For several death metal fans, Gruesome is like a dream come true. Finally, a modern band reinventing Death’s sound. The death metal community accepted Gruesome with open arms, especially because it comprises iconic musicians Matt Harvey (Exhumed), Daniel Gonzalez (Possessed), Robin Mazen (Derkéta) and Gus Rios (Malevolent Creation).
Hearing the ferocious material from their massive début Savage Land was a combination between healing my spiritual side (pun-intended) and like a scream of bloody gore (also, pun-intended) . Tampa, Florida hosted this unmerciful act at the Crowbar in Ybor. Meshed with hip hop and gangster-clad hooligans littering the streets of Ybor, I think Gruesome was the most brutal thing in Tampa that night.
Listening to Gruesome live was like a slap in the face of metal. Why? Because 1. You have to have metaphorical violence when speaking in terms of death metal and 2. Metal as a whole was slapped for not having a band like this sooner. By the first riff it crunched its way into the walls of Crowbar; waves of show-goers smashed into each other at the first sound of the crushing tracks. From there on Gruesome sliced and slashed its gorey self into the eardrums of Tampa, resulting in the restoration of Tampa death metal.
The Age of Metal was able to speak to Gruesome members Harvey, Gonzalez and Rios. In the interview we discussed their tour, all of the complexities of writing Gruesome material, and the importance of keeping old-school death metal around.
Also next time you see Gruesome, play this drinking game my friend Lukas Diaz-Ames came up with: whenever you can guess the Death riff, solo, drum-fill, bass part, etc. take a shot.