Label: Sentient Ruin Productions
It can be nice when a record lives up to your expectations. With a band name like Petrification, and a title like Summon Horrendous Destruction, and artwork like that, you’d no doubt be hoping for this 7″ to contain some dirty, old-school death metal. And you’d be exactly right. Summon Horrendous Destruction was originally released (and quickly sold out) on cassette earlier in the year, but is now being released on vinyl by Sentient Ruin, giving this slice of fetid metal another chance to inflict its pestilence upon the world. It’s a good thing, too, as this is no-nonsense death metal done right, sounding like it was dragged out of some moldy cavern, and as crushing as any other purveyor of old-school death you would care to name.
Whilst it may not exactly add anything new to the template of death metal, what Summon Horrendous Destruction does is deliver a masterclass in taking a well-established style and absolutely nailing it. The production and atmosphere is laced with decay, in a style that recalls Autopsy, and there’s a mixture of groove and raw, punishing power that brings both Nihilist and Bolt Thrower to mind – albeit if they had spent their time worshiping at the altar of Grandfather Nurgle, infecting their metal with disease as well as bloodlust. The drums initially come across as a primitive stomp – the sound of bones being beaten upon rocks and drums of human skin – but repeat listens reveal a deft subtlety, with some accents and small fills giving songs like the opening title track an extra element beyond simple devastation.
What really helps make Summon Horrendous Destruction so, well, destructive though are the vocals. Deep and full of power, they sound as if they were summoned from the very depths of hell itself, and have a surprising level of charisma – something not normally associated with this style of metal. Added to this is some skillful song-writing, that knows when to double-down on the brutality and when to add in some doom-tempo respite – often within the same thirty-second section of a song – and it shows that, as immediate as Summon Horrendous Destruction may be, there’s a lot of work and talent at play here, giving the record appeal that lasts even after the initial rush of excitement has worn off.
It’s easy to hear why the two pressings of the tape version of this record sold out so quickly, as this is underground, old-school death metal of the highest quality. Along with the likes of Necrot and Undergang, Petrification are providing proof that there’s plenty of (un)life left in this style of music yet, and I can’t wait to hear what they do next.