Review Summary: One man can make a difference...well as far as brutal death is concerned.
What is the better kind of album? One you've been anticipating for months that lives up to the hype, or the one that you have no prior knowledge of, that manages to completely catch you off guard? It's a reasonable question to ask, considering this falls into the latter category. Looking at the album cover with the often used four horseman of death, and reading the band's name.... "A Loathing Requiem", with an album titled "Psalms Of Misanthropy"..it could've gone either way. I was expecting either a overly proggy black metal band, or an obnoxious brutal death with too much piggy vocals. Lucky, this album is neither.
A Loathing Requiem, http://www.myspace.com/aloathingrequiem
is a "one man project" band by a man the name of Malcolm Pugh from Nashville. That has to be noted, because you wouldn't know otherwise from the playing.(more into that later) This is a technical(brutal) death album, and unlike alot of his peers, he seems to "get it". This isn't just bootleg Necrophagist worship, which alot of bands seem to be content with nowadays. There's no "widdly, widdly, woo" riffs, or an abundance of abusing harmonics, or random, oddly timed stops. There aren't any proggy fused passages, or overused 'cory elements. No, you won't find any of those elements, but there is a nice amount of insane, over the top technical riffs, and a decent sense of brutality as well as groove. Yes, this is death metal with a soul.
Since this is only one guy(excluding a few solos) songs have a single structure that alot of other extreme metal acts seem to lack. Too often bands with multiple guitarist just seem to fight for attention, at the expense of a coherent song. Songs like "Enhanced Sinister Corruption"(great title by the way) have a constant grove, and never throws riffs in just to spite you. Your given time to take the riffs in, and not just have them blur past you. (note: The growl about midway through was pure crushing.) This song in particular just continues to grow bigger and bigger, with a killer solo and a constant barrage of catchy riffs, not unlike an "Engaged In Mutilating" song. It's like a rocket taking on a school bus, right on the edge of a cliff. It's beautiful.
Then you have a song like"And Darkness Was Cast" which has the best breakdown...probably all year. The song constantly rolls on and on, never slowing down, starting and stopping...not giving you any time to exhale. It's over almost as soon as it begins...as most good things usually are. It would've been nice to hear the breakdown one more time. Why can't deathcore bands play it like this? Then there's "Ecliptic Realm", which is alot more catchy than it should be. Always remaining even, and constantly throwing more riffs at you, but it's never too much. The vocals are downright scary, really adding too all the riffs, it's just enough so it never gets annoying. Or there's "Architect Or Arsonist" which foils well with the melodic solo, and machine gun riffs. It's goes a long way to break up any monotony, adding more elements to songs that actually work...not just for the sake of adding them.
The main problem with alot of tech. death metal is sometimes it becomes too technical, too complex, neglecting the brutality, which results in a melodic feel which...ruins the tone of thr album. As technical as this is, the feel is always dark, with no noodling. Pugh never forgets this is a death metal album, and the feel of it is downright sinister, much like "Festival Of Mutilation" was able to do so well last year. Another sterotype of tech death ALR was able to avoid was pretentious song length. With only the opener passing the four minute mark, no song overstays it's welcome. In fact, often times you'll wish the song was longer, which is always a good thing. As far as vocal are concerned, well they're there. The vocals aren't really a positive or negative. They don't really add much, or distract from the music. Pretty standard death growls, but they can get really brutal every now an then to keep things fresh. The main focus is the guitars, anyway, so the vocal aren't a notable concern.
BUT, the album isn't perfect. If you noticed, not once were drum ever mentioned...that's because you can hardly hear them, same with the bass. Listening to the earlier promo release, the drums were easily present, so it's odd that this newer, release has the drums so muddled. The production is kind of scratchy, but it helps give the albums it's heavy tone. All the riffs are clearly present, so it doesn't suffer from "Defeated Sanity" syndome. Also, this isn't a albums for everyone. If you aren't experienced with the genre this wouldn't be a good album to try right off the bat.(although, that's more your fault than the band.) And lastly, four of these songs are recycled from the previous demo, so it would've been nice to see more song strictly for this album, but that's just nitpicking.
So, in conclusion this is grade a death metal. The tone is crushing, the riffs are as dazzling, as they are bruising. Each song it it's own entity, always giving something new, which sticking to the formation laid down. Maybe the drums and bass are off production wise, or it not foe everyone, (but what is)but as far a technical brutal death metal goes, it doesn't get much better.