Release Date: 26th March
Record Label: Century Media
For Fans Of: Morbid Angel, Incantation, Mortician
It’s the return of the ‘Bogg. Ohio Death Metal lunatics Sanguisugabogg made quite the splash back in 2019 off the back of a mere four-track demo (and a tonne of merch), instantly catapulting them to the upper echelons of the novel OSDM revival. Setting themselves apart from the Incantation-worship crowd with the low-slung grooves of Steve Tucker-era Morbid Angel mixed with Mortician grime and a welcome dollop of true Slam, the quartet proved to be a breath of fresh air in scene that was starting to show signs of creative fatigue. Add to that a hilarious social media presence, truckloads of psychedelics and quietly brilliant marketing aesthetic and you have a band poised for greatness.
Death Metal in 2021 started off strong with a pair of excellent releases from Frozen Soul and Gatecreper, but with Tortured Whole Sanguisugabogg are set to flip the entire scene on its head. Having the brass balls to start an album with an inhale pig squeal deserves an award in itself, but when the lumbering chugs of ‘Menstrual Envy’ hit along with THAT snare (seriously, what year is it?) you can be sure that shit’s about to get real. ‘Dick Filet’ sways and stomps, revelling in it’s own putrid caveman brutality, while ‘Posthumous Compersion’ goes full Goregrind with a rare flurry of blast beats.
However, the true star of the show comes in the form of the perfectly named ‘Dragged By A Truck’. It’s an exhilarating, tremolo-led mosher; seeing man-of-the-match, powerhouse drummer Cody Davidson shine with Mastodon-esque breakbeats that skip around the rolling slams like a ballet dancer falling into an industrial meat grinder. It would be remiss not to mention ‘Dead As Shit’, essentially the band’s ‘Wolverine Blues’ with its monolithic opening riff and yell-along chorus, a track which will surely go down in the annals of Death Metal as a modern highlight.
Sanguisugabogg have made an album of pure, bordering on ASMR, Death Metal ear-porn. Every slam riff hits with such satisfying crunch and sub-drop brutality that it’s easy to just sit there and wait for the next steamroller to barrel in. It’d be a waste of time to highlight every single one of these moments, but the Suicide Silence-style breakdown in ‘Menstrual Envy’ and stankface-inducing central groove of the title track are certainly moments to wait for. Speaking of Deathcore, there’s plenty of nods all over Tortured Whole to classic bands of the MySpace era. The intention is essentially the same: get in a room with your mates and make the most obscenely brutal music possible – this is music by fans, for the fans.
The production is absolutely perfect. The sounds of Roots by Sepultura spring to mind with its dirt-bomb low end and crackling mids, counterbalanced by the organic punch and energy achieved only by truly great players. The aforementioned pingy snare is sure to keep posers at bay while the guitar and bass tones are truly monolithic, blasting this in a car feels like having your insides rearranged. Vocalist Devin Swank’’s distinctive subsonic grunts and greasy rreeeees end up being surprisingly catchy with a rap-informed sense of cadence. He purveys a refreshing take on Death Metal lyrical tropes, steering well-clear of misogyny in favour of delightful topics such as, for instance, feeding paedophiles their own dick in a chicken sandwich.
Despite all this, being the band’s debut, there is definitely room to grow. The two interludes ‘Pornographic’ and ‘Interlube’ are particularly strange additions, adding little to the flow of the record, feeling more like they were chucked in purely to bolster the relatively short runtime. That said, in its brevity Tortured Whole packs a whole lot of punch, making every second count with enough variety and cool ideas to keep even the most cynical metalheads locked in. Sure, some refinement here or there wouldn’t go amiss, but as a statement of intent Sanguisugabogg have proved that they are no longer just another Maggot Stomp band and have the chops and creative dexterity to truly set themselves apart. This band are absolutely going places – now’s the perfect time to jump on for the ride.
Favourite Track: ‘Dragged By A Truck’