Monstrosity
Spiritual Apocalypse


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
May 16th, 2007 | 104 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

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. Fuck, 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 fuck 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.

Firestorm 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, fuck subjectivity. So like I said, it's not perfect, but fuck 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 fuck haven't you heard this yet?



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user ratings (69)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
May 16th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Been a while since I've written so aggressively. Hah.

GleamInRanks
May 16th 2007


298 Comments


What do you mean triggered blast beats? I've heard the term before but never knew what it meant. Good review, I laughed at the intro and my family thought I was crazy. I guess my laugh sounded random. Well anyways I'm not big on death metal, so would this album be a good place to start?

Oh and daath metal>death metal

Tyler
Emeritus
May 16th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It's as good of a place to start as any, I guess. I started with "Phobophile" off None So Vile (Cryptopsy), so that's another great place. It all depends on your tolerance, both to the vocals and the style in general. You seem like a pretty diverse listener so I'd say you're good with either.

I don't want to start a huge cuffufle, triggers are sensitive issue, but basically they're there to emit a sound on every-hit you make. Sometimes it's necessary, to make it clear at ultra-high speeds, but some triggers are so sensitive that you barely have to touch the drum. When I said "overly triggered", I'm referring to the latter, and the typically "clicky" sound you hear on a lot of albums.

You can check these guys out on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/monstrosity1

For more Death Metal recommendations I'd just recommend the forums, this thread in particular: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16816

CoRpSeSlAyEr
May 16th 2007


855 Comments


Good review, i like Monstrocity especially when corpsegrinder was the singer. Is this album better than their earlier stuff?

Tyler
Emeritus
May 16th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I haven't heard much of their earlier work, truth be told.

I'd check it out, or at least go to that MySpace link and listen to Firestorm.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
May 16th 2007


17944 Comments


i'll probably get this seeing as how i'm like a brutal death-head nahmean

GleamInRanks
May 16th 2007


298 Comments


Firestorm sounded pretty cool! The really quick snare rolls are ace and I like how the solo was more thought out and it wasn't just sloppy shredding like I've heard by other death metal bands.This Message Edited On 05.16.07

Wizard
May 16th 2007


19612 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cocaine,
Your reviews are nothing short of entertaining to read. I just checked out their myspace page and I was totally blown away by Firestorm. This album is getting added to my must-have cd list.

Digging: Hans Zimmer - Interstellar

Tyler
Emeritus
May 16th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thank you

Slaapkamers
May 16th 2007


596 Comments


Listening to it right now.

Tyler
Emeritus
May 16th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

stupid fucking layout, this review got almost no time on the main page so im going to continually bump it.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
May 16th 2007


17944 Comments


bupm

plane
Staff Reviewer
May 16th 2007


6099 Comments


bupm

um, job for a cowboy's new album = best death metal album of the last five years.
don't be throwing around such phrases when there's that godsend out for sale.

oh and good review. i might actually check this out.

Tyler
Emeritus
May 16th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I highly recommend it, though I never knew you were into the genre. Regardless, it's worth a listen, even if it's by no means anything revolutionary.

Slaapkamers
May 16th 2007


596 Comments


Drumming is the best part.

Tyler
Emeritus
May 16th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Agreed.

"Remember, for each blast beat you hear, Jesus kills a kitten" - RivaThis Message Edited On 05.16.07

Abaddon2005
May 17th 2007


684 Comments


Yeah I agree with Wizard, you always channel your excitement when you write a positive review. good work

kalkal50
May 17th 2007


2386 Comments


It would have been an excellent review if it weren't for all the swear words; they kind of take away. Sorry buddy, I'm gonna have to not vote. I like this album though.

Confessed2005
May 17th 2007


3314 Comments


Cool review. I agree with you on the fact that everyone seems to be trying to 'outblast' each other in the modern death metal scene; not exactly interesting IMO.

I really need to check this out.

Btw, I think one of the best modern drummers (he is more out of the grindcore scene to be fair) is Brian Harvey from Pig Destroyer. His double bass patterns are superb whilst his blastbeats are tastefully used and he is known to avoid triggers altogether.

Slaytan
May 17th 2007


1186 Comments


Nic review sir. I just may have to check this out.



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