Release DetailsLABEL Deepsend
RELEASED ON 6/5/2005
Witness Disposal Program
posted on 7/2005 By:
This album is excellent. Holland seems to be a breeding ground for technical death metal, with bands such as Brutus and Prostitute Disfigurement leading the charge. I had only heard one track by Mangled prior to signing up for the review, and I picked Witness Disposal Program mainly because I was amused by the artwork and concept. As a general rule, anything released on Deep Send will be of good quality, and this is no exception. Stylistically, this is somewhere between Suffocation and Decapitated, but it doesn’t strike me as derivative. The band’s precise, streamlined style is great to hear; there is no trace of sloppiness, setting Witness Disposal Program apart from a lot of the death metal being produced these days.
Mangled seem to favor a winding, ever shifting song composition pattern, which is typical of the genre. Every change and progression is logical, and there’s no sense of riffs being strung together. There are even moments of melody, such as the intro to “Unspoken Atrocity,” which showcases Mangled’s ability to incorporate elements not typical of death metal into their material. The album isn’t particularly heavy on breakdowns, but the ones that surface steamroll the listener. In fact, Witness Disposal Program is akin to some sort of gigantic cogged shredding device that disassembles anything in its path, and my need to dream up a ridiculous simile such as the preceding one is usually a sign of excellence. I would be hard-pressed to come up with any criticism for the band. If you judge Mangled against the rest of the bands in the genre, I think it’s apparent that this is just about as good as it gets.
The musicianship is superb. The guitarists conjure up intricate, twisting riffs, the bass jangles appropriately, and the crisp drum work keeps pace fantastically and acts as the foundation for the rest of the music. The vocals are unusual because frontman Pepijn Houwen employs a higher register than normal, and because of the vitriolic, virulent fury with which he spits his lines. Some death metal vocalists are the least important members of their bands, but this fellow is essential. The production is a great aid, because none of the music becomes lost in the mix, and the tone of each instrument is just right. It’s hard to be longwinded about production, which most people consider to be the least important aspect of a record, so I’ll simply say that this is a job well done.
If you like death metal, you’ll probably enjoy Witness Disposal Program. It’s a standout album; in fact, Deep Send describes the band as Holland’s answer to Deeds of Flesh. I don’t find the bands similar enough to warrant a comparison, but Mangled are easily on par with Unique Leader’s flagship band. This album is tight, heavy, and well-written. When you factor in the cool artwork, Mangled’s latest is very appealing.
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