without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
A common flaw with brutal death metal is the fact that after the listener realizes that all it really is is 7 or 8 slam riffs and breakdowns in between random blasts of incoherant grindcore, it starts to get boring. So many bands have fallen for incorporating too many slams (Abominable Putridity) or too few (Deeds of Flesh, the most boring band on earth). Then there are the bands who rip off the only band to do it correctly, Suffocation (the only truly important brutal death metal band in my opinion, as well as being my favourite band at the moment). Internal Bleeding are essentially a Suffocation spin-off, exept far less technical and the riffs aren't quite as memorable. Where Suffocation incorporated odd sounding, at times disturbing riffs, insane shredding, and the occassional slower part (I'm obviously speaking of "Pierced From Within"), Internal Bleeding are more simple and straight-forward, and the riffs mostly seem to be varients of each other (the drums were obviously written before the guitars were, as the guitars seem to do nothing but follow the drums).
So, with that said, how could this album possibly deserve a 95 percent? Well, because it's executed so well! The music is simple and brutal, but avoids repeating the same palm muted power chord pattern so often, and, while the guitar riffs aren't very special, it becomes instantly obvious that that's not what they were going for, as they realize that if you focus soley on technicality you end up nowhere, surrounded by elitest metalheads calling your work "emotionless" and "wankery" (Anyone who uses the work "wankery" seriously in a sentance is an idiot.). I suppose that one could argue that while that may be true, at least SOME technicality should have been incorporated, which may be true, but I personally am fine with it this way.
The drums are where the album excells. The drummer here is obviously the most experienced member, shown by his constant fills and extremly fast blast beats that never get boring. He's no John Longstreth, but once again, he's still impressive.
The vocals are mostly Frank Mullen circa "Pierced From Within" growls (more deep and pronounced), mixed in gurgled vocals standard in slam. Nothing special, but they are very good, and some of the vocal lines are "Prevaricate" are inhumanly deep and guttural. He also has a unique way of pronouncing, which I can't really describe well. I suppose I could say it's kind of tough guy, hardcore type pronunciation if that makes any sense. I wouldn't say he's a shining star like Lord Worm was, but he supplies an interesting delivery nonetheless.
The production is very old school, giving an early 90's death metal feel to the guitars. The bass is very loud in the mix, at times at the front of the production. As far as tones go, I think this album's guitar tone, while slightly too bassy, is exeptable. As long as it doesn't sound like Faith No More's "The Real Thing", I don't bitch about guitar tone much. I suppose I could ask for a better bass drum tone however, and it needs to be much louder.
Obviously, this is not a band that will ever be labeled "legendary", like Cryptopsy, Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Deicide, and many other bands have. No, I don't think that is what this band is really trying to be. All Internal Bleeding wants to be is Internal Bleeding (even though there are some huge Suffocation influences here). They aren't trying to be so technical that the fans will turn the other cheek, or so brutal that the fans fall asleep due to boredom, and I think a lot of bands could learn from that. This band, while not the most original band on earth, is showing their inspirations in the best way they know how, while still keeping their own identity, which, regardless of what you think of this band, is a pretty remarkable feat.
The intro of this album ALMOST gets me eager to listen to it. Those smooth, rounded synth tones make me think that I'm about to experience something of notable ambition and creativity. Maybe those spacey melodies will be developed further in a metallic form on the main songs of the album! But then I remember it's an Internal Bleeding album right as 'Ocular Introspection' comes on and the shriveling of my hope is almost audible.
Okay, I can give Internal Bleeding credit for advancing a little bit beyond the blatant Suffocation fellatio that was 'Voracious Contempt'. I can't give them credit for having managed to craft an engaging album yet, but at least it's somewhat better. I'm not sure why production-wise the guys in the band decided that the one thing necessary to make it better was to make the guitars and bass even more buzzy, distorted, downtuned, and borderline incoherent, or to jam the vocals right into their center so they're only occasionally somewhat audible, or to make the drums sound like a toy kit from K-Mart, but maybe that's why I'm not in a major death metal band. It sounds terrible, it's pretty much everything wrong with mid-'90s death metal production on a single record. Whatever.
About half of the music here is still lifted from 'Pierced From Within', but now the other half is the blend of straightforward brutal death metal with NY-style hardcore that Internal Bleeding is really known for. There aren't as many 'slam' parts as on the previous album, but there's still a lot of midpaced chugging. This time, though, there's clearly a hardcore edge; it's not very obvious or clear, but just about any listener is going to notice it even if they have trouble picking out exactly why. Maybe it's just the lack of blast beats or tremolo riffs. There's almost none of either of those factors, which is what makes them so surprising when they come around. The problem with that? They don't fit the rest of the music at all, and the production makes it sound like a Hate Eternal b-side.
'Voracious Contempt' was pretty weak; this is somewhat better. It's midpaced, sludgy death metal with a hardcore edge. Internal Bleeding would continue to get better from here, though they never really got into 'great' territory. For some reason, this is regarded as the worst Internal Bleeding album by most of the band's fans (and yes, they do have fans somehow), which doesn't really make sense to me, as it's by far the least offensive and most generic release they put out. If you're looking for the distilled essence of what this band sounds like, it's pretty perfect. Boring in other respects though.