An "All Things Putrid" Entry
Still reeling from SKINLESS’ unfortunate split-up? Yeah, me too. Perhaps that’s why I’m smothering myself in the muddiest, heaviest shit I can possibly find these days. In any case, said division may be a bit less painful when you give PATHOLOGY’s latest full-length album, “Awaken to the Suffering,” a brain-swelling crack. Replete with nut-rattling bass drums, groove-soaked riffs, a smidge of melody, and preposterously gnarly subhuman vocals, Brutal Death Metal fans will be pleased to know that this San Diego shat album has more diesel slams than a Mountain Dew party on Dwight Howard’s driveway court.
“Awaken to the Suffering” is just jam-packed with head-banging, chug-frenzied Death Metal that separates itself from the standard in part to a mammoth production sound, cool song structures that never swerve into jerk-off territory, and well, Dave Astor of CATTLE DECAPITATION and THE LOCUST fame has set the bar with a filthy display of pounding, absolutely furious drumming. Astor is simply an expert in crafting momentum-building explosions, consistently adding giant, weathered sledgehammers and rivet-gun bursts that keep “Awaken to the Suffering” churning and grinding well past closing.
Although the very natural sounding musicianship is a high-point across the board – guitarists Tim Tiszczenko and Kevin Schwartz bring all types of thundering doom, razor-edged harmonics, and smooth solo work, and bassist Oscar Ramirez trudges around with a leveling, insane bottom sound – noteworthy is the obscenely disgusting vocal performance of Jonathan Huber, a frontman whose hyper-low gurgling growl-barfs something shameful, loathsome, indecipherable, and really, out-of-this-world brutal. This is no Goregrind vocal job, this is pure gore, sheer innard-splattered guck retching from Huber’s mouth in fetid, steamy torrents. It’s so gross it’s great.
On more than a few occasions, “Awaken the Suffering” had me painfully snapping my neck, eagerly seeking out the nearest dumbbell or whatever the fuck so as to direct this manifested hostility in some non-murdering format. “Humanity’s Cesspool” is by far the most invigorating and steamrolling track on the album with its unbearably heavy mix and badass arrangements; “Media Consumption” is nearly as punishing, with swarms of punishing warfare-based rhythms marching behemoth; and “Opposing Globalization” acts as perhaps the album’s most insidiously charged track with Huber offering his most grueling performance.
While not every song is a rocket launcher like the above trio, and more than a handful of riffs suffer from Death Metal commonality, ably serving the album as more filler than killer, the truth remains that the large majority of “Awaken to the Suffering” is vicious, catchy, and altogether impressive Slamming Death. If you’re not too hung up on Tech-fuck wanking, this has to be one of the best Brutal Death Metal albums of the year.
(Online September 30, 2011)