The now out of print Tools of the Trade EP followed the group's excellent Necroticism album as yet more product for the group's hungry fans while the group toured as part of Earache's infamous Gods of Grind tour. Very much like Necroticism, the songs on Tools of the Trade find the group developing their songs beyond mere explosive grindcore blasts to more fleshed-out songs with multiple transitions in tempo. The title track of the EP features both Jeff Walker's demonic snarls and Bill Steer's aquatic utterances exchanging barely decipherable lyrics about scalpels and other medical tools. The guitar riffs of this song move along at a quick speed before eventually slowing down to a near halt near the end of the song, when a contemplative mood sets in, establishing a suiting mood for a short guitar solo before the group suddenly concludes the song with a short grindcore blast. The other songs sound very similar to the work on Necroticism, leading one to assume that they were recorded during the same session. The midtempo riffs found near the latter half of "Hepatic Tissue Fermentation II" allude to the slower, more focused sound the group would move to on their successive album, Heartwork. While not nearly as epic as the full-length Necroticism, Tools of the Trade's short length and comparable quality level make it a more digestible alternative to the full-length album, though it is now nearly impossible to find by itself. [Note: Tools of the Trade is now available as bonus tracks on Necroticism].
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier