Two years ago CUT UP unleashed their debut album Forensic Nightmares on the world. A&GS called it “ripping, crushing, gnaw-at-the-bone Death Metal,” and that statement still holds true. So, here we are in 2017 and the band has dropped Wherever They May Rot on us (out now, Metal Blade Records). Once again, speed, pain, destruction, and punishment are the orders of the day as they tear through one blood-soaked track after another. The core lineup that made the previous outing as vicious as it was is still present, and everyone is in top form. Guitarist/vocalist Andreas Björnson, Anders Bertilsson, drummer Tobias Gustafsson and vocalist/bassist Erik Rundqvist have not softened their approach one bit, and that’s evident on all 11 tracks.
“Psychosurgery” jumped out at me immediately for the way it hit the ground running, as did the title track “Wherever They May Rot” for its use of a dark, sinister groove that hits in all the right places. Opener “From Ear to Ear” leads the charge in earnest, the music springing forth like a pack of hungry wild dogs looking to tear flesh from bone in a feeding frenzy, while “Necrophagic Madness” takes a page from SLAYER’S playbook sound-wise. But once those vocals kick in, this ain’t SLAYER, that’s for damn sure. Nope, this is something better. “Behead the Dead” definitely employs the “everything and the kitchen sink” approach which these guys know how to execute well.
The crunchy guitar bite to “Vermin Funeral” gives it a real OSDM feel, not unlike the work of OBITUARY, while “By Hatred Bound” goes more the tech-meets-brutal route. “In the Aftermath” once again shows that just because you can go 100mph all the time it doesn’t mean you should. This track is just as effective with its slowed tempo. That said, “Master Dissector” is the sonic equivalent of a spiked baseball bat splitting someone’s skull open, something that never fails to make me grin from ear to ear. And how perfect is it that the next song is called “Cranium Crusher”??? This one was a definite standout because, well…DUH!
Closing out the disc is “Raped by the Blade” which is another one that is evil with a capital “E.” This is a track where the band seemingly goes for broke, determined to leave the listener crumpled in a heap, covered in their own blood and entrails. With arguably the finest buzz saw riffing on the record this was another surefire winner. All in all CUT UP have done a great job with Wherever They May Rot. It’s heavy without being redundant, and it grooves in the most unexpected places. They say lightning doesn’t strike twice. Well “they” have obviously never listened to CUT UP, because I’m sitting here with the scorched arms and legs to prove it. Get this one into you ASAP!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Raped by the Blade”, “Cranium Crusher”, “Pyschosurgery”, “Wherever They May Rot”, “Behead the Dead”