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When I first heard this album, it blew me away. I then headed on over to Metal Archives and wrote a glowing review for it, because I felt it was my duty to spread word of this awesome band and their debut effort. However, my opinions have changed slightly now that I’ve had time for the inner hype to die down. This is a great album, or at least a good one, but now that I’ve had time to think, I have to say it’s not as perfect as once thought. The tracks sound the same at first, and the album doesn't last very long, but the musicianship and overall quality is great.
This album does have quite a few strong points. It opens with a fast, attention-grabbing track, “Altar of Corruption,” and it never slows down from there. The guitar solos are fast, heavily whammied, and distorted, the rhythm guitar sounds appropriately evil and dirty, while the drums and bass pound away underneath. Vocals are high black-metal-esque shrieks, though a little more decipherable than most true black metal artists, which I find is good. The lyrics expressed by these shrieks don’t cover a lot of new material as far as I can tell (e.g., Altar of Corruption is a religion-basher) but they are still decent and not all of them have a clear meaning, which leaves them open to interpretation.
Unfortunately, these strong points grow to be monotonous. The entire album is like the first track, and although Razor of Occam obviously aren’t the only artist with an album like that, there is not quite enough variation here to make it worthwhile to listen to the entire thing. Here, perhaps, is where the short length becomes good. RoO kept this album short and sweet, and made sure their brutal black/thrash formula didn’t overstay its welcome. Each song on this album is great, but put together the differences begin to blur. So, keeping it around 35 minutes long was a great way to prevent the listener from being bored to death. Still, this puts the album at quite a few minutes shorter than a lot of albums are, so if you've got 15 bucks to spend at a record store, this isn't the best deal out there.
But all in all, this is a powerful debut by an artist that I hope will not disappoint in the future. Yes, there were flaws, no, it’s not a masterpiece, but it’s a step in the right direction for sure. A little more differentiation between the evil, apocalyptic riffs and these guys could go to great lengths.