Review Summary: At least it isn't another damn grind album from this label...
Claws is a one man band by "mastermind" musician Lasse Pykko. Pykko has been involved in numerous other one man bands that all bear a very similar sound (just listen to Acid Witch.) I will give the man credit, he is definitely talented, but isn't the greatest at writing a memorable riff.
Claws and their debut album "Absorbed in the Nethervoid" contains 9 tracks of raw music. By raw, I am of course referring to the production quality. It isn't bad in any sense, it just has this really annoying muffled sound to it. I can't even think the last time I heard an album this warped in sound (really early Suffocation?) Many people say that it adds to the raw energy of the album, but I tend to disagree. It's just too underdone to be enjoyed.
Thankfully the drums don't suffer from this production, but it's also a shame that they aren't exactly stand out in terms of other metal releases around the same year. The drums have this habit of reusing one of three techniques: a galloping type sound, fast blast beats, or really slow bass pedal mixed with cymbals. The resulting sound give off the impression largely that Lasse is less talented at the drums than he is at guitar.
I will say that the guitars on this album are definitely worthy of praise. Lasse clearly has talent when it comes to guitar, but what he fails at is writing intense riffs of any kind. I'm not going to bother with bass because the production makes it so incomprehensible that it eventually sounds like white noise behind the solos. Back to the lead guitar, there really isn't much more to say other than most of the solos are your usual fair of scale progressions, some melodic minors, and the very occasional arpeggiated solo. The overall sound is actually quite slow, which is a shame because with some extra speed this album would probably hold my attention longer.
Lasse's vocals also aren't the greatest around. He tends to stick with this low, droning sound and rarely goes into highs, and when he does, they don't do much to enhance the music. Maybe it's the production quality coming to haunt me again, but his roar just sounds very much like a drawn out burp.
To be fair, the music isn't BAD, no, just plain average. There isn't anything here that can't be found in other death metal records, and at much better quality. There's a couple stand out moments, but they are quite few and far between. This album is enjoyable in small bites, but never for a whole playthrough. In the end, it does come down to preference of taste, but if you're looking for some good death metal, try looking elsewhere.