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It doesn't get better - 100%

transientblur, March 30th, 2004

Just as I start kicking around the idea of writing a review for this album, Pete beats me to it. Ah, well. BTW, Pete, if you ever read this you don’t have the first track of the album (a shame).

This is one of the greatest death metal albums ever recorded It always winds up in my top 5 albums of all time, and with good reason. Everything on this album is absolutely perfect. The production is great, thick and bassy and powerful and consistent. The drum sound is also perfect, very similar to Amon Amarth’s “Versus the World”. The bass is audible and has an excellent tone to it. The mixing is also superb. In fact, the sound on this album is so thick and heavy it’s almost tangible.

The actual songwriting is stunning. There is so much going on during this album’s short (also a good thing) duration that I often listen to it twice back to back. There are riffs galore here, each song has tons and tons to listen to and although it is daunting at first. All of the riffs are uber technical, with many notes and most are heavily palm muted to give it that extra thick sound. I should mention that this album doesn’t musically dominate you for its entire duration, there are two acoustic breaks. The first occurs in “Condemned to Obscurity”, a beautiful piano piece that is hinted at again later in the song. Although the piano part is nice, the low throbbing noise in the beginning makes that intro what it is. The second acoustic piece is the beginning of “Dormant Misery”, a brooding and well placed guitar piece. Very catchy after a few listens. The rest of the album just rules, as I mentioned before the riffs are top notch, the songs blend together well, Luc Lemay’s vocals are different from Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate. It’s more of a low, drawn out growl. The lyrics all deal with real life horrors, none of that “I’m gonna eat your corpse” nonsense, the songs deal with being blind, insane and deformed. OK, so they are still typical metal stuff, but they are extremely written. The bass is not always audible, but when it is it’s usually playing chords or harmonizing with the guitar. The drummer is superb you’ll find yourself anticipating drum parts as much as you anticipate guitar parts. The drummer can use the double bass with the best of them but he usually chooses to do little triplets and hit the symbols as well.

The cover art for this album is also absolutely fantastic; I’m not really sure what it is but it fits the music perfectly. If this album had a color it would be the red and orange sunset type colors on the painting. Every time I hear the piano bit in the beginning of “Condemned…” I get a mental image of Luc sitting on top of the mound on the cover, playing a monstrous grand piano.

Alright, I could go on for hours so I’ll cut myself off here. This album is so complicated and interesting that it has not gotten old yet, truly this is one of the few reliable albums that you can be guaranteed will not get boring after a few listens. The perfect mix of brutality and fragile beauty make this album a must have at all costs (it isn’t really THAT expensive, you should be able to find one for about 25 if you look hard enough).

There has been talk of RoadRunner records re-releasing during the second part of their Two from the Vaults series with Considered Dead. If this even slightly interests you PLEASE send them an email and tell them. The more potential customers that email them the better the chances of us seeing this classic album get reprinted.