"A Dreadful Decease"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Confession time: this mad doctor is sick of zombies. They jumped the shark for me somewhere around the time of "Shaun of the Dead" and haven't regained their luster since. Yeah, I watch "The Walking Dead", but just as much for human drama as undead mayhem. And yes, I'm sick of zombies in metal as well.

However, I did have to sit up and take notice of new band Zombie Inc. due to a couple of things. One, the retro 80's movie poster cover of "A Dreadful Decease" is just plain COOL...much more so than the usual gut-munching stuff. Two, the voice of this band is none other than Martin Schirenc of the much-loved cult death metal act Pungent Stench...a voice that has been too long absent from the scene. Martin had a pretty unique take on death vocals...not the usual guttural stuff, nor the more agonized sound of Martin van Drunen or John Tardy. So his presence is a big plus for Zombie Inc. Add in the fact that the album is co-produced by Dan Swano and I'm in!

The album is mega-HEAVY, but those expecting a speed-oriented or technical death metal assault had best move on. These guys play a very mid-paced, plodding kind of death that rarely hits the gas. The groove is ferocious on cuts like "The Chaosbreed", "Challenge of the Undead" and "Horde Unleashed", but honestly, by the end of the album, I kind of lost interest. It wouldn't have killed Zombie Inc. to include a blast beat or two in their assault. But the guitar sound is almost painfully clear and crushing and Schirenc's unique vocal approach puts a lot of additional bite in the music. At some times, the choppy grooviness almost comes across like a morbid Fear Factory.

A good bone-cruncher for fans of basic grooving death, but I expect more from these flesh-eating fiends on their next outing.