Review Summary: Servile Insurrection has talented instrumentalists who set a high standard for technicality, brutality, and solid writing. The album only falters in the drumming, falling into the same holes as many others.
Servile Insurrection is an album of both brutality and technicality in death metal. Songs like “Inverted and Inserted” and the title track show off a fantastic talent in speed and precision while “Rewards of Cruelty” and (the oh, so eloquent) “Fecalphallic” explore the more brutal side of Severed Savior. Throughout, the instruments maintain a level of technicality without being overly flashy or uninteresting. Technical riffs are interspersed among groovy, fast paced brutal death parts creating well balanced songs with solid structure.
The guitars keep a foot in both past and present with some sick old school solos almost reminiscent of '90s death metal and some more modern style lead melodies. The bass is ridiculous, really showing off some chops in a solo in the opening track, “Question.” Head man on vocals does his job. He's not a brutal death metal, guttural vocalist. If he were it might almost be too much. Instead, he delivers a deep growl that is, for lack of a better word, appropriate. He does, however, lack diversity, choosing to stick with a low throughout the entire album that adds as much as it takes away. Servile Insurrection also features good production and mixing without sounding overdone or sterile and the instruments are well balanced so no one part overpowers another.
While I believe Servile Insurrection is a wonderful addition to the technical brutal death metal genre, it also has its shortcomings. Namely the drums. And the sometimes eclectic songwriting. But mostly the drums. Insanely fast, indescribably precise, ludicrously... boring? The biggest plagues among tech death drummers, human metronome syndrome and flat production affliction, rear their ugly heads and bore the *** out of any drummer who knows his way around a kit. The entire album is rife with unimaginative drum rhythms that are produced to sound like a ticking metronome rather than an actual instrument and only broken by some sporadic jazzy interludes.
Indeed, jumpy songs are well within the territory of brutal death metal, that, however, is not an excuse. Brutal grooves are suddenly a jazz exercise. Tech riffs are inexplicably clean melodies. While exclusively the parts are not bad at all, the sudden juxtaposition kills anything songs such as “*** the Humans” were working with. I must mention that this is not representative of every song (only maybe three of eleven) and there is one exception; “Servile Insurrection” pulls off some really interesting and well placed clean parts throughout the song.
Overall, Servile Insurrection is a very good album. Talented instrumentalists who set a high standard for technicality, brutality and solid writing. The album only falters in the drumming, falling into the same holes as many others.