Steve Tucker is a legend in the death metal realm. His contributions to Morbid Angel are nothing short of fucking classic and are required listening from that time period. Hate Eternal‘s Erik Rutan, who now spends a great deal of time as a master producer for the genre, also played in Morbid Angel and shares that legend status with Tucker. They produced some of the most intense music ever together, and he has also been on the production end of a lot of the most brutal albums in the last 10-plus years.
The Grey Eminence from Warfather is a reunion of sorts for these guys, as Rutan spins the production knobs for Tucker’s band. It truly is a match made in hell! This is their second full-length, and although I really wanted to like their first release, Orchestrating The Apocalypse, the thin and tinny production really made it hard to listen to (and it is worth noting the debut was made sans Rutan).
The Grey Eminence more than makes up for this. “Orders of the Horde” opens up the album in a violent fashion, and Tucker’s vocals have not lost one iota of the gravelly staccato from his past. The song is what technical death metal should be. The slow, somber break toward the end of the song, with its whispers, creates chills. “Headless Men Can No Longer Speak” will stay stuck in your head with its crushing breaks and chorus, and drummer Bryan Bever is absolutely amazing. “Judgement, The Hammer” brings forth a more Morbid Angel feel than its predecessors, and the vocals are pummeling and in your face. “For Glory or Infamy” has some blazing fast sections where the guitar and drums play off of each other and the end is a headbanger’s dream! “Carnage of the Pious” is my favorite here. It has a tribal feel, yet it maintains a technical aura throughout. The starts and stops of the drums take center stage and Bever never misses a blast. The title track is more ominous and dark, and Tucker’s vocals are fucking pissed off. The riffs are heavy as hell, too. “Fair and Final Warning” takes you out of the album with screaming guitars among the ever present blast beats.
Warfather has an incredible album with The Grey Eminence. It is a model of what death metal should be.
The Grey Eminence is out September 16 on Greyhaze Records. Pre-order it here!
SkullsNBones Rating (Out Of 5):