Review Summary: Here's my fucking axe"Here's my ***ing axe"
When a message of this kind serves as an introduction to a death metal album, we know perfectly what to expect, don't we? This warm welcome not only sets the tone for the band's tagline, "skull crushing death metal", but also serves as inspiration for the album artwork, created by drummer Matt Browning. This rather peculiar naive artistry seems to convey the idea that nature will strike back in the most cruel way possible. At least that's my understanding, which although obviously subjective, seems to me a plausible interpretation. If I missed the point, I apologize to Matt, but this idea seemed interesting since it mirrors some kind of revenge of a humanized nature against a disrespectful human species. A rather up-to-date concept, I might say.
Going back to the band's tagline I mentioned above, it brings together a number of influences that orbit old-school death metal, ranging from Cannibal Corpse, Incantation, and Bolt Thrower to the Finnish scene of the early nineties, as well as more recent references such as Tomb Mold or Blood Incantation. This panoply of influences, although common to many bands within the genre, reveals an intrinsic taste for visceral aesthetics that leads to the murkier side of death metal. Of this cavernous formula, the Cannibal Corpse ingredient is perhaps the one that is most surprising and contrasting, as it is not very common in a style unaccustomed to more straightforward approaches. The opener 'Suitably Hacked to Gore', or the title track, are both examples of this unexpected intrusion. Nevertheless, this more contrasting tonality is diluted into a broader spectrum, making it a natural part of the composition.
Lesions of a Different Kind
moves mostly between mid-paced tempos, thus refusing to give in to the massive use of blast beats, so common in the genre. This approach inevitably confers a greater focus on detail and each riff's personality, which thus assumes a leading role in the dynamics of each song. The title track, 'Acidic Twilight Visions', and 'Phantasmal Festering' are the ultimate exponents of this riff-centered approach. The Bolt Thrower-esque doom tempos in songs such as 'Shackles of Sanity' or 'Chained to a Reeking Rotted Body' are also a relevant pattern on the album, with the latter featuring an interesting Adramelech-like ending. This restrained dynamic is maybe the main aspect of the band's personality, being transversal to the ten songs. Which leads me to think that the "skull crushing death metal" trademark that the band so proudly boasts, ends up materializing in an almost antagonistic way throughout the album.
Sound engineering also plays a central role in Lesions of a Different Kind
as it enhances the band's sound by providing it with the proper murky layer without overly dirtying its contents. This slightly polished approach allows the band's character to manifest itself at the maximum amplitude, not getting stuck in some atmospheric corner or echo room. The production also benefits the musical performances, in which I would highlight Kyle Beam's inspired riffs and Alex Joseph's strong gutturals, who thus have a suitable space to express themselves freely. The bass, although shy, sneaks in occasionally, supporting Matt Browning's solid drumming. This absence is mainly because the band has worked as a power trio, without a bass player, until now. Something that should be reassessed if the band wants to take a step forward in the rhythm section department.
Despite its familiar stylistic approach, Lesions of a Different Kind
is a rather promising beginning. It's the powerful debut of a newly born creature with an insatiable hunger for slaughter. And if one axe can be responsible for all this killing, I don't even want to imagine what these lads will be able to do with greater maturity and a wider arsenal.