With only a dozen or so days left in the year I was lucky enough to get one last Death Metal record in my mailbox, one that will have everybody talking well into 2018 and beyond. The band? Philly’s own CORPSE HOARDER and their long-awaited (by me especially!) debut album Hard to Kill, which releases December 22. I’ve only seen these guys live once, back in 2015, but their brief set blew me away. Even Mrs. Amps, who normally doesn’t listen to extreme metal, was really impressed with how professional they were and how tight they sounded.
The line-up on this album is made up of Scruffo on vocals, Chris on guitar, and a rhythm section anchored by Myke (bass) and former drummer Armen. This fearsome foursome has dropped what feels like ten tons of metal right on our heads with this disc. I actually got the finished tracks late Sunday night and have had them on REPEAT since yesterday. I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon, either. Right away my runaway favorite was “Experiment 242” with Scruffo’s from-the-depths-of-hell growls, and the meat grinder feel put forth by the guitars, bass, and drums. Several times during the song they seem to move so fast while in perfect sync it makes my head spin.
Right behind this one though is the title track “Hard to Kill” as far as favorites go. The opening guitars are clean and melodic, and will lull you into a false sense of security because the band is coming to fuck your shit up with a quickness. On that front you’ll also find “Bleed Between the Lines”, a tune that pounds you over and over with a seemingly endless well of riffs, thumps, and beats. I first heard “Release the Hounds” over two years ago, and in that time it has not lost a single shred of its ferocity, so its inclusion here is a welcome one. “Anatolically Correct” often reminded me of THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER in places, which is a compliment, believe me.
Blast beats a-plenty permeate “Circle of Eight” and the combo of Chris, Armen, and Myke rain sonic hellfire down all around you while Scruffo summons whatever demon inside that is giving him that voice. Another winner on an album full of them! The same goes for “Sins of the Father”, no question. I’m running out of ways to heap praise upon these tunes, I tell you. There actually isn’t a single bad song on this disc. And let’s talk about the guitar sound on “Into the Ground.” Fucking dirty, rotten, and mean as a snake!
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. At the end of the day Hard to Kill is not only more than worth the wait, it will unquestionably be one of, if not THE best Death Metal Album of 2017 on The Maestro’s year-end list. With this debut, CORPSE HOARDER have released a record more seasoned bands WISH they could write. To say the future looks bright for these Philly guys would be the understatement of the century. I don’t throw the words “total game changer” around often, but in this case it’s the truth. And I can’t wait to hear these tracks live and finally see drummer and newest member Matt in action at their CD release show on December 22 at Kung Fu Necktie.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM