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Yeah, this really isn't my thing at all - 50%

MutantClannfear, October 26th, 2012

If you asked someone to imagine a "modern brutal death metal album", the hypothetical album they would think of probably sounds quite similar to Visceral Throne's Omnipotent Asperity. It pretty much sums up everything you'd expect to hear in a technically-inclined BDM album released in 2012... which is to say that I really can't form an opinion on it one way or the other.

I'm at a loss for words as to how exactly to describe this album, probably because I tend to stay away from brutal death which elicits such a response from me, but I guess as far as comparisons go this sounds like Condemned with the added poppiness and riffs of Cerebral Bore, and maybe a bit more slammage thrown in than both of those bands can muster on their own. The end result is...well, it's technical brutal death metal, you already know what it sounds like.

Visceral Throne take a decidedly technical approach to their riffs (but not too technical, gosh, heaven help us if we happen to sound like Brain Drill!), featuring lots of quick tension-building, frantic noodles upwards, with one root note to tremolo to death in between these acrobatic passages. I never thought this approach to riffage was particularly memorable, and my belief is simply reinforced with Omnipotent Asperity. A lot of the riffs and guitar solos used on this album feel like they're just... there, entering and then leaving and not leaving much of an impression once they've passed. This is not the sort of album with melodies you find yourself humming at inappropriate times during social gatherings; nay, rather, I can't say there's much here that sticks with me at all.

Omnipotent Asperity also features a relatively large amount of slams compared to most technical brutal death metal albums you'll stumble across, but they're not used in a manner that is conducive to the general effect brutal death bands usually desire when they employ slams in their music. Which is to say: this shit could slam way harder than it does. The band's guitar tone, which is probably the biggest reason the slams here aren't very thuggin' and brutal, isn't really designed to slam so much as it seems to be made to play the aforementioned noodle riffs. It's thick, but it's also quite flat, doesn't have much bass backing it up, and overall it seems to be a bit too clean to give off an effective atmosphere of chunkiness. In addition, a lot of the slams are a bit too odd for their own good. The band make common errors such as not supplying some of the slams with a steady stream of blasts on the kick pedals, which would make them feel sufficiently crushing, and opting for eighth notes and triplets instead. But there are also flat-out weird decisions in other places, like the strange poppy modern tech-death melodies integrated right into the middle of the slams; or the fact that a lot of the slams practically feel like rolling, meandering death/doom passages composed of chugs instead of catchy beatdown riffs; or for something really odd, the 7/4 slam around the middle of "Inherent Spiral of the Human Continuum" which sounds like djent being played by a brutal death metal band. "Unknown" somehow manages to be pretty badass in the slam department throughout its length, but as a whole the album usually fails to deliver the goods with its slams, because they're either too melodic or tainted by technicality or just victim to an incompetent guitar tone.

Now, where the band do manage to stand out quite a bit is in the vocal department. The vocals here are exclusively a guttural roar which is a lot tonally higher and more defined than your average Angel Ochoa clone (I guess saying that it brings to mind a male, less Scottish version of Som Pluijmers would be a fair comparison), and so the vocal performance here sounds a lot more human than your average BDM band. The end result is interesting, though: the vocals come across as quite unique and anthemic and serve as a strong, loud voice to lead the music forward (even if it isn't too interesting by itself). I'd be quite interested in hearing other BDM bands use this vocal approach in the future, because frankly the scene as a whole needs a bit more experimentation as far as the vocalist's role in the music goes. Most bands are simply content to let their vocalist sit in the background, producing relatively weak or quiet gurgles which essentially act as a bass guitar which makes rabid bear noises, so it's nice to see Visceral Throne using theirs in a more hands-on, involved manner.

I do have praise for the drumkit (the kick pedals aren't too clicky, and the snare DONKs very thickly and loudly and it's quite nice), and the blasty parts are pretty good dumb fun for a short while, but aside from that Omnipotent Asperity evokes a response from me that's about as middling as possible - I mean, I certainly don't hate it, but I can't really point out many parts of this and say anything more than "hmm, yes, okay". It's probably more of a matter of personal preference rather than the band's faults that dictate why I don't particularly like this; I've never been big on "technical brutal death metal" and I'm completely fine with thinking that BDM never got any more technical than "Babykiller". You may as well give Omnipotent Asperity a chance if you're a fan of bands like Condemned and Defeated Sanity, but all-in-all this album is not, and probably will not ever be my cup of tea.