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Immortality Comes with some Minor Flaws - 92%

Mailman__, February 24th, 2018

Four years ago, Alterbeast released this 30-minute, eight-track-long album.  It's a lot to take in in just half an hour, and it's certainly complex stuff, but while everyone's falling head-over-heels for this album, I do not believe that it is all that people say it is.  Yes, It's good.  Yes, it's melodic.  It's got everything a modern tech-death outlet requires.  It even, to some extent, stands out from the normal tech-death band.  I would say that it's definitely interesting when it comes to the solos as they sound like a mix of Necrophagist and Virvum, and their songwriting is great when it comes to the structure, but there's still something missing.

Oh, that's right, the killer riffs.  While there are a lot of cool riffs on here, none of them seem to stand out to me.  There is that cool solo in "Flesh Bound Text" that repeats once more near the end of the song.  In fact, it's that very solo that makes this track my favorite on the album.  However, as far as riffage goes, it's either typical tech-death finger exercises or it's a riff harvested from The Black Dahlia Murder's "Nocturnal."  Sometimes it's a combination of both.  There are some riffs that do not follow this particular pattern such as the aforementioned track, but still, the problem exists.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that when I hear these riffs, I don't go "Holy shit that's good." They just sort of happen, and, although I enjoy them, I'm not impressed.  I've heard it all before.

I'm not saying it's bad, but if one listens to melodic death metal, it's an incredibly predictable genre.  It's a metal genre with a few templates and the artists limit themselves to these templates quite often.  This album has a lot of melo-death influnce, especially in the last track, "Throne of Maggots."

Oh, also, there's this terrible riff on "Of Decimus Divine" that lasts from 1:40 to 1:44.  It's just four seconds, but it pisses me off.  It's so gross and sounds like the band was just dying to find some sort of transition between the fast shredding and the slow(er) second half of the song.  Let's just say that it disgusts me so much that I felt the need to include it in this review.

This is just the beginning of how many problems I have with this album.  It's not that I hate the album; it's just that it's a debut with a lot of minor errors (they kinda correct themselves on "Feast," but I'll get to that later).

Another problem I have with "Immortal" is that it only has three tracks.  I am aware that there are eight tracks, but let's be real here, it's just three tracks ("Flesh Bound Text", "Ancient's Retribution", and "Throne of Maggots") surrounded by filler.  After track one comes "Of Decimus Divine."  Listening to it, it's a great track, but it's very short and speeds through so fast that the listener, if not paying attention, will think that this track and "Vile Remnants" are one track.  In other words, these tracks run together.  Same goes with tracks five through seven.  They're all stellar tracks, but they are short and run into each other.  Although "Serpentspire" is a great track, it unfortunately gets swallowed up by "Into Oblivion."

So if you ask anyone what their favorite track from this album is, I bet the answer will be one of the three actual tracks.  And if you ask someone about "Flesh Bound text," they'll say "Oh, that's the one that starts the album off and has the classical intro and outro."  If you ask someone about "Ancient's Retribution," they'll say "Oh, that's the shreddy one."  And if you ask someone about "Throne of Maggots," they'll say "Oh, that's the one that ends the album and has that cool riff" (that cool riff that sounds like something that The Black Dahlia Murder would come up with).

Another problem I have with this album is the structure of the entire album.  I touched base on this a tiny bit, but not really.  I'm not just talking about better transitions between songs (so that they are actually identifiable), I am talking about track placement.  It may seem very petty to some people, but this matters to me, so I'm going to talk about it.  First thing's first, the structure already presented on "Immortal" is very good.  They took their best three songs and spread them out very nicely so that the listener thinks that the entire album is good, while it's just three songs doing the trick (I love the other songs, but let's be honest, those three were the one's that they made videos for and they are the strongest songs).  This is very good because most bands clump their best tracks all at the beginning.

Anyways, to the problem at hand.  I think that this album would have been a lot better if "Flesh Bound Text" ended the album and "Throne of Maggots" started it.  Honestly, this would have given this album a couple more percentage points on my scale.  The reasoning behind this is that with the classical outro on the first track, it would make a great ending.  It gives the listener a bit of time to contemplate what the hell they just heard.  Also, it is their strongest piece on the album, making it the grand finale, a display of all of their skills in one song.  It's a song that contains everything presented on this album, perfectly wrapping it up.  "Throne of Maggots," on the other hand, is a great track, so it would make a great opener.  It may not be their best work, but it's definitely one of the best on this album.  It's just a great song to ease the listener into the album.  It has good hooks and a nice vibe that an introduction track should have.

In total, the material and musicianship presented here is incredible.  The riffs are average and oftentimes predictable, but the song structure is absolutely perfect, compensating for the predictability.  This album has some flaws that go overlooked and take many listens to notice (I've listened to this album at least six times before reviewing it).  As far as modern technical death metal goes, this album is a great representation of it.  Bravo, Alterbeast, I can't wait to review "Feast" (I've listened to it three times today because Decibel Magazine has a stream of it and it's the day before it comes out).