Debut full length of this German band playing brutal death metal inspired by CANNIBAL CORPSE, MALEVOLENT CREATION, MONSTROSITY, GOREFEST, BOLT THROWER. Members of DEPRESSION, KADAVERFICKER, STILLBIRTH.
Just looking at their cover artwork that resembles the inlay artwork of the Massacre classic From Beyond, you know you've got some quality death metal on your hands, or you were over-analysing and got lucky. Consisting of members of Kadaverficker, Depression, Bereaved among others, Sore from Germany play ripping old school death metal with modern elements. On their aptly titled debut album, Gruesome Pillowbook Tales, Sore retell the gruesome old school tales to the newbie listener with plenty of grisly and brutal embellishments that promises to give them many sleepless nights.
Post sweet instrumental intro “Unfastening the Pillowbook”, the music leaps out of your speakers and attacks you with everything its got. Sharp dual-natured riffs from both schools old and new lacerate your ears, pugilistic bulbous bass boxes them numb, alert percussion precariously drives the bulky music around at breakneck speed spreading chaos, and vast contorted-mouth vocals are hell-bent on devouring your soul. The first few songs of Gruesome Pillowbook Tales seem to be strongly influenced by the old Floridian death metal scene, by formidable acts such as Monstrosity, Corpsegrinder era Cannibal Corpse, and Malevolent Creation. From then on European death metal influences seep through the songs and alter the composition for the better. This change is especially noticeable after the ubiquitous Impetigo cover of “Boneyard” that is oddly placed in the middle of the album.
Starting in a firing-tank-rolling manner similar to Panzerchrist, “Embryonic Limbs Combined With Ancient Ghoul” sees the band playing around with grand Swedish death metal influences and manages to ram in the relentless hyperblasting method of their defunct country mates Anasarca. “Crags To The Infinite” is an excellent song that bears huge swinging hooks of a slightly melodic nature, like Fearer perhaps, before it settles into an incredibly catchy part reminiscent of Facebreaker's [review] groovier moments, which is accentuated by superbly delivered or rather ‘sung' vocals by Goreminister. His inhuman volley of words is akin to the Deamon vocalist; those of you aren't familiar with that Canadian band can think of Corpsegrinder if he were to use his eardrum-piercing screams for the most part and add more range and a different style to his delivery. There are also moments where he squeals like a sodomised pig and hisses furiously like a snake being stepped on by an unwary and unresponsive fat woman. Then “Slaughtered Amish People” is a devastative bass-heavy song, combining quaint tunes of Gorefest with the explosive heaviness of Bolt Thrower. A Depression cover is thrown at the end just for the heck of it, but there is a video of “Crags To The Infinite” that is indeed cool, what with their vocalist wearing the Hannibal Hector mask and constantly rolling his eyes while making those imaginary ball-holding black metal hand gestures.
Gruesome Pillowbook Tales proves to be a frighteningly good debut by Sore, displaying awesome power and potential. The album is a tad inconsistent with a raging first half and a gratifying second one, but it is bound to leave your body bloody sore all the same. Hear it out.