If one were to listen to this band without doing any research on them, they would find themselves saying "sweet Jesus, this is a carbon copy of Death!" Perhaps then, they would do some researching and say "ah, this band is a blatant tribute to Death and the sound is intentional." That's exactly what Gruesome is, a living tribute to the legacy of Death.
The band formed by two members that were part of the Death to All tours that also showcased the legacy of Chuck's Schuldiner and Death. Members Matt Harvey (Exhumed and more) and Gus Rios (ex-Malevolent Creation) came up with the idea while on said tour. They wanted to do a new band writing completely in the Death style. Their first album, Savage Land, spawned from that. It was interesting and very well done. Their live show very spectacular with Death covers tossed in.
Now, in 2018 and 2 EPs later, the band is on its 2nd full length. Does it still keep its head above the water? Yes and no. Let me focus on the yes first. These guys are masters are writing in Chuck's style. Taking a look at the cover art, one would assume they're going for a Spiritual Healing era sound and one would be mostly right. There is plenty of influence from that, but with a better recording (naturally) and some beefed up ideas as they are band taking their own influences and expounding upon the entire Death catalog. Twisted Prayers takes that mid era Chuck style and flows beautifully with it. At times, you're wondering if they are lost songs from the Death catalog. That alone is a testament to how much that admire Chuck and upholding his legacy very, very well.
Now, the no of the album. While I have greatly enjoyed each release Gruesome have done, I don't often find myself revisiting their works. I never got bored while listening necessarily, but did occasionally find myself asking "why not just listen to Death?" That in a nutshell is what I find in this band. Each new release, I'm very stoked and get all amped on Death again. Then time goes on and I find myself doing what I've done for years, listening to Death and Gruesome doesn't get much play. That is the beauty in Death's music, it's classic for a reason. This is something I believe even Gruesome could agree on, they wouldn't be a band if they didn't love Death so much. So, overall, Gruesome exist as a fun outlet of people sharing their love of Death and also sharing that love with the world. They do it extremely well and should not be ignored. They're not treading new ground and they're not trying to. I am curious how my feelings will be when (if) they tackle my favorite era of Death, the albums after Human. I look forward to it.