Another salvo fired from the most fundamentalist, stalwart fringe of the U.S. death metal underground, where hardcore influences are still frowned upon, vocals are guttural, riffs and blasts are rapid-fire, and DEEDS OF FLESH and DYING FETUS are the twin grails to which legions of DIY merch mavens aspire. WARFACE may gain a little notoriety because their guitarist is a woman. Make no mistake, though — this California power trio will win over fans not with gender novelty, but with ferocious, take-no-prisoners American death metal that parties like it's 1997.
There's a whiff off the low-budget that surrounds WARFACE, from the overly-processed cheap production to the booklet layout. And casual listeners won't find much to write home about in the execution of the songs, either — you've heard these riffs before, and you've certainly heard the gurgling vocals. WARFACE aren't out to reinvent the wheel, instead remaining content to plunder the legacy of their influences.
But as damning as that may sound, "Insanity of the Obsessed" is almost comforting in its obstinacy. These guys can lock into a slow, brooding groove and wring it dry (see "Suppression of Heresy" and most of "Fragmented Salvation"), creating an almost hypnotic doomy death drone, then ratchet things up with the semi-technical, SINISTER-like start-stop of "Climatic Annihilation". Occasionally, the band stumbles across a particularly killer riff, or guitarist Laura Christine busts out some nimble soloing, and the overall generic nature of the project is forgotten. Let's face it, this is the sort of death metal that glutted the scene in the mid-1990s and led a lot of people to seek out new thrills. But WARFACE benefit from being released in a time when such sounds are relatively rare on the new release rack, and their dogmatic devotion to this style is as impressive as their mastery of it.
Alongside like-minded (though stylistically different) scrappers from VORE to JUNGLE ROT, WARFACE make a statement with their satisfying, defiantly unhip sound. This is death metal for people who still mourn the days when INTERNAL BLEEDING was a leading light of the scene, for those who ordered stuff from Visceral Productions and Stage 3, and who don't give a rat's ass how short-haired hardcore kids do death metal. It's nothing new, and it won't set the world on fire, but it definitely provides a basic and primal fix for a certain breed of death metal junkie.