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Ghoul - Splatterthrash Review

by Hobo

Well, here's a review I should've done ages ago. I apologise to the guys at Razorback Records for not publishing this (and Blood Freak) sooner. Anyway: the rot-gut swilling, board skating, guitar shredding, crypt raiding, flesh flaying maniacs of Ghoul have surfaced to give us their third bloodied chop of stylish thrash with heaped helpings of grindcore and gore thrown in.

The identities of these Ghouls has long stood as a perplexing mystery in the metal scene (hah), but the fact that they play some of the most killer catchy f**king death thrash tunes should be household knowledge. For those of you unacquainted, Ghoul play a gore-soaked tongue-in-cheek concoction force fed on 80's thrash metal, the Beach Boys, retro surf rock culture, crypt crawling, 60s comic book horror and punk rock. Great fun and killer tunes.

The group first resurrected the spirit of thrash with their first album We Came from the Dead - an impressive debut. Then came Maniaxe; one of the best albums to come out of Razorback. The album was tons of fun, with killer artwork and razor-sharp production. It featured a classy surf-rock instrumental and a cover of What a Wonderful World (with a ghoulish twist of course). Not only was the album tongue-in-cheek - but it was also one of the best piece of thrash I've heard in recent years, and one of the best albums of 2003.

So now we're at the third offering - Splatterthrash. Each album Ghoul has gained a member - this time around it's Dissector picking up second guitar and adding some backup vocals. The one thing I noticed immediately is the production has taken a bad hit - the guitars have lost that awesome razor-sharp edge! They're more… crunchy and compressed. The drums have also been scaled back in production to a more modest 80s style. That really is a shame because a bit part of Maniaxe appeal was the perfect production. Well, can't win em all ey?

The album kicks off with a nice little progressive death/thrash intro to set the scene for Ghoul's re-emergence. After a few spins I'm luke-warm towards the album. The structure of songs have changed considerably. Remember where the catchy chorus was accompanied by some great higher guitar melodies? They're really no where to be found. Instead we get a lot of ineffectual soloing in random places. Don't do that. And, I can't be sure here but… but I'm fairly sure I cant find many of those meaty thrash chops that made me fall in love with Maniaxe! (Wait no, I found some - they're just stacked at the end of the album) Sacrilege! The chops are the cornerstone of Ghoul! I can't seem to find any blast beats either… (Again, I was wrong - there are two one-second secret tracks at the end of the album which are all blastbeats. F**k off c*nts!)

We get a rehash of that awesome surf-rock track from Maniaxe in Psychoplasm and Baron Samedi, but they don't do anything for me. The first one KILLED these guys - why go where you've been before? It is strange, but after the first five tracks I feared this album was a waste of time - I feared that the legacy of Ghoul was tarnished forever. However, it actually seems like a lot of sub-par tracks fill up the first half of the album - and while this pisses me off, at least half the album is ALMOST on the level of Splatterthrash's predecessor.

There are some great tracks in here with the catchy chops, classy guitarwork, hilarious lyrics and the endless supply of comic book style cheese that has made the world that lives for metal die for Ghoul. There are highlights in the title track Splatterthrash, Mutant Mutilator, Gutbucket Blues, Rise, Killbot, Rise and Life of the Living Dead - which are tracks 6 and 8 - 11 on the 12 track album - all irritatingly found towards the end of the album.

At the end of the day this is only a decent album - not a great one. Considering how much I love Ghoul's previous albums I feel a bit let down - this can measure up to neither one. Nonetheless it is not a total waste and it does have a few redeeming points, but for the next one guys can we chill out on the Rot Gut and deliver another world-beating Maniaxe?

CD Info and Links

Ghoul - Splatterthrash

Label:Razorback Records

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The Pit Your turn to get in the pit with your thoughts about this review and CD

They call you
What do you think ?:

Posted by Hobo:
Craphead? Damn censor. I said sh!thead.

Posted by Hobo:
Oh and rebuttal to standard f***tard statement #0031: My job is to review - label sends CD, Hobo review, Thrashpit publish. That clear enough for you craphead?

Posted by Hobo:
I like it you dolt, I just think Maniaxe kills it in all conceivable ways - something the guy who runs Razorback Records agrees with, so eat my crap funboy. Have you got the other two? Can you perceive the differences in the three, or are you just talking out our arse?

Posted by CrossOver Kid:
i think this album is perfect the way it is... if you dont like, then dont listen to it


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