Alas, it’s officially 2018 and we’re choosing to start off the year with a review of Mass Casualty‘s Preparing the Dead. Thanks to bands like Cannibal Corpse and Malevolent Creation, Buffalo is a city known for death metal, however our local death metal supply has been extremely limited over the last few years. Thankfully, Mass Casualty have answered the call and released a killer record, the likes of which we haven’t seen or heard since Seplophile‘s Mesonoxian in 2013.
Where to begin? I suppose we’ll start at the forefront and work our way back to the rhythm section. Chris Gooch (bass) and Chad Grant (guitar) share vocal duties and it’s tremendous to listen to, to say the least. The depth and consistency of Chris’s gutturals really make this album stand out in Buffalo’s sea of harsh vocalists. Chad typically gravitates towards the higher register and just kills it. Both are proficient screamers and really front the band well across all 10 songs on this album.
On guitar, Chad holds down the rhythm while Cody Lange rips soaring leads for a huge chunk of the record. Nothing sounds forced, nor lacking. The leads vary from impressive sweep patterns, to fast tremolo progressions, to slow and sustained noting of epic proportions.
Behind the screams and guitar ripping, lies the rhythm section. Chris and Josh Enright (drums) hold down the fort. Throughout the album, we’re treated to a variety of (always appropriate) drum choices, along with tight, crisp, intricate, AUDIBLE bass. These two are locked into each other so well and it comes through live too.
As for the recording quality, Jim Nickles from Shredly Studios/Vile Records/Hellcannon/Resthaven, did a hell of a job recording this. A perfect example of the work put in is the comparison of Mass Casualty’s original recording of “Drilled Through the Neck” (debut single) to the new recording present on Preparing the Dead. Jim recorded both, but once again, the jump in quality is leaps and bounds. Put this in your car and it’ll do what death metal is supposed to do: Fuck you up.
As for top tracks, for starters, we have to go with the OG of the album, “Drilled Through the Neck” (track 4). This was the first song we (most people) heard from Mass Casualty, so hearing it this new and powerful way was awesome. Then, there’s the opening track, “Cunt Slamming Frenzy”. That one kicks off with a powerful sample of a woman screaming and presumably being hacked to death. If that doesn’t scream, “Here’s a killer new death metal album out of Buffalo”, we don’t know what does. “Flesh Fed Inferno” (track 7) is another good one. The intro is fast and driving with quick guitar picking and thrashy drums. I’d say my favorite however is track 9, “Splattered on the Pavement”. It’s another nice quick one, with crazy fast and intricate soloing, tightly synced up with fast/constant double bass, bass guitar and rhythm guitar. It’s a nice break from the midtempo/crushing feeling of the album and throws in a nice old school Swedish death metal vibe with its quick 3/4 time signature.
The only thing I’d like to hear more of from MC is faster tempo’d songs. Preparing the Dead is very heavy, brutal and to the point. It’s well crafted death metal, but the majority of the album is very mid-tempo, because of that consistent heaviness factor. Other than that, it’s a solid, gruesome bloodbath of a record.
It’s also very worth mentioning that Chad’s wife Michelle is responsible for the artwork on this piece. For those who know nothing of Mass Casualty, the album cover on its own should entice death metal fans to give it a listen.
Head down to Milkie’s on Elmwood on January 27 for the official release of Preparing the Dead.
Mass Casualty are:
Chris Gooch- Vocals/bass
Chad Grant- Guitar/vocals
Cody Lange- Guitar
Josh Enright- Drums