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Quite good, though not flawless - 80%

davkov85, August 29th, 2009

On their promo sheet, Nervecell announces itself as „the most potential metal outfit in the Middle East”. Taken into account the fact that Melechesh (which is considered to be Israeli) moved to the Netherlands for many years, Tangorodrim split up and that I don’t really like Orphaned Land, in my view this is not very far from the truth. „Preaching the Venom” turns out to be a pretty strong release.

The music is a powerful mixture of thrash and death just in between music-wise and definitely on the death side regarding the vocals. The fusion is actually so successful that you can notice Swedish and American death, classic and neothrash influences, and even some melodeath harmonies and solos at the same time. Although there are fast parts on the release, they don’t commit the mistake of constantly blasting throughout the whole album; there are many slower and mid-paced themes too.

Besides the chugging they fortunately don’t forget about songwriting either. There are many well-done riffs on the album, and although not every song is perfect, none is definitely boring (however, the instrumental – but otherwise absolutely metal – track „Ratios” is a bit overplayed for me with its six and a half minute length.) Besides death / thrash, Eastern influences rear up their head time to time, and we can also hear some acoustic themes but only as decorative motifs. These parts fit the songs smoothly, mostly occurring at the slower interlude sections.

Technically speaking all musicians deliver well, but drummer David Haley deserves special mention. It’s a pleasure to listen to his play; he nicely filled the songs with ornaments but can also grind when needed. The guitar work is creative; right in the first song there are severed death staccato, some hardcore breakdown and a to-the-point melodeath solo peacefully put next to one another.

I only have two problems with this release. The first is the sound. It was mixed in Hertz Studio (Poland), where a number of Vader, Decapitated and Hate materials have been mixed; still, this is not groundbreaking. It’s enjoyable but could have borne some more polishing. Especially the guitars sound thin, mostly resembling to the thrash of the ’80s; and compared to that, the vocals got too much in the foreground.

The other problem is that some themes sound too déja vu to me. The opening riff of track two „Vicious Circle Of Bloodshed” is so familiar that I could swear on it that I have already heard it in a Dew-Scented song; and the harmony in the middle of the song just mirrors the beginning of „Murder One” by the not too well-known and already split-up band The Wake. But there are many more examples; I raised my head many times and tried to figure out from which song of Malevolent Creation (Cannibal Corpse, Carnal Forge, Kreator, Death, and even Psycroptic…) can be familiar what is just being played.

Apart from that, this is a surprisingly good album. We should also bear in mind how difficult it is to do metal there. Even if it is not legally forbidden to play such music in the Emirates (I know with certainty that it was in many other Arab countries such as Lebanon some years ago), it still can’t be easy in a country where there is practically no scene. In spite of all that Nervecell produced an album that measures up, even by American or Scandinavian standards. I hope to hear more from them.

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