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Only way to describe the production is "unjust" - 35%

schuler, December 11th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Greyhaze Records (Digipak)

Like I assume a number of other Warfather listeners, I came for Steve Tucker. I loved Steve's work with Morbid Angel on his first three albums (he's since returned for the stellar Kingdoms Disdained, which incidentally enough, isn't without its own production flaws), and I was excited to hear his vocals on Nader Sadek's In The Flesh. I heard Warfather's sophomore record, The Grey Eminence, last year when it was released, and I thought it was a solid slab of tech-leaning, traditional death metal. I recently got curious about Warfather's first LP, and after running it down last week, I wish I'd left it alone.

I'm a band loyalty guy. Sometimes I wish I wasn't, honestly, but that's just how it is. If I love a band, or the prior work of certain members of a band, I can pretty much talk myself into, if not enjoying, at least not loathing anything they put out. Having said all that, I think I've found my limit with Orchestrating The Apocalypse; this is one of the worst sounding production jobs I've ever heard in an act that contains seasoned death metal veterans. There's no low end whatsoever. The drums are crackly and loud as hell. Some of the songs end so abruptly (like, without letting cymbals ring out) that it sounds like it was a mistake instead of an intentional move. Steve's vocals are the only thing with any real depth or ferocity, but when the rest of the band sounds this ridiculously thin, that's not saying much. What the hell happened here?

Doing my best to look past the mix, I managed to find, as expected, some damn solid riffs and arrangements here. "My Queen Shall Not Be Mourned" and "The Shifting Poles" have the unavoidable, but still totally enjoyable, Formulas-era Morbid Angel flavor you'd expect from anything Steve does. There's some subtle orchestral arrangement on the actual songs that adds more depth and melody than would be there without it, but again, the weakness of the mix robs it of any real power. There are some pretty cool interlude tracks, too, and they feel less like filler and more like organic segues between songs that incorporate their themes. "Ageless, Merciless" sees Steve doing some Deicide-style high/low vocal layering that's actually a pretty good fit for him. The lyrics are brutal, and Steve's delivery is impeccable. But, again, man, there's only so much enjoyment you can get out of any band when their final mix sounds as awful as this.

I love Steve Tucker's work. I love Morbid Angel. I love Warfather's second record, and I love Steve's album with Nader Sadek. Support Warfather and buy their second record; the mix is exceptionally thick and punchy, almost as if to make up for how terrible this album turned out. I'm hoping that one day Greyhaze reissues Orchestrating The Apocalypse with a muscular new remix. The song quality, the musician talent, and the performance intensity is definitely there. It's just victimized by a criminally amateur, bullshit recording job.