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a tad disappointing but it could be much worse - 63%

Noktorn, January 31st, 2010

This is an odd choice of partners for a split if you're looking at it from a musical perspective, but with the scene in mind, it's not quite so strange. A band like Gruesome Malady would be much more fitting with a more experimental and deranged band befitting their own style (though their split with Mortuary Hacking Session was of just such a nature), but in the rather tightly-knit goregrind scene I suppose it makes sense that they'd wind up splitting with a fairly conventional post-Carcass band like Patologicum. Still, I'd imagine dedicated fans of either will scratch their heads at the other side; it doesn't seem like there's a lot of room for appeal across the halves of this CD. Goregrind being what it is, I guess that's less surprising than it should be.

Patologicum:

The easiest comparison to make here is with Haemorrhage; both bands play a somewhat goofy and punk breed of early Carcass worship with an added dose of modern death metal. The central difference, of course, is that Patologicum is not nearly as good as Haemorrhage, but not much is. They're not necessarily bad, but Patologicum doesn't really bring a whole lot of new dishes to the death/grind table, mostly reiterating this very established style through their tracks. There are occasional moments of rhythmic or melodic creativity that pop up, but that's maybe one passage every other song and you just don't get a whole lot of creative mileage at rates like that.

Above and beyond the lack of originality, Patologicum is perfectly listenable. The production on their side of the split is surprisingly strong, bass-heavy and well-mixed, though this doesn't really do a whole lot to bring their material above mediocrity. Dedicated fans of Haemorrhage or their general ilk will, of course, be happy to listen to this; it's the opposite end of the scale from Razorback Carcass worship and thus is immediately worth much more than, say, 'Thou Shall Repulse'. Still, the music on this side of the CD feels a tad lazy and underdeveloped; a lot more could be done with the bits of originality that are here. Oh well, at least I don't regret owning their material.

Gruesome Malady:

Coming a couple years after their sublime 'Infected With Virulent Seed' full-length, Gruesome Malady's style is essentially frozen in time and remains unchanged from that album. Expect the following: very chaotic and offhand song structures, bizarre gurgles for vocals, and a spastic, occasionally neoclassical style of guitar playing that somehow works with the overall delivery of the music. Even the recording style is exactly the same with its piled-on distortion, strange hints of reverb, and weird combination of basement quality with a flawless understanding of aesthetics. Admittedly, this material isn't nearly as strong as the songs on their full-length; they're a bit slower and more thought out, but you lose out on the maniacal, depraved edge which made 'Infected With Virulent Seed' a second-tier goregrind classic.

While it doesn't reach those rather dizzying heights, this is still, of course, better than the vast majority of goregrind. No band sounds quite like Gruesome Malady; the closest comparison would be Brazilian goremongers Lymphatic Phlegm, but even that band on their earliest works didn't have the sense of depraved chaos that Gruesome Malady cultivates so deliciously. The choice of an Impetigo cover is both appropriate and bizarre; like many of the weirder bands in goregrind, Gruesome Malady probably arrives at their bizarre sound more out of coincidence than an attempt to make something so deranged, but at the same time I would think they'd choose something a bit more fitting with their style. Either way, they don't add a lot to it except for an even more strange and staggered drum performance than usual, annihilating the groove of the original song for more... Indianness, I suppose. It's a worthwhile curiosity if not something you'll come to again and again.

This CD isn't really a failure; both bands are at least listenable though Gruesome Malady's side is a tad disappointing given what they crafted a few years previous. If you find this cheap, it's not bad to grab for a three-times-a-year listen, but overall it's nothing that will surprise goregrind fans or convert detractors. More of a collection filler than anything, but there are worse ways to put your money.