A safe buy for fans of technical Death Metal is exactly how I would describe this release. It just ticks all the right boxes, without really hitting you with a new wonder-formula or really anything at all new or inventive within the style. Still, the quality is there bar a few moments here and there.
Taking influence primarily from the likes of CYNIC or MORBID ANGEL and Trey’s characteristic guitar patterns, BAALPHEGOR have created a properly heavy sounding album and used the clarity of the production to extract every ounce of power from it. Although it’s no secret that I prefer my metal dirty, the clarity and warmth of the modern tones are actually quite impressive. Heavy, but not murky and sharp, but not painful, the production allows all the melodies and usual technical wizardry real impact.
Sure the vocals are a bit flat and the rhythms not as impressive as the ‘melodies’ – I use that term very loosely – but there is enough of interest structurally and enough riffs and sections of high quality to keep even the most casual fan amused. Moreover, while not as obvious as the increasingly tired Egyptian theme of NILE, BAALPHEGOR have managed to sound as interesting as any of the better Death Metal bands of recent years. They instead opt for subtler thematic interludes and the overall effect is almost as interesting, yet much less pretentious.
To conclude briefly, this is a solid technical Death Metal album that is worth your money and your time, without being of quite a high enough standard or quite as progressive as some may have liked. However, had this been released in the genre’s formative years, BAALPHEGOR could well have been a name more widely on the lips of those in the know.
(Online December 1, 2006)