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Goldenseed > Illness > Reviews
Goldenseed - Illness

A Tractate on Various Little Deaths - 92%

bayern, February 13th, 2021

Well, it’s Gabriele Pala, after all; you can't expect him to leave things hanging with a not very convincing, not very bizarre by his standards, tribute to the 90’s vogues that was this astral hologram spread out four years prior. Besides, we’re living in virus-ridden times… we have to pay tribute to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity any which way we can… and boom, here comes an album that dissects ten of the deadliest viruses to ever plague mankind; missing out on the current COVID-19 one, but that one is not really worth wasting tunes/lyrics on.

A tractate of the kind by all means demands a more outlandish musical background, and Pala doesn’t miss the chance to bring back his inimitable eclectic flair from the earlier exploits. Right off-the bat, this isn’t death metal by any stretch; the ancient temple of Karnak, to which the man pledged allegiance in the past, hasn’t been resurrected. This is more along the lines of Pala’s second instalment, a less ordinary progressive metal conglomerate but not as turbulently eccentric and decidedly more accessible. Still, bouts of atonality and strange time-signatures will engulf the listener on “Eberthella Typhi”, a restless bouncer which also tosses a few addictive melodies into the air. The nervy unpredictable execution becomes the main frame before long, reaching near-headbanging proportions (“Plasmodium Vivax”) at times; at others it indulges in some really stylish technical thrashing (“Mycobacterium Leprae”) which fans of Coroner and Vektor may end up listening for hours.

Mentioning thrash, this tag can also be adhered to elsewhere (the variegated dramatic masterpiece “Yersinia Pestis”, the short speedy hecticer “Vibrio Cholerae”), but the album stretches into other directions with dark atmospheric semi-linearity (“Clostidrium Tetani”) detected at some stage, the robotic modern skeleton (“Ebolavirus”) of the preceding opus also touched lightly, before the hyper-active technical proto-death/thrash rhythms on “Corynebacterium Ulcerans” swing things towards the other opposite, this vivid speedy digression partly mirrored on the sparse spastic blast-beats on “Corynebacterium Ulcerans”, and on the dystopian sterile shredder “Mycobacterium Tubercolosis”, a mutated abstract industrial thrasher with echoes of early Skrew, greatly enlivened by the standout melodic lead sections.

Pala gives full green card to his axeman proclivities, enriching the canvas with frequent lead pyrotechnics; nothing overbearing or sprawling but still insistent enough to remind of his third all-instrumental effort. His delectable melodic licks provide a nice, desirable contrast to the angular unorthodox riff-patterns which never stand still, moulding themselves into various twisted forms. The thrash-prone ones seem to dominate, especially in the second half, but this only adds intensity to the floating weirdness, making it even more alluring and again easier to digest. To stay on this thought some more, this opus could be viewed slightly superior to the sophomore as again bizarreness for its sake is almost nowhere to be encountered, every composition standing for itself with dignity and distinction, propelling the virus-dominated idea comprehensively for the large part, for everyone to get the message loud and clear.

More messages of the sort, please! We insist on being educated regarding all sickening disasters that may eventually hit us in the future. Pala is so far content enough with providing the musical themes for these tractates, but I totally see him commencing work on terribly effective remedies to those plagues not far from now… he surely has the skills to achieve that.