Spanish death metal is not a rarity, but we’re not here looking for rarities – we’re here looking for #OldSchoolDeathMetalRevival2017. And, once again, it seems we’ve found it. Nasty Surgeons has picked a band name that, despite being grammatically correct, somehow reveals the band’s non-Anglo Saxon origins. They feature members of retro-death band Mass Burial, and the more melodic death metal act Mistweaver. With Nasty Surgeons and Exhumation Requiem, though, the game is death/grind of the gory variety. Don’t worry (or get your hopes up), though. There will be no singing inwards, strange drum machines or hilarious idiocy here. It’s death/grind, not goregrind, and any humor is consigned to the lyrics.
First let it be said that this is not overly “old school” as far as the production goes. In that department, this is rather crisp. Not in an exaggerated way, and there is no over the top dynamics processing trying to inject artificial brutality into the music, but mixing and mastering is clearly competent and modern. There are ever so small flaws that serve to make the totality more alive, but this is still slick stuff.
Influences mentioned in the press release on the album, as well as on the label Xtreem Music’s webpage, are Carcass, Necrony, Exhumed, The County Medical Examiners and General Surgery. There is certainly some truth to that, but there is also a healthy helping of late 80s/early 90s death metal of the less grinding kind. If we had to summarize the sound in one sentence it would be: like Reek of Putrefaction had a baby with Clandestine, but there are suspicions of a mailman being involved.
In fact, there is a range of styles here, and these reveal themselves ever clearer the more you listen. With the title track (which starts with a death metal interpretation of Chopin’s Funeral March) and “The Creation of the Monstrosity”, we almost go full melodic death metal. Only periodical blastbeats and more atonal sections reconnect with the grind concept of the album. Other tracks, like “Human Flesh Is Also Food”, keep it simpler and more straight-forward, but you always get something extra on the side with your grind/death on this album. For us, this is not a problem. In fact, this style of death metal suits us very well.
The lyrics are fairly clever, with a heavy dose of black humor evident. In the historically based “The Resurrectionists” we follow grave robbers and murderers Burke and Hare until one of them ends up as a book cover, and in “Nasty Surgeons” we are treated to a Tales from the Crypt comics style narrative about a man trying to find a new liver to survive. There’s more where that came from in the beautiful booklet. And oh, the logo rocks.
On Exhumation Requiem Nasty Surgeons deliver classy, classic death metal, which isn’t quite as purely grind/gore/death as the band name and cover imply. But still pretty damn fine.