Originally written by Chris Redar
Grog has been a band since 1991, according to our dear friends at Metal Archives.
That, if you’re keeping score at home, makes this unit in its 26th year of existence. That means these grown-ass men, more likely than not in their early-to-mid forties, have spent the vast majority of their time on this planet honing their proficiency with their chosen intruments — most likely forsaking family events, time with friends, possibly even employment — to release an album in the year of our lord 2017 about prolapsing and chairs made out of human guts. This is something to consider the next time you catch yourself taking metal music just a bit too serious, dear reader.
Anyhoo, Grog plays hyper-speed grind-tinged death metal and they do it well. Ablutionary Rituals, their latest, doesn’t do anything we haven’t heard before, but let’s face it — no one is. Grog isn’t doing anything particularly special, either. The entire album save for a few moments is non-stop supersonic blasting, guttural lows with the occasional high squeal, serviceable riffage, and competently audible bass work.
That doesn’t mean it’s bad, mind you– Ablutionary Rituals is more than listenable for fans of the style. It’s just too long. Twenty-five to thirty minutes would have been perfect. Instead, we get an intro that doesn’t fit anywhere or sound very good that segues into what the album is for nearly its entire running time, which is fast. Only “A Scalpel Affair” breaks things up a notch with a stellar intro riff that then makes a sharp left into yet more blasting. The closing track “Katharsis- The Cortex of Doom and Left Hand Moon” would have been great were it at the mid-point of the album, being a six-plus minute primal rhythm with a more spoken style of lyric in the band’s native tongue of Portugese. Split this thing in half and you have two really good EPs. Instead we have a full-length that creates a foggy haze of confusion as to which song is which towards the end.
Ablutionary Rituals would be a phenomenal album for the kind of music fan that knows the names of Origin songs when they play live and don’t say which song they’re playing. It’s highly reminiscent of bands like Bowels Out and XXX Maniak during that period when every extreme band was set on out-speeding and out-gurgling the competition, and everything became a mish-mash of low-tuned trash that turned most folks off of the style. Odds are very low that it’ll be in the usual rotation, but the time spent here was mostly enjoyable.