CLAWS
"Absorbed in the Nethervoid"

(Razorback)

01. Absorbed in the Nethervoid
02. Bloodsucking Sorcery
03. Cacophonous Carrion
04. Casket Contagion
05. Cloak of the Sacrificial
06. Macabre Manifestations
07. Lurking in the Catacombs
08. Skeletal Reincarnation
09. Abominations That Crawl Forth

RATING: 7/10

In case you were wondering, the "band" known as CLAWS that recorded "Absorbed in the Nethervoid", is largely the work of one man, Lasse Pyykkö (HOODED MENACE, VACANT COFFIN, etc), as in vocals, guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards. He also recorded and mixed the album at the cleverly named Horrisound Studios. So aside from lyrics on most of the tracks having been written by the ever capable Billy Nocera of Razorback Records (Tanya Sim and DECREPITAPH's Elektrocutioner pen lyrics for "Skeletal Reincarnation" and "Macabre Manifestations", respectively), CLAWS is Pyykkö's baby and he does a commendable job of raising the Hell-spawn on this celebration of grisly, old school Swedish (by way of Finland) death metal.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" seems to be the mantra here and those with an appreciation for the finer funereal points of buzzing 'n rumbling Swede-death wouldn't want it any other way. The fact of the matter is these eight tracks (plus the keyboard-laced title track intro) pack a pretty big wallop and come with an emphasis on groove and catchy riffing. Often coming off like a cross between UNLEASHED and early ENTOMBED (the main melody on "Bloodsucking Sorcery" is reminiscent of the former in a big way) with an occasional nod to DISMEMBER ("Skeletal Reincarnation" has some of all three), the approach is immediately satisfying and never wears out its welcome with instrumental excess. Pyykkö's cavernous vocals and patterns don't change a whole lot from one track to the next, but the creepiness conjured boosts the fear factor considerably.

Throw in a handful of well played guitar solos ("Casket Contagion" really shines here) and just a pinch of doom-death goodness (e.g. "Cloak of the Sacrificial" and "Lurking in the Catacombs") and you've got yourself an enjoyable slice of a sub-genre that some folks will never get enough of. Who said anything about reinventing the wheel? It's gotten us from Point A to Point B for many years now; don't screw with it.

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