Prolonging the Pain
posted on 7/2011 By:
The subject of this review deserves some serious kudos for a few different reasons. First, for naming themselves Laceration Mantra, which may very well be the best gore-splashed band name since Blood Tsunami. Secondly, for having the balls to write a 12-second grind song and name it “Barney.” And last, for their debut album Prolonging the Pain, a damn fine example of death metal mish-mashing that makes up for its lack of ingenuity with a keen sense of the bludgeoning arts and that oft-missing fun factor.
Laceration Mantra includes amongst their ranks Scott Edgar of The Dead, and while appreciating the muddier side of things like his other band, this act prefers things a bit faster (although never too fast). Prolonging the Pain takes bits of early Immolation, some less technical Suffocation groove, a touch of Incantation and even some Vader during the thrashier moments, all filtered through an obvious affinity for recent Napalm Death (as if the “Barney” song wasn’t hint enough).
The majority of Prolonging the Pain exhibits a straight meld of these influences. Opener “Thrown to the Wolves” sets a template that is by-and-large followed for 30 minutes: upper-mid-paced blasting, Greenway-esque vocals, the occasional mega-heavy chug, some deviations into dissonant riffing, and the slightest touch of pit-ready slam. These Aussies also know how to construct a nice greasy groove, and such moments during “Purveyors of Torment” or the chorus of “Realisation” are amongst the album’s most memorable passages.
At other times, Laceration Mantra delves into straight Napalm Death death/grind worship. “Surreal Reality” and “The Global Straightjacket” are almost naked in their homage, but the band gets away with this pilfering because 1. they’re quite fucking accomplished at it, and 2. these songs sort of anchor the rest of the bunch. They assist a seasoned death metal ear in easing into something familiar while also helping to accentuate the touches of Napalm strewn across the other songs.
The band occasionally falls prey to the wall-of-sound demon (mostly during the blastier moments), and the production has its faults (that Soundtrack to Your Escape china cymbal and a general lack of punch), but neither of these issues have much effect on the album’s attitude or character. And considering that Laceration Mantra seems more focused on creating corpses than offering studio sheen, these things are easily overlooked and forgotten.
Granted, very little of Prolonging the Pain competes with its various influences, but it does a very respectable job of pulling them together into a quality little excursion. This is not challenging, strikingly original or meticulously calculated by any means. It is instead the kind of death metal that Laceration Mantra feels comfortable writing and has a blast playing—death metal by death metal fans in other words. Most importantly however, it is a damn promising debut, and not a bad way to kill a half hour.
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