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Dead Rhetoric - 80%

jakemcm3105, August 5th, 2016

Impressing with their 2014 EP, Possessing Entity, Post Mortal Possession have returned with a new EP in the form of Forest of the Damned. Brutal death metal by way of Pittsburgh, the band has found a way to keep the required abrasiveness of the sound intact while sneaking in some elements that are bound to find the band some additional favor as they continue forward.

The layering of melody within the brutal death metal format comes at no added expense or ding to the visceral edge of the band’s music. This is the type of material that easily will find adamant followers in fans of Suffocation, Dying Fetus, or other like-minded bands. The riffs are punishing, particularly at the mid-tempo when speed is tossed aside for groove, and it’s hard not to get your head involved when moving through the riff fields of a track like “Gallows Hill.” But any standard band can pull off riffing that makes you want to break through the nearest wall – Post Mortal Possession keep things a bit more diverse to reel in the listener. The most noticeable aspect of this is with the guitar work itself. Sure, it can go the gamut from technically-driven to groovy, but the leadwork is at times impressively melodic. It rears its head as early as “Skinwalker,” with a solo that is as technically impressive as it is memorable. It’s these leads that provide an added “wow,” along with some melodically-laced riffage (see “Implements of Hell”). None of this takes away from the brutal edge of the music, but gives some added nuance to it. Also lending a hand are the vocals, which go from high to low, growl to squeal, keeping things as dynamic as the instruments that surround it.

Upping the ante from their last EP, Forest of the Damned provides all the prerequisite brutality and injects a sleek sense of melody underneath it all. This is a band to watch within the death metal circle.

Pittsburgh Death Metal - 81%

TheStormIRide, May 5th, 2016

Though Post Mortal Possession is a relatively new force in the Pittsburgh death metal scene, the band has come to embody what is great about the underground in western Pennsylvania. The band’s debut EP, Possessing Entity, which was released in 2014, showed the dark and grimy nature of Pittsburgh’s death metal scene, yet there was solid instrumentation across the board and a hint of technical savvy that held them above most of the lowbrow legions. Returning in 2016 with their second EP, Forest of the Damned, sees the band coming back with a vengeance.

Featuring six tracks and a short intro, Forest of the Damned continues the band’s confident approach to aggressive death metal. Their approach is more honed and sharpened, focusing on technically proficient death metal instead of the differing tempos the debut offered. The riffs are crunchy and destructive, offering frenetic bursts of jagged riffing alongside palm muted grooves. It’s technical without resorting to over-pretentious wankery, focusing instead of pummeling the senses with a constant barrage of heavy riffing. The drumming is phenomenal, offering double bass runs and blasts with the best of them, all the while circling the kit with solid fills. An extremely fat low end round out the band’s sound, rumbling like the subterranean groan of shifting tectonic plates. Two distinct vocal styles are involved; one being a deep, guttural bellowing the other being a higher registered scream.

Forest of the Damned is a fine follow up to the band’s debut EP. It’s much more focused and the performances are tighter across the board. Post Mortal Possession are really starting to make a name for themselves. It’s not reinventing the wheel or anything, but these guys write some pretty killer death metal songs. Unfortunately the band’s vocalist left the group shortly after this recording, but the rest of the members seem to have all intentions of pushing onward. Here’s to the shining new face of the Pittsburgh death metal scene.

Written for The Metal Observer.