On first listen, one would think this was just another generic metal album. Personally I don’t tend to gravitate towards the cookie monster vocal set and I get really bored with paint by numbers metal acts. On this record all of the metal stereotypes are on display, but I think that’s the point, and dismissing it outright for being unapologetically metal is way too easy and really doesn’t get to the heart of this band.
Where this album shines most is in it’s juxtapositions. The first cut “The Embalmer’s Art” has the expected heavy riffing and growled gruff vocals but also has a real honest to gosh melody sandwiched in between the two. This totally elevates the album from the mundane into “capturing my interest” territory. This is done again during early parts of “Invocation of Demise”, where an organ was played as a melodic element. Not only did it feel like it belonged, it would’ve worked well on it’s own as part of an extended ambient piece. By the songs end what would normally be a lead guitar part is replaced by a riff in the higher registers rather than blatant noodling. It feels right and less obnoxious than if it had been a guitar solo.
Another stand out track is “Rot in Solitude”. It begins with what sounds like on the surface as a standard metal riff. One you would expect to get picked up and catapulted in to a high octane frenzy. It never happens. The rhythm section steps in in cut-time and slowly stomps it into your ears (full disclosure- I’ve been in a band with Jason Pierce, the drummer, and I’ve always thought he was an amazing drummer. This just proves it. The man has taste). By songs end you’ve got gravel soaked vocals over a beautifully executed melodic guitar riff and it works.
The production on this record is good without being too good. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a fan of pop slickness and metal bands tend to want to strive for that polished hyper compressed sound. Sonically it feels like the band recorded in a decent studio with a lot of time spent making sure everything was done right with out crushing the humanity out of it. Tonally consistent through out with just enough bleed between instruments to make it feel like they played together thru most of the record. A look at the liner notes tells me the drums were recorded in a separate studio, but honestly, to my ears I couldn’t tell by simply listening to it. It feels like five dudes got sweaty and made a record and that’s the way it should be.
If you’re looking for something heavy and weird this is your record.
You can purchase a digital download or CD from the bands BandCamp site. I purchased the CD.