Mexican death metallers Summoning Death have unleashed their debut record upon the world. It’s heavy and should appeal to fans of Depravity, early Amorphis, and Demigod. Unfortunately, a poor production and lack of invention hold it back. A quick glance at the track listing below will tell you that each song is based upon a classic B-movie horror, with lyrics covering the themes and events of each film. It’s a smart idea, but one that is unfortunately buried underneath bland death metal.
Take “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)” for example. It opens with a twisted, chunky riff not unbefitting of the existential dread of Robert Weine’s wildly vivid graphical depiction of sanity and authority. This is a riff that sticks throughout the track, and its dark groove is a solid one. Sadly, the insistence on blast-beats and one-trick guttural vocal delivery don’t do it justice. Aside from the riff, which carries an essence of the film’s dark themes of madness, little is done to capture the spirit of the film – a slow descent into madness. Unfortunately, the same can be said of every track; “Night of the Living Dead (1968)”, which opens with a sound-bite from the vintage film, has little to differentiate from the tracks before or after it. It doesn’t help that the production is poor. Everything is covered by a fuzzy layer, creating some particularly murky and undefined mid-low tones.
Despite this, the guitar work throughout The House That Screams does stand out occasionally. String-bending riffs that Tony Iommi would be proud of appear from time to time amongst the death metal rumble. The solos, too, are quality throughout. Jose Javier and Ricardo Gil both do themselves proud here, for instance on “The Screaming Skull (1958)” features a great, catchy central riff. “The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)” even affords the pair a chance to shine in acoustic, which makes a change from the rest.
You’ll be screamed at if you don’t watch this video for the single “The Screaming Skull”.
The House That Screams has some smart ideas, though the execution doesn’t do them justice. Representing the themes of each film in the writing would have made for a more memorable listen, but there is a solid enough base here for Summoning Death to build on.
The House That Screamed Track Listing:
02. The Screaming Skull (1958)
03. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
04. Carnival of Souls (1962)
05. Keep My Grave Open (1976)
06. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
07. Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)
08. The Embalmer (1965)
09. The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)
10. House (1985)
11. The House That Screamed (1969)
12. Maniac (1934)
13. Torn Apart (Bonus)
Run Time: 58:24
Release Date: October 8, 2018
Record Label: Chaos Records