Horror and heavy music often go hand in hand, but it’s still pretty rare for new acts from extreme metal subgenres to gain a real foothold in the music scene. Enter Sanguisugabogg, a brutal death metal band from Ohio who, following their well-received 2019 EP Pornographic Seizures, built a sizeable underground following thanks to their pummeling, sludgy brand of slam and their frankly huge line of merch. 2021 sees the group’s full-length debut, Tortured Whole, easily one of the most anticipated albums in extreme metal this year.

The band’s ties to horror run deep. Beyond the obvious fixation on all things gory, sinister, and downright gross, Sanguisugabogg have put together some beautifully ridiculous music videos with Troma that you should definitely check out. They’re extremely NSFW, but I did say they were made in association with Troma, so that should go without saying.  The first of these collaborations is called Menstrual Envy, and prominently features practical penis monsters and genital dismemberment that could only come from a Troma joint. The dick monsters kind of reminded me of Bad Milo. The second, Gored in the Chest, has a cameo from Lloyd Kaufman himself and prominently features Sgt. Kabukiman in what can only be described as a cock monster quantum crystal apocalypse. If that doesn’t sound entertaining to you you’re going to want to skip this album, and also we cannot be friends.

Musically, Tortured Whole isn’t exactly groundbreaking– the chugging riffs, ridiculously guttural vocals, and blasting drums are all staples of brutal death metal. Instead, it’s about delivering those elements in the most competent and accessible way possible (accessible by death metal standards, that is), and on that front, I think it delivers.

Every band member is pulling their weight, with special recognition going to Cody Davidson, whose drumming might just be the highlight of the whole thing for me, weird St. Anger snare and all. Devin Swank’s voice is like someone gargling sewage in the best way possible, although I wish it was just a tad bit less difficult to discern lyrics because there’s obviously a lot of over-the-top creativity there. Frequent pinch harmonics aren’t usually my cup of tea, but they’re put to good enough use throughout and they don’t take anything away from Boggs’ and Davis’ chugging stoner-infused grooves.

If I have any real constructive criticism of Tortured Whole it’s that it does start to feel a little repetitive at times. Brutal death metal isn’t a subgenre that leaves much room for innovation without moving into one of its neighboring styles to begin with, so whether that’s a valid complaint will be entirely subjective. Plus, the band has taken steps to mitigate this throughout, particularly with 2 synth-driven instrumental interludes that feel like they came straight out of 80’s b-horror. These tracks (titled Pornographic and Interlube, heh) do a lot of heavy lifting breaking up the pummeling sound that defines Sanguisugabogg, with the first fading seamlessly into my favorite song on the album, Dead As Shit. Frankly, I’d listen to an entire movie score from these guys because those bits are both really cool.

Tortured Whole is strangely driven by paradox: the album is sludgy and grimy, but the production quality still manages to sound clean enough that we don’t lose out on the musicianship. The content is even more feculent and gore-drenched than that of several of the band’s contemporaries, but it feels more welcoming and fun than the norm.

That’s partly due to the band’s clear love of horror and their self-awareness in that context– Sanguisugabogg isn’t taking anything too seriously, and that’s going to draw a lot more people in than bands who are doing the same thing with a straight face. Extreme metal tends to be pretty impenetrable and full of gatekeeping, but by being overtly tongue in cheek (if you don’t believe me, please reread the album title) it feels like the band has thrown away the previous attitudes of death metal and made it clear just who might find it appealing going forward. I don’t think this type of music is ever going to find true widespread acclaim, but in that, I think it mimics the Troma movies these guys are inspired by– it’s niche, subversive, and it can be a lot of fun.

Rating

8 out of 10 Severed Dicks

Pullquotes

“The second, Gored in the Chest, has a cameo from Lloyd Kaufman himself and prominently features Sgt. Kabukiman in what can only be described as a cock monster quantum crystal apocalypse. If that doesn’t sound entertaining to you you’re going to want to skip this album, and also we cannot be friends.”

“Devin Swank’s voice is like someone gargling sewage in the best way possible, although I wish it was just a tad bit less difficult to discern lyrics because there’s obviously a lot of over-the-top creativity there.”

“I don’t think this type of music is ever going to find true widespread acclaim, but in that, I think it mimics the Troma movies these guys are inspired by– it’s niche, subversive, and it can be a lot of fun. “

About the Author: Kyle Holl

By Published On: March 27, 2021Categories: MusicComments Off on Sanguisugabogg’s TORTURED WHOLE Brings the Splatter and SludgeTags: , , , ,