Review Summary: All of the Earth becomes a casket...
Death Metal as a whole has had so many varieties of different sub genres emerge in the last ten years that expectations for each of the genres have been raised; unfortunately, it’s been rather difficult to find variety throughout the wades of repetitive guitar wanking, death growls, and macabre artwork. Abnormality doesn’t bring anything particularly unique to the table, but the strength of its execution in the form of a well meshed combination of strong riffs, melodic and occasionally intricate guitar work, varied drum work, and strong production values make this effort worth the listen.
“Swarm” is immediately gripping with its riff heavy approach and sets the tone for what you’re going to be hearing throughout most of the album, balls to the wall riff work. Dashes of intricate guitar licks and melodic soloing are present throughout the effort such as in tracks like “Vigilant Ignorance.” What comes as a surprise is how the drums steal the show; instead of taking the easy route and feigning skill with repetitive blast beats, there’s a good number of great fills throughout each of the songs, and every song has a solid framework because of it. The band tries to experiment with pacing and ambiance, such as on the crushing instrumental “Assimilation” in which thirty second well mixed intro with various natural noises such as barn doors creaking and wind howling create a solid lead in to establish the tone before the slower guitar arrangement comes pounding in. While that's been done before, it's executed here in a way that feels fresh.
There are a few noticeable downsides to this record though; such as the vocals consistently staying at the same tone throughout the entirety of the album. There are no caterwauling shrieks to capitalize on a particularly intricate melodic section, or brutally low growls or squeals to help make a breakdown even heavier. They stay in the same mid-low semi-growl stage throughout the entire record and it quickly grows stale and distracts from the competent musicianship. The lyricism is your standard death metal fair and nothing stands out.
Abnormality has a lot of potential to become a driving force in the genre if they vary up their vocals, attempt lyrical topics that aren’t overdone, and continue to expand the instrumental groundwork they’ve laid here. For now, this is still a hard hitting and enjoyable record with plenty of tracks to go back to.