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I haven't followed the various projects of Matti Way for a while, the last release I heard featuring him was Liturgy's debut, although, his recent band Pathology has released its third full-length titled 'Age Of Onset'. This group was formed in 2006 and he isn't the only big name in here: the drummer is Dave Astor who was also the drummer and founding member of Cattle Decapitation. Beside them the trio's third member is Tim Tiszczenko (who has another side-project called 'Being Killed' with Dave Astor and Levi Fuselier from Disgorge). According to this and to the fact that their label is the great underground death metal-family Comatose Music, it's obvious what we could get from Pathology: brutal hell-bent death metal with vocals from 10 feet under in 'Matti-style'.
The cover proves it with its apocalyptic artwork which fits well into the main theme of the band. I like it really much! It caught my attention at first sight with its color and the high quality of the drawing, it's much better than most of today's death metal covers. The artwork's atmosphere is strengthened in the music too with an intro and some explosions. These effects are pointless and annoying, for a moment we can't here anything but a huge noise because this explosion sound have been overdriven. Despite this, the sound is okay, I didn't like the tone of Matti's vocal sound though. It sounds a bit like he took a paper cup as a vocal-distorter. It mustn't be his fault, I know, the problem is that his vocal parts here also aren't as varying as they could be. Dare to say, this is the weakest performance he ever did according to what I heard from him (which means every release except the first two Pathology albums). It doesn't mean that he's bad, he's far from there, it's just that I know he can do better. He rarely uses his deeper growl, and besides, I couldn't understand a single word of what he's singing, not even with reading the lyrics simultaneously. I know that his style makes it hard to hear out the words but it wasn't a problem earlier with his other works.
I'm not sure how much is Matti's responsibility in that and how much is the producer's (who was Jeff Forest from Doubletime Studios), but because of that, there are a few flat moments on this album despite that in the background the guitars and the rhythm section play nice themes. In spite of that, the songwriting is really good. The opener 'Symptoms Of Bleeding' has its moments already and they boost it with a kicker severe riff in the self-titled 'Age Of Onset' and with involving more and more various elements in the other songs, like deathcore-parts, groovy and almost melodic riffs (as we can hear these at the end of 'Gestation Begins'). The virtue of them is that they are able to write brutal, technical and catchy songs at the same time, so this record could be an often guest in anybody's CD-player. There are a few weaker moments, although, they are not bad just not as killer as the rest. The album doesn't stop for a moment, the 29 minutes of this deathbringer-machinery tears across us with it's high pace.
Matti didn't blunder with this project again and it's nice that Dave also didn't let himself to vanish away after leaving – or more accurately being fired - from Cattle Decapitation, this genre is in need of the drummers at his level. The 'Age Of Onset' is a great brutal death metal release with an outlook of high standard and skilled musicians. It is highly recommended for the fans of Disgorge and Matti's other works, also, it could be a nice offer for those who prefer brutal fast music.
( Originally written for: http://kronosmortus.hu )