The Accused are back with a vengeance. Returning for the first time since 2005, the legendary splatter rockers have once again proven their unique take on crossover is incapable of dying out. Following the old adage of "it ain't broke, don't fix it," The Curse of Martha Splatterhead features even more of the band's trademark gallows humor, razor-sharp guitars, and viciously straightforward rhythms.
Starting things off with the hazy rumble of "The Splatterbeast," The Accused quickly shake off any crypt dust with a blistering number chock full of skin-flaying riffs. Packing technical flourishes and mid-paced stomp equally into the mix, it serves as a worthy introduction to the band's hyperactive bloodletting.
"Stomped to Death" is next, the song attacking with pure, unbridled aggression. Relentless guitars assault the ears, while manic, sloppy percussion mops the floor with the remains. Clocking in at less than two minutes, the whole thing is an exercise in brevity and brutality at the same time.
"Bodies are Rising," for its part, unleashes a ghoulishly grim slice of crossover which should please punks and metalheads alike. There are loud, bouncing choruses for the former, and displays of wicked musical dexterity for the latter. More importantly, sandwiched between the two camps is one hell of a song.
Album highlight "Festival of Flesh" is next, its insane riffs wavering in the air like heat waves off a blacktop road. Come to think of it, this is a song perfect for joyriding or engaging in a high stakes car chase - "Flesh" zips past with massive hooks, huge riffs, and even some blastbeating to boot.
"Elijah Black," meanwhile, stutters its way through a jangling bass line before exploding into a slice of raw, nasty hard rock. The difference between this and a radio rocker, however, is the amount of rage. Between the bursts of spastic violence and the shrieks of frontman Brad Mowen, this is what happens when rock sounds dangerous again.
"Scotty Came Back" adds some levity to the album, existing as a tongue-through cheek zombie mosher still worth tons of spins. The blasting drums perfectly compliment the carpet-bombing guitars, the likes of which should leave pockmarks in plenty of eardrums.
Although "Hemline" begins with the sound of a chainsaw getting revved up, the real extremity comes by way of the song's vaguely-psychedelic psychosis. Utterly sociopathic, this deranged grind monster lays out the entire Razorback Records template in the course of one song. Throw in some vomit growls at song's end, and this one is definitely a gem.
"Die Violently" lets loose the gates of Hell, a torrent of molten riffs pouring out at top speed. Though a few slicing guitar sweeps allow for a breath or two, the order of the day here is pure chaos and "Die" delivers in spades.
"By the Hook" sees The Accused touch upon their punk roots with a thick, meaty bass line leading a charge of simple, fuzzy riffs. Despite its primitive tone, the song still has enough tempo shifts for even the most jaded of Nasum, Pig Destroyer or Antigama fans.
Speaking of which, technicality geeks should get a kick out of "Avenue of the Dead," a cataclysmic grind anthem which kicks off after a funky bass interlude. After this, a whirlwind of momentum shifts occurs, leaving listeners disoriented and breathless in true mosh pit fashion. This one should come across great live.
"F*ck Sorry" is the calm before the final storm, the Accused stepping back with a soft intermission of noxious bass lines and trippy drums. Though quiet, it eventually morphs into a disturbing waltz through hallucinogenic vistas of sound, the likes of which are as fearsome as anything else on Curse.
"Martha's Disciples" serves as yet another anthem for the band, the song instantly letting loose with a firestorm of guitars which eviscerate and mutilate. Heavy yet unadorned, it is a song which shows how easily The Accused lay down a beating with their instruments.
"Seriously Dead" is another Accused classic, its deathroll percussion perfectly complimented by riffs which stab over and over again like a knife fight. The whole thing begs for a circle pit, and it is an exceedingly ferocious moment on an album full of them.
Last but not least, "Splatter Rock II" caps things off with a slow-burning assault. Winding its way out of stereos with a sinister bass line, the song next erupts into a pummeling, mid-paced barnstormer. The end result is a song which hacks its way to the bitter end, a veritable bone saw of sound.
The Accused wield an almost supernatural tendency towards solid, well-rounded albums. The Curse of Martha Splatterhead is no exception, with the band proving their crossover is as sharp as it was back in the 1980s. If short, gut-churning bursts of metal sound in order, this one is strong enough to wake the dead.
Stomped to Death
Bodies are Rising
Festival of Flesh
Scotty Came Back
By the Hook
Avenue of the Dead
Spatter Rock II