Review Summary: A brutal death metal album that maintains a hugely enjoyable nature throughout coupling highly technical riffs with a great vocal performance from Mallika.
For those who either question or doubt the ability of a female to put in a scintillating display of guttural death roars and fantastic screams over the top of an incredible technically proficient barrage of blast beats and lightning fast guitars, they need look no further than this. 2012 has been a good year in general for the metal world and in the death metal scene there has been some fantastic albums as well. This has been a year that has gifted us a new Nile album, the finest Cannibal Corpse experience in years and a new Dying Fetus masterpiece. On the first of June this year however there was one particular album that has not been given a fraction of the attention it deserves. The album I speak of is of course the debut of Abnormality, entitled Contaminating The Hive Mind.
The introduction of the very first song, Monarch Omega should tell you all that you need know about this album. Starting off with some ridiculously fast drumming that brings back fond memories of the opening bursts of rapid-fire drumming on Quo Vadis' Silence Calls The Storm, the guitars then kick in with some face-shredding riffs and in comes the vocals from Mallika Sundaramurthy. Then at the 1:30 mark, the guitars slow down a little as Mallika unleashes a demonic higher scream and in comes the guitar solo, melodic and much slower than one would expect but somehow adding something of a soothing nature to this song. It is moments like this that show off the band's best characteristic proudly-Fun. The band sound like a group of young people just having fun playing their instruments and they happened upon a masterpiece of an album whilst doing it. Every song, no matter how brutal or fast it is, is never afraid to show off something new.
The opening to A Chaos Reserved has a very thrashy riff that gallops along whilst Mallika delivers her vocals with real aggression and then we have a stop-start riff that could not have been placed any better to help add a feeling of variety to the song. Schismatic has some exceedingly technical bass work that just sounds like Josh Staples is unintentionally showing off. Jeremy Henry's complex rhythm work with the abundance of pinch harmonics on Hatred Relentless is another highlight that just sounds so awesome. This whole album moves along at a frightening pace whilst still leaving room for moments like this that really leap out at the listener and create the most downright ENJOYABLE experience that has been found in death metal in years.
This is an album that is for anyone into extreme metal in general that does not like music that purely focusses on being as brutal as possible. Whilst this is still very heavy and hugely complex on the instrumental front, and at times moves too fast for its own good with Ben Durgin's insane solos thrown in left, right and centre, this is an album that is for people who prefer a more enjoyable brand of metal music. This is not an album that moves at 6000 beats per minute just for the sake of it but instead has a huge amount of melody despite its speed and is a great experience. Definitely consider listening to this if death metal is your forte as it will not disappoint and is the best its genre has produced this year.