Onchocerciasis Esophagogastroduodenoscopy – The Rotted Plinth of Sachiel


Infected black flies spread onchocerciasis when they bite into human flesh. It creates a parasitic worm in the human body and leads to extreme itching, disfigurement and often blindness. Medical professionals diagnose ninety-nine percent of all global cases in just thirty-one African countries. International goregrind duo, Onchocerciasis Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (OEGD), take their name from the so-called ‘River Blindness’ and produce a type of audio vomit that imagines the pain of having it spread through the human intestines. It goes without saying, that melody is the last thing on their mind on their debut LP.

They might have an unpronounceable name and dip into the medical dictionary for inspiration, but OEGD have a unique take on the brutal death metal genre with their vicious drum machine modulations and penchant for grinding guitar downstrokes. Lightning speed blast beats are low down on the agenda of sonic priorities on the opening title track, where Canadian guitarist, Caleb Simard, scrapes his strings in a chaotic turbulence of distortion. Australian vocalist, Jesse Agiomamitis, does things with his vocal cords that should not be attempted for health reasons. At times he resembles the creature salivating in the face of Sigourney Weaver in Alien 3; in other moments he unleashes an agonising whelp like a Japanese Samurai disembowelling himself in a ritual Sepukku. The excruciating release of a ‘fuck’ expression at the end of ‘Facial Gutting’ might be the only intelligible word on the whole album.

We can already establish that 99.99 percent of the planet will find OEGD’s music unlistenable and inhumane, but don’t let that deter you. ‘Bloodroot & Blazing Sun’ could be from the debut Sanguisugabogg album with its drop-G riffing, but it also draws upon the dissonant guitar chords that extreme metal bands are starting to adopt with more relish. Agiomamitis adds some torturous breathing noises at the climax like an asphyxiation enthusiast recovering from the strangling hands of a sex partner who almost went too far. ‘Flayed Tellurian Tusk’ is an unambiguous audition for the 2022 line-up at the legendary Obscene Extreme Festival in the Czech Republic. If you don’t know what that means, think of Magrudergrind spazzing out at maximum levels of ferocity.

The 25-minute running time of the album is a merciful blessing, but that also says a lot about the highlights if we can see this as a positive. Herein lies the problem: the music is as uncomfortable as drinking a mouthful of river water polluted with dead mosquitos. ‘Alluvial Maelstrom of Frenzied Self-Mutilation’ is notable only for ten seconds of mathcore shredding among the chugs and blast beats; the choking vocals on ‘The Rose of Jericho’ overpower the guitars and drums. Apparently, Simard plays bass guitar in this record, but you’ll do well to hear any root notes or low-end fuzz brewing underneath the distortion.

Yet OEGD end the record in style on ‘Profane Psalms Carved in the Palms of God’ with… wait for it… a conventional death metal approach that uses semi-intelligible vocals and swaying doom rhythms. Simard’s triplet sixteenth notes near the end might even qualify as a breakdown riff. OEGD are just too weird to lose your interest for longer than a couple of minutes despite their ugly style and wretched aesthetic.

They may come across as a novelty act trying to be extreme for the sake of extremity, but OEGD are here to subjugate you. Give them five minutes, and they’ll bludgeon you into submission. Whether you like it or not is a different matter.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 09/04/2021

Record Label: Stillbirth Records

Standout tracks: Facial Gutting, Bloodroot & Blazing Sun, Profane Psalms Carved into the Palms of God

Suggested Further Listening: Carnal Abhorrence – The Crowned Apocalypse (2020), Sanguisugabogg – Tortured Whole (2021), Revenge – Strike.Smother.Dehumanize (2020)