Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (#4) BRUTAL EDITION

I haven't done one of these in a few months, and I think we're about due. 

Today on The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly we're going to look at three new brutal death metal albums. This tends to be one of those sub-genres that's a little bit samey, so the bad entries are usually not terrible and the good entries are rarely amazing. That's certainly true here, as none of these are anywhere near the best or worst I've heard this year.

The Good: Hour of Penance - Regicide
The previous Hour of Penance album back in 2012 was one of my favorite brutal death metal albums of the past few years, so I had high hopes coming into this one. While I don't think Regicide  packs quite as much punch as its predecessor, this is still a good album. It's heavy, well-rounded, and surprisingly catchy. The bass presence lends some dimension to the bottom end, and the guitar leads are surprisingly well-formulated. This is in no way groundbreaking stuff, but it's an enjoyable listen.

The Bad: Internal Bleeding - Imperium
Internal Bleeding were part of the original brutal death metal scene that emerged out of New York in the early '90s. They never got the same level of acclaim as their contemporaries in Suffocation, for the crushingly simple reason that they were never anywhere close to as good. They still deserve a modicum of historical respect, but that only goes so far. Just yesterday (maybe the day before, if I wait to post this) they released their first album in ten years. It's . . . not good. The vocals, which might work in a thrashier old-school Florida death metal band, just sound weak here against the musical assault. The obnoxious drum tone sounds like somebody knocking on a wooden table, the riffs are boring and samey, the songs are mind-numbingly repetitive, and overall this was just unpleasant in all the wrong ways.

The Ugly: Origin - Omnipresent
This isn't so much ugly as it is bland. Origin have always been tremendously skilled musicians, and that's still true. They have been more interesting at times, but on this album they fall into that oh-so-common trap of being technical and heavy just for the sake of being technical and heavy. Nothing about this made me want to turn it off, but nothing made me care either. The entire album, like the cover art, is a tangled mess of details that is too cluttered for anything to stand out and grab your attention. It's just a shame that such a talented band haven't put their abilities to better use.

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