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Soul Recall

FDA Rekotz (2014)
Rating: 8/10

Berkeley, California’s Rude are the next bunch of demented souls to step up to the murky mic and take death metal to new, grislier levels. Soul Recall is the debut lump of blood ’n’ guts from this quartet, who formed in 2008 but then renamed themselves Forsaker in 2010 before returning to the Rude moniker a year later.

I have to say that the name Rude doesn’t exactly tell the true story, the moniker hardly suggesting a repulsive death metal act but possibly something less threatening, but musically Soul Recall is a fantastic slab of old school death metal.

The band consists of vocalist / guitarist Yusef Wallace, guitarist David Rodriguez, bassist Jason Gluck and drummer Antonio Lopez. The first thing that struck me when I put this record on is the juddering nature of the drum, the infectious tempo shifts – which line up some really catchy rhythms – and those dry, straining yelps of horror from Wallace. Think Pestilence, old Death and Autopsy, and Rude should just about do the trick.

This composition features eight excellent tracks which, unlike so many other acts doing the rounds, aren’t ruined by modern dynamics. The percussion, bass and guitars work as one and refuse to exist as crisp snippets of contemporary annoyance. Instead, they anoint some vile pit, giving this album a distinctive late 80s feel.

The horror-stricken vocals are extremely Pestilence-like in their grief, but coupled with some chaotic leads and an amalgamation of tight yet unrelenting percussion and chunky riffs, Soul Recall is one of the best extreme albums I’ve heard for a while.

With the likes of Grand Supreme Blood Court and Derogatory paying homage to the vintage sound yet injecting killer hooks and ravenous intelligence, I’m so pleased to have found this stunning opus which comfortably slots in the same wormhole. Believe me, if this had emerged back in the late 80s or early 90s we’d have been drooling all over it, but as it stands, Rude’s debut outing is one full of promise as it merges old school sickness with just a dash of the modern.

My only issue is that at times – and these moments are rare – the drums seem to have a weird rattle about them, but somehow it seems to suit the hectic nature to this opus. From the opening ‘Haunted’ to the percussive barrage of ‘In Thy Name’, one can only describe Rude’s sound as a nice revisit to those halcyon days of mouldy death metal. I even have to admit that while waiting in anticipation for this volume to emerge, I expected it to be a rather musty yet simplistic affair. But there are some complexities about this record, mainly in the drumming department, and yet while not as jarring or jazzed up as Pestilence at their most experimental, Rude still maintain that level of intelligence in stretching the usual formula we’ve come accustomed to with today’s death metal.

It seems only right that masterful artist Dan Seagrave (Pestilence, Entombed, Suffocation) should be behind the ethereal cover art and it’s a sleeve that pretty much sums up this lively death metal affair.

Rarely cosmic yet always looking to progress, Soul Recall boasts enough stodgy melody and dense riffage to engulf the listener, especially on the chaotic trudge of the title track where Wallace appears to be swallowing razor blades. Meanwhile, ‘Last Of Us’ rumbles with aggression and technical brilliance evoking images of old Atheist merged with foetid Autopsy. Indeed, just before Athiest and Pestilence spiralled off into comic territories, they puked out a raw, yet progressive brand of death metal which has clearly inspired Rude. However, because these Californians are young masters at finding a catchy riff or two and implement those strains of complexity, Soul Recall finds its own niche that recalls both splendour and the sinister.

Neil Arnold

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