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Reincarnating the old-school approach - 85%

slayrrr666, September 17th, 2014

The second full-length release from Italian technical death metal band Electrocution, “Metaphysincarnation,” manages to work into a more dynamic display of technical death metal than expected with its focus on the old-school.

Much like their initial phase years ago, these Italian legends manage to work in plenty of influence from the original Floridian death metal scene. That means this one contains plenty of thrashing amongst its guitar-work, raging through those upper-tempo workouts quite regularly which tends to bring the speed and aggression into play during these sections. This is mixed along nicely with the later stage of the band’s career where they adopted a much, much more pronounced technical bent to their sound more in the fact of how difficult and complex the rhythms are arranged rather than in how showboating the players are in demonstrating endless rounds of wankery on the guitars. While it still maintains that part of most technical death metal bands by offering a rather complex series of patterns and arrangements throughout here but still brandishing a hearty old-school thrashy chug which is quite a refreshing breath in the genre. This tends to give the band a much more defined crunch along the way as opposed to the lighter air featured in a lot of the more modern tech/death bands who opt for the showcasing rather than the blasting brutality and atmosphere present here, even with a few areas throughout here that do tend to feature those more technical patterns on display.

This riffing pattern of mixing in the Floridian model of having technically-complex riffing with a thrash-based attack makes this band a lot more in-tune with the old-school atmosphere that most bands really attempt. Those guitar patterns offer plenty of arrangements that coincide with the rest of the album’s more old-school way by charging alongside the pounding drum-blasts that blow throughout the arrangements here with a reckless abandon that’s wholly enjoyable. Not content to offer dexterous patterns without really charging through the fray like most bands of this ilk would attempt, here there’s a simplistic, frantic energy to the drumming with its usage of hard-hitting thrash patterns to really churn up the energy and brutality far more than the technicality which furthers the old-school atmosphere alongside the deep, heavy riffing on the rest of the music which is quite impressive. Not only that, there’s also that clanking slew of bass-lines on display which really gives this a hearty, weighty depth to the album whether it’s during the deep chugging for the thrash-paced patterns or descending into technical showcasing much like during the rather dynamic sections that gives this a chance to explore those more complex rhythms and arrangements afforded to it by the technicality in the guitars so it can sound a lot more like the old-school version of the scene more than the current slate of tech/death.

Overall the album does have a lot to like with regards to its’ mixture present in here. There’s a rather ravenous old-school approach here that’s quite gloriously used here to make for an overall monster of an album that really sounds a lot more enthusiastic of its’ past than most modern bands claiming to be old-school influenced really get which is all a part of their continuation of their original sound that was actually part of that original scene which is what makes this so energetic and appealing. Featuring those thrashing rhythms with a slew of complex riff-patterns and the occasional bent of more modern technical death metal stylings by using that wanking approach only in the most appropriate places where the technical showcasing serves itself the best rather than just for showing off their skill-set needlessly. That touch makes for a more dynamic approach when it’s not too focused on having the technicality serve no purpose here so that it manages to work in both the showcasing of their skills while letting the atmosphere breathe throughout which causes this a great deal of good but also manages to dig up it’s one lone flaw that can harm this one. The fact that it does tend to favor those old-school rhythms and arrangements throughout this does tend to place a lot of songs into the same familiar pattern which is a little disconcerting in that many of the songs can tend to bleed into each other with all the blasting drum-work and frantic riffing on display. There’s enough to change things up, but this does run into familiar ground quite easily so several of these songs can bleed together, or even worse off, feel like lesser versions of other tracks already on here . This is quite rare but props up enough to become an issue, which is enough to lower this one slightly.

There’s no real difference here between the album halves, which makes for a cohesive listen. The intense ‘Wireworm’ features crushing drumming and raging riff-work along with plenty of dynamic patterns rattling through the tight chugging, swirling lead-work and ominous atmosphere through the mid-section as a blazing solo and frantic tempos continue on into the finale, starting this off with a dynamic, impressive offering. Even better, ‘Phylogenesis’ brings complex drumming and tight, thrash-laced patterns with a heavy, pounding drum attack and plenty of complex riffing that makes for rather technical chugging in the later half with more dynamic riffing found in the tight, frantic finale for a truly dynamic album highlight. While not quite as good, ‘Abiura’ uses heavy chugging and dynamic drumming along a stuttering mid-tempo path that works in plenty of frantic riff-work from tight buzzing patterns to start/stop arrangements and fiery soloing along the thumping drumming and tight riffing, which does make for a fine-if-somewhat unspectacular effort amongst the rest of the songs. ‘Bloodless’ gets back into action with technical mid-tempo riffing blazing with frantic drumming with plenty of razor-edged riffing in the tight rhythm as a series of atmospheric sections interrupt the blazing thrash with slower segments full of meandering riff-work and stagnant paces for another dynamic offering. What might be the album’s best track, ‘As a Son to His Father’ features tremolo-picked leads that flow into raging up-tempo pounding and furious riffing that features tight patterns, utterly frantic patterns blazing throughout and soaring, mid-paced soloing rattling through the frantic final half, easily making itself an essential cut on the album. As well, ‘Panopticon’ features mid-tempo riffing with plenty of tight rhythms and intense drum-pounding chugging through the first half full of intense paces that allow the tight chugging into the fray during the more restrained sections and frenetic blasting elsewhere with a melodic finale for a thoroughly enjoyable effort.

The second half to this is much in the same manner as the first half. ‘Nature Obliteration’ brings tight, intense blasting and furious thrashing riff-work that offers a rather frantic, furious sense of blasting throughout with an intense blend of rhythms and technical riffs along with the tight drumming through the finale, turning into a fine album highlight. Likewise, the more technically-inclined ‘Logos’ uses swirling technical rhythms that turns into tight mid-tempo chugging and frantic drumming with plenty of tight rhythms offering varying tempo changes against the dynamic and blistering drum-patterns that segue through melodic leads and tight, frantic blasting, bringing along another stand-out offering. Instrumental ‘Aliento del Diablo’ is a throwaway interlude of light acoustic guitar fluttering with plenty of stylish flourishes and gorgeous patterns. While not outright terrible, ‘Spirals in Tension’ features swirling technical patterns and intense blasting through furious tempos with tight rhythms, technical guitar dynamics and pounding drumming that carries the relentless pace through the frantic riff-work and raging tempos into the finale that tends to sound like a lot of other tracks here and doesn’t do much originality with them. Going back to basics, ‘Anthropocentric’ is raging, immediate blasting and intense swirling technical riff-work rattling through the intense patterns with frantic riffs and technical prowess flowing through into the more melodic finale, ending the album on a positive note.

While there’s not a whole lot to really get upset with in this one, there’s also not a whole lot that really pushes this past the upper-tier of where they could’ve gone with their sound which is to be expected after this long a lay-off. While not as dynamic or important as their earlier efforts, this is still enough of a raging slice of old-school death metal to let fans of that style enjoy this one immensely while those looking for blazing death metal are advised to seek this one out.

No shocks here (sorry) - 75%

Daemonlord, May 10th, 2014

Italians Electrocution return after years in the wilderness with their second full length album ‘Metaphysincarnation’, which for me is already a front runner for the ‘most difficult album to pronounce when drunk’ award for 2014. Having been known mainly for their debut from 1993, an original physical copy of ‘Inside the Unreal’ was renowned for being a highly sought after gem in death metal lore, its name spoken in hushed whispers in the darkest corners of the internet. The contributing factors of its release on a tiny label, little to no distribution and most importantly high quality music meant it was revered in many a metal forum, the knock on effect causing eBay scalpers to have a field day until it received a long awaited reissue last year.

So, how does Electrocution 2014 fare in comparison to their classic material from 20+ years ago? In all honesty, not too badly. Sure, ‘Metaphysincarnation’ doesn’t quite measure up to their debut as is often the case with bands who return to the fold after quite so much time away, but there is still a lot to like here. Opening with ‘Wireworm’, the opening down tuned chords smash you with evil sounding chants as an accompaniment, before the starting pistol fires and all hell is unleashed. I can hear chunks of the Floridian death metal scene in their sound (as was the case all those years ago too), with Deicide’s speed and Morbid Angel’s disharmony pushed to the forefront, but with the boosted production values of this release, I can hear a lot of the modern polished Polish death metal sound too, with thrashing yet chunky riffs that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Vader or Dies Irae album. Come the mid-album mark, tracks such as ‘Bloodless’ and ‘Panopticon’ actually have moments which recall ‘Human’ era Death (but perhaps without quite the progressiveness) with tremolo picked guitars and duelling dual solos packed with melodious guitar gymnastics. It’s the mix between the varying inspirations in styles that makes this album what it is, giving off vibes of other bands without necessarily sounding like a carbon copy. The acoustic guitar piece ‘Aliento Del Diablo’ revives me every time, standing vividly out from the bombast and carpet bombing, refreshing my palette for the obese sounding ‘Spirals in Tension’ and the majestic album closer ‘Anthropocentric’ (which after many spins is one of my favourite tracks on the album).

Returning reinvigorated after their near two decade slumber, it would seem Electrocution are ready to take on the world with their fast, catchy and sparkling brand of death metal. Thrashy riffs, a monstrous low end and good old fashioned song writing make for a happy listener, so keep a mental note of ‘Metaphysincarnation’ next time you’re looking for some polished deathly goodness to abuse your ears with.

Originally written for