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Not being someone who generally falls head over heels for death metal, its an odd occurence when I stumble across a band in that genre I like. I have a tendency to tolerate some melodic death metal bands, especially Amon Amarth, who don't seem prone to becoming repetitive like alot of other melo-death bands do. Yet as for other varieties, I have found they are just not my thing. I do have a fascination with the earlier years of death metal, particularly the early temples of the genre in the Florida scene. I tend to enjoy alot of the bands out this period in time, particularly Malevolent Creation's "The Ten Commandments."
One thing to know why I dig this album so much has alot to do with Brett Hoffman. Hoffman's voice has more to do with the proto-thrash/death hybrids that originally spawned death metal in that the lyrics are dicipherable from the vocal performance put forth. Hoffman doesn't dive off the edge of the indiscernible death grunts that runs between frog farts and the soundtrack to coughing up a lung. Since that is often one of the reasons I dislike death metal so much, its always good to hear the earlier incarnations of this genre when the vocals were basically an alteration of the thrash variety.
In terms of musicality, I don't hear alot of interesting new ideas on this album as opposed to what came before it or even much in the variety department. This doesn't matter as much because the songs themselves and the album as a whole are strong to enough to overcome this. The opener in "Memorial Arrangements" is an introduction of sorts to the album complete with thunder in the background to set the album's tone. It might be insignificant of me to state this, but I always enjoy bands who implement introductions into their works as opposed to simply charging ahead into the aggression. It seems to create a sort of atmosphere for the album, albeit one of brutality in the shape of a mighty tornado that will suck you up and toss you into oblivion.
The highlight songs off the album have already been mentioned, including "Multiple Stab Wounds," "Injected Sufferage," "Decadence Within," and the well executed "Malevolent Creation" which ends the entire ordeal in a climactic fashion. I don't really see the need to break all these songs down bit by bit, as others have already done this and I can find little to add to their analysis. I will say that given my like of the Florida death metal scene, "The Ten Commandments" isn't perfect but it is a highly commendable effort. The music is excellent, the vocals are intelligible and it just works. I wouldn't make any bold statements about its status, though I will say it ranks pretty highly for 1991 in terms of death metal, but not to the point of the incredible Dismember's "Like An Everflowing Stream."