Review Summary: Coldworker's debut album can be described with a plethora of adjectives, such as heavy, brutal, heavy, brutal, heavy...and brutal. Literally.
I hate the cold. This morning I was waiting for the bus to take me to my science exam. But it never came. -28 degree weather isn't fun to stand around in for forty minutes. Trust me on that one. Yet, metal bands like Wintersun, Norther, and Immortal seem to be able to take that frostbitten coldness and make it into an enjoyable slab of, well…cold frostbitten metal. And while I don't really know what the general stance on the cold from death metal bands is, a band going by the name of Coldworker was somewhat intriguing. Formed in 2006 by drummer Anders Jakobson, formally drummer of Grind band Nasum, in Orebro, Sweden, the death metal quintet already has one album to their credit. Released January 23 in the United States, the 39 minute debut titled, The Contaminated Void, is quite an intense production. Yet, disappointingly, it doesn't fare all that well when you look past that aspect.
But we'll get to that later. What The Contaminated Void does well is offer listeners an excessively brutal platter of death metal. Songs like the opener, The Interloper, the album's title track, or A Custom Made Hell all include blindingly heavy guitars, drumming, and pretty much everything. And the guys in Coldworker sound pretty decent, firing monstrous, technical sounding riffs off at top speed. Long time fans of death metal should particularly enjoy this aspect of the band, as it is by for the best done, and it appears as though it is where Coldworker spent most of its time fine tuning. Throughout The Contaminated Void, emphasis is put on creating a destructive, chaotic barrage of riffing and blast beats, and the band succeeds at creating such an atmosphere in pretty much every song, with The Interloper, in my opinion, being the highlight.
So what is so bad about The Contaminated Void that drags it down to levels of mediocrity? Simple. The lack of variation shown throughout the album is shocking. Every song, from The Interloper to Generations Decay, sounds exactly the same. If you thought DragonForce or Hammerfall were far too samey and predictable, then I would not recommend checking out this record, because quite frankly, they make the likes DragonForce sound experimental and original. And while lack of variety is never a good thing, the problem worsens do to the lack of interestingness that the album offers. As the album's closing songs roll around, listeners will breath collective sighs of relief, as The Contaminated Void becomes a rather annoying chore to listen to all the way though. While the riffs might have been entertaining in The Interloper, An Unforgiving Season, or D.E.A.D., the oft recycled guitar lines simply cannot maintain the momentum for 39 minutes.
While the musicianship found in Coldworker's debut album is somewhat impressive, the album does not really merit more than a few listens. While some death-heads should enjoy the brutal direction the band takes, the album's tediousness renders it practically unlistenable. The only song you really need to hear from the album is The Interloper, as all thirteen other tracks sound exactly the same. There is definitely better death metal out there, and I expect The Contaminated Void to be one of the year's weaker releases. Unless you're a fan of brutal (both in the positive and negative sense) metal, there isn't really anything interesting here, move along folks.