Sunday, January 18, 2009

Banishment - Cleansing the Infirm (Lacerated Enemy; 2008)

The California death metal scene is an interesting one. It has some of the best of the genre (Deeds of Flesh), some of the most original (Intestinal Strangulation), but also some of the worst bands (Artery Eruption). Banishment, located in Los Angeles, have every part of this dichotomy present on their debut album Cleansing the Infirm.

I'll start with the good. Banishment do a really good job of mixing their melodic, evil sounding riffs with slamming rhythm parts which is where many CADM bands fail. This creates a lot of really good headbanging moments as the album goes from epic highs to crushing lows. The songwriting is very good here and you can tell Banishment know what they're doing here. The individual riffs are also very good and show a good degree of originality. Some bands you could compare it to would be Deeds of Flesh, Inveracity, and Disgorge (US).

Cleansing the Infirm has one fatal flaw though - its production. The production job on this album is one of the worst I have ever heard. It's not "bad" as in early Devourment demos (which I like), it's just annoying. For some reason they took the treble and fret noise and put it all in the left ear. So the entire time you are listening to the album it sounds like someone is rubbing sandpaper next to your head. The bottom end is also lacking. I don't know what the band/producer were thinking, but one listen is enough to hear how annoying it is. I was wondering if it was just me who was bothered by the production so I checked on and everyone there was saying the same thing.

I'm very disappointed in this because other than the production this album is very high quality. However at this time it's pretty hard to listen to it all the way through. If I were Banishment, I would definitely consider looking for a rerecord/rerelease or just make another album and not make the same mistake. If I were a slam fan considering whether to buy this, I would listen to some samples and if the production doesn't bother you as much as it did me, pick it up. Musically it's very good.

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