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Overrated? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?? - 100%

TheSunOfNothing, November 26th, 2009

In all of death metal, there are only two albums that, in my opinion, perfectly define the genre. These albums are Suffocation's "Pierced From Within", and this. Now, some people claim this to be an overrated album. I have a quick little message for these people. The term "overrated" means (obviously) that something fails to reach any of the expectaions one had for the album. Now, let's look at what one might expect from this album:

BRUTALITY. No one can deny this record is brutal. In fact, other than numerous melodic solos and the piano at the beginning of "Phobophile", this record is basically straight brutality for the 30 minutes it runs. Now, while this is a bad thing when done improperly, due to the (usual) lack of intelligence put into the music (it is common knowledge that brutality and stupidity come hand in hand), such is not the case here. Take one look at those lyrics, and you'll see that Lord Worm isn't trying to appear to be insane (like Chris Barnes or Corpsegrinder), he IS insane. As for the riffs, they vary greatly, from extremly technical ("Crown of Horns") to tremelo picked, more grindcore oreiented ("Dead and Dripping") to more standard brutal death ("Graves of the Fathers") to melodic and actually somewhat beautiful in my opinion ("Phobophile").

TECHNICALITY. Once again, no one can deny this record is technical. In fact, this is one of the most technical albums I have ever heard that continues to stay consistant rather than sounding like a huge mess of notes (see Brain Drill or Psyopus). While the guitars don't focus much on this outside of the solos, the drums and bass are where this is best displayed. Flo's drums here are utterly phenominal. And unlike John Longstreth (who I personally prefer), Flo doesn't blast his whole way through the album and rather keeps us awake with constant yet still somehow unpredictable fills and constant tempo changes. However, don't accuse him of being too inconsistant, as I assure you his constant changes do not effect the album's consistancy in any way, and won't have you praying for a Metallica cover later on the album. Then there's the classic Eric Langolis, who is actually put up front in most of the songs on this disc. There is the slap-bass section in "Orgiastric Disembowelment", the sweep picked bass/slap bass solo in "Slit Your Guts", the intro to "Graves of the Fathers", the intro to "Phobophile", and so on. Then there are the parts where he stands out even when the guitars and drums are shredding at full volume, likely most noticable in "Slit Your Guts", which is filled with some remarkable bass work, not just in the solo, but in the brutal death metal section after it where his bass techniques lead the way for the other band members. Eric basically leads all the brutal death metal inspired sections on this album by making them stand out ridiculously, whether it be with a bass solo or a slap bass fill. Then we have Jon, who's melodic solos were at this time something unheard of in tech/brutal death. Some of his most remarkable solos include the classic one in "Slit Your Guts", the epic one in "Phobophile", with my all time favourite being the one in "Dead and Dripping" (which leaves a truly lasting impression on the listener in a way I cannot describe). In other words, Jon has some of the most beautiful solos in death metal, which is ironic as these beautiful solos combined with the next factor would in most cases appear to be a recipe for disaster.

CREEPINESS. It takes a bit of examination to notice this factor of the album, displayed mostly by vocalist Lord Worm. While many vocalists simply grunt and growl lyrics without really adding anything to the music overral, Lord Worm is different. His indecipherable zombie growls, high pitched shrieks, and virtually unexplainable gurgle-squeals (such as the infamous closing scream of "Benedictine Convulsations") will have you wondering how the fuck he did this, and most of all, if he is in fact human. Lord Worm is one of the few vocalists that embodies the growl so well that it doesn't even sound like a human is making these sounds, and one of an even more select group of vocalists who actually send chills down my fucking spine! Examples of these vocals are scattered around randomly throughout the album, such as the opening to "Graves of the Fathers", or the last growl of "Phobophile" (likely the most chilling of all), and the opening growl of "Lichmistress". Even more chilling is the lyrics of the album which are, if I do say so myself, the best lyrics in any death metal, BY FUCKING FAR. I have never read lyrics this creepy in death metal. Here is a small section of the lyrics of "Crown of Horns", the opening track.

"Sire of sin,
You embody me
To you we congregate;
None so vile,
Your magnificent
Crown of horns
Inspires deeds maleficent.

Destroy the parasite [x3],
Destroy Jesus Christ.

They'll crawl in their perdition,
The righteous will be lost
Where gutted angels lie fucked...
Beneath the funeral cross;
We'll dig them a mass grave soon,
And bring to their knees
Those who would have rescinded
The laws of disease."

It's obvious Lord Worm knows his words. The lyrical topics here vary from gore, mutilation, satan, disease, sex, and so on, in a way that would send a slight shiver down even HP Lovecraft's spine.

PRODUCTION. The production of this album is phenominal. Every instrument (including the bass guitar) is equally loud, and the guitar tone, snare tone, bass tone, and bass drum tone are awesome. One cool feature is that when Jon is shredding it doesn't totally drown out all the other instruments, not even the bass, which is very rare in music these days.

Now, there is only one flaw I can point out about this album, and it doesn't appear to be a very noticeable one (and it's not big enough to take any points away from the album's whole score). You see, Lord Worm, in all his glory, only sings about half of each song. Now, while this is exceptible in most music, here he tends to cram all his lyrics into one spot which leaves most of the song devoid of vocals at all, leaving most of the riffs, designed for vocal accompaniment, slightly forgettable. However, with the combined effort of Eric, Jon, and Flo, these holes are stitched back together in a way unmatched by any band before or after.

All in all, no album has, or likely will, be recorded with such a perfect lineup, in a way that every member contributes an equal amount to the album's sound and results in a masterpiece. While this is not the best album in death metal, it's really really really fucking close, and it's definatly on the top 3. While I can understand that this album isn't exactly for everyone, as it is unorthodox even by death metal standards, it is an essential album in the collection of anyone who claims to like death metal, and judging by the 4 main reasons people cite it as so amazing, it is obvious it delivers in all 4 areas. I'm not saying anyone who dislikes this album is an idiot (although I do certainly think that), I am merely saying that this album is one of the most underrated albums in all of metal, due to the fact that closed minded metalheads refuse to accept anything different.

All hail Cryptopsy!