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Dirty, Mucky, and Fucking Awesome - 88%

Akerfeldt_Fanboi, October 1st, 2009

This album is the epitome of grindcore. Dark, heavily down tuned guitar riffs played over constant hyperblasting and sloppy guttural vocals with gory lyrics and medical terms abound.

Sure, the album sounds distant and awkwardly produced, but it sounds magnificent in the same way. The guitars are nothing but low-end and distortion, and the drums are nothing more than skull-crushing and sloppily played. The vocals are distant, quiet, but repulsive and devastating despite the drums being everywhere all the time.

First off, I'd like to address the song lengths. While some songs benefit from the short song lengths (i.e. Festerday and Maggot Colony), certain songs would've been so much more satisfying if they were a tad longer, maybe with extra riffs (Psychopathologist and Pyosisified).

The guitar riffs are your framework for what deathgrind would be known for later on. Extremely brutal, fast, and unintelligible (I mean, they tune to B for Christ's sakes, it certainly doesn't help the murky quality of the album), but always satisfying. The tone is, as previously said, low-end heavy and covered up by bass distortion and drums, but again...strangely satisfying in that ugly way. The riffs in Pyosisified are some of the best on the album, alternating between a frenzy of scathing guitar riffs played at a billion miles per hour and a slower, churning, hateful breakdown that epitomizes deathgrind and goregrind. The solos are nothing but high-end, and contrast the riffs so well, that you dread solo time, but can't wait either.


The drums are sloppy, but still satisfying and bone-crushing, but Ken doesn't exactly have a varied list of techniques for this album. He frequently blasts, rarely stopping to do a fill or simple beat, almost always that hectic blastbeating. His skills would greatly increase by the time of Necroticism and Heartwork, notably for the better. Also, the drums are a tad overpowering, which is kind of a letdown.

The vocals are ridiculous on this album, and definitely awesome. Switching between the super gutturals (Steer), the mid-range growl (Walker), the pitch-shifted gurgle (also Steer), and the slightly higher screams (Owen) we have a barrage of vocal stylings, and all fitting to the music. Owen's harsh yells on Excreted Alive catch you by surprise but are vicious, and Walker's mid range screams are always welcome on this album, which is dominated by Steer's monstrous presence. The vocals are a bit quiet and muffled but this issue is fixed on the next album (Symphonies of Sickness).

Speaking of muffled, the production is thick, grimy, and mucky as hell. The whole thing sounds as if it was recorded in five-foot thick hummus, and is ten times heavier than what the following release would be. The production is weird, shifting from the drums being overpowering to the guitars being a slight overpowering about halfway through the album, and thus the second half sounds much more interesting and heavier than the first half.

The songwriting is pretty linear, verse-chorus-verse-verse-solo, but the riffs contained in this super straight-forward adventure are the real highlight, as was previously mentioned. One of the best examples of Bill and Jeff showing a spark for extremely catchy riffing and vocal lines is the 16th track, the album's finest as well, Psychopathologist. The song has that linear pattern, but the way it moves through the pattern with ease and astounding brutality is unmatched in today's scene.

So, it all comes down to preference on this album, as with just about anything else. If you like slimy, wet grindcore with death metal riffing and vocals thrown in, pick this up without even thinking; well, actually, do think, because if you forget to listen to this album, you are fucking stupid. This whole thing rips you in two all the way through, but in good way I guess.

Pros:

- Psychopathologist
- Hefty guitar tone that cuts through the chaotic drum frenzy
- Four vocal attacks, all well performed
- Heavy and unsettling production
- Solos are messy and chaotic
- Audible distorted bass

Cons:

- Master volumes change about halfway through the album
- Little to no drum variation
- Some songs would do better with longer lengths/more riffs

Buy this album, it's recently been reprinted, don't download this. This album deserves that $13, and is one hell of an album.