Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Engaged in Mutilating - Population: Zero (Comatose Music; 2009)

Texas has rightfully earned itself a hallowed place in brutal death metal history. It was pretty much the place for this style of metal in the late 90s/early 00s. So when I came across Engaged in Mutilating, a band made up of TXDM veterans, I was intrigued. Population: Zero is Engaged in Mutilating's first full length but the band includes members of Putrilage and Exulcerate.

On this album Engaged in Mutilating have departed from the typical TXDM chug and slam formula pioneered a decade ago. Instead they have opted for a more melodic, atmospheric, riff filled sound. Brutality is achieved through a constant array of cascading melodies backed up by expert gutturals and pounding drums. This approach reminds me a lot of Inveracity's excellent 2007 album Extermination of Millions. Also like Extermination of Millions is the post-apocalyptic aesthetic which I think fit very well with that more drawn out, atmospheric brutality.

Engaged in Mutilating have a lot of things going for them then, but did they make a good album? My answer is a disappointed "not quite". I really wanted to like this album but it just never got really interesting. Engaged in Mutilating spend a lot of time playing intricate, atmospheric riffs, but I was never drawn in. Nothing grabbed me. Occasionally they would play a cool solo or dive from a fast riff to a good slow chug, but these moments were too few and far between. The songs on this album felt like riffs being played in a row, rather than self contained entities. All the parts were here to make a great album, the songwriting just did not take advantage of this.

I don't want to sound like I'm bashing this album which did have some good moments. It's just a disappointment that it didn't have more of those moments.

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