Right, before I get started here's a quick word of warning. This album is extremely explicit and offensive from start to finish, so if you're of a sensitive nature you may prefer to avoid reading this review. If you're a sick and twisted weirdo like myself then please dive straight and I hope you enjoy the read!
Gorerotted are a British death metal band who were around for about a decade before splitting up and reforming as another band re-named The Rotted. I love the name Gorerotted as I find this amusing and think it's a clever play on words. Their album Only Tools and Corpses is one of my all-time favourites and I was lucky enough to see them performing a gig at my old local some years back, where they played a set mostly comprising of tracks from this album. You can pick up this CD pre-owned on Amazon for ~£4.00 or new for ~£8.00.
Only Tools and Corpses pushes the limits with its theme and dark sense of humour. The album is centred around gore-laden, violent topics and in particular, serial killers. The music is dark, disturbing and full of aggression from start to finish. This falls perfectly into the grindcore genre, and also fits in with the sub-set of goregrind due to its subject matter. Grindcore is an extreme form of metal and this album is a perfect example featuring blistering drum beats, heavy thrashing guitars, nightmarishly twisted vocals and lyrics all at a breakneck speed. The music is built up into layers that sometimes fight against each other to make a clashing, discordant sound, but then smashes back together and comes into sync for the repeated cycle of the chorus. The vocals are just another layer like the instruments, and for the most part the words are unintelligible. There are two main vocals provided by the band, with a third member giving backing vocals as well, and they combine to create an overbearing force.
1. Zombie Graveyard Rape Bonanza 2:59
For me, when an album kicks off with a tracked entitled "Zombie Graveyard Rape Bonanza" I prepare myself for good things! It begins with a spoken introduction in the style of the crypt keeper from "Tales from the Crypt" and then blows you away with grinding guitars and thrashing drums. The growling, screaming vocal style makes it pretty impossible to understand the "message" of the song, and I would advise leaving it this way. The lyrics are absolutely vile and show just how far Gorerotted are willing to go to make an impression.
2. Hacked In The Back Dumped In A Sack 2:13
This track is fairly simplistic in form, with a solid repetitive rhythm that lends itself perfectly to headbanging. Again, the snarling vocal style makes it hard to catch any of the lyrics, aside from the incredibly catchy title line, "hacked in the back dumped in a sack". This is the first taste of murder references which are followed up on and developed further with the rest of the tracks on the album.
3. F*** Your Arse With Broken Glass 3:19
This song is hugely controversial and really, really nasty. For the most part when I'm listening to songs like this I end up phasing out the vocals because they're so hard to interpret due to the styling, and they just become another part of the music. Bands within this genre often work really hard to outdo each other with how far they can push the boundaries and this one takes it to the extreme. Distasteful lyrics aside this is a fast and angry track that's full of energy.
4. Only Tools And Corpses 2:32
The title track of the album, Only Tools and Corpses is a play on words from the popular phrase "only fools and horses work". This is probably the most melodic track and features catchy guitar riffs as well as some amazing blastbeats. It steadily builds up to a crescendo about two-thirds of the way through the song, then drops back down before giving a final blast of power just before the end. The lryics are both ridiculous and funny, with the line "Tortured with Bon Jovi and David Bowie LPs" providing an ironic dig at other artists while discussing various forms of physical torture.
5. Her Gash I Did Slash 3:11
This starts off with a sound clip sample of a woman getting spanked...this song has a stereotypical serial killer viewpoint of preying on prostitutes for their victims. I find the rhythm of this song to be quite disruptive as it's up and down all over the place and this makes it harder to listen to. There are some high pitched squealy guitar sounds which add to the overall feeling of pain presented by this track.
6. Can't Fit Her Limbs In The Fridge 2:42
Can't Fit Her Limbs... has to be one of the funniest songs I have ever heard. The sad romantic tale of a love between husband and wife gone wrong, and how after he kills her he then has to put the pieces of her body in the freezer because there's "No room in my fridge cos it's full of her Barcardi Breezers" - but of course! Loaded with blunt percussion, relentless guitar shredding and what can only be described as evil-cricket-chirping staccato style backing vocals.
7. Village People Of The Damned 3:55
Another song about zombies, yay! I would say this is one of the more complex tracks with multiple layers of rolling guitars and several changes of pace that switch the mood from fast and full of action, to dark and unnerving. There is something frantic about this, particularly the vocals, but then in other parts it is very measured and has more of a classic death metal feel to it.
8. Masticated By The Spasticated 3:35
Using one of my favourite tricks, this track starts with a movie quote sample. It's been taken from Peter Jackson's "Bad Taste" which I guess has influenced them to write this song. It seems as though anything is fair game for Gorerotted with the album venturing into abuse of women, necrophilia, torture, murder, cannibalism, and now they're picking on the disabled. This is the most generic sounding track on the album in my opinion, and if it weren't for the unique lyrical and vocal stylings then I wouldn't say it's anything special. It features another evil animal backing vocal, this time sounding like a very grumpy frog.
9. To Catch A Killer 4:36
They have saved the best until last and this track is definitely the best for me. There are some of us out there who have an interest in true crime and there are plenty of reading materials available on serial killers. This song is an homage to some of the most famous serial killers of all time and features a verse on each of the following: John Wayne Gacy, Jack the Ripper, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Fred West and John George Haigh. There's an effective but weird mix of your usual heavy guitar riffs with some quirky, funky bass guitar. It picks up the pace for a really fast final verse with some mega blastbeats, then the song repeats with the same verses and techniques used again, before it comes to a pounding finish.
Only Tools and Corpses is an amazing piece of work that has been well written and produced to a high standard. If you like other British grindcore bands such as Carcass and Napalm Death then you need to check out Gorerotted as well. This album is only really suited to those who enjoy both black humour and extreme heavy metal. It certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea, but for us horror fans who love heavy metal with a twist it's got to be up there with the best.