Regular readers will have no doubt noticed that the bulk of the coverage here at THKD of late has turned towards brutal death metal in all its guises. There are many reasons for this. One, the style is largely ignored and/or maligned by the bigger websites and blogs in favor of whatever critical darling/flavor of the week is being served up. Two, it’s one of the few subgenres left within metal where the labels and musicians involved seem to actually give a shit about their craft, and three, it’s one of the few subgenres where a good band can still make my ears perk up and keep me engaged for the duration of an entire album. London’s Twitch of the Death Nerve, who have recently released their debut full length A New Code of Morality, are just such a band.
What you get from A New Code of Morality is forty minutes of extreme brutality that’s over-the-top in every sense of the phrase. From song titles such as “Peculiar Perversions Particular to the Piquerist” and (personal favorite) “Well if the Turkey’s in the High-chair, Where’s the Baby?” to the trio’s relentless, unforgiving musical approach, there’s simply no room whatsoever for things such as subtlety and nuance, but when it comes to this kind of music, who the hell wants subtlety? I for one want to be made to feel like my ears are being sliced off with straight razors and curb-stomped to a bloody pulp, and in this Twitch of the Death Nerve deliver and then some.
Don’t confuse a lack of subtleties with sloppiness however, because Twitch of the Death Nerve are nothing if not a wickedly precise unit. A New Code of Morality surgically eviscerates as much as it bludgeons, and thanks to the exceptional production values you won’t have any trouble discerning the band’s torture techniques; I’d go so far as to say this is one of the best sounding contemporary brutal death metal albums I’ve encountered. In a subgenre where sound quality can vary wildly, it’s always nice to hear an album that sounds like a million bucks, with a competent mixing and mastering job and level of clarity that allows one to appreciate the effort the band is putting into caving your skull in.
What ultimately sets Twitch of the Death Nerve apart from other brutal death metal bands is the sense of playfulness that runs throughout A New Code of Morality. There’s obviously some pitch black humor at work in the song titles, and there’s just something about the way the music is executed that gives off the impression that these guys were really enjoying themselves while putting this monstrosity together. Twitch of the Death Nerve don’t ever confuse precision and technicality for sterility and a lack of feeling, and as a result there’s a vitality and sense of excitement afoot here that I often just don’t get from other bands of this ilk.
A New Code of Morality is a more than solid debut, and even though Twitch of the Death Nerve aren’t reinventing the wheel by any means, they bring a freshness and enthusiasm to the table that’s largely missing from today’s brutal death metal. Fans of the likes of Suffocation and Dying Fetus would do well to give these guys a listen, and if you’ve burned out on this stuff in the past, this album’s energy might be just the thing to bring you back around. The album is out now on CD via Comatose Music.