Review Summary: A masterpiece of black/death/technical/progressive/brutal/extreme/heavy stinking metal4 of 4 thought this review was well written
This is simply metal's finest hour. The absolute pinnacle of extreme, Grotesque live up to their name in every way. This album brings metal to an entirely different level, taking blackened deadly madness to its ultimate peak.
Everything about this album is perfect. Drums are loud, hard hitting, and always on point, with just the right amount of technicality. The guitars are hallucinogenic aural chainsaws in the act of raping sanity, featuring wretched psychedelic riffs from dueling mindf*ck practitioners Kristian Wahlin and Alf Svensson (in some of his most interesting work, but unfortunately only present on the first three tracks). The bass holds down the low end rather well and flows along with the drums to fill the sinister rhythm while the guitars shred dimensions to pieces. Tompa's vocals here are arguably his best, a culmination of all the great styles of metal vocals with a unique, harsh, and raspy edge that he would later refine (although the rawness of his vocals here only compliments the songs).
This music transcends words in its overall tone and delivery. It's best described as a summoning of a power that is darker than evil itself and makes Satan look like Jesus Christ. Every second of this album is better than anything you've ever heard, but worthy of special mention is a section in Nocturnal Blasphemies just past the middle of the song where the beat is reduced to a simple stomping pace while the lead guitar plays a repeating hypnotic riff as the rhythm guitar creeps in with one the most twisted riffs in metal. Simply phenomenal.
There is a noticable gap in production between the first three songs, which are more chaotic and psychedelic, and the last two, which have more of a Death influence and are more straightforward but still absolutely decimate mind. All 5 songs appear on the In the Embrace of Evil compilation, but the track order here flows much better.