Review Summary: Great album that is sure to please death metal fans while still breaking boundaries in the genre.
Paths of Possession was formed in 1999 by a number of famous musicians. Formed by former members of Silhaven, Cryptic Winds and Morbid Angel, they persisted through numerous line-up changes and eventually found a consistent group that has played on their past two releases, 2005's Promises in Blood and 2007's The End of the Hour. The line-up is:
George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher (also of Cannibal Corpse
) on vocals
Randy Butman (of Silhaven) on bass and backing vocals
Jay Fossen on guitar
Nick Goodyear (of Dark Faith) on drums
Jack Goodwin on guitar
Produced by Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal)
Now I will give a rundown of the album song by song...
Right off the bat, a very clean and melodic riff shifts into a monstrous vocal burst reminiscent of Fishers work in Cannibal Corpse. The rest of the song contains very strong instrumental runs and also gives the feel of a strong bond between the musicians. The riffing and drumming flows so well together and as the music changes, it stays fresh and more simply put... is ***ing awesome.
2.The Butchers Bargain
Maybe the most Corpse-esque song on the album. Starts with the familiar drum and bass intro that has crept into more than a few CC songs. PoP have found a sound that is quite unique due to the fact that while they have death metal lyrics and crashing guitars, they keep the double bass kicks and blast beats to a minimum. This gives a much more emphatic approach where listeners can hear the music clearer and perhaps digest it better. Good song that will leave more traditional death metal fans happy.
3.Bleed the Meek
More of a traditionally crafted song with a driving guitar riff and even more dark, apocalyptic lyrics from Fisher. This song is more melodically based than a lot, yet still holds its roots in death metal. Solid throughout, could have used a solo, but maybe thats just my personal taste.
4. The Second Coming
This song reminds me quite a lot of Bloodbath. Good guitars, including a solid solo after the first verse. The guiar work on this song is quite good and this adds a whole new dimension to the anti-christian lyrics that are at the base of this song. Another solo rounds out this song and makes it one of my favorites.
5.Where Empty Gods Lie
This song starts with a winding guitar riff and moves into a chugging passage that quickly changes to a guitar solo. The difference between this band and Corpse is not only that you get much more melodies and digestable riffs, but you can fairly clearly decipher the lyrics as he is growling. Another nicely crafted song.
6. A Heart for a Heart
Another candidate for my favorite song on the album. The unrelenting chug on this tune makes it the headbanging champ for the album. Very brutal lyrics (not corpse-worthy but brutal nevertheless) fit right in as the song progresses to get heavier and angrier until the final few verses where the final few lines steal the momentum of the song as it fades out. Unbelievable song.
7.In My Eyes
Gets a slow, gradually accelerating start where the thrashy riffing and drumming take over. The song morphs into a slower paced rythm and shortly resumes where it left off. Not a throwaway by any means but probably my least favorite song on the album.
Clearly influenced by Ms. Bathory herself, this song is beautiful and brutal as the same time. A dark, soft guitar riff ebbs at the beginning almost Orion-esque and shifts to an intelligent and moving guitar passage while the tempo begins to change. The lack of growling vocals is well placed, and gives the rest of the album a life that it wouldnt have had otherwise. Very good instrumental piece.
9.Promises in Blood
The title tracks lyrics are very existential, but as the music transitions from the more basic intro riff into the fleet-fingered main riff, it feels a lot more basic and primal. Another solo makes this song another very fulfilling one. This song is a perfect follower to the graceful Erzsebet. It allows the album to grow and progress into the songs that are to come.
10.Bring Me the Head of Christ
The most brutal song on the album deserved the most brutal title. A much more classical approach to death metal that also voices strong anti-christian lyrics (duh...). The churning guitars and the galloping double bass drums perfectly accompany the lyrics of Corpsegrinder, which mainly send out a challenge to God. The solo is the icing on the cake as this song is probably my favorite on the album. So powerful and such good songwriting make this a standout track for sure.
11.Through the Fiery Halls
After the massacre that was the last song, this song serves the purpose to gradually descend the madness into a calmer, more collected metal experience. With as many different and as satisfying riffs as this album has, it makes you take them for granted. This song is a tapestry of riff changes, instrumental passages, and very contemplative lyrics. Another sick tune.
12. The Icy Flow of Death
The final song...ahhh where to begin. Very classic Corpsegrinder vocals start this song while it constantly changes from slow, bubbling guitars to a more high speed bursts of enjoyable tunage. It kicks to high gear about halfway and is kind of familiar to Dying Fetus. It then decelerates back to its crawling guitar works as the album fades into the sunset (or the depths of hell, whichever seems more fitting).
Overall I would reccommend this album to any metalhead who will appreciate a change from the stereotypical death metal genre. While this release is not as technical as most death metal, it makes up for it in melody, musicianship and aggression.
Best Tracks: Bring Me the Head of Christ, A Heart for a Heart, The Second Coming, Darklands, Erzebet
Least Favorite: In My Eyes