Review Summary: An ultimately lackluster album from a well-established death metal outfit.
The vicious cycle of mediocrity is a trap that many bands fall into far too often, and the narrower the genre of music, the more likely an artist is to become stuck in the cycle. Pathology is a band that has, for most of their career, managed to stay out of this cycle, but have ventured dangerously close towards on several occasions. With their 4th album, “Legacy of the Ancients”, Pathology deliver a mixed bag that is sure to impress hardcore fans, but probably won’t blow away most others.
The album begins with a strange orchestral-ish intro, which feels very out of place and awkward compared to the rest of the album, and there are no further attempts to deviate from traditional brutal death metal. Guitarist Tim Tiszczenko is both a strong and weak link on this album. He does manage to conjure up some pretty impressive death metal riffs, but his slams and breakdowns lack aggression, and he doesn’t ever try to add in any major guitar leads, forcing the listener to go through a painfully average experience. Another major problem on this album is Dave Astor’s drumming. Sure, it isn’t too varied from his usual style, but his tone is much worse than usual, and there are moments where he sounds like he’s smashing a tin can. The production on the album is also noticeably shoddy compared to Pathology’s later work, and while it’s certainly an improvement over “Age of Onset”, it’s still a bit of an annoyance.
Fortunately, there are definitely some positive aspects to the album. Vocalist Matti Way’s performance is excellent, going for a more brutal, guttural style as opposed to later vocalist Jon Huber’s odd gurgle. His lyrics are also surprisingly good, especially by death metal standards, focusing on sci-fi and apocalypse themes as opposed to ultra-gory horror tales. Also, the band plays off of its usual style of keeping songs fairly short, which helps make the experience a little less monotonous.
In conclusion, while there are some merits to this LP, it fails to live up to the standards usually set by the band, and probably isn’t worth checking out unless you’re a diehard fan of the genre.