What I’ve come to realize is that you can’t always put everything into boxes. We all try because that’s what our minds want to do. We want to be able to describe things and that usually requires some categorization. Just look at how we understand animals. Cows belong in the bovine family. Dogs are canines. It can go on and on. Similarly, we always try to do that with our music, especially here on the blog. “This is death metal. That is black metal.” That sort of thing. But it can get so cool when you hear something and you think that there’s so much in there that it’s hard to describe. More often, we run into things that are very borderline and it’s hard to answer the question of whether a band is this genre or that one. Laceration is just one of those bands and you can hear it on their latest release, Remnants.
The Windsor, CA four piece makes a brand of thrash that’s almost old school death metal. In fact, a lot of the songwriting and tones are very reminiscent of Death, calling to mind that original sound which very much carried a darker thrash metal tone. It’s very chunky and can really grind out riffs no matter what speed the band puts on the tracks. It calls back to those early Death releases like Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy that had those fun and grinding riffs but weren’t quite as present during the progressive era of the band.
Laceration has actually just reformed as a group. They disbanded a few years ago only to come back together last year. Part of their rebirth includes the release of Remnants, a compilation of tracks from previous works: 2009’s Consuming Reality EP, 2010’s Realms of the Unconscious EP, and 2013’s split with Tinnitus. While these are not new songs, they seem very new to a mass audience who might need a reeducation in the sound this band creates.
At first, the cuts can sound pretty rough. To be fair to Laceration, that’s a reflection of their lack of understanding about recording in the studio and only having a little bit of budget to work with. If you can get past that, you’ll hear a rich sound drenched in metal history and an understanding of what one can do with a song. The intro track, “Realms of the Unconscious,” is a perfect example. The acoustic intro gets you ready for what is to come when crunchy guitars and syncopated drums accentuate the guitar riff. All that leads into the grinding guitar riff and blast beat drums of early death-thrash. The strained shouted vocals call back to those death roots all metal fans enjoy. It’s an uncanny valley kind of sound that we should all hail as it scratches that itch of mystery.
For those of you into thrash metal, you should listen to Laceration. For those of you looking for an introduction to death metal, go listen to Death then listen to Laceration. Anybody who wants an interesting record to listen to that piques your interest in multiple ways, you should listen to Laceration. This is a very enjoyable record that hopefully serves as the gates opening for Laceration. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a bright future for this band.
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Remnants is out February 7th through Unspeakable Axe Records, and is available for pre-order on the band’s Bandcamp page.