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FDA Rekotz (2017)
Rating: 8/10

I was extremely impressed with 2014’s Soul Recall – the debut album from California death metallers Rude. With its Dan Seagrave artwork and old aesthetics, it took me right back to the golden age of extreme metal. And so it was with open, festering arms that I welcomed this sophomore outing.

With a new drummer – Chad Gailey – in tow and another cosmic Seagrave design, Remnants… was never going to disappoint. What we get here is nine tracks and a total running time of just under 40 minutes. More than enough time to have your head pulverised and your soul flayed.

Don’t expect Remnants… to change the world. If anything, the band have regressed even further into the mouldy crypts of decay; battering us with more echoes of a none-too-distant past when the likes of Death, Pestilence, Morbid Angel, Nocturnus and the likes ruled the roost.

Smouldering like a coffin full of maggots, the zombiefied squelches of ‘Torrent To The Past’ comes heaving out of its damp lair like a wriggling corpse – Rude mastering that fusty, mid-paced belligerence with splashes of splattery up-tempo grimness. In its no frills state, ‘Torrent To The Past’ comes just like every track of the album – nods to the past with gory glee. The vocals of Yusef Wallace hint of that Floridian summer air where zany flies would swarm around roadside corpses amidst a decadent array of rotten-sounding David Rodriguez guitar and Jason Gluck’s stuffy bass. Indeed, everything about Rude’s sound is stuffy – a deathly chortle equivalent to spending an eternity in a dusty catacomb surrounded by skeletons and a fetid sepulchral air.

‘House Of Dust’ pukes up a thick, impenetrable humidity – the pensive opening paying homage once again to that late 80s and early 90s Floridian creakiness as Gailey’s drums shift from skeletal plod to barbaric rumble accompanied by that typical old school fester of bass and axe grind. The doomy walls of Rude’s blood-soaked framework is oh so familiar, yet so rewarding; catchy in its airless structure it brings with it a sickening torrent of speed marrying Death and Pestilence at their most primitive, but laced with smoky, foul leads and vomit-spattered chugs.

The hints of Dismember, Entombed et al also seem grotesquely natural. ‘Blood Sucker’ is a rancid rumble based upon Gailey’s rattling percussion that sounds as if he spent the entire track hitting skulls with a spanner. But those killer sticks are certainly King here amidst a bludgeoning sea of gory riffage.

And that’s pretty much the theme throughout the album. The stifling title track barks with a menacing melody, while ‘Fracturing The Gates Of Truth’ paints the band in a more ruthless guise. But extract any rotten tooth from this cracked skull of an opus and you’ll be buoyed by its old school demeanour.

However, don’t let such restricted views put you off, because while this rank record is happy to dwell in a bygone age, there’s still enough quality and atmosphere to enable it to exist beyond mere realms of mimicry. For instance, with ‘Interpretations Of The Ultimate Finality’ there’s a truly abysmal yet somehow compelling vibe. The no bullshit approach means that Rude plays for real rather than gimmick, and this is something that made Gruesome’s 2015 debut record Savage Land so engaging.

Remnants… is an album that lives up to its title, because it is a record littered with homage’s to the dark past – the simple, yet effective bellows and dry, smouldering musicianship harkens back to a glorious time for extreme music. Okay, so Rude may lack the cutting edge of insightful genius which made the likes of Death, Morbid Angel, Pestilence etc. so riveting and important, but as a testament and symbol to that era Remnants… is about as close as it gets to being a treasured lump of debris and portal to that period.

Neil Arnold

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