posted on 1/2012 By:
Talk about false advertising. The title of this album and the grisly looking cover art had me prepped for a slam-happy brutal death outing, but Inhuman Disgrace is something very different from that. Detrimentum’s second full-length offering is a fast, intricate foray into modern technical death metal, with a heavy dose of icy melody and not a trace of slams or 'core to be found. It’s a fairly well-worn style, but one with a lot of potential if the spark of creativity is there. This UK collective definitely possesses the energy needed to elevate stuff like this from the depths of tedium, and it translates into a strong release that should appeal to fans of all that is speedy, polished, and blasty.
I have to admit, I’m a sucker for melodically-inclined tech-death – despite their obvious faults, Decrepit Birth’s Polarity and Neuraxis’s Asylon were two of my most-listened-to albums in the techy realm in the last couple of years. So it makes sense that I really dig Inhuman Disgrace, considering the majority of its most noteworthy moments strongly recall the recent efforts from both of those bands. The outfit's complex drum rhythms and occasional forays into un-metal territory are reminiscent of DB, as are the harsh and throaty growling vocals, which thankfully feel more solid than Bill Robinson’s contributions. But it’s the spiraling, futuristic-sounding Neuraxis-isms in the guitar-work that really carry this music. Detrimentum combines the intricate riffing style of the well-known Canadians with an unusual, mystical approach to the sparser melodies and interlude-like refrains, lending an air of variety and atmosphere to the relentless, technical nature of the songwriting’s core.
Songs like “The Crimson Legacy” and the masterful “Ascension” really pop from the speakers due to this approach, with little touches like the former's Dissection-inspired opening and the latter’s spacey melodic themes making for some inspiring listening. I was also pleased to find that the band mostly avoids unnecessary adjustments to time signatures and riff cycling, favoring a primarily listenable and straightforward approach to composition that makes digesting the complex instrumentation less of a challenge. But the traditional tech-death blasting feels a bit dull when stacked up against Detrimentum's more adventurous moments. There’s still some solid riffs and interesting drum arrangements to be found in these less-melodic segments, but there’s also some jarring transitions that can stall the momentum, most commonly occurring when they try to sequence heavy chugs and melodic picking in too immediate a fashion.
But considering the number of tech-death projects that suffer from similar issues, I was more inclined to forgive Detrimentum considering how exciting I found much of the material on Inhuman Disgrace. While even the outfit’s most experimental flourishes are fairly easy to trace back to other bands, the overall approach here is pretty distinctive, and even more importantly, consistently enjoyable. This brand of death metal may not be as en vogue as it was a few years ago, but efforts like Inhuman Disgrace show that there’s still plenty of room for quality offerings in the style that don’t shy away from a little innovation.
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