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A once fiery wrath is now quelled - 56%

Pathological_Frolic, January 27th, 2008

It's saddening when bands I like release albums that could have been great, but fail for so many reasons. Shawn Whittaker is such a skilled rhythm guitarist in the field of death metal and is quite skilled at writing some great brutal death metal with no band mates (Just look at Insidious Decrepancy's first album), but somehow this one just doesn't do anything for me.

Well, the biggest fault for me is the production. Other Viral Load releases are hostile, bass-heavy, and, forgive the cliche, "in your face". This simply isn't. The best adjective I could conjure for this would be "Flaccid". The production is quite bass-heavy, but not in the same way it was on "Brutalized Beyond Belief". The guitars just mire under a drum program track, sounding as though they were recorded on a very good mp3 player's recording function. The first few seconds of "Ice Pick Vasectomy" could have been leagues better if simply mastered a different way. In it's current form, however, it reminds me of Dethklok.

This isn't to say that somehow the riffs save the music from failure. Whittaker employs the same riffs we've heard on the last two Viral Load LPs, except in a manner that sounds very held back. His slow parts, which are wonderful usually for their sheer crushing heaviness, are simply boring, and seem to have been put there just to put bridges in the songs between parts.

The vocals are decently performed, though there is no variation in the performance, as there was in the past (The track, "Cockroach Cumrag" off Practitioners of Perversion comes to mind) . He simply growls, and maybe does a higher/lower pitched grunt once in a while, but this is about it.

In summation, this album’s not a complete loss with a few decent riffs and songs somewhere in there. The solo on U-Haul Full of Dead Bodies is the best part of the whole album. However, as stated in the title, the viciousness is not as it used to be on this album.