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Pittsburgh Doom-Death Terror - 93%

Stillborn Machine, March 20th, 2014

Remember 1987's Journey into Mystery and the Celtic Frost/Slayer/Pentagram combo these guys had going? It's still here and on the surface, seemingly unchanged, but a closer listen reveals a band that has taken the time to finely hone their craft, resulting in a short, but lethal album.

Moving away from the circular verse-chorus structures of their debut, they focus instead on compositions that work through their various themes like classic horror movie soundtracks. Riffs trudge, yank, shudder, and lunge, inundating the listener in varying atmospheres. They vary harmonic density from the eerie pseudo-ambiance to thundering downstroke deathblows, arranged into linear sequences kept at an erratic pace, like being pursued by an unseen predator.

Instrumentation has improved, but lends itself more to the composition than the musician - the drumming is deft and capitalizes on detonating and repressing tension while bass thuds along convincingly in the best tradition of Geezer Butler. On top of this, their most acidic vocal performance to date sends its punk-ish shouts over surprisingly dynamic riffs calling from both early extreme and doom metal traditions, avoiding the doom trap of slowness for its own sake and fitting in muscular chords as one would pieces of a Frankenstein-like monster. Highly recommended.