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Better than Job For a Cowboy - 88%

Lustmord56, July 21st, 2009

Review originally published at http://www.teethofthedivine.com by Erik Thomas

One could easily look at the moniker, cookie cutter logo, generic computerized cover art, and Metal Blade’s recent release history, and make the assumption that As You Drown is merely another drop in the generic deathcore bucket.

Wrong.

As You Drown (previously named Ethereal) hail from Sweden and play death metal. Really good fucking death metal. The same kind of death metal that balance brutality, savagery and complexity and heft as country mates Insision delivered on 2002s Beneath the Folds of Flesh, but with a thicker, modern gloss and sheen.

From start (”Ruins and Dead Ends”) to finish (”Needles”) simply rips and rumbles with a confidence and tenacity I have not heard on a debut in a while. The effort was mixed/ mastered at Studio Mega by Christian Silver (The Crown, Sonic Syndicate, Impious), but is so damn chunky and hefty it sounds like it was mastered by Tue Madsen on steroids and those familiar with Belgian/Danish death metal will appreciate the huge chunky tones, (again, on steroids).

While admittedly, there isn’t anything too awfully original going on here, there’s not a breakdown in sight and its performed with such self assurance and balls it commands your attention as tracks like “Horns”, “What is Worst”, “Open Wound Salvation” and more restrained ” Ashes” deliver rumbling tumbling riffs, ferocious blast beats and time changes abound. However, the standout has to be “Swallow”, with its runaway train pace. Vocalist Henrik Blomquist has a deep, if processed bellow and the whole affair comes across as the huge sounding bridge between Whitechapel, Behemoth and older Aborted.

I’m surprised Metal Blade released this a week before to the utterly forgetful sophomore Job For a Cowboy album, as Reflection blows that away and along with Moker’s Total Domination and The Cleansing’s Poisoned Legacy offer up one three similarly styled, superb but unheralded death metal releases of 2009 .