Review Summary: A comprehensive demonstration in commensurate brutal death metal. Because words with less than six letters are for losers.
The first half of 2010 has been pretty kind if you're into brutal death metal. From excellent new releases by the likes of "Acephala", "Fleshrot","Hour Of Penance" and "Human Filleted" standout albums from newcomers such as "Bloodspawn", "Colonize The Rotting", and "Parasitic Extirpation". Unfortunately, every album can't escape the confines that seem to plague this genre.
Cenotaph has never been among the first when extreme death is recalled, (well to be fair 80% of brutal death fans only name "Devourment", "Vile", and "Disgorge" anyway) but they're no newcomers...this being their fifth full-fledged album. Formed in 1994, this isn't the band from Turkey's first rodeo...or mass execution?(that sounds more metal, anyway) So by now it would see time for some sort of growth, or experimentation...which almost seems laughable when identifying this is a brutal death album, which isn't exactly famous for change.
For the most part as long as you have a working formula you don’t necessarily need to invest in adding violins, movie samples, or four 2:00 bass solos just for the sake of it. (expecially as far as death metal is concerned) But in this particular case it would’ve been wise. In a time where every band is harder, louder, and faster than the competition, is there a real notable reason to listen to this album over another? Not really…It just misses that…something that makes it stand out in the blood red seas of brutal meh metal that seems to float all around these days.
Things begin commonly enough with "Schizoid Acts of Mental Defloration", which just like a wolf on a sheep, wastes little time. The song readies you for what you expect to be a consistent ride on a helltrain winding off the tracks to a graceful plummet to the 9th circle...but this song foreshadows little. The song carries a nice tempo, with decent enough riffs that change every now and then, with pure out blast beats. As an opener it fulfills its purpose in setting you up .
Too bad the rest doesn't follow. "Menstrual Dismemberment", is a slam-happy attack on the senses, with intense riffing, and demonic growls. But so is "Consumed By Embryophagy"...in fact so much that it could've still been "Menstrual Dismemberment ". There is little in the way of differiating the songs from one another. "Pustulation With Swarming Insectoids" has some harmonics, and technical riffage, but it's nothing you haven't heard 1000 times before. "Gorenographic Pervert Victimology" is literally nothing but playing as loud and as fast as possible, as there is no semblance of an actual song (which some people wouldn't really consider a bad thing).
Don't get things wrong, though. This album has more riffs than Christian Bale has accents, although unlike Bale's fake accents you can rarely tell the riffs apart. The drumming...well, it's there. Sure it's mostly just blasts, but it's to be expected and at the very least they're done well. Even the production is better than majority of their peers, as everything is clearly present. The music is also rather technical(almost to a fault), since again, its quite obvious Cenotaph knows how to play. All that said, the music just seems.. uninspired, as if they're fully satisfied with playing just to play. On more than one occasion there could be an adequate comparison to Brain Drill, because like Brain Drill this band just seems content to showcase their talent instead of actually using it. And therein lies the problem. You see glipses of something more, such as the aforementioned opener, but too much of the album is just too inconsistent. It's almost as if they know they could do better, but why bother?
A common argument used to justify brutal death's habit of dwelling in monotony usually involves "Well, it's your fault for not having the ears to understand the music. You just have to listen better to hear the nuisances and differences. Its brutal death, of course it's going to sound the same." And to combat that argument there's bands like “Flesh Consumed" and "Psoriasis" that play just as fast and brutal as any band, yet also manage to craft each song into its own entity. Just because you play mind-shatteringly fast, and nun-rapingly brutal doesn't mean it all has to sound like an extended loop. Fine, so not every band has to pull a "Prostitute Disfigurement" and alter their entire sound (even though they pulled it off), but it doesn't exactly hurt to try and make the songs, well...different.
Fact is if you love brutal death, there’s a enough here to enjoy. You have talented musicians, excellent production, no wastes of times like acoustic passages or forced interludes, and a seemingly never ending array of riffs. This is straight laced brutal death metal to the absolute maximim Only thing is, that's it. This is just "Reincarnation in Gorextasy" revistied. That’s too bad, because in a year where brutal death has had top tier releases…this just never escapes the clutches of ordinary.