Personnel: Andreas Björnson (vocals, guitar); Erik Rundqvist (vocals); Anders Bertilsson (guitar); Tobias Gustafsson (drums).
Audio Mixer: Ronnie Bjönstrom.
Recording information: Big Balls Productions Studio, Karlstad, Sweden (11/2014-12/2014).
After more than 24 years, Sweden's workmanlike death metal act Vomitory called it quits in late 2013. Just a few months later, drummer Tobias Gustafsson and vocalist/bassist Erik Rundqvist recruited guitarist Anders Bertilsson and guitarist/vocalist Andreas Björnson to form Cut Up. Forensic Nightmares is their debut long-player on Metal Blade. Opener "Enter Hell" is a blastbeat-driven fury of angular chords, fat riffs, and spiraling guitar solos. It's followed immediately by the pre-release cut "Burial Time," which pushes even harder on the gas pedal; it's more straightforward, but its clean bassline is as meaty as the twinned guitars. Cut Up show another face on "A Butchery Improved," which commences with all of the band's rage on display. About halfway through its four-plus minutes, there is a sharp stop; when the jam resumes, the band's swinging, more groove-oriented side briefly comes to the fore. It's all chunky and chugging, until the track shifts (after a meaty guitar break) and the relentless brutality of the original riff is restored. "Order of the Chainsaw" digs deeper into that slower, more brooding side, and is somehow more evil sounding than anything else here, but it's the exception rather than the rule on the album. Virtually all the other tracks are adrenaline-inducing power workouts that indulge both the old and new schools of death metal. While there are no weak tracks on Forensic Nightmares, there are no exceptionally memorable ones, either. It will likely take another album or two to establish the band's own writing style and sound. Vomitory's identity is deeply ingrained in Cut Up's sound thus far (how could it not be?) albeit with fresh energy and drive. Whether that's a good thing or not depends on your point of view. For death metal fans as a whole, Forensic Nightmares is a solid, slamming listen throughout. It'll be interesting to hear how this band develops. ~ Thom Jurek