Recently I reviewed the short but powerful split tape that Trench Foot shared with Body Asphyxiation Science, that came out earlier this year. On that tape Trench Foot already showed itself from a rather different side than on the rather putrid sounding first demo. The ultra-rancid super-downtuned Death Metal that Joe Bradley brought to the table with those first recordings not infrequently reminded me of the somewhat later Mortician records, where the slightly digital-sounding buzzing guitars, basic drums and the extremely low vocals were regularly interrupted by horror samples. The song Bradley contributed to the split tape was of a slightly different order and that path has been continued on this new EP.
That new path, however, does not involve a rigorous turnaround, but it does deliver a different kind of sound. A bit lighter and brighter and with a bit more emphasis on the guitars. Also, the vocals are a bit less deep and have been given a bit of reverb, making it fit a bit more into today’s Old School Death Metal scene. On one hand, I do understand this choice and Bradley manages well too, making it sound undeniably more balanced. The chugging riffs and chopping drums sound more in harmony with each other and there is also a bit more groove added. And, something I already noticed on the track of the split tape, there is a bit more emphasis on technical aspect in the riffs – don’t worry, Trench Foot is still not quite the same as Necrophagist. Though it does sound different, in the fifteen minutes this EP lasts, Trench Foot still manages to convince. Good to mention by the way, Bradley hasn’t lost his penchant for filthy horror movies yet, again we are treated to all kinds of samples of what I suspect are the most fantastic movies I’ve never seen.
Oh wait, Trench Foot. That’s a disease common among soldiers in World War I. Due to the long days in the trenches, in the mud and wetness, the feet swelled with infections and began to die. Incidentally, it did not first occur during World War I but also earlier in history, during the Napoleonic Wars and also later during the Falklands War, and today it is especially common among festival-goers who tend to go sludge-crawling for three (or more) days. With this in mind, then, Bradley has come up with a nice soundtrack to go with it: a deliciously soggy and ulcerating sound.
You might have read it between the lines a bit, personally I really liked that unpolished and more ‘ugly’ approach of the demo tape. But what Bradley performs here is still way above average in quality and much better than most of the bands of today’s scene that tend to sound more and more alike. Although it must be said that Trench Foot had more of a unique sound on the first demo tape than it has now, so it is to be hoped that Bradley is keeping his ugly creature away from all those cavernous bands.