Haven For The Insane
posted on 5/2010 By:
Chicago death metal act Cardiac Arrest drops their third full-length in Haven For The Insane, the band's first for Ibex Moon. Founded by Incantation mastermind John McEntee, Ibex Moon has consistently released underground death metal by bands that either existed in the golden days or sound like they did; the Moon’s records are usually solid, and in some instances, they're damn great (see: Headhunter D.C., Master's Slaves To Society, Nominon’s Terra Necrosis), although neither the good nor the middling Ibex Moon records are what you’d call "forward-thinking."
Cardiac Arrest fits that bill to a tee.
These Chicagoans play it simple and old-school, no frills and no pretense—they’re of the brutal American death variety, with blast beats, gurgle-to-a-scream vocals and bloody, horror-and-violence-themed lyrics. The riffs are sharp, even if they’re not all wickedly memorable, with the most notably grand moments in the stomping intro to "Embrace The Aftermath" and the speed-picked midsection to "Haunted Remnants." The vocals are intelligible and the dueling approach well-done, although I probably could’ve done without understanding the ridiculous "One…Two… One, two, FUCK YOU! FUCK!" intro to the punkish "Rage On…Fuck Off." The guitar tones are low and thick and ragged, fitting for the sound the band has termed "death rot." I’m not wild about the drum production (particularly the boxy snare and the obnoxious china crash), but it also fits with that rotten, ugly vibe, and it certainly matches the old-school influences to which Cardiac Arrest is indebted.
This particular brand of Midwestern meat-and-potatoes death metal is absolutely enjoyable in the moment, for damn sure, but I struggle to remember more than a few songs once the disc stops playing. Still, Cardiac Arrest does what they do very well and with the utmost enthusiasm, and they certainly aren’t trying to rewrite the book on their chosen style. Those looking for progress in death metal won’t find it here, but dedicated deathsters in need of a dose of dirty rotten deviance should explore this without reservation.
Haven For The Insane is another raw slice of death metal from a band whose entire purpose is creating them, creating no-bullshit death metal, blistering and grimy. Microcosmic of its label, Haven is solid, and in its best instances, it’s damn great, but it’s not what you’d call "forward-thinking." And I’m certain it’s rightfully proud of all of that.
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