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Abnormally bone crushing and pulverizing - 90%

harkwhistler, January 4th, 2011

Abnormality is a death metal band from Massachusetts, United States. While you see a lot of brutal death bands borrow influences from slam and grind and mix it up, these guys keep it pretty straightforward, cleverly combining technicality with brutality to deliver some bonecrushing death metal. To add to that Mallika is easily on of the best female vocalists in the world right now, she simply stirs you up from the inside out with her merciless growls.

The EP starts off with the title track and makes quite an entry with an evil memorable riff, and once all the other instruments kick in, it’s like a huge pile of bricks being pulverized. Absolutely well produced, the drums rip the listener’s ears to shreds. One thing to be noted is the element of groove that these guys incorporate in the music, as opposed to never ending slamming of instruments. The song breaks down after 4 minutes for you to relish the mighty guitaring once again. Another thing to be noted is there’s no mindless guitar wankery either. As can be seen in the second track Hatred Relentless. The fantastic amalgamation of technical brutal riffs with Mallika’s vocals. The groove element is once again made conspicuous while the guitar solo rubs the feel factor in your face. The damage continues into the third and final song Zealotry. The aggression is turned up a notch as it feels like two huge wooden blocks smashing against each other as the double bass pounds the life out of the listener’s speakers. Mallika’s vocals indeed relentless, living up to her aforementioned reputation. The three song pummeling ride comes to a stop quickly as it began, leaving one asking for more.

I would really want to emphasize on the band’s innovation, putting together multiple elements to beat the listener to death, and as a fairly new band they have tons to offer. Each of them truly know their turf and are skilled marksmen (and woman, heh). Kudos to the engineer for magnificently capturing the essence of each instrument and vocals to bring out the gut wrenching sound. Abnormality is certainly a band to watch out for, in the forthcoming decade as they crush everything in their path to deliver ruthless bowel churning death metal.

Sledgehammers nearing the speed limit - 70%

autothrall, October 18th, 2010

Abnormality is a local Massachusetts band which has been kicking around the live circuit for some years now, producing only one demo to my knowledge before this new EP, though some of the members have done time in other brutal underground death metal bands from the New England area (Ascendancy, Teratism, Sexcrement, etc). They're also one of the tightest we've got, performing a beast of semi-technical material with layers of powerful, non-cheap grooves and dense, tormented melodies, and female Mallika is the real deal. She's able to achieve repulsive gutturals and higher pitched snarling with ease, and though I can't claim she is all that sinister within either context, the percussive spread of syllables is well in line with the brickhouse storming guitars and teeth shaking drums.

The influences are of course plentiful here, with a particular nod to Suffocation, Morbid Angel, or Deicide with the excitement level cranked up. I would also compare them to the modern wave of California brutal DM, but the vocals and riffs are carved out slightly different, which might jut be a regional characteristic. The EP features three songs, which seem to get better as they progress. The title track phases into being with a wall of chords that don't really hint at what to expect, but these are followed by a standard, huge chug'n'squeal with choppy muted force and some rather intense footwork by the drummer. "Hatred Relentless" is simply more ear opening: the mix of vocals is more interesting, and the riffs explode across the reined blasting, with a particularly amazing atmosphere conjured by the solo.

"Zealotry" does one better, with the most cyclic and intense riffs found here, a barrage so ungodly you seriously might think artillery shells are razing your neighborhood. Here the band really flexes its chops, from complex machinations to the rumbling groove before the minute mark, and I love the choppy stop/start around 1:10 in the song, with many more surprises to fire at you. It's like a jam off of ferocity, the band trying to beat themselves to a pulp through some dynamic deathtrap labyrinth, and the payload is probably impressive enough to sate the taste glands of the extreme enthusiast. I can't cite Abnormality for indulging in a lot of innovation, this is your stock shock of brutality that a great many bands out there are churning forth at regular intervals. They know the terrain pretty well though, so a little added emphasis on riffing patterns or time signatures that stand out a little more from their demolition zone backdrop will go a long way for them as they crush forward.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Fuck You for Breaking My Scale of Awesome - 84%

MutantClannfear, October 15th, 2010

I always loved this band since I heard their song "Visions" in Rock Band 2. (Yeah, I discover bands through video games. Fucking sue me.) I had always loved the 2007 demo and anxiously stood on my tiptoes waiting for new material. Well, it finally arrived today, and I could not be more pleased. This was nothing I was expecting, but at the same time, I love it more than what was in mind. Everything has improved. All flaws have been smoothed out.

Let's start with the vocalist. Mallika is probably the best girl vocalist in metal at the moment. She already claimed this title in my heart in 2007 with the demo, but here she has fixed every single problem that was noticeable. The growls still sounded a bit female at heart back then, but here they sound completely dehumanized. I'm sure if you took someone like Chris Barnes or Nergal, said they changed their vocal style, and covered this song up as his new material, people would believe it. The growls are strong, forceful, and full of pure fucking hatred. The screams still sound girlish, but they are used less frequently and are a bit more refined and less scratch-ish. There's quite a bit of layering in the vocals (growl-on-growl), but I don't have a problem with it as it's not chanting or -core shouting.

The guitars are an extremely noticeable change. They aren't openly wanking or sweeping anymore; groove is incorporated a lot here. A lot of the grindcore influence is gone, exchanged for death metal riffs. These aren't pure death metal riffs, though; one would be wise to call them a mix of technical death metal and brutal death metal. The guitars have much more force to them (the main riff opening of "The Collective Calm in Mortal Oblivion" officially gets my vote for the heaviest song intro ever, and possibly the heaviest song ever as well) and feel much less raw and hollow, due to increased audibility of the bass (which is just as technical as the guitars). If you've ever gone to this band's iTunes page, you'll see countless people bitching about how the music "has no substance, it's just random notes". Well, it appears this band reacted to the criticism, consciously or otherwise. There is not really anything to complain about on this unfortunately short EP, save typical "I hate death metal! What is this!? It's scary!!!" shit that's bound to arise from any death metal band that's given exposure to pop-loving sheep.

The drummer is still using the drumset he used on the demo, and I just love the sound of it. Haters gonna hate, but I can't stress enough how awesome the snare sounds. I know, I know, it sounds like two thick wood blocks hitting each other, but I for one love it. The bass pedal also has a thick sound that sticks to you easily, and the cymbals sound like most others. This is just the sound of the kit, though; the real fun lies in what he does with it. Unlike the demo, where blasting was the main form of communication, the drummer here spends most of his talent creating awesome fills, which I can't commend enough. He still shows that he has prowess in speed, though, shown in places around the album where the bass pedal is faster than imaginable.

Although the first minute or so of the song "Zealotry" lacks a bit of substance that is evident on the rest of the material and drags a bit with typical death metal work, this is far too great a release to miss. And by the way, Abnormality, please stop making me recalibrate my scale of awesome.