without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Off to an amazing start with their instrumental “The Beginning”, which splices death metal music with some Arabian sounding rhythm guitar riffs and decays artistically into the title track after a brief harmonizing guitar interlude, Festival of Mutilation’s first album “Gods of Infernal Desolation” perfects Death and Severe Torture’s classically influenced styles of death metal treble and combines it with percussive rhythms reminiscent of Deeds of Flesh’s very calculated aggression and Suffocation’s psychotic pulsing blasts to create some of the best low profile underground death metal I’ve heard in a long time as well as one of the best first full-lengths I’ve ever heard.
Guitarist Jasenko Dzipa creates some very memorable music that is perfectly punctuated by his classical tendencies in “The Mighty Sekhmet” and “Live the Suffering” where his harmonic solos create a symphonic vortex of melody that effectively harmonizes between both guitars and even more amazingly with the bass and drum sections while exemplifying the complexity and maliciousness expected in death metal riffing. In “Awakening of Marduk”, progressions sporadically transform from low chugs driven by blast beats to harmonies that flourish melodiously brimming with a quality embodied by the band’s songwriting style that perfectly shows a brutal dichotomy in juxtaposing rising treble highs and rhythmically concentrated crushing lows. When the guitar is the focus on rising highs, like in the fourth minute of the song, the drumming is slowed down and simplified to express the treble’s emotional output. But as the song drops from the soaring elevation, the focal point of guitar sound is exchanged to concentrate on percussive drumming as drum patterns become more complex and fills grow after each cycle as the song falls. During this trade, the guitars take hold of the rhythm in a slower, more drawn out riff scheme which resonates perfectly for a time until sudden tremolo picked sections deviate the construct to join the percussive blast beats to signal the close of “Awakening of Marduk”. Also as the focus shifts, the drumming reaches the height of speed and intensity as blast beats divert the ear toward the punishing percussion which perfectly complements the guitar end’s effort with its own exasperation in taking center stage. The guitars are a masterful accomplishment in the way they direct this song and others in this album with awesome drifting leads throughout “Throne of Hades” and sections that skillfully come full circle while continuing their journeys in “Poisoned”. Much of this band’s talent is displayed in Dzipa’s guitar sound and the rest of the band reciprocates with amazing performances all around in this album.
As the very clean and clear production would warrant it, the bass guitar is given a strong role in Festival of Mutilation’s music. Harmonizing perfectly with leads until it joins the rhythm guitar’s movements in “Awakening of Marduk”, the bass guitar perfectly unites both ends of the band’s sonic spectrum in each progression, thriving as it guides the harmonic sections, leads beautifully in the opening of “The Mighty Sekhmet”, and adds a macabre desolate tone in the ending of “Poisoned” as a melancholy almost weeping center to the whirling riffs and beats around it. The bass guitar has never sounded as godly as it does in the hands of Sasa Dzino who shines throughout the short instrumental “Weeping Souls” and never fails to impress on this release.
If any song on this album can testify to the power of Festival of Mutilation, it’s “Gods of Infernal Desolation” and Marko Gacnik behooves himself to show off his drumming prowess throughout this song. With a well-pronounced drumming technique that strives to vary rhythms subtly each cycle and helps falling riffs plummet through blast beats on par with Suffocation drummer Mike Smith, technicality in rhythm shines as an unforgettable focus that this band cannot do without. Gacnik’s double bass blasting variations on “Ares the Victorious”, unrelenting energy and catchy rhythms in “Throne of Hades”, and overall delivery meant to knock the listener back with sheer talent finds an excellent home among the rest of Festival of Mutilation’s extremely cohesive ensemble.
Uplifting the aesthetic of the band, vocalist Emil Habibovic employs some gut-wrenching gutturals and throaty shrieks throughout the album. Placed in back of the mid section behind the bass sound, the vocals have lows like Bill Robinson of Decrepit Birth while the highs bring a unique blackened death metal sound that beautifully compliments the riffing and blast beats as the song “Awakening of Marduk” falls while the lyrics describe the deity rising. The vocals provide an ambitious brutality to the mix with their thick grit that follows the songs well and shows versatility in the creepy closing of “Poisoned”. In each song, there is a great energy from Habibovic that especially compliments the raw mix of the bonus track “Bloody Existence” with its own harshness. It’s too bad that this vocalist isn’t still with the band because his style perfectly joins the percussion in weighing down the extensive guitar and bass harmonies.
Festival of Mutilation stands out among many of their musical contemporaries today as one of few bands to not only shows such professionalism in their art, but to create the ideal death metal sound that’s so flawlessly delivered and in such true form that it seems almost effortless. This first album, “Gods of Infernal Desolation”, is a stylistic achievement of almost perfect death metal that unleashes a band unlike many that truly understands the sound they’re meant to pull off right out the gate. Harmonies are utilized liberally yet so fittingly that they’re never too much and with such an amazing percussion holding down the mix, it’s no surprise that the band shines as much in their highs as they do in their lows. Festival of Mutilation is a band to look out for as the talent driving this music offers an almost limitless capacity for progression in creating boundary breaking death metal.