Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2020
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Revel in their bleak heaviness - 83%

Annable Courts, September 15th, 2020

Subtlety isn't this band or album's strong point, nor is it necessary when the point is to be utterly destructive the way this album here is.

Right off the bat, an uncompromising and primal scream, like an ogre smashing through a door, welcomes the listener into the bleak and powerful world of 'Fear, Emptiness, Despair'. The album makes no effort to be appealing whatsoever and just spews its filthy brand of death-grind all over the place. Every track is as nasty and loose as the next and doesn't care for any remote notion of convention whether it's proper song intros, tidiness in song-writing, making the vocals sound tight or technical showboating to impress the listener. And it works so damn well that way. The album has immeasurable amounts of charm with how dirty and relentless it is, and the songs still don't come across as grindcore soup.

The tracks give themselves the freedom to be brutal with highly energetic power chord grooves, then throw in a darkly melodic or abrasive low-tuned open string riff, go death metal tremolo picking over blast beats unexpectedly, and then go full-on atmospheric (as on the dark and sorrowful 'More Than Meets the Eye', notably). The giant sounding grooves are just contagious and terribly headbang-inducing, and they're distributed just right among the other sections for more effect when they come on. They're so perfectly balanced with their progression between one part and the next, and how the changing grooves on the drums conduct the whole. They might sound simplistic on the surface but they're actually all over the fret-board, jack-knife quick power chord successions that just never quit, and this must be really challenging stuff to handle for a full live show. Relentless stuff, just really no other way to put than they're heavy as fuck. Some of the guitar work might come as a surprise with how experimental and outside-the-box it is, as the first riff on 'Primed Time' shows with its coarse low/high octave playing.

By all means this could've sounded utterly redundant, with so much of the music being about heavy grooves on every single track, and yet it instills a form of constant excitement into the listener provided they have a taste for this sort of savagery. The energy is so contagious from beginning to end. It's like an unrelenting bulldozer crushing everything in its path and it'll beat the crap out of you but in a way that's somehow relevant after each stop before the next aural assault. Try giving even the last song, 'Living in Denial', an ear. It's no filler song by any stretch.

Moreover, it's got that mid 90's sound where the production isn't as crisp as on later releases but the songs just come alive without being overproduced. It's organic and loose and its intensity feels untrammeled and untamed. It's got this natural girth and momentum about it, almost like a full-band live recording in the studio.

The dark atmospheric touch and the subversive melodic element, almost industrial and reminiscent of Godflesh in feel, adds that extra dynamic and depth that makes it viable even for the non death/grind fanatic. It settles the listener into a sort of trance with its brutal power chord repetitions and forceful drums, like easing into this manic rhythmic pounding and falling prey to its engulfing energy. Its sheer passion and ability to renew its momentum track after track sets it apart from lots of similar releases which dwell in more shallow areas of the death-grind universe. This is powerful, bleak atmospheric death-grind with real purpose and personality of rare quality, which probably won't be replicated again given the direction the scene has taken today.