posted on 11/2009 By:
One of the nice things about death metal is that its threshold for enjoyability is fairly low. The form permits a good degree of experimentation and stylistic tinkering, but a death metal band doesn’t have to set the world ablaze with innovation to provide a fun, satisfying listen. Case in point: The Cleansing.
Poisoned Legacy is this Danish band’s first release, but The Cleansing have deep roots in their country’s death metal scene. Members of their lineup have been involved with Iniquity, Panzerchrist, Corpus Mortale, and Usipian, and you can hear their collective years of experience in the easy confidence with which The Cleansing delivers their material.
Like much of the Danish DM scene, these guys play taut, modern death metal that combines American complexity and heft with a decidedly more European sense of groove. Their sinister half-melodies and devastating chugs are highly reminiscent of Hate Eternal or country/labelmates Dawn of Demise, but juxtaposed with a more restrained and coherent rhythm section. Guitarists Jeppe Hasseriis and Andreas Lynge sling the expected arsenal of dexterous, bestial riffs without sliding into technical wankery, and whichever of these dudes is playing the solos does an excellent job balancing melody and teeth-gnashing shreddage. Meanwhile, bassist Martin Rosendahl turns in an excellent if monotonous vocal performance. The guy isn’t even The Cleansing’s vocalist anymore, but he delivers the band’s ambiguously-menacing lyrics with a titanic, phlegmy bellow that many dedicated DM singers would envy. Poisoned Legacy’s Jacob Hansen production is pitch-perfect for the style: tight, massive and clean but not hyper-processed.
Analyzing The Cleansing’s songwriting might be missing the point a little—this short album is obviously meant to be absorbed all at once. With that said, there are a few noteworthy highlights—“Ghost Lights,” “Harnessed By the Shadows,” and “The Domino of Phantom Effects,” the album’s sole slower cut. But honestly, if you like any one of this band’s songs, I’d bet dollars to donuts that you’ll like them all.
In the end, Poisoned Legacy is a somewhat pedestrian death metal release, and only fans of the genre are advised to seek it out. It nonetheless provides an immediate and viscerally satisfying injection of 21st-century brutality, and I personally enjoy it more than this year’s entries from bigger-name bands like Augury and Man Must Die. Denmark and Deepsend Records continue to be underrated participants in the worldwide DM steeplechase.
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