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Take Their Life With Yours! - 90%

Larry6990, March 25th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, Unspeakable Axe Records

I'm not gonna be able to resist a band with a name like 'Hemotoxin' whose logo is as beautifully angular as that, now am I? Despite my ignorance of this band's existence, my initial expectation of some progressive thrash metal - perhaps in the vein of Heathen or Toxik - was utterly crushed by the wizardry that is Hemotoxin. Restructure The Molded Mind may sound like the title to the Control Denied sophomore album that never was, but that's only because I can hear Chuck Schuldiner's influence at many points throughout this album. On this, their 3rd full-length, the Pittsburg trio deliver an utterly vicious half-hour of technically sound death metal which oozes both maturity and vigour. I imagine this is what Death would sound like if you combined the mature wholesomeness and lyrical themes of Human with the primal fury and song lengths of Scream Bloody Gore.

I'm sure Hemotoxin won't mind the comparison to the late, great godfather of death metal, seeing as how they've covered Death's iconic "Suicide Machine" in the past. The main factor that relates this album to Schuldiner is Michael Chavez's voice and lyrics. His mid-pitched growls are refreshingly decipherable and he churns out intellectual ramblings with both attitude and maturity. He even hits a few "OUGH!"s for good measure, which are always moments I look forward to (the start of "Acrimony", and the very last riff of the title-track, in case you're wondering!). The frontman also deserves praise for cranking out some insanely techy guitar parts whilst effortlessly delivering vocal mastery. In terms of both rhythm and angular pitch, Restructure The Molded Mind is hard shit to play! Performing this sort of musical wizardry is the stuff metal legends are made of.

Other than utterly exuding the flavour of Death and Cynic, there are plenty of technical thrash elements on this new LP that might please fans of old-school tech-thrash like Annihilator or Xentrix, but will definitely find its way into the hearts of anyone who enjoys Vektor's Terminal Redux. However, enough of the comparisons to garner a sense of Hemotoxin's style; the Pittsburg trio have definitely carved their own sound into the death metal scene with Restructure The Molded Mind. This is an album that will require repeated listens due to the songs' rhapsodic structures. Fortunately, there are outstanding moments sprinkled throughout the album to actually make you want to replay it all over again. After all, it's only 28 minutes! This achieves more than Reign In Blood did in the same amount of time. If the opening blasts of "Nihilistic Principle" don't have you hooked on the overall sound instantly, then you're not cut out for this sub-genre. Speaking of blasts, drummer Brandon Wilcox has improved tenfold in the 7 years since their debut and now jumps from solid grooves to batshit blasts aplenty.

As an opener, "Nihilistic Principle" covers a hell of a lot of ground - containing some pretty huge pounding groove sections, full-on tech/death fury, and a blazing solo. This rings true for the majority of the album. There's very rarely any breathing space. Once a vocal line stops, usually a frenetic lead break takes its place, and vice versa. This only makes the moments where the texture thins even more effective. Particular highlights include the 1:11 mark in "Acrimony" ('Take their life...with...YOURS!'); the eerie acoustic intro to "Execution"; and the massive hulking riff that closes out the title-track - they could not have chosen a better way to end the record - what a fuckin' hammer! Despite all this, nothing could have prepared me for the vicious outro to the LP's first single "Corrupted Flesh" - check that shit out right now and revel in the pure vocal barbarism.

Elsewhere, things can all blur into one due to the sheer steamroller effect of the record. But, as I said, you will absolutely want to hit replay thanks to the stand-out segments and the album's brevity. After a little familiarity, the battering "Unreality", schizophrenic "Legions Of Alienation", and oddly melodic "Automation" - with its weird-ass bass ending - will surely also become highlights. Restructure The Molded Mind achieves a lot and crams so much content into a surprisingly digestible package. After the amount of old-school meat 'n' potatoes death metal I've heard from 2020 so far, this slice of frenzied mastery is sure to make its way to the top of many lists, much like Blood Incantation did last year. Oh, and that trippy artwork is badass too!