Thursday, March 15, 2012

Abominable Putridity - The Anomalies of Artificial Origins (2012; Brutal Bands)

I went into this album knowing I would be disappointed. For me Abominable Putridity's 2007 debut In The End of Human Existence is one of the top slam albums of the decade. While it did nothing to transcend the genre (eg Wormed or Defeated Sanity) I feel it helped set the standard for what slam was as a genre. If I had to sum up slam death metal in one album I would choose that one.

After listening to this album I found I was not as disappointed as I thought I was going to be. It has some flaws (which I'll get to later), but overall The Anomalies of Artificial Origins is a slick, well-written and well performed album.

First the positives. Abominable Putridity have definitely upped the technicality. Now this always makes me a little nervous because so many bands substitute technicality for songwriting, but AP did it well here.The tech parts are well integrated with the slamming, never devolve into pointless wankery, and are actually intelligible. There are a lot of Dying Fetus-esque slicing arpeggios with touches of Cali DM tremolo melodies in the background. There's still plenty of headbanging slams of course, but it's nice to see a band evolve in a way that makes sense and that sounds good.

This album also features the legendary Matti Way (Disgorge, Pathology) on vocals. If you're a fan (as you should be) you will enjoy his work here. His sick vocals have not lost any of their power in the 20 years since Disgorge first formed. One problem I did have was that the vocals were near constant throughout the album. As good as Matti Way is, it grates a little to hear him gurgling away through the whole song. Slam is all about the transitions - fast/slow, melody/rhythm, blast/breakdown - so when the vocals never let up they lose the power they would have had had they been silent for a little while. This is an example of too much of a good thing.

Did this album live up to its predecessor? No, but I don't think it could've, at least for me. In 2007 slam was just getting started really. Slam-Minded was just getting started, and in many ways I was just getting started as an adult. In the End of Human Existence captured me and many others in the slam scene because it was the perfect album at the perfect time. There was no way a follow up album album was going to be as good. And that's a shame because The Anomalies of Artificial Origins is an excellent album.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chordotomy - The Precious Ideal promo 2012

Chordotomy are definitely a new name to me, and I promised to give this promo a review for Hannes, in honor of him being our 400th like on Facebook. Thanks again, man!

"Human Derangement" begins with a somewhat goregrind-y riff/drum combo before the first riff gets a bit melodic on us and a very groovy switch-up occurs, leading straight into a thugging slam with the normal kind of vocals. Gurgly and low but not outstanding, though the slams are certainly meaty enough that they don't need incredible vocals to help them along. The guitar tone is a bit weird and distinct; hollow and clear with good mixing. Slightly melodic riffs/sections peek out and work surprisingly well. I like how the slams in this song are generic and normal but don't outstay their welcome, nor do they offend the ears. Just pleasing stuff with a touch of originality and even a bit of professionalism in songwriting style. Drums seem programmed because there seem to be several patterns being repeated seamlessly, but perhaps it is an electric kit or heavily triggered. Regardless, doesn't truly matter as the rhythm section is underpinned by a good, hard snare sound and strong use of crashes to highlight simplistic breakdowns, making them more effective than they would with different production.

"Systematic Extermination"'s first rhythm is just killer; a lurching, swaying beast of a beat that shows once again how simplicity and efficiency can go a long way to making something special even if the individual parts may seem stale or overdone. This song seems much more slam-focused; less melody and more really dumb, heavy riffs that really bludgeon you. The snare(?) during the interesting charging part at 1:39 is kind of wrong sounding and that part could honestly do with some meshing into the whole as well, as the slam it leads into is strong but isn't really arrived at in any logical fashion. Though that isn't bad, per se, this demo seems to be very much about calculated, cold slam and for something so by-the-numbers it's weird to have a shoehorned-in section that doesn't make much sense. This seems like nitpicking, but I feel that I have slightly greater domain over criticism when it comes to demos/promos because of how inherently potential they are, unlike a full-album release which has already garnered a higher level of support. I was preparing for a serious 9-note slam at the 2:22 mark, but I was pleasantly surprised that they threw a slight curve ball with the ride-accentuated ending cadence.

Interesting, but not mindblowing. That's what I'll file this under overall. I hear a lot of potential here, especially in the first song which goes to greater lengths to deviate from the norm than "Systematic Extermination", a song which, despite its slightly longer length, seems almost singularly devoted to churning out grooves (other than the extended "riffy" section later in the song; good stuff, dudes!). In promo terms, this is indicative of possible greatness in the future, but for now I congratulate Chordotomy for making me bang my head. You've done what plenty of demos I've heard in my time have failed to do. Stay at it and we'll definitely have a band to keep watch for.

Also, way better cover art than almost any recent demo I can recall. Though I'm a sucker for flat gradient logos with linear fades and good color matching.