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This is an album you cannot listen to after listening to their debut (when I say 'you' I'm referring to myself), "Diabolical Bloodshed". Why? Well, what we have here is a completely different beast than the aforementioned debut. One of the more noticeable changes would be the production. It has much more grit than what was presented on the debut, giving the guitars a more sludgy edge as apposed to the (slightly) cleaner tone on "Diabolical Bloodshed".
The other would be a lessened presence of the bass. Sure, you can hear it clunking along behind the guitars, but it does rarely step up to make its presence truly known (aside from its performance in the Nihilist-infused "Sickening" and "Into Black"), which was really an aspect of "Diabolical Bloodshed" I truly loved. Next, the vocalist. He's not too important when it comes to the overall sound, but that doesn't make up for the fact that he is still there. His contributions consist of hollow growls and screams with the occasional meaty performance usually in the form of overdubbing.
Last and least, the drummer. The poor guy is so far back into the production it's difficult to make out what he is doing exactly. His entire kit is audible, but he's just made to be so quite. The production does the same thing it had done to the drums on Vital Remains' "Forever Underground" by practically muting the snare whenever a blast beat is performed.
Gripes aside, this turned out to be a worthy effort. There are plenty of riffs to accommodate in all their ancient deathly glory. There are plenty of songs here that pay homage to the old masters. "The End Written In Blood" is one with it slowing down to an Autopsy-ish doom-laden part before speeding up again. The aforementioned "Sickening" has a bass solo in the middle. "Under the Five Pointed Star" reminds me of Dismember's "In Death's Sleep" in the beginning.
Really, there's not too much to hate here. Despite the rather rash change in style, they still deliver a solid effort despite its obvious flaws. Any fans of the debut or old school death metal in general will enjoy this extensively. However, their best is still yet to come. This is merely a tribute to the old masters.