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Crisp, Riffy Awesomeness - 98%

__Ziltoid__, February 1st, 2011

Here’s yet another excellent Swedish death metal album, Vomitory’s Blood Rapture. Vomitory is the kind of band that is actually pretty easy to get into. For “tr00″ death metal, their music is actually insanely catchy. Even their first album, Raped in Their Own Blood, is catchy despite a pretty lo-fi production job. But Vomitory really perfected their sound on their 2002 album, Blood Rapture. Not only does this have all the makings of a great, unrelentingly heavy album, but the sound is just so perfectly crisp that you can’t help but at least appreciate it for that.

The riffs here alternate between standard Swedish tremolo picking and some catchy as fuck groovy riffs. While the groovy riffs might be the ones that stand out to you upon your first listen, the melodies in the tremolo picked riffs are just as catchy with their subtle, downright hypnotic tendencies. In addition, the ways in which these riffs play off each other is part of what makes this album so great. Hell, just pick a random song and pay attention to the interaction between the different styles of riffing and you’ll see exactly what I mean. The first track on this album, ‘Chaos Fury,’ is a good example of this.

These songs are all generally fast-paced, but one thing that sticks out to me about them is that despite being at such a pace, they never seem to be trying to be THE FASTEST FUCKING BAND EVAR (insert weedily solo here). Don’t get me wrong, some of the songs here eventually speed things up (that blastbeating section in ‘Hollow Retribution’ at the 2:00 mark always gets me), but it never feels like they’re actively trying to do this. If anything, it’s just a natural progression of the music, instead of some contrived “brutal” wankery, and the end result is that the music feels more genuine. This is real death metal for real people who don’t need their bands to be blasting away incessantly, seemingly attempting to prove how brutal they are with pure speed. Fuck those kinds of bands. Bands like Vomitory are the ones that make death metal so great.

My favorite song here is easily ‘Blessed and Forsaken.’ It’s about a simple as it gets, musically, but god damn, this fucker is infectious! This song takes everything I’ve described and epitomizes how to do it perfectly. The transitions between riffs, the tempo changes, the overall heaviness–it’s all there! Speaking of the transitions, I happen to really enjoy the blastbeating transitions from one riff to another. It really gives this otherwise groovy song a big boost in the variety department to keep things interesting and changing often. And then there’s that monster fucking section at the end of this song. While I don’t particularly enjoy “moshing” or “pits” at shows, this seems like almost the ideal section of a song for a crowd to go fucking crazy to. It has that perfect slow build up leading into a horribly simple chuggy riff with a tri-vocal guttural scream. And god damn, that fade out fucking owns. Maybe I’m biased since this song was my introduction to Vomitory, but I think this should be a blueprint on how to create a simple, yet effective death metal song.

I could write a paragraph about every song here, but I’ll spare you from that. Instead, I’d like to talk about the production of this album. Simply put, this is absolutely perfect production for a modern death metal album. Absolutely perfect! I shit you not, this is how a modern death metal album should sound (Atheist could have learned from this). The mixing job here is absolutely perfect, giving each instrument the appropriate space to define its presence, while not letting any one individual instrument dominate. That beautiful guitar sound (seriously, it’s beautiful) is just perfect for a Swedeath album, and it’s at the best possible level in the mix so that the riffs are not only audible, but at that perfect level where they can be heard so that you will undoubtedly have them stuck in your head for days and days, possibly longer. The drums have that modern edge to them (read as: triggered), but aren’t obnoxiously loud or too clicky at all. They just sound clean, yet still thick. This is the kind of trigger usage that I have absolutely no problem with. As for the all-important issue of clipping, let’s just say that there’s very little clipping present here. Really, this feels like it’s at a perfect volume level–loud enough to be modern and so that you can hear everything, but not so loud and over-compressed so that everything is a muddy mess. It’s this clean production that really makes me feel that this is an exceptionally catchy album, even by Vomitory standards. While Raped in Their Own Blood, brings in all the riffs we know and love from Vomitory, the production just…isn’t this. If we’re talking about favorite old-school death metal production jobs, I’d definitely mention some Scott Burns album or Demigod’s Slumber of Sullen Eyes first, but for a modern sound, this is what I’d say is probably the best I’ve heard.

There’s really nothing much else to say about this great album. Go listen to it. You won’t regret it.

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