Review Summary: Not the best of Pathology's discography, but a solid LP in it's own right.
2010 was a major turning point in Pathology’s career. The year marked the departure of longtime guitarist Tim Tiszczenko and vocalist Matti Way, and the arrival of newcomers Kevin Schwartz and Jonathan Huber. For their past two albums, the band had begun to change their musical and lyrical themes from traditional gore metal to a more sci-fi and conspiracy theory focused sound. Now, they had to prove to fans that they could still create excellent and brutal death metal with two rookies. The result was an album that didn’t blow away most hardcore fans, but still stood out on it’s own as a solid release in Pathology’s discography.
Among all other things, the album’s biggest strength is the excellent guitar work. Lead guitarist Kevin Schwartz isn’t afraid to solo every now and then, and Tiszczenko, who was actually in the band until after the album’s release, also puts in a solid effort on the rhythm parts, varying between traditional death metal riffs and more slam-oriented chugging that is sure to get an audience to mosh. Drummer Dave Astor also throws in some interesting fills and drum patterns in between blast beats. Bassist Oscar Ramirez isn’t as memorable or significant on this album in the grand scope of things, but he doesn’t necessarily hinder the album either.
The production quality on this album is also very impressive, which is an aspect of their music that Pathology has continued to take advantage of and utilize on further releases. Song lengths and run time are a little bit longer than on previous and later releases, but at the end of the day, it’s still only 31 minutes long. Yet again, this showcases one of the band’s strengths: They manage to lure you in and keep you interested, but they don’t finish too early or too late. Also, one major thing on this album that surprised me was the last song, an instrumental entitled “Revocation of Earth”. Instead of deciding to end the album with a crushingly brutal track, Pathology opted to finish the album with an acoustic ballad. That’s right, an acoustic ballad on a death metal album. There aren’t many extreme metal bands that have done this that I can think of since Morbid Angel’s song, “Desolate Ways”, but it nonetheless serves as a calming but ominous finale to an LP that completely
However, this album suffers most notably in the vocal field. Whereas new guitarist Kevin Schwartz actually served as one of the strong points on the album, vocalist Jonathan Huber is a huge detriment to it. His vocal work on I Declare War’s discography wasn’t very interesting, and his vocals on “The Time of Great Purification” weren’t all that great either. But this……… this is atrocious. This is INCREDIBLY awful. Honestly, these vocals wouldn’t sound all that out of place on Waking the Cadaver’s first album. Huber just repeats the same monotone, laughable, BREE BREE vocals throughout this entire LP. It’s certainly difficult to understand most modern death metal vocalists, but this guy makes Lord Worm sound like he could be a speech therapist. Matti’s vocals aren’t perfect, but when compared to Huber, he’s better than him in every conceivable way (no pun intended). Period. Thankfully, Schwartz and Astor manage to keep the music interesting with their instrumental parts so the album doesn’t end up sounding like a boring chugfest.
When it comes down to it, Pathology has never been a band to revolutionize or expand the metal genre. Hell, they haven’t done much even in the small corner of the brutal death metal corner they reside in. But with this album, they were able to show that even with an inept vocalist, it was still possible to create a good extreme metal album. And they would only improve upon their sound with “The Time of Great Purification” and “Lords of Rephaim”.