Review Summary: Brutal Death Metal + Technicality + Good song writing skills + Grindcore influences = Pathology.
Pathology have always been known to play extremely fast brutal death metal with more of an emphasis on technicality in the riffs, and their debut is no different. “Surgically Hacked” sees the band play on their grindcore influences, combined with all the conventions of brutal death metal with more technical riffs than their peers, all crammed inside songs which rarely hit the two-and-a-half minute mark.
Straight from opening track Impious Brain Donor
it is clear that the three piece don’t fu
ck about. Throughout the song, and indeed throughout the album, drummer Dave Astor of Cattle Decapitation fame rarely drops below insanely fast blast beats and the brutality that is Pathology only let up once the song is over, and even then, it is only seconds before the next track follows. Pathology’s production is better than a majority of most other death metal releases, and as a result the album never sounds overwhelming – something which can plague other bands in the genre.
Though it is often difficult to pick out single songs on a release that barely passes the twenty minute mark, Demented Betrayal
and Septic Shock
often flow spectacularly into half time sections around the mid-point of the song, showing that Pathology can balance tempo changes flawlessly. As a result of the short running time though, Pathology’s debut seems to be over before it’s ever really begun, and the sheer seconds between the sudden stop of one song and the artillery attack of another gives the album little breathing room, resulting in many of the songs running together, showing little variation – something which isn’t helped by the extremely fast tempo that runs throughout. Had the songs been longer, and had the ideas been expanded on a little more, the album would have been better off because of it.
“Surgically Hacked” isn’t without its flaws, but overall it is a solid album that sees the band appeal to fans of both grind and death metal. It makes for an interesting listen, as any fan of the band can trace back their original sound and see how they have developed and expanded on the sound found on their later records.