REVIEW: Corpse Pile – Hardgore Deathmetal (EP/2024)

Artist: Corpse Pile
Album: Hardgore Deathmetal – EP

A quick look at rising overlords of Texas heavy music Corpse Pile, seems extreme nearly to the point of satire. Whether its the almost comically gruesome images evoked by their name or the tongue-in-cheek title of their Maggot Stomp Records label debut Hardgore Deathmetal, it might be a little hard to know exactly what to expect when you hit “play” on the band for the first time.
Surprising probably no one, what you get is surprisingly accurate to the senseless brutality that serves as their namesake. Rugged and ruthless throughout, Hardgore Deathmetal is a festering slab of sinister, oppressive slamming death that punches through the listener’s ear drums like a ten-ton hammer through cheap plastic. Dominated by a snare that pings so loud it will inflict tinnitus, crunchy chugs admixed with scathing riffs and a vocal display that audibly flexes on the entire underground death metal community, Corpse Pile’s approach to heavy music is…well, so unabashed and unwavering that it is almost satirical—but in the end, the only one laughing is the listener as they are forced to ponder: can it really get any heavier?

Between the collective instrumental efforts of Corpse Pile and the production from Swamp Sound, Hardgore Deathmetal is, in a word, wholly authentic. Created to feel raw and primal, the band’s breakout EP is just that. From the very onset of “Every Dog Gets Put Down,” the listener is steeped in immolating fury. Dense, dissonant fretwork coats every track in a grimy, filthy layer of aggression while pummeling percussion serves as the record’s raw, perfectly-imperfect firmament. “Reality” takes an approach more in line with the band’s death metal influence, where as the incendiary album opener and raunchy closing track feel much more in-line with the head-walking, spin-kicking, brass-knuckles-in-the-pit ethos that Corpse Pile have exuded thus far. Then—during the rollicking remainder of their short-but-sweet EP—you get something that feels a mix between the two relative extremes. While the release’s name does feel rooted in jest, the truth is that instrumentally the band find themselves square in the crossroads of blistering death metal and heavy hardcore/beatdown, giving them an heir of slamming intensity without being just a “slam band” (not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that). Because of this—and while it’s easy to write Corpse Pile off as such—there really is a degree of careful construction and attention to detail that deceives the listener when the first impression the band offers is one of bewildering brutality.

Vocally, Hardgore Deathmetal is just as intense and gargantuan as its instrumental soundscape. “Every Dog Gets Put Down” and “Reality” serve as the EP’s two more lyrical cuts—and while many of the actual words might be somewhat lost in a sea of grisly, visceral guttural bellows, the former’s cry of “take back what’s rightfully ours” is as simultaneously harrowing and catchy as most bands of the genre have ever gotten—if not moreso. With those tracks in mind, the lion’s share of Hardgore Deathmetal is a riveting demonstration of gurgling low grunts interspersed by shrill, piercing shrieks (“Force Fed Lead” is a strong example). Corpse Pile’s crushing vocal demonstration might not be groundbreaking, but it stands as the perfect complement to the peerless illustration of primal, instinctual violence evoked by the other components on Hardgore Deathmetal, and in a manner complementary to the band’s drumming, the minimalistic approach to production gives it a gritty, natural edge that further amplifies the seething overtones of wrath and misanthropy the band so proudly boast.

Hardgore Deathmetal aims to invoke violence and evoke animosity—and it does so with flying colors. It is not a technical release, nor is it progressive, and it does not make any attempt to be. It is a record for the moshers and pitters, a soundtrack to malevolence incarnate—simply put, it is, without any doubt or second thought, pure Hardgore Deathmetal.

For Fans Of: PeelingFlesh, Torture, Snuffed on Sight, 10 To the Chest
By Connor Welsh