellent music that’s being played, and I just can’t get behind it. Thankfully, it flows with the music decently regarding tempo and beat. Plus, masterful solo work is another standout for this, helping the tracks flow better. For sure, this is definitely not meant to be taken one hundred percent seriously. Funny samples and other sound effects are thrown in, and the attitude is less threatening than what you’d expect. If you’re a fan of death metal and guttural growls, this is perfect for you. If you have a harder time with that, then extract what you like and enjoy it for what it is.