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Let's Watch Scarred - 68%

Tanuki, January 10th, 2019

Don't tell me you don't remember MTV Scarred? That show where skateboarders would twist their appendages in all sorts of new and exciting directions, punctuated in equal measure by highly distorted "metal-tronica" and that douchey guy from Papa Roach? It was basically the caucasian equivalent of Pimp My Ride, when MTV cared enough about music to relegate it to closeups of shiny Lexani rims, or closeups of a sequacious teenager's blood-soaked face. Dissimulate would be perfect for that second one.

Now I, in my infinite mental darkness, was under the impression that Sarcófago's Hate was as crazy as a drum machine could get. Along comes The Berzerker to make that album sound humanly possible by comparison. Drum rolls and snare rushes are so ludicrously executed, I'm tempted to compare the percussive carnage to Aaron Funk, better known as Venetian Snares. Despite representing entirely separate genres, the two acts share a lot in common. Namely the use of sampling, subtle time signature changes (in the same way an M3 Satan Tank is subtle), and the permeant atmosphere of frenzied paranoia and inarticulate rage. The Berzerker very much lives up to its name in their most famous and critically acclaimed album, but let tell you, it's not for everyone.

Hell, it's only occasionally for me. In the moments where I throw caution and thoughts of tinnitus to the wind, I'll blast this album and enjoy literally every minute of it. I'll get goosebumps from the "They rot together with absolute biological equality" line before an explosion of distorted kick drums, high voltage riffs, and a death growl all coalesce into the aural equivalent of Truckasaurus. Other times, when I find myself with a hankering for more introspective and melody-driven death metal, I can hardly look this album in the eyes. I wouldn't want to marry Dissimulate, put it that way. Every component may be competent, but the hyper-aggressive mechanical motif can get real stale, real fast.

And so, the garrish electronic instrumentation proves to be more of a trammel than a lubricant for the theoretical "limits of brutality" like they were originally intended as. Why hello again, Hate. The Sarcófago album was written with the same premise, and while I believe both albums are solid, they end up sounding like curious relics of the past to be enjoyed only in specific circumstances, rather than living on as an eternal icon of evil. Like The Laws of Scourge. A unique cover of 'Coporal Jigsore Quandry' offers insight on what The Berzerker would sound like with plausible - though still overtly mechanized - drums, but besides this, Dissimulate is a constant full-bore assault that sounds like a product of bygone experimentation. For what it's worth, they stuck with this formula and released several strong albums after this one, which is more than you can say for most gimmicks.