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I've always theorized that the primordial ooze from which death metal emerged lies hidden deep within the Florida swamplands, waiting to be discovered like a headbanger's fountain of youth.

If Excisions of Exorcisms (Deathgasm, 2010) is anything to go by, Tampa's Diabolic have not only proven me correct by unearthing death metal ground zero, they've been mainlining that shit like William S. Burroughs on a bad day ever since forming in 1997.

Diabolic's death metal comes straight from the source and aims for the throat. It resurrects something that has largely become a lost art in DM: writing material that is as tuneful as it is brutal. Intricate but never technical, the band only flexes its considerable instrumental muscle in service of the song.

The album's title can be taken literally, as Diabolic's attack is both surgical and possessed. Tracks such as "Bloodwashed" and "Evil in Disguise" are compact by death metal standards, but are crammed with enough evil riffs and whammy bar-abusing leads to be face-melting. By the time the band slows things down on "False Belief", you've been beaten so far beyond submission that it feels more like salt being ground into open wounds than any sort of respite. Then "Entombed" and "Fragmented Kreation" thunder in to finish the job.

Whether or not Diabolic have really been sipping offal from the genre's spawning grounds, they prove that you don't have to rip off Entombed or know what a Mixolydian scale is to create excellent death metal. They've answered my lingering questions about what Morbid Angel and Deicide's secret love child would sound like.

— Josh Haun

Amazon (CD)
CM Distro (CD)
Deathgasm (CD)

Metalhit (MP3, $4.99)