“Filthy. Putrid. Vile. Disgusting. Shat from the slime-ridden bowels of hell. You can see where I’m going with this.” That’s how Sleeping Village described SANGUISUGABOGG, the upstart gore merchants whose reverence for old-school death metal is matched only by their unapologetic celebration of splatter. SANGUISUGABOGG paint musical crime scenes with blood and all other manners of bodily fluids, spewing carnage with a glee to rival cult classic b-movies like Dead Alive.
Tortured Whole, the full-length debut from the Ohio foursome who describe themselves as “down-tuned drug death,” is a demonstration of sludgy traditional death metal of the highest order, with a slaughterhouse’s worth of body parts and punishment oozing from any speakers brave enough to broadcast it. To say that the joyful humor with which it’s all delivered is “tongue in cheek” would be to do it a disserve; SANGUISUGABOGG is more of a severed tongue used to defile fresh victims.
In fact, the group of death metal upstarts from the Midwest has already aligned with Troma, the beloved renegade indie filmmakers responsible for The Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke ‘Em High.
A joyous and inclusive live act combining demented lowbrow wit with determined rifftastic extreme metal perfection, SANGUISUGABOGG road treks include dates with Creeping Death. BrooklynVegan put them on a Most Anticipated Albums list next to genre titans like Carcass.
Columbus, Ohio native Cameron Boggs started playing guitar before he was even in his teens. Extreme music of all stripes, from punk to black metal (plus a heavy dose of psychedelics), led him to create his dream death metal band. It’s a group that mines the doomy midtempo OSDM of Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower, and Obituary, with fiendishly over-the-top worship of exploitation.
“We want to make people feel welcomed around us, rather than intimidated by darkness because that ain’t us,” explains Boggs, emphasizing that SANGUISUGABOGG puts fun over self-seriousness.
The OSDM vibe is strong, though the riffs are new and strange, bolstered by the rhythmic foundation of powerhouse drummer Cody Davidson and bassist Ced Davis. It’s all served beneath a torrent of heavy phlegm outbursts from vocalist Devin Swank. Singuisuga, Latin for “bloodsucker,” was Cameron’s stage name in a short-lived black metal outfit. He first conceived his next project as a one-person “bedroom band,” but the concept quickly grew well beyond it.
“I lived in the basement, which flooded. I was having a terrible day,” Boggs recalls. “I was just tripping, sitting in my basement, and I came up with a riff which just took a hard left turn.” The addition of “Bogg” is as much a nod to the band’s founder as it is to English bathroom slang. “What we’ve made this whole thing into is a blood-sucking toilet that sucks the blood out of your ass.”
While there’s no hip-hop to be found alongside the bizarre riffs and guttural growls, SANGUISUGABOGG does claim the storytelling and swaggering butchery of gangster ghouls like Three 6 Mafia and Tommy Wright III as part of its origin story. “I actually don’t listen to metal when I’m writing because I don’t want to repeat anything,” Bogg explains. “I listen to a lot of Memphis rap. I love the grooves. The kind of slam-ish parts has definitely been an inspiration for me.”
Songs like “Dick Filet,” “Posthumous Compersion,” and “Felching Filth” are every bit as ghastly, macabre, and hideous as the titles would suggest. The lyrics revel in all manner of sexual acts, violence, and mayhem, with a fiercely cinematic feel to them. “The gore in our lyrics would be too explicit to show on film,” Boggs says proudly. “It’s the stuff you’d want to see from the ultimate slasher. A lot of songs are about killing pedophiles and other bad people. ‘Menstrual Envy,’ the first song on the album, is about taking a bunch of drugs and chopping your own dick off.”
Riff Relevant hailed the band’s “beefy riffs” in a review of the Pornographic Seizures EP, which Boggs and Davidson made together in 2019. WDW3 called it “one of the gnarliest EPs.” The band Harm’s Way, asked by Revolver Magazine to collectively name their five favorite releases of 2019, wrote that SANGUISUGABOGG plays “slow, Neanderthal-like death metal” “extremely well.”
“We were just doing it for fun. I was over trying to ‘make it’ with music,” marvels Boggs, reflecting on the band’s quick ascendence. “And then shit just flew off way faster than we could even know what to do with it. By the time we went on tour, shows were selling out, and this thing was growing and growing. We never thought we’d be here. It’s positively changed all of our lives.”
A delightfully disruptive beginning for the band Metal Observer recommends “for fans of sewage.”