Release DetailsLABEL Adipocere
RELEASED ON 2/28/2005
posted on 3/2005 By:
With the gradual ascent of bands like Bloodbath and Defleshed, the ubiquitous underground presence exerted by Pentacle, as well as the longstanding reverence shown to staples like Vader and Malevolent Creation one would think that old-school death metal was primed for an impending renaissance. Of course, one can only hope, considering the dire circumstances we presently live in, where teenaged neophytes, many of whom were card-carrying members of the nu-metal legion just two years ago, don shirts with logos just as incomprehensible as the lyrics, forming bands that merrily pilfer from Suffocation and Gorgasm, seemingly content to wade the waters of mediocre anonymity for eternity. While some may lament the parody that is TRUE KVLT BLAKK METAL, it is glaringly obvious that brutal death metal may be in a similar plight.
Enter Mutilation, a brass-knuckled gauntlet to the face of redundancy. Having plied their trade for over a decade, this rowdy bunch have to this point failed to garner the accolades so generously showered upon countrymen like Vader and Behemoth.
This is, of course, not to say that Mutilation are in ANY fathomable fashion inferior to their more illustrious comrades, because this album positively RIPS and MAULS from start to finish. While bands like Visceral Bleeding and Scythe attempt to remedy death metal's pitiful state by expanding its technical and emotional boundaries respectively, Mutilation take a more atavistic approach, melting death metal to its most primal and affecting core. Peddling a sound that is somewhat comparable to Vader- thrashy, insistent and infectious riffage propelled by an absolutely STELLAR double bass undercurrent, Mutilation effortlessly live up to, and perhaps even exceed, the legacy of Poland's deified pioneers. Yet, this is where the comparison ceases- while Vader's sound is more firmly entrenched in Possessed and Slayer sensibilities, Mutilation draw from the grand English tradition of Bolt Thrower and Grind Bastard era Benediction, throwing in a blotch of Pungent Stench, a smidgen of Convenant era Morbid Angel (01:50 through "Damned Mortality"), Leprosy era Death, a healthy splash of the Sunlight sound and a firm reverent nod towards Dutch legends like Thanatos and Gorefest.
The keyword here is intensity. Proof positive that incessant blastbeasts do not a great death metal record make, Mutilation focus instead of injecting each second with anguished malice and oppressive cruelty. The drum sound is FANTASTIC, reminding me a little of the richness of Trauma's godlike Daimonion record. While the musicality of the cymbals could have been highlighted a little better, I have absolutely no gripes with the pounding, piledriver-to-the-solar-plexus throb of the kick drums. The musicianship throughout is top-notch, not in a berzerk Psycroptic sort of way, but in a cohesive, intensely disciplined fashion that will certainly remind American listeners of Immolation, or British listeners of Akercocke, both of whom exert the same intensely controlled oppressiveness. There is nothing chaotic about Mutilation, everything is so methodically controlled it's almost frightening.
As such, there is an unnervingly ruthless efficiency here, as each musician flawlessly plays his role as a cog in a merciless, well-oiled machine- solos are employed lightly and sparingly, serving ONLY to add texture to the piece, instead of being needless exercises in masturbatory virtuosity. Vocals are forceful without resorting to theatrical histrionics or gimmicky guttural nonsense. There are no isolated bass solos. The drum performance is absolutely on par with anything Doc has done for Vader in terms of consistency and sheer, mindbending force- while a more deliberate, midtempo approach is adopted for the most part, the brief hyperspeed passages (ie halfway through "Damned Mortality") will absolutely MELT your face off, the perfectly mic'd bass drums projecting the homicidal Sandoval-like precision of the performance. Riffs are expertly crafted, magma thick, sinuous sheets of horn-raising mayhem that stay long enough to assume permanent residency in your skull, the band giving each monumental riff ample space to breathe and seize control of your neck.
I'd like to assert here that while Mutilation adhere to a highly traditional template, they are by NO MEANS a simplistic or monochromatic band. It is glaringly obvious throughout this record that their vast experience has lent them an assured grasp on songcraft- I'm hard pressed to find a SINGLE weak moment, an expendable riff throughout this record. Fascinatingly, Mutilation effortlessly upkeep a scorching momentum throughout the duration of the record, shifting through various medium-paced tempos, very occasionally dipping into slower Asphyx territory as well as the rare breakneck passage to satiate blastbeat mavens. Unlike many of their technically-minded contemporaries, tempo shifts are carried out with impeccable aplomb, employed to work cohesively within the parameters of a song, instead of being so disjointed, abrupt and obvious that it sounds like a different song altogether.
It looks like I have another reason to believe in death metal. Along with Thanatos' new disc and the new material on Krisiun's Bloodshed, this is one of the most relentlessly cruel and exhausting death metal records I've heard in a long time. It's ironic that Mutilation exercise so much restraint and discipline with their craft, yet successfully blow away 99% of their more frenetic competitors in terms of sonic density. Every second of this drips with caustic acid, the torrents of riffs NEVER cease, and its darkly hypnotic nature will inevitably warrant countless taps of the repeat button, each listen being every bit as rewarding as the last. This is so fucking good, I'm stumbling over myself here....along with Shadowbreed, Mortem, Hadez, Nephasth and Coercion, Mutilation have officially inducted themselves amongst the elite of modern revisionists. Let's hope the black metal scene kids confuse them for Mutiilation and they sell a couple hundred more copies this time.
Register to post comments.