Smoking along the charred pits of Tampa, Florida, Death Metal mainstays DIABOLIC have never quite lived up to the expectations set by some of the region’s other more notorious acts like CANNIBAL CORPSE, DEICIDE, OBITUARY, and MORBID ANGEL. Unfortunately for these practitioners of the old school, the release of their fifth full-length album, 2010’s “Excisions of Exorcisms,” will assuredly smolder as yet another blasphemously heavy and altogether average Death Metal extravaganza that won’t soon produce any great spikes in popularity.
Replete with surges of blasting, menacing Death Metal warfare, “Excisions of Exorcism” is never short on aggression or in-your-face hostility. It’s top-gear from start to finish with buzzing tremolo riffing, wild solos, gravelly shouted and screamed vocals, and that yesteryear thrashing Death vibe that coolly backpedals to a time when this brand of chaotic smashing was at the apex of blistering musical brutality. This album would have been pretty devastating in 1990, but even then, it still would have paled in comparison to heavier debuts like “Eaten Back to Life” or “Deicide.”
What “Excisions of Exorcisms” does have going for it is it’s melding of nostalgia with a sinister low end that really makes tracks like “Fragmented Kreations” thunder through your speakers. The drumming by Aantar Lee Coates, while not exactly memorable, is fittingly hellish and absolutely unrestrained, tearing through songs at breakneck speed with all manner of snare fills and nonstop double bass kicking. The guitar work by Jeff Parrish and Kelly McLauchlin serves the album well and undoubtedly gives the album its rambunctious style, quickly swerving from peppering riff to insane howling solo, and then back again for more of the same. The bass work by vocalist Paul Ouellette adds extra weight to the overall sound, but little else. Ouellette’s vocal ability is rough and mean, but again, nothing over-the-top or truly distinguishable amongst the unfettered leagues of Death and Thrash Metal frontmen.
When all is said and done, DIABOLIC walk away in a cloud of smog and blood that never completely obscures, leaving them vulnerable and open to criticism. Akin to their music, the mist evaporates and falls much too quickly. The enthusiasm is there, as is the musicianship, however, “Excisions of Exorcisms” is so busy rekindling the fires of MORBID ANGEL and DEICIDE, it forgets to build up its own conflagration. When slower songs like “False Belief” end up sounding too one-dimensional, DIABOLIC may ultimately be too used to playing the only way they know how. If speed is the only name of the game, crashing and burning is an inevitable fate.
A sturdy release that should appeal to old school fans who like their Metal buzzing around like a pack of wasps.
Me(n)tal Note: As of this year, McLauchlin is slated as playing guitar with Death Metal pioneers, POSSESSED.
(Online July 26, 2011)