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LP again controls the split - 79%

Noktorn, October 25th, 2009

Lymphatic Phlegm's side of this split CD (their last release before their debut full-length) is curious in some respects because it displays the last gasp of the band's ultra-gore-drenched style really only found elsewhere in such an intense form on their 1997 demo tape and split CD with Flesh Grinder. It seems that since the following full-length album took the more eccentric elements of the band to their extreme and carved out an extremely individualistic sound, 'Wide Opened Thoraco-Abdominal Tract' appears to be the band's final tribute to artists like Carcass and other early goregrind bands. This material isn't as purely extreme as the band's earliest works (most likely due to improved production quality), but it is certainly more musically abrasive than anything the band has done up to this point excluding the aforementioned songs.

While Lymphatic Phlegm's unusual melodic proclivities are still present, they're used in a much more riffy form than is typical for the artist, with individual riffs being emphasized over off-the-cuff leads. Production is less atmospheric, without the typical reverb-drenching the band seems to enjoy, and a greater emphasis is placed on the vocals, which are louder and more distorted than ever. The 'cyber' inflection seems more pronounced, with certain tracks such as 'Congenital Megacolon By Abnormality In Peristaltic Processes' reminding one greatly of the mighty Catasexual Urge Motivation in its pacing, deliberately unfolding riffs, and too-dense, overlapping vocals. Other tracks are no less savage; these songs are defined by sudden changes in rhythm due to elaborate, almost overwrought drum programming and a refusal to set up a track for more than thirty seconds at a stretch before diving into flurries of suddenly filling blast beats, tremolo riffs, and erratically paced, arrhythmic vocals.

This isn't necessarily the band's best material, but its unusual extremity has a certain charm of its own. Lymphatic Phlegm never really visited this very extreme style of underground goregrind again, instead choosing to descend further and further into the warrens of melodic experimentation wrapped in bizarre pathological atmosphere, so for the more traditionally goregrind-minded among us, this is certainly a release recommended, and of course an essential pick for the dedicated collector of the band's works.

Neuro-Visceral Exhumation, on the other hand, is a surprisingly apt choice as a partner for Lymphatic Phlegm's material. This early work from the fellow Brazilian collective is a more primitive and traditionally South American style of goregrind, reminiscent of bands like Flesh Grinder or Oxidised Razor (though without that band's love of groove and syncopation). Generally without the sudden flairs of technicality which would come to define the band's full-length releases, 'Bathed In Hecatombic Concoctions' is a fairly simple and straightforward slab of post-Carcass but 'Reek Of Putrefaction'-inspired death/goregrind emphasizing high-speed blasting and churning vocals and guitarwork over technical precision or melodic progression.

If one has heard the typical South American style of goregrind, one knows what to expect, albeit in a somewhat more mature and capable form. The South American style of goregrind is almost uniformly sloppy and noisy in nature, tending often towards the less death metal end of the spectrum with bands like MDK who seem to owe just as much to Seven Minutes Of Nausea as they do Autophagia. Neuro-Visceral Exhumation's balance isn't quite that starkly even; their occasional forays into noisier territory are generally by virtue of low production quality and instrumental chaos rather than deliberate composition or improvisation, and by and large the band's material on this split tends to be pretty coherent and traditional in structure. 'Bathed In Hecatombic Concoctions', if nothing else, is a remarkably angry release, with the sort of thrusting intensity one might hear in modern Dutch bands like Inhume but with an extra dose of filth by virtue of the band's southern roots. It makes for a pleasing and thrashing listen, if not a particularly original one.

As usual, Lymphatic Phlegm's side of the split overshadows the other band's, but in this case, it isn't quite as massive as usual. Neuro-Visceral Exhumation's contribution will do absolutely nothing to dissuade those who don't already enjoy rather traditional styles of death/grind, but then again, are people in Isis hoodies really going out and buying (or more likely downloading) CDs like this? Anyway, if you enjoy Lymphatic Phlegm you should grab this, and if you enjoy goregrind you should grab this, and if you don't like either of those things a trip to the gas chamber is highly recommended.