Rumpelstiltskin Grinder - a name once heard you will not forget in a hurry and the same can be said for their sound as well. The crossover thrash quartet from Philadelphia have just unleashed their third album since their inception in 2002, 'Ghostmaker', follow-up to 2009s 'Living For Death, Destroying The Rest'.
Described by the band as "their fastest, darkest and most relentless album to date", this is a claim that on listening to the album, the music totally backs up. Certainly their brand of high speed thrash blended with hints of European death and black Metal and a bit more besides is both an exciting and winning combination that the band has perfected on 'Ghostmaker'. It's also good to see from their lyrical content and song titles that they are a fun loving bunch who whilst serious about their music don't take themselves too seriously.
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There are a lot of aspects to this album that really appeal to me, in particular the previously mentioned blend of thrash/death, also the twin vocals from Matt Moore (Absu) guitars and Shawn Riley (Woe) bass, which adds depth and dimension. There is something about the combination of these two voices that really works and amounts to so much more than if they were used in a more individualistic way. This is also an album where a lot of effort has been put into the composition and delivery.
The first of twelve excellent tracks is 'Those Who Are Unseen' which begins fast, with a menacing scream that clearly means business and a sound that pretty much defines the way this album will continue.
Next up is title track 'Ghostmaker' and whose chugging riffs I loved. Also the catchy 'Nightworms' has some epic opening riffs and a growl!
I loved the punchy guitars on 'Fucking Wild' and 'Dripping With Venom' has a wonderful blackened edge to it and I also enjoyed the eerie quality to 'Cold Haunting Death'.
The next track, 'A Lurking Thief', is one of the slower numbers with beautifully sinister riffs, 'You've Been Had' has some excellent opening riffs and 'Iron Jaw' is fast, fun, catchy and bursting with bouncy grooves.
'Get Out Of My Grave/Gigantic Graveyard' has an exciting, catchy, yet sinister groove which I liked and the excellent penultimate track, 'Run Through The Bastards', continues in the fast and furious vein of its predecessors.
Onto the final track, 'Desert Goblins', which has a tempo change half way through and tiny hits of black Metal woven into its construct; an excellent end to the album.
This is one of those albums that no matter how much you like it on the first play, you will like it even more with successive listens as it just grows on you and is definitely going to get a lot of attention from me for certain.
The cover art is by gore artist Mike Hrubovcak (Sinister, Hate Eternal, Cattle Decapitation).
'Ghostmaker' is out now on Candlelight Records.