Vomitory – All Heads Are Gonna Roll Review

Vomitory’s nearly thirty-five year career is one marked primarily by consistency, albeit – if this makes any sense – delivered inconsistently. Formed in 1989, their first decade was a slow build – a 7” titled Moribund arrived in 1993, and a 10-year anniversary picture disc was released in 1999, both three years separated from the band’s sole 90s full-length. Though its title comes off a bit cringeworthy a quarter-century later, 1996’s Raped In Their Own Blood shows a relatively young band capitalizing upon plenty of promise, as Vomitory plows through some buzzsaw riffage in the style of their countrymen (and with that tone, to boot), blended with a certain Floridian savagery and delivered with an infectious exuberance. It’s a gnarly bit of Swedish brutality that effectively marks the close of the first wave of Swedish death metal, and something of an overlooked gem.

Release date: May 26, 2023. Label: Metal Blade
Following that picture disc and a split with Murder Corporation, it’s at the tail end of that first inconsistent decade that Vomitory’s reputation for consistency truly begins, with their second full-length, Redemption. From there, with then-new bassist Erik Rundqvist taking over on vocals, Vomitory ripped through seven full-lengths in twelve years, each one a fine example of their Stockholm-meets-Tampa aesthetic and of meat-and-potatoes death metal, in general. Some offerings (Revelation Nausea) are better than others (Terrorize Brutalize Sodomize), but none is anything less than a consistently entertaining skull-bashing, and then… they quit.

Calling it a day at the end of 2013, Vomitory took 6 years off, aside from a reunion in 2017 to honor the late Metal Blade representative who had signed them to the label in 1999. A year or so after that Summer Breeze performance apparently made them feel warm, they announced further plans to reform for their 30th anniversary, and now here we are, four years after that milestone, with the first recorded result of the full reformation, Vomitory’s first full-length in 12 years, and what is hopefully the beginning of another decade-plus run of consistently strong brutality.

And now, with All Heads Are Gonna Roll in hand, the primary takeaway is that twelve years of time off didn’t take anything away from either Vomitory’s overall mission statement or their ability to deliver the goods with skill and spark. Had this record come out in 2015, in sequence with those before it, we’d have been praising it just as much, and talking just as much about Vomitory’s signature consistency as we are now, just that now we’re doing it with the caveat of a much longer interim between. All Heads is Vomitory; Vomitory is All Heads; this is what they do because this is how it’s done. It’s pretty much that simple.

Opening with the title track, that consistency is immediately evident – if the energy packed into that slicing main riff doesn’t get your blood moving, then no death metal ever will, as Urban Gustafsson and Peter Östlund tear through tremolo-picked turmoil between Tobias Gustafsson’s electrifying aggression and Rundqvist’s formidable grunt. That track is microcosmic of the whole, as a title track arguably should be: It’s nothing outside the box, necessarily, for Vomitory or for death metal overall, but it’s so damned catchy and killer that originality be damned, it’s full-steam ahead and here we go, straight into the pit. Every song on hand offers variations upon Vomitory’s vomitous violence, each strong in its own right, with no stumbles or misfires to be found anywhere in these forty minutes. Still, some bits poke forth from the maelstrom by nature, and further high-quality head-breakings come in the forms of the following: “Ode To The Meat Saw,” which lives up to its title by being a damned-near perfect distillation of mid-paced death greatness, all carving buzzsaw riff and tone laid atop a steamroller groove; in the ascending razor-sharp riffery and swinging thrash midsection of “The Deepest Tomb”; in the downright Dismember-ian dismembering of “Disciples Of The Damned,” a pure blast of adrenaline-fueled raging. Each of these tracks is straightforward death metal done properly – Vomitory remains consistent, even all these years later.

Twelve years is a long time, but it’s apparently just the blink of an eye. Vomitory’s back and bringing as strong an album as anyone could’ve asked for, as strong an album as they’ve ever released, and another bloody feather in their scalped-victim skull-cap. All heads are gonna roll, and all heads are gonna bang, no question. Welcome back, fellas.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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