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Three years on from 2002’s ‘Pestilence Empire’, Danish death metallers Exmortem return with their fifth full length and first for new label, Wicked World. I remember being mightily impressed with aural damage that ‘Pestilence…’ provided and was expecting things to continue in the same fashion with ‘Nihilistic Contentment’. Does it live it up to my expectations? Well, yes….and no.
Be assured that right from the opening note of ‘Flesh Havoc’ through to the final bludgeoning delivered on ‘Parasite Paradise’, Exmortem make no absolutely no apologies for the style of music they play. ‘Nihilistic Contentment’ is in every way typical Exmortem fodder: Blasting Death Metal. The band, the label might try to play up the musical improvements and song writing progression put forth on this new disc, but as far as I can tell, there isn’t a hell of a lot more going on here that hasn’t been done before, by either Exmortem or the plethora of like minded hyper speed Death Metal acts.
Looking back, maybe I was a little too precious about the quality of ‘Pestilence Empire’. Its hyper death style had that essential Morbid Angel link, the dry American style production (courtesy of Tue Madsen, who appears here again) and a killer ‘Euro’ song-writing ethic - It was all good. ‘Nihilistic Contentment’ is very much built around the same mould, yet it doesn’t quite grab me by the throat like ‘PE’ did. And that’s the problem – Exmortem, via their sheer single-mindedness in pursuing nothing but ultra, 1000 MPH, flat stick hyper speed death metal have nowhere else to go. Dealing out more of the same doesn’t seem to have the same impact.
Admittedly Exmortem have attempted to incorporated some ‘slower, mid tempo’ pacing on a few tracks, but they appear to be almost an afterthought with the band eager to move back into a style they’re more comfortable with: Hyper speed death metal – seriously, most of ‘Nihilistic Contentment’ is played at a ludicrously fast pace, all superbly delivered, but devoid of anything remotely outstanding or memorable. By the albums mid point, this album becomes one big blur with each song effortlessly blending into the other. Repetition is the disease here folks. Sorry boys, but I don’t think the songwriting is quite up to the standard delivered on ‘Pestilence…’
Fast, furious and bludgeoning death metal has a massive fan base. If you are a fan of this stuff and the likes of Myrkskog, Hate Eternal, Deeds of Flesh and Zyklon are lords of your world, then you’ll find plenty to admire about Exmortem’s ‘Nihilistic Contentment’. Me, I only half taken by this disc (mainly because of what they achieved on their previous album) – it is certainly an Exmortem record, no question, but unfortunately it hasn’t got the song writing strength or individual character I was expecting.
Krozza: for www.pyromusic.net and walls of fire