Friday, January 23, 2009

Atrocious Abnormality: Echoes of the Rotting

I admit that I discovered this band on Myspace. That's not to say that I usually actively seek out music using that site, but it is a pretty useful tool sometimes. The band is a brutal death metal band out of North Carolina. Normally, brutal death is not my favorite genre but upon hearing the samples on the band's page, I decided to give their album a try. I am very glad that I did, as this is not the standard brutal death metal album.

There are a lot of things that I really enjoy about this album that I do not normally hear in other brutal death metal bands. First of all, the production is fairly clean. Typically bands of this type have a muddy sound and it is difficult to hear everything that is happening in the music. This album is not at all like that. One can actually hear all of the instruments clearly. The levels of the instruments are fairly well-balanced as well, so one instrument is not too high in the mix.

Having a clear production means that one can hear what the other instruments are doing, which leads me to my next point. This band utilizes some surprisingly technical riffs. That is not to say that they are as technical as bands like Necrophagist, but they find a nice balance between technical death and the aggression and brutality of brutal death metal. Think a mix between Decrepit Birth and Suffocation.

There are several other good things about this album. The drumming is very intense, often utilizing blast beats during the breakdowns (yes the songs do have breakdowns), which keeps them fairly interesting. The guitar leads are very impressive and there are occasional solos which add to the enjoyment of the songs. The vocals are normally fairly standard low guttural growls, but on occasion the band uses layered vocals, as Deicide is known for, which consist of the aforementioned growls and some impressive banshee-like shrieking. Finally, Atrocious Abnormality spice things up a little with samples from the movie Slither and Married...With Children, which add a little humor.

Unfortunately, there are some points to the album that are not as good. As I mentioned, the band does use breakdowns on almost every song. It also drags a little bit just past the halfway point. The album is short, which is good, because if it was not so short, it would be a lot more difficult to listen to it all the way through. There is a cover of a Misfits song, which I feel is a little out of place. They did not do too bad of a job on it, but the vocals really detract from it. I would have rather seen the band cover a death metal song. Finally, the lyrics are standard brutal death fare (death, gore, misogyny). It's not surprising, but it's just a little too predictable.

Overall, this is a strong debut album. Each of the band members have been in similar bands in the past and present, hopefully this will be more than just a one-album project. I think this band has a lot of promise and they work together very well. I look forward to seeing them grow.

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