Cleveland, Ohio’s extreme death metal band Embalmer has recently released their new live album, Embalmed Alive. All live recordings were filmed in one sitting and have not been edited to enhance the raw metal. For an added treat, Embalmer has included the studio recorded releases of “Taxidermist” and “Projectile Vomit” for the first time ever. I didn’t even realize I was listening to a live album. The quality of the musicianship is that stellar, and the variety in the songs kept me interested for the 15 track album. It was brutal through and through. “The Coroner’s Report”, “The Necro Filing Cabinet”, “Morbid Confessions”, and “They Can Smell Our Blood” were among my favorite tracks.
“May the Wounds Bleed Forever” opens us with a dose of the classic Embalmer sound with their higher pitched screeches. The chorus has a really enticing flow, and the immediate breakdown after the first chorus was unexpected. The guitar scales are well placed and really well done as well. “I Am the Embalmer” features heavy bass sounds with alternating guitar riff changes for each verse. As if an eagle is soaring, “Bone Box” starts with a high screech that drowns out over doomy guitar riffs, low, chanting growls, and mellow drums. I loved the cascading melody accompaniment throughout the song, and I thought the big ending was fitting for a well performed song. “Taxidermist” is high speed, high energy, and ends straight to the point. Bringing us back to the flow of the live show, “There was Blood Everywhere” notably has consistent, penetrating guitars through the whole song.
I appreciate the theatrics of this next song in relation to the concept. When listening to the lyrics of “Emanations from the Crypt”, the vocals give off more of a yelling than screaming. As if the dead are vocalizing their frustrations from the crypt itself. The dueling guitars were cancelling each other out and the long, drawn out feedback for the end was an eerie touch. With a deceiving intro before getting into the grit of the song, “The Necro Filing Cabinet” immediately becomes extremely fast paced and laced with high intensity. “Procession of Bones” is a great doom/thrash combo that added flavor to the live set. I especially enjoyed the longer guitar solo that flowed seamlessly through the outro. “The ones from Hell. The dead will walk the Earth” unnerving spoken lyrics before the instruments begin on “They Can Smell Our Blood”. The slow doom-ish riffs were a great symbolism for zombies walking. I envisioned them marching across a field with a cemetery coming alive. The song has a different format than the others and I really liked the style. “The Casket Call” closes the album with a more solemn approach that’s almost soothing. The pace gradually diminishes and the vocals are exchanging dialogues. It’s slower with fast but subtle drum kicks, and a smooth transition into the outro.
Embalmed Alive is available now from Hells Headbangers Records. Be on the lookout for a brand-new Embalmer studio album later this year!