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A spectacular performance with a half-assed mixer. - 80%

Pr0nogo, December 23rd, 2012

Murder Construct, a congregation of asshats from Exhumed and Cattle Decapitation, delivered their first full-length album in August of 2012. Entitled “Results”, this record clocks in at just over twenty-nine minutes, and mixes death metal influences with the (ostensibly) controlled chaos we’ve come to expect from grind music. Some call it grindcore, others call it deathgrind, and others still insist that such genres are unnecessary. I just call it awesome. When you include such talents as Travis Ryan’s vocals and Danny Walker’s drums, it’d be a crime for you to not sound good.

Something about “Results” that instantly caught my attention is that it really is a grind record at heart: the tracks are weaved together seamlessly, with the intent of pummeling you relentlessly, and they certainly do their job in that regard. It can be difficult to tell when one track ends and another begins, but for lovers of the genre, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. That kind of approach to songwriting can turn some people off, but the beauty of this particular record is that the tracks of “Results” have just as much individuality as they do seamless transitions. There’s something different about each song, to a noticeable point, and that’s why the dynamic worked out so well for Murder Construct.

Travis Ryan’s vocals are immediately recognisable, and he does a great job of directing the sound of “Results”. From a songwriting perspective, the other instruments are certainly more involved in structuring the album, but the vocals are far more noticeable. The production of “Results” catapults Ryan’s growls, gutturals, and screams straight to the forefront, and this helps each track maintain its own individuality. Much like his performances with Cattle Decapitation, Ryan’s growls are low, his gutturals are lower, and his high screeches are mixed with his low screams to create an absolutely powerful presence that commands your attention.

Danny Walker’s drumming style on “Results” is entirely focused around beating the ever-loving crap out of you, which is fine by me. His execution relies on a variety of blast beats, hat hits, snare hits, and fast-paced double-bass legwork. In other words, it’s your general death metal drumwork: it’s not too complex, nor does it need to be to serve as the backbone of the album’s sound. While not spectacular or incredibly unique, Walker’s drumwork is paramount for the album to blast on through at the obscene speeds it sometimes attains. Reinforcing the grind aesthetic was clearly at the top of his to-do list when he sat down to record “Results”.

The guitarplay of Leon del Müerte and Kevin Fetus (I’m sure that’s his real name) play a smooth middle ground between the grinding vocals and the high-octane drumming. These guitarists certainly don’t create a mindless “wall of noise”, but instead provide an interesting backdrop that is easily ignored in favour of the rest of the instrumentation. One of the failings of the producer was in that he didn’t think to propel the more impressive guitar riffs to the forefront of the sound: some of the guitarwork is truly entertaining, but becomes lost in the admittedly-enjoyable chaos that is “Results”. Another unfortunate victim of this pitfall was the basswork of Caleb Schneider. As dismaying as it is to say it, I can’t even tell how skillful (or generic) his fingerwork was – it’s entirely up in the air, thanks to the producer’s folly.

Despite the poor production standards for the guitars and the bass, what we can hear is tastefully-paced and works with the sole purpose of improving the flow of the album. A great example of such is in album closer “Resultados”, where the speedy riffs are important to the opening of the track. Though the guitarplay eventually slows down to account for the pacing of the other instruments, their contributions are important to the overall feel and progression of the track. To that end, Müerte and Fetus’ handiwork here varies quite maniacally between simple-but-quick notes and slow, grinding riffs. Whatever the case may be, it is guaranteed to be enjoyable, provided you can hear what they’re playing.

With a production that excels at grinding your face off, but fails to deliver the more complex hits directly to its listeners, “Results” is quite a few points away from perfect. Should that stop you from checking it out? Certainly not: I’ve just told you about the spectacular vocal work done by Travis Ryan, the battering and pummeling drumming courtesy of Danny Walker, and the excellent guitarplay by Leon del Müerte and Kevin Fetus. Caleb Schneider’s bass play could have used quite a few more shout-outs, as well, but in the end I can only discuss what I’m handed. If there is one thing that Murder Construct can learn from the release of “Results”, it’s this: a half-assed production job will be something they could certainly do without when they’re considering a new release. Their skill sets deserve much, much more than what they got.

-Pr0nogo
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