Review Summary: Hey, grampa, get your hairy ass over here and headbang like your neck ain't broken! I found another oldschool band!
You know those grumpy old grampa metalheads who constantly yearn for the good old days when bands had sub-par production, raw vocals, and unprocessed and unfiltered drumming? When you could barely hear bass (that's right, even less than you can now) and the guitars always sounded energetic and "brutal"? Oh, that's you, grampa? Shi
t. Well, I've got a great record for you to check out, so get your reading glasses on! No, it wasn't recorded in the basement of a thirty-four year old in 1977, and no, it's not a secret Death
album, but you know what it is? It's a lovely bit of nostalgia-inducing death metal, a refreshingly-powerful supply of technicality, a newborn oldschooler if there ever were one. Indeed, what I have for you today is all these things, and more! This is Eye of Minerva
's debut full-length, Spherical Perdition
. Don't fumble for your hearing aid, gramps - it'd only be destroyed by the utter ferocity your old white ass is about to fall prey to.
starts off slow, with one of those sort-of-creepy-but-mostly-cheesy spoken word introductions. The first track, aptly titled "Intro", leads abruptly into the first proper track - "Dissecting the Shell of the Human Design". This is the first taste of the (un)controlled chaos that is Eye of Minerva, and you won't recognise it at first, but you'll hear an Origin
-style layering on the vocals, heavy technical riffing on the guitars, and a "fuck
it, blast beats" approach to drumming. The way these all work together to give you that "oldschool" feel is fantastic, but it also creates a sound environment that sounds killer without becoming dated. There are plenty of brutal, skull-shattering moments on Spherical Perdition
- if you're eager already, check out the song "Sabbatical in Wake" - and the musicianship is keen and clever enough to tell you that these guys aren't just some '80s jam band practising out of mom's basement. Oh no; this band knows what to do with those instruments. Mmmmm, mm-mmmm! Give mama some of that!
Some of the best moments on this album come straight from the drums. Drummer Chris Moen's arm movements sure sound erratic at first - until you realise that yes, he is doing that for the entire album. "That" refers to beating the fuck
out of his kit, not jerking off (Chris Moen will make you moen heeeeheee shut up), and this fuck
er does a great job in that department. His arm and foot speed are solid - enough to comfortably keep up with the pace of the rest of the band. His performance and execution is very organic and proficient, but it carries that oldschool flair that so many of you yearn for. The drums add so much power and speed behind the mix, as they rightfully should, and the intense guitarwork benefits from it extraordinarily. Despite having production reminiscent of the first Cattle Decapitation release (that's a joke), the drumming feels like the driving force behind the album at times. I would say that Chris' drumming is the best part of the album, but...
...I'd be lying, because this album has vocals. The vocals recorded on this album are by both Derek Duvak (guitars) and Joey Maurer (bass), and the intensity with which these guys bark their blasphemy is well beyond a lot of the bands that share their genre. Spherical Perdition
's vocals are belted out at you in an incredibly-fast pace, more than matching the drums and the guitarplay. Remember earlier, when I mentioned Origin? Yeah, we'll, they have highs and they have lows, but the real Origin comparison is in how they layer the vocals. Sometimes they'll fire off independent of one another, and other times they're fused together to create this one big super vocal of immense fuck
ing proportions that just blows you away. If it weren't so fuck
ing epic, I'd warn you of the danger of too much repeated exposure. Between the oldschool sound, the fast pace, and the proficient layering techniques, the vocals steal the spotlight as my favourite aspect. I don't mean to belittle poor Chris' role in the band; he's a great fuck
ing drummer. The vocals are just brought out more by the mix, and they're intensely proficient.
The guitarplay on this album is somewhat hard to decipher, but it always has its importance - be it as backing to the vocals or a lead to follow through the labyrinth of drumming. Eye of Minerva didn't spare a single stroke of the string when they were designing the tabs, and it shows. Not only are they proficient musos, they're stylistic ones, too! The stellar riffing gives 'em a few bonus points, too. In the end, this band is head and shoulders above a lot of its competitors, and carries a definite oldschool feel to them. They're more than just a grab at the oldschool death market, though. Sure, I could toss out legions of comparisons, from God Dethroned
to Death to Bodyfarm to Bloodshot Dawn
, but Eye of Minerva's style is, in fact, Eye of Minerva's. They have inspiration from other acts, definitely, but they do come into their own with Spherical Perdition
. It's an intense, bloody album from a bloody, intense band (remove comma for UK readers), and they deserve a helluva lot more recognition than what they've got; so go fuck
ing give it to them.
3. "Temples of Abomination"
4. "Shadows Within the Tenth Globe"
5. "Sabbatical in Wake"
7. "Among Insects"