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It's stuff like this that contributes to why I feel estranged and indifferent towards the majority of modern brutal death metal bands. I found this piece of shit for $2.49 in the 'dollar-bin' at the record store (it was in there because it sucks, of course) and I bought it because the Unique Leader label usually runs a fairly consistent ship, and the Jon Zig artwork is awesome. I figured if the music was even half as sick as the cover art then it would have to be a few bucks well spent, right?
No! Unfortunately, this sucks. Condemned from California fall heavily into the Disgorge(US) and Defeated Sanity category of brutal death metal, except for that they're not nearly as good as either of those bands and they're just doing it wrong on every level. Condemned are a pale ghostlike carbon copy of those bands, and If you've heard one minute from any track on this CD then you've essentially heard the entire disc. What does that mean? It means that the songwriting is bad.
Without decent songs its going to be challenging to come up with a decent album, but with a band playing in this style the saving grace may possibly be unreal brutality. Unfortunately for Condemned, this album is not brutal. The ultra-compressed and digitally tampered production gives this a fake and fraudulent sound. "Realms of the Ungodly" is weak-sounding without any real aggression, darkness, brutality, or atmosphere. Is this suppose to sound dark and threatening? Because if so, I can't tell, and bands like Disincarnate or Gorguts would not have been able to tell either.
The guitar playing is sloppy, redundant, and monotonous. The drumming is one dimensional and consists of non-stop pseudo gravity-blasting that gives no dynamics in timbre or control in technique. Bass guitar tracks can't be detected in the mix. The vocals are fake sounding and just sound like pitch-shifted grunting and gurgling without any sense of purpose or timing within the songs.
So while Jon Zig is most definitely the man, In the case of Condemned- these "songs" are most definitely just bad. If you're going to listen to death metal go get an album that's actually brutal and well-written, because this is neither of those things.