ALBUM REVIEW: Sanguisugabogg – ‘Homicidal Ecstasy’

Artwork for Sanguisugabogg’s ‘Homicidal Ecstasy’ - cutouts of three women’s upper bodies placed on a scorpion’s legs

The musical equivalent of a vomit-strewn cinema during The Exorcist circa 1971 is back! If Sanguisugabogg is a surefire attempt to really make venues, promoters and journalists pay attention to name spelling, they’ve equally gripped the mass of death metal fans with their acerbic brand of humour (all the perverse genital mutilation and body horror of course). Then again, they’re also holding down the genre’s newfound focus on intensely fun, creative riffage.

Suffice to say, Homicidal Ecstasy is a similar lyrical exercise to their existing collection. Or as vocalist Devin Swank states, it delves far more into the gruesome. What joy! It’s to be expected from a band replaying slasher films under the influence of too much caffeine, and with their steep rise in popularity and backing from Century Media Records, this sophomore LP adds the crisp and chunk to their metallic brand of gruff gross-out nonsense.

Intentionally laughable in its extremity, the tracklist reads like a chapter list for a Garth Marenghi novel. That initial humorous gut punch follows through with an almost swaggering opening riff, a cock-of-the-walk that struts in perfect rhythm. The grooves lock in perfectly while Drew and Ced’s inventive dual riffs provide a dizzying spell far beyond your straightforward slam breakdowns and squeals. You almost forget that it’s called something as debauched as Black Market Vasectomy.

Swank’s vocals are deathly conjurings from the Sarlacc pit, with its indecipherable lyrics a blessing for the faint-hearted. Following single Face Ripped Off features a lengthy instrumental introduction of bass pounding, slowed cymbal play and a circle pit paradise before the singer growls about the titular mutilation alongside Jesus Piece’s Aaron Heard. It would be horrible if not for mentions of “give [a scalped head] one last smell” and the perpetrator exclaiming, quite simply, “you’re without a face!” Pissed—which features sludge broken up by the most perfectly binny snare drums and a stylish disco beat—also reminds us that “you’re fucked”.

Catchy extreme music all about cannibalism, botched surgery and necrophilia has existed since Cannibal Corpse’s early days, but the ‘Boggs’ distillation of a range of techniques intensifies the album’s hard bits, and make its deviations surprisingly tasteful. Pissed’s kit sounds so beautifully makeshift amongst the spacious mix, highlighting everything Cody Davidson possesses: raw ferocious speed, a penchant for danceable groove, and an apt producer’s ear. The bops and tinkling china cymbals abound on the enduring storm of A Lesson In Savagery, even introduced by some Shawn Crahan worship.

Discernible gang vocals ring out on Testicular Rot and the quick bite of Hungry For Your Insides for live crowds to savour, while the fullest-sounding amp (mixed by Kurt Ballou, no less) warms itself up in Skin Cushion for the record’s most headbopping instrumental break. Even its five-minute long centrepiece Mortal Admonishment takes black metal influence to skank levels, and no doubt acts as a treasure trove for the Ohio foursome’s unique brand of blistering modern death metal.

I could go on mentioning pure filth, from song titles like Feening For Bloodshed, or the gamut of rollicking metallic hardcore. But it’s best to discover every nuance and hidden pig squeal in this sardonic, macabre, heavy and downright sick (taken both ways) horror story for yourselves.

(I would offer the disclaimer of it being NSFW, but anyone searching for ‘listen to Homicidal Ecstasy’ on a work laptop probably knows that already.)

For fans of: Undeath, Cannibal Corpse, Volcano

‘Homicidal Ecstasy’ by Sanguisugabogg is released on 10th February on Century Media Records.

Words by Elliot Burr

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