Release DetailsLABEL Season of Mist
RELEASED ON 10/5/2004
Engulfed by the Swarm
posted on 10/2004 By:
Philadelphia's Polterchrist play fast and vicious death metal, interrupted with chugs and more traditional timing, as well as a variety of unexpected and unusual idiosyncracies. There are heavily processed clean vocals for example, which I'm baffled as to why they've chosen to insert them into the middle of brutal death metal songs. In "The Sun Will Burn Black", they've written an almost atmospheric black metal part into the middle of their usual blast of raw aggression, then later, they branch off into a standard headbanging riff while a faraway guitar solos over. While inventive in their approach, I can't help but feel cheated that their more standard parts are exactly that, standard. But they continue throwing in so many twists and turns, so it's hard to write them off. The album completely changes tone on "Terminal", a sort of sad and epic song with a southern rock feel; before the deep growls penetrate it and kickstart it with almost a beer-spilling viking metal riff. The first time I listened to the album, I forgot what the hell I was listening to.
...and then "The Art of Ferocity" came on. A five minute track that begins with some of the poorest synthesizer beats I've ever heard before morphing into a pleasantly surprising quasi-technical death metal song with a black metal touch - sounding a bit like Nile or Behemoth, actually.
I've heard these guys compared to everyone under the sun. The Red Chord, Vital Remains, Suffocation, Lost Souls, Cynic, Dying Fetus, Anata, and The Haunted, among others. And really, while I can sort of see comparisons, they don't sound much like any of those bands. Not to say what they're doing is incredibly experimental or anything - they just don't sound like them. There are good parts on the album, but there aren't many good songs. It feels overdone. There's no consistency. It's really unfortunate, as Polterchrist have the ability to play some fantastic death metal - they're just making strange choices as to what to have in their music. Pick something and stick to it, that's all I ask. While not a bad album at all, Engulfed by the Swarm just fails to impress.
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