Having expanded to a quartet in 2018, Crematory Stench released their second E.P., Grotesque Deformities, in November. Catching the attention of Blood Harvest Records, fans will soon have the option to own the E.P. on vinyl. For those that like their death metal gory, gross, and well thought out, Grotesque Deformities is a great way to kick things into high gear for 2019.
Despite that observation, Grotesque Deformities isn’t perfect, and that’s okay. Atmospheric introductory tracks have been hammered into oblivion, but it’s pointless to argue about the necessity of “Interlude” because it accomplishes its job of setting the stage for the Grand Guignol style carnage that is about to take place. “Septic Offal” alternates between a complete thrashing of instruments and doomy passages that sound like they were crafted in the bowels of Hell, literally. This trend also continues into “Grotesque Deformities” and both tracks are nicely peppered with bassist Erick Cruz’s low-end fuzz that adds a nice layer of mildew to the festering gore that Crematory Stench is subjecting us to.
One of the most notable elements of Grotesque Deformities is the vocal performance of Josey Aguilar, who sings like he’s possessed by the ghost of Chuck Schuldiner. Aguilar demonstrates the evolution of this approach throughout the E.P.’s course. Sounding tortured and disembodied on the first two tracks, Aguilar’s vocals become increasingly lethal in “Hypothermic Expiry” and borderline ritualistic in “Slumber”.
I don’t have lyrics available, but considering the big words used in the song titles, it would be safe to say that Crematory Stench aren’t resorting to frat boy tactics to tell their stories. Overall, Grotesque Deformities does a great job of bringing together the thrashier and doomier influences of death metal. The only “bad” thing to take away from the E.P. is that the percussion clangs a bit too much at times, but it adds to Grotesque Deformities more than it takes away from it.