Retrospective: Gruesome Malady – Infected With Virulent Seed (2003)


Few albums in extreme metal/goregrind history can rival the demented and perverted atmosphere evident on Infected With Virulent Seed; in that, at least, this album by the Bangalore, India project is every bit the equal of other landmarks like Acts Of The Unspeakable, To The Depths…In Degradation, and Catasexual Urge Motivation‘s Encylopedia Of Serial Murders. This is goregrind, but only nominally so; Gruesome Malady flout nearly all rules framing that sub-genre, yet qualify somehow to the appellation with rare distinction. At the time of release, Infected With Virulent Seed was met with an unbelieving reception by an Indian scene still making a living off covering Metallica songs; politically incorrect to a fault in matters of deviant libido, covering evergreen topics like rape, incest, and genetic culling of the physically disabled through sodomy, Gruesome Malady got away with pushing all kinds of buttons. One almost wishes that the Global Internet Morality Watch (GIMW) was already in existence back in ’03; it would’ve gathered this album a little more well-deserved notoriety.

Infected With Virulent Seed came out around the time Razorback was going full throttle. Impetigo and C.U.M. had just been rediscovered, and bands like Engorged and Lord Gore were channeling their love for cheap horror cinema into schlocky speed-death. Czech bands like Alienation Mental were introducing industrial sounds into their brand of fruity grindcore. Gruesome Malady, somehow, ratcheted up these factors even further, while keep far away from the wheel of cheese. Their sound is barely held together; drums are sloppy and spasmodic, one instant blasting, the next seemingly giving up out of either boredom or exhaustion. Vocals, in true goregrind tradition, are ridiculously processed, sounding like bubbles emanating from the moldering remains of a corpse underwater.

The guitars, however, are entirely responsible for making this album the strange trip that it is. Riffing alternates between blocky, lo-fi death/grind, and a somewhat more grooving style reminiscent of Morbid Angel on Domination; ejaculating all over the music, however, is a lead guitar tone and lead guitar style that can only be called idiosyncratic. It comes in as and when it chooses, engulfs whatever else is happening at that moment, acts as riff and solo and articulation all at once. I like to think of it as super-abstract, stream of consciousness playing; someone else can say with equal justification that it is plainly self-absorbed and unmusical. The important thing, however, is that it fits the nasty, gutter aspirations of the album without being entirely obscurantist of nature like, say, Portal or Deathspell Omega.

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