Grog – Ablutionary Rituals

Out of this world voices, sounding as if coming from the asylum, laid over a heavy riff and mixed with noise drone passages is what enters the listener to the sick world Grog create with “Ablutionary Rituals”. ‘Revelation – Open Wound’ seems to be a very suitable title for the opening track.

‘Uterine Casket’ savagely hits my speakers, like a panzer of riffs and drums, with amazing energy and rapid changes of the rhythm. The bass is bright, and performs a fabulous lead, showing from the first minutes of the album what it is capable of doing. The deep gurgling, guttural vocals with high pitched edges complete the scenic of butchery. What we have here is gore mixed with grindcore and brutal death metal touches.

As the name implies, ‘Savagery’ is an ultra sick and fast gore/grind tune. The bass shines once again. I love the very clear way it is heard in the mix and how it is “unstuck” from the rest of the instruments. The sick and fast rhythms of ‘Savagery’ will surely blow you out. Although Grog sound here like a more brutal version of Carcass, their technical riffs bring into the equation Deeds of flesh, which is a very pleasant reference for me.

‘Sterile Hermaphrodite’ has an excellent melodic line that works like a spine for the song. The Slayer influenced lead guitar part and the convincing brutal vocals offer the song a top notch brutality.

‘Sarco-Eso-Phagus’ has a very classy main riff. The great use of the slap bass here makes the song even sicker and technical. The lead guitars add an old school death metal vibe. However, during the song there is an undoubted Birdflesh aroma in the air.

‘Vortex of Bowelism’ is another excellent old school gore grind song with the necessary for Grog death metal additions. The instruments are played with intensity and nerve, but they never lose a single beat. Agoraphobic Nosebleed is a band that stroke my mind in this one, especially due to the rhythm section shredding parts.

‘Cardiaxe’ is the slower song of the album so far. It has a doom/thrash based riffology and philosophy. The drop tuning makes the song sound really sick. The Immolation influences on the opening riff and the following shredding guitars make the song a personal favorite. Grog manage to constantly change rhythms with ease in their songs. With ‘Cardiaxe’ they present a death metal version of gore grind with modern sound. Impressive.

‘A scalpel Affair’ has a steady and groovy beat in the beginning. Soon everything is drowned into the trademark holocaust brutality of Grog. The high pitched vokills are more Benton (see Deicide) influenced than ever this time. Some riffs sound Swedish, but end up baptized into the Grog chaos.

‘Gore Genome’ is a relentlessly brutal song. Everything is ultra fast here. The millisecond pauses used, work for the benefit of making the song even more brutal. The open chords sound like backstabbings at night; horrifying and brutal. The beat down closing part of the song is of utmost brutality.

‘Cut Throne’ breaks in with another Slayer riff. Deeds of flesh come to mind again as the drums set the pace for the kill. Mid tempo palm muted riffs are way too brutal.

‘…Of Leeches Vultures And Zombies’ is another ultra fast motherfucker. Although the riffs are tense enough to create a sense of agony, as if someone is after you, the guitars in this one flirt even with post metal. The drums relentlessly hit your nervous system and technicality is on top notch. One of my peaks out of the album. Zombified ritual!!

‘Flesh Beating Continuum’ uncovers the most aggressive face of Grog. It sounds like a killer is beating you. The mid tempo themes won’t leave you to rest and they only make it sicker. The fantastic bass captures and highlights all the tension of the song. There is no way out of this cement burial.

‘From Disease To Decease’ breaks in with an almost black metal vocal to continue shredding the masses with sick gutturals and chainsaw riffs. This twisted mass of burnt decay is definitely another album favorite for me. The song is a whirlwind, but the open chords offer space for another Slayer-ish attack in the form of a sick solo this time. The overall result sounds close to the mid-period Aborted.

‘Katharsis: The Cortex Of Doom And The Left Hand Moon’ is the last song of the album. It starts in a very different and unusual way, unlike the rest of the album, reminding me of the last works from Master’s Hammer. The main riff is doomy. The drums are marching. Everything is cold. Brutal death metal vocals are spread over this carpet of doom. The song is experimental/avant-garde metal and the acoustic theme justifies me because it is exactly the part where the song gets theatrical and horrifying in another sense. The beat Grog use here sounds trip-hop and the narration brings again Master’s Hammer in the front line. The melodies have some medieval influences. Grog experiment a lot using even noise parts. A very weird song to close the album, but definitely a song that I’d like to listen again because in a sense it actually brings katharsis in the end.

Grog is one of the oldest brutal death metal/grindcore bands from Portugal, active since 1991. They have many gore/grind influences and although their material presented here is new, it is obvious that it is coming from a band with an old school background. They are brutal and they have many technical parts in their songs. “Ablutionary Rituals” is Grog’s 4th full length after “Macabre Requiems” (1996), “Odes To The Carnivorous” (2001), and “Scooping The Cranial Insides” (2011). It comes in a beautiful digipak from Helldprod Records and it is guaranteed to satisfy every fan of the genre in its 40 minutes. Expect nothing less than being crushed by an ultra sickening gore/grind/death metal attack!

4 / 5 STARS 

Reviewer: Manos Michaelides

Nov 17, 2020

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Grog – Ablutionary Rituals

review Grog - Ablutionary Rituals

1. Revelation - Open Wound
2. Uterine Casket
3. Savagery
4. Sterile Hermaphrodite
5. Sarco-Eso-Paghus
6. Vortex Of Bowelism
7. Cardiaxe
8. A Scalpel Affair
9. Gore Genome
10. Gut Throne
11. ...Of Leeches Vultures And Zombies
12. Flesh Beating Continuum
13. From Disease To Decease
14. Katharsis - The Cortex Of Doom And Left Hand Moon

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