Upon hearing “Total Human Genocide,” the opening track on Expulsion’s debut EP Nightmare Future, your first thought might be something along the lines of “holy shit – this sounds like a perfect cross between Exhumed and Repulsion.” Well…there’s a reason for that. The band is a collaboration between Repulsion’s Matt Olivo and Exhumed/Gruesome’s Matt Harvey, along with drummer extraordinaire Danny Walker (Intronaut, Exhumed, Phobia) and Lightning Swords of Death bassist Menno Verbaten. Given their pedigree, the band plays exactly the sort of 80’s inspired deathgrind that one would expect, which ends up being something of a mixed bag. The EP is really solid and the music is a lot of fun, but I don’t know how many people there are who would preferred this to a new EP from either Repulsion, who have released no new music since reforming in 2003, or Exhumed, who haven’t released a new full-length since Necrocracy came out in 2013.
Still, I guess it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to complain about what Nightmare Future isn’t when it’s really pretty damn enjoyable for what it is. Olivo’s trademark buzzsaw riffs, Walker’s machine-precision blasting, Harvey’s inimitable throat-ruining vocals – they’re all present and accounted for. Perhaps the biggest surprise, though, is how catchy the record is musically. The Death-ish “Altar of Slaughter” and punky “Funeral Bells” both have riffs that will stay stuck in your head long after the record’s brisk 7 track, 14-minute run time, and “Comatose” and “Nightmare Future” both feel a bit like what Kill ‘em All might have sounded like if Metallica had been playing grind instead of thrash.
All in all, Nightmare Future might be a bit on the slight side, but there’s no mistaking how much fun Expulsion sound like they’re having, and that energy ends up being infectious. This might not be the record I wanted right now from either Olivo or Harvey, but I’ll definitely take it anyway.
Nightmare Future will be available on July 14 via Relapse Records.