[DEATH METAL] Hearing Configuration makes me realize how many times I've seen Order of the Gash in DIY settings with inadequate sound systems. These three good folks operate without ego, always there to help touring bands on local stops at venues like the Know, Tube and your basement. This has been going on for seven years now, so it's no surprise Order of the Gash is hitting its middle-age stride on its first proper album.
Opening with a gorgeous string introduction by elusive local act Disemballerina, things get ugly fast. The acoustic title track leads directly into an electrified version, affectionately named "Winter of the Dead." From here on, the group pummels out its own form of thrash-inflected death metal. Aris Wales has never played his drums faster, or with more precision, than he does here. His vocals sound absolutely demonic and scathing. No casual listener will be prepared for Wales' strangled roar, unless said listener already owns Carcass' 1993 Heartwork album. Melissa White shreds on the six-string, lending an endless cascade of melodies to this otherwise brutal music; bassist Paul Kessler brings in the hardcore crossover bass runs during the breaks, adding his low vocal grimness to the bottom end.
Configuration goes by quickly. Ten songs in 23 minutes, and none wear out their welcome. The tunes are intense enough for death and grind purists, but always catchy and exhilarating. Produced locally in summer 2010 at Dig Studios, the sound is crisp, loud, and punishing. Hearing a local band step comfortably into the boots of an international act is true cause for triumph and, considering just how heavy this stuff is, tribulation.
SEE IT: Order of the Gash plays Plan B, 1305 SE 8th Ave., on Wednesday, May 9, with Dimesland, Nasalrod and Bronson Arm. 8 pm. $6. 21+.