“I have come here to chew bubblegum, and kick ass…And I’m all out of bubblegum.” And with that famous line, Engorged proceeds to kick the listener’s ass. The quote sums up Engorged perfectly. The album doesn’t pretend for a second to be serious death metal. It’s filled from end to end with samples from different zombie movies that lighten the mood and provide an amusing direction for the album to follow. But as you’ve been warned, Engorged has completely exhausted their supply of bubblegum, and is ready and willing to kick your ass with ugly, nasty, death metal.
This is about as far from polished, technical death metal as it is reasonable to be. The sound is gritty and raw, with nary a sweep picking to be found. No frills here, just low, heavily distorted riffs. There is plenty that doesn’t work particularly well in this album. The songs are basically just riffs stacked upon one another. The vocalist is at once perfectly serviceable while adding nothing of particular value. And frankly, the snare sounds kind of awful. But no one listens to a raw death metal concept album about zombies for the song structure or the vocals or the snare. What matters is that the guitar is so thick and active that the album’s shortcomings disappear into the mire of the bottom end of the sound. Crunchy, dynamic riffs, well-placed solos, and solid drumming (besides that snare!) contrast nicely with the lighthearted tone provided by the movie samples to produce an eminently fun album to listen to.
After the opener establishes the tone of the album, “Dreadnaught” sweeps in to show that Engorged means business. Fast, grimy riffs seem to fly out of the fingers of dual guitarists Ryan Sorenson and Noah Campbell. These guys are riff factories. They hardly repeat riffs on this song, or for that matter on any other. “Dreadnaught” shines brightest at about the 3:10 mark, when the guitarists prove that they can produce fantastic, wailing solos in their riff factory as well. While not technically impressive, the high-pitched scream of the solos on Engorged are beautifully separated from the bassy thump of the rhythm section, and are often the best moments the album.
Every song on this album sounds almost exactly the same – but of course, that’s not necessarily an issue in this genre. The short songs keep the album moving along nicely, and the break provided by the humorous interludes allows the songs to sound a little fresher. Any song will sound representative of the whole, but some of the best guitarwork can be found on “Cobra Rage” and “White Line Nightmare”. The only exception to the rule is the closer, “Day of the Dead”, which quests for and achieves an epic ending by layering one of those sampled movie quotes over a repeated, squealing riff.
If you’re at all a fan of death metal that sounds like it just crawled out of the sewer, give Engorged a chance. They’ve got a tremendous sense of humor, dish out some serious riffs, and are an absolute blast to headbang with.