Review Summary: Monstrosity reclaim the throne with the best death metal album of 2007 so far.
Blast beats have ruined death metal. Okay, maybe not entirely, but it's getting there. Do you know how I know this? How many times have you entered a discussion where someone says, "X drummer is so
good, he plays 245BPM on this album! It's soooooo
brutal!" I hear that a lot, and every time I do, I die inside.
If you're a fan of the genre, I can guarantee that you've come in contact with the "old school" death metaller. While I'm not quite there yet, God knows I'm on my way. Whether you're a fan of modern death metal or not, I dare you to deny the fact that it seems to be getting faster and faster and faster and…you get the point. I guess this begs the question of "does faster equal heavier?" Regardless of rhetoric, I'm going to grab my balls and answer anyways.
No. No it does not.
A mix of triggers, testosterone and a lack of creativity seem to have ensured that many new bands will almost exclusively focus on outblasting each other. That's resulted in blast-based death metal rendering the technique relatively useless, and in the end, pretty boring. Deny it all you want, but it's easy to say that the mid-paced death metal sound popularized in the early to mid 1990s is easily more crushing, and therefore intense, than any douche playing a 250BPM blast beat that's most likely triggered to hell anyways. Add to that a myriad of other lame fads in the genre –the breakdowns, the pig squeals, the "shred – and Houston, we have a problem. Fuc
k, I hate subjectivity sometimes.
Regardless of whether you agree with me or not (ie: if you're right or not), Monstrosity is here to prove everybody wrong. Monstrosity is here to live up to their name. They're here to play predominately fast death metal, complete with blast beats, and they're here to tell everyone, fans and naysayers alike, to sit down, shut the fuc
k up, and listen. Conveniently enough, Monstrosity formed in 1990. With a line-up consisting of true death metal vets, including ex-members of Atheist, Malevolent Creation and Capharnaum, Monstrosity has released a record I feel can re-unite crushing sounds with a fast tempo.
is probably one of the best death metal tracks to come out since Phobophile
. Not only does it totally slay, it also has some tangible pluses. First and foremost, and this is the part that's made me regain some hope for the genre, Firestorm
starts out with, get this, a creative and original blastbeat (!). It's one of those tracks that exemplifies the album's positives as a whole and doesn't really touch on the negatives, mostly because there aren't really any; it's not quite
perfect, but I'll get there later.
Like I said, it starts of with a highly creative blastbeat, somewhat of a modern-day anomaly. The blast stands above the Roddy's and the Yeung's purely because it's effective not as a result of pure speed, but rather it succeeds on subtleties that carry through the album's drumming as a whole. Where more standardized blasting would survive purely on speed and consistency, the blastbeat in this track distinguishes itself by playing with the snare. Just when you expect the blast to fall into a rut of repetitious speed, the drummer (Lee Harrison of Atheist and Capharnaum fame) skips a few beats, only to add in a couple extra at totally unexpected times. Pair that with the heavy thrash influence found in Mark English's guitar work and we're off to the races.
"Spiritual Apocalypse" will kick your ass
. The album's pace is relentless, yet never grows stale. The vocals are absolutely bloodthirsty, and Kelly Shaefer of Atheist even makes a brief appearance. The musicianship is ridiculously tight, and when you pair that with the previous points, this really is the
death metal album to beat in 07. Take into consideration that this year sees releases from genre giants Behemoth, as well as hybrid heroes Akercocke and well, that's saying something. Some will say they were better with Corpsegrinder on vocals, and to them I simply say "have fun listening to gore metal". Some say Rise to Power was more effective, and to them I say "then listen to ‘Rise to Power'". I, personally, am indifferent when it comes to Corpsegrinder, and I've listened to this dozens more than I ever did "Rise to Power".
Like I said, it's not perfect. Some of the leads solos are almost too reminiscent of Necrophagist's later work, but since that's Necrophagist's strongest point I'll turn a blind eye. And, even when you consider the scarce similarities, Monstrosity add it to a much more effective and powerful sound, using the leads and solos as an additive rather than a draw. The only other flaw, if you can call it that, is that the album sticks to one particular sound that some could argue goes on a little too long, but it's not to the extent of Vital Remains, who have been known to essentially play songs three times over in a single track. Once again, fuc
k subjectivity. So like I said, it's not perfect, but fuc
k if it isn't close.
You say you're a death metal fan, a death head if you will? Well then to that, I ask…
Why the fuc
k haven't you heard this yet?